Monday, November 30, 2009

Vegan Fare... In Long Island

Hope you all had delicious Thanksgiving weekend filled with lots of veggies and dessert! I enjoyed some twice baked sweet potatoes, a pear & walnut salad, sauteed beet greens, spanakopita (I'll have to post the recipe in the near future!), apple upside-down cake and a lemon ricotta cake. Yum!

As seen in the New York Times this weekend, you've got better luck trying to dine vegetarian or vegan in Long Island! NYT provides a rundown of restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk counties where a vegan diner can feast, like Three Brothers Pizzeria in Rockville Centre, which serves up seitan scaloppine piccata and vegan pizza, and Moo-Clucks in Babylon, which makes vegan cheesecake and vegan creme-filled cupcakes to order.


I'll have to keep this list handy next time I'm on Long Island!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NYC Vegetarian/Vegan Thanksgiving

For those of you who'll be in town this Thanksgiving weekend and are avoiding the blood pressue spike caused by stressful dinner prep, I'm reposting SuperVegan.com's annual list of vegan Thanksgiving specials around New York City. Save the turkeys, stuff yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving to all you awesome veggie readers! I'll be out of town for the next few days, but will be back on Monday with more vegetarian and vegan goodness to report on!

----

Angelica Kitchen is offering a five course prix fixe menu for $50; BYOB to save money. Thanksgiving is the only night Angelica takes reservations, so folks won't have to queue up in the cold like usual. The dinner will also be available for take out from the juice bar. Say hi to SuperVegan's own Olivia Lane, who will be hostessing in the afternoon.

Blossom and Blossom Uptown (the former Cafe Blossom) are offering the same three-course menu for $68, with reservations available between 3-9pm.

Candle 79's four course prix fixe is $70, while sister restaurant Candle Cafe gives you four courses for $52, plus a la carte options.

Caravan of Dreams will have Thanksgiving options in addition to their regular menu.

Counter's got seatings from 12pm-9pm for their $50 four course prix fixe, plus an optional $25 wine pairing.

Curly's will be serving a four or five ("depending on how you count them") course prix fixe menu for $26.95.

Hang out with Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Peter Max, and Ally Sheedy at Farm Sanctuary's Celebration FOR the Turkeys this Sunday at Tavern on the Green. You can even get the latest word on author Jonathan Safran Foer's not-quite-veganism from the man himself. The event is currently sold out, but you can call to get on the waiting list.

NYC's all-vegetarian grocery store, Integral Yoga Natural Foods, has many prepared vegan Thanksgiving foods. It's currently offering a 10% discount on holiday desserts, pies, cakes and brownies (most are vegan; they've got a list with ingredients on their website).

Organic Grill will have a special Thanksgiving menu in addition to their regular menu.

Chef Ouiya has both prix fixe and a la carte options for delivery or pick up. Check out the menu here and make sure to get your order in by Saturday the 21st.

Perelandra Natural Food Center has a selection of prepared vegan Thanksgiving foods.

Pure Food and Wine will once again be serving the most expensive vegan Thanksgiving meal in NYC. Their four course prix fixe is $72; select items from their regular menu will also be available.

Red Bamboo will be serving their regular menu and a $21.95 Thanksgiving prix fixe menu. Red Bamboo Brooklyn will offer a three course prix fixe after 4pm at an as-yet-undecided price. (Jeez, people, Thanksgiving is less than a week away!)

'sNice and 'sNice Brooklyn are both closed Thanksgiving day, but we recommend you stop by in the days before or after to try their awesome Thanksgiving Leftovers sandwich.

WholeFoods has their same old Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner for one. At $19.99, it includes curried apple pumpkin soup, a stuffed holiday roast, green beans with almonds, and mushroom gravy. Dessert is now sold separately, packaged with bread.

You already missed the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary's 2009 Thanksliving, but you can sign up for their mailing list to make sure you don't miss out next year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing



Does anybody else feel like you can enjoy a stuffed pepper, but you can really savor a stuffed squash? There's something so sweet and indulgent about butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash, but squash are guilt-free because they're a great source of  fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene. For this recipe, I'm using versatile (and filling, I might add!) quinoa as a stuffing. If you serve this to an omnivorous guests, you can proudly tell them that your veggie stuffing has plenty of protein and is low in fat- I bet most people can't say that about their Stouffer's!


The Whats:

* 2 acorn squash, halved
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 2 cups vegetable broth
* 1 cup dried quinoa
* 1 bay leaf
* several small saffron strands
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 yellow onion, diced
* half a package of soy sausage, like Gimme Lean brand
* 1 bunch beet greens, chopped
* 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
* 1 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tsp. black pepper.
* pinch of salt
* pecorino romano cheese for sprinkling, if desired


The Hows:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out seeds and stringy bits from acorn squash halves. If desired, rub the inside of the squash with just a little bit of olive oil and cinnamon. Cover a baking sheet with foil or  parchment paper, and roast squash cut-side down for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

2) To make the quinoa: bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil; add quinoa, bay leaf, and saffron to the broth and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until broth is absorbed and quinoa is soft, between 10 and 15 minutes.

3) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add veggie sausage to the pan, using a fork to crumble sausage as needed; cook for 5 minutes, or until sausage starts to brown. Add nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and chopped beet greens to the pan, and cook until greens begin to wilt. Bring heat to low, and stir in quinoa. Remove from heat.

4) Fill each half of roasted acorn squash with quinoa stuffing; sprinkle with grated cheese if desired. Bake stuffed squash for 15 minutes and allow squash ten five minutes to cool before serving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Greenpoint Food Market


 Every market weekend, I swear that I'll get up on Sunday and visit the New Amsterdam Market.... and though the comfort of my bed on Sunday morning yet again proved to be too difficult a hurdle to overcome, I did manage to visit a smaller, up and coming market in Brooklyn on Saturday, the monthly Greenpoint Food Market. Organized by Greenpoint resident (and pal from college, I'd like to add!) Joann Kim, the market boasts a variety of local vendors, many of whom are startups and make their goodies at home, and provides them with a wider audience through the market.




These are my fave type of markets, because I'm always impressed with the creativity of NYC's food community, and I love finding something new, delicious, and vegetarian to take home with me! Among the goodies I sampled: Anarchy in a Jar's jams and chutneys. The last jar of their addictive strawberry balsamic was sold just as I sampled it, but their sweet Plum Nugget with Port and Ginger has now become a breakfast fave- I mix it into some thick Greek yogurt with some Fairway ginger snap granola. Yum! Also some big ups to Mama O's Premium Kimchee, which is made in small batches with natural ingredients, unlike the average commercial kimchee. Founder Kheedim Oh was eager to share his latest Mama O's variety- a vegan kimchee! If you're a fan of all things hot and spicy, be sure to pick up a batch at the next Greenpoint Food Market on Saturday, December 19th.

I'll be back and ready to sample some more!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Animal, Vegetable, Miserable"

Check out the "Animal, Vegetable, Miserable" op-ed in today's New York Times, written by a philosophy professor at Bucknell University, on what it means to be a vegan. Though it's not particularly thought-provoking (at least for those of us who are already in the know about ethical eating), it is a thoughtful piece on how most people, especially around food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving, tend to ask themselves if their choice animal was raised ethically instead of asking if it's in fact ethical to consume the animal to begin with.

I think we already know the answer to that.

Check out my Thanksgiving article in StarShineMag.com!

Shameless self-promotion, but plenty of other bloggers make a career of it: check out an article I wrote about vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes on StarShineMag.com. The recipes are, of course, from this blog, and hopefully it'll inspire you to get creative in the kitchen this Thanksgiving!

My favorite Palin-ism yet...

According to her new book, not only is Sarah Palin an expert in foreign relations because she can see Russia from her backyard, she can give the U.S. Surgeon General a lesson in nutrition. Thanks to a pal who posted a link to another veggie blog with the following comment, I've discovered my favorite Palin-ism yet...

"If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore. If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?"

Really Sarah? Animals made out of meat? Wow. Last I checked, all animals, including people, were made of meat... well, if that's how you feel, you can be the first one into the grinder, though I'm quite sure most people don't buy Grade F meat. Apparently the USDA accidentally passed over you in the inspection line.

Sorry, but someone had to make the joke first!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin shortage?

Other than the startling fact that Nestle dominates 80- 90% of the canned pumpkin market (wow, serious monopoly!), you might be surprised to see fewer cans of pumpkin on your grocery store shelves this holiday season. Nestle has reported that because of heavy rains in Illinois this season, where most of their pumpkins are grown, a portion of the pumpkin crop has deteriorated and they might not be able to meet the demand for canned pumpkin this season.

Interestingly enough, the company also reports that sales of canned pumpkin have increased in recent years, citing recent studies that tout the health benefits of pumpkin, which is high in free radical fighting carotenoids and lutein, zinc, and iron.

For the locavores reading this blog, it's just another reason to skip the canned pumpkin and buy local NY/NJ pumpkins for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. For kitchen slackers, making pumpkin pie from scratch may be time consuming, but not difficult- carve your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, and roast with the hollow side down until the pumpkin flesh is tender. If you're not using your pumpkin for pie, it's just as amazing in pancakes, breads, and mousse- yes, pumpkin mousse!

I'm going to try this myself, but I'd be curious to hear how this comes out for other readers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Winter CSAs? You bet!


Fresh berries, crisp green beans, juicy tomatoes- the perks of summer are in the produce. And as much as I love a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I'm quite sure nothing would combat those winter blues better than a fresh berry cobbler.

Though frozen fruits and veggies aren't as embraced with the enthusiasm reserved for fresh produce, Winter Farms is offering up a new CSA concept that hopes to change that idea- a winter CSA (which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, if you didn't know!) where members can enjoy reasonably priced, sustainably grown local fruits and vegetables from upstate New York, frozen at their summer peak and delivered to various locations throughout NYC. A typical share might include red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, green beans, broccoli florets, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, bell peppers, corn, and carrots. Imagine making a light gazpacho instead of a heavy vegetable stew during the winter!

Sounds like a fresh berry cobbler isn't out of the question just yet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vegan Maple Cream Tarts



With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I know I'm not the only one who gets even more excited about pies, cakes, and other desserts just as much as delicious veggie options. Creamy desserts are generally not vegan-friendly, but that doesn't mean you can't whip up your own milk and egg free confection! After looking at several different vegan pastry cream recipes online, I improvised this one- it's a bit thicker than typical pastry cream (which is definitely a positive if you prefer thicker cream!), but it's still big on taste- for some fall flavor, I added some cinnamon and maple syrup. Serve this with some vegan whipped cream, and you'll have some satisfied vegans & vegetarians surrounding your dessert table.

The Whats:

* 1/4 cup unbleached flour
* 1/4 cup corn starch
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 cups vanilla soymilk
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 2 tbsp. grade A maple syrup
* pinch of sea salt
* pinch of cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

The Hows:

1) In a small bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, and 1/2 cup soy milk. Set aside.

2) In a medium saucepan, whisk together remaining soy milk, sugar, vanilla extract, pinch of cinnamon and pinch of sea salt over medium heat. Slowly stream starch-flour mix into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until mixture thickens, about ten minutes.

3) Remove from heat. Whisk in maple syrup and an extra pinch of cinnamon, if desired. Place plastic wrap over surface of pastry cream, and allow several hours to cool.

4) To serve: remove plastic wrap and stir cream before serving. Spoon into Keebler Ready Crust Graham Cracker mini pie crusts (believe it, these are vegan too!) and sprinkle with cinnamon. For a crispier crust, follow instructions on the Keebler box to bake the mini pie crusts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Fun!

As if the Veggie Calendar didn't have enough goodies, here are a few more fun things happening in the city this weekend:


Friday, November 13th

Eco-Conscious Cocktails - 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Astor Center, 300 Lafayette Street, $75. Put a new spin on a classic Friday night by sampling organic spirits and mixing cocktails- you can feel good about saying "Bottoms up!" Well, maybe not the morning after.


Sunday, November 15th

The Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment- 1pm to 5pm at The Bell House, 149 7th Avenue, $25 at door.  Brooklyn sure loves it's food throwdowns, and when they involve chocolate, I love them even more! Amateurs take their shot at glory in a chocolate recipe contest, with both sweet and savory dishes. Free Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream afterparty to follow.


Monday, November 16th

Toast With Hot Bread Kitchen- 6pm to 9pm at Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave, $50 advance tix. Technically it's no longer the weekend, but start your work week in a toasty way with this fundraiser for Hot Bread Kitchen Bakers, which assists immigrant women in obtaining culinary jobs. Enjoy wine, baking demos, and goodies from Bar Boulud.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2009 Veggie Awards

As I'm sure a number of you have already seen, fave vegetarian/vegan resource, VegNews magazine, has released its annual 2009 Veggie Awards, a plethora of ideas, people, products and trends that have shaped the veggie scene this past year.

New discoveries on the list include Daiya Cheese, a vegan cheese that actually melts like real cheese (it's about time!), and vegetarian iPhone apps, like VeggiePassport. Old favorites were also given the usual shout outs, like Babycakes NYC vegan bakery, MooShoes vegan shoe store, and online vegan store, Vegan Essentials.

Check out the list today and see which of your veggie favorites got their well-deserved props.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mantao




Cell phone snapshots can't do justice to food (that is, if you're a dinosaur like me and do not have an iPhone), but it goes without saying- or viewing, in this case- my discovery of the spicy tofu bun at Mantao, a Chinese sandwich place in Midtown.

The recently opened Mantao bucks the popular bahn mi craze by offering traditional steamed Chinese bread with both meaty and veggie fillings- vegetarian sandwich options include spicy tofu and a shiitake and portobello mushroom mix, with sides of kimchi, Chinese pickles, salads, spicy tofu noodles, and pan-fried vegetable dumplings. The spicy, firm slices of tofu were a great contrast to the soft, sesame flecked bun- with the slight crisp of picked cucumber and the fresh bite of cilantro leaves, this was the perfect twist on a perfect sandwich. I love when restaurants pack on the heat, so if you're sensitive to spicy dishes, I'd recommend sticking with mushroom mantao.

And with my meal topping out at a little over $5, I'm ready to place bets on Mantao's showdown with banh mi. If you're in Midtown and looking for a light lunch, Mantao is worth a visit!

Mantao, 235 E. 53rd Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, 212-888-2490

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Events

A listing of all the fun vegetarian-friendly and eco themed events going on in NYC this November:


Friday, November 6th through Sunday, November 7th

Cook. Eat. Drink. Live.- at La Venue, 608 W. 26th Street, $65. Uber foodie event that spans three days with modern cuisine and wines from across the globe.

Tuesday, November 10th


Green Drinks NYC-
6pm to 10pm at The Park, 118 10th Avenue at W. 18th Street, $15 at the door. This monthly meetup is sure to have green networkers on their feet- they're presenting singer-songwriter Mikey Wax.

Food Writing Forum with Judith Jones- 6:30pm at New School University, 66 W. 12th Street, room 510, $5. The VP of publishing house Alfred A. Knopf and published cookbook author, Judith Jones, reads from her new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One.


Wednesday, November 11th

Fowl Play Screening presented by Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and Mercy for Animals- 6pm to 9pm at NYU Law School, Furman Hall Room 216. A free screening of the award-winning documentary Fowl Play with free vegan food.


Thursday, November 12th

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sides That Even Carnivores Will Love- 6pm to 9:30pm at Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Center, 95 E. Houston Street. $65. We all say we don't care about those carnivores at our holiday table, but in reality, we vegetarians and vegans love taking the opportunity to showcase great meat-free food! Learn some new Thanksgiving recipes at this hands-on demo.


Saturday, November 14th

Veggie Conquest- 7pm in Flatiron District, $20. Because everyone loves competition! A new, monthly vegan cooking challenge requiring contestants to utilize a secret ingredient, and for spectators to come with an open mind. This sounds awesome!


Tuesday, November 17th


The Green Salon- 5:30pm at Klavierhaus, 211 W. 58th Street, $20 tax deductible admission. Part of an ongoing discussion series on energy efficiency, the topic on the table is the new environmental markets, plus featured piano selections, networking, and Q&As on this interesting topic!


Thursday, November 19th

Center for Communication at the New School: The High Cost of Cheap Food- Theresa Lang Community and Student Center at Arnhold Hall, 55 W. 13th Street, 2nd Floor. A screening of the documentary Food Inc, followed by a panel of food scholars and activists which include Peter Pringle, author of Food Inc, and Marion Nestle, NYU professor and author of Food Politics. Should be a fascinating discussion!

VeganDrinks- 7pm to 9pm at Angels & Kings, 500 E. 11th Street. A monthly social networking event with drink specials and vegans galore!


Sunday, November 22nd

New Amsterdam Market- 11am to 4pm at South Street Seaport between Beekman Street and Peck Slip. It's like the ultimate farmer's market. With over 80 vendors that sell directly from their farms or wineries, you'll find some of the best in local, fresh produce along with cheeses, jams, pickles, and olive oils.


Thursday, November 26th

Thanksgiving Day- encouraging Obama to pardon ALL turkeys isn't the only thing to do on Turkey Day! Be sure to check your local vegetarian/vegan meetup groups for fun, ethical Thanksgiving eats, and be sure to keeping checking this blog for some delicious holiday recipes!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mexican Black Bean and Veggie Chik'n Salad




Another quick, easy, and protein-filled Mexican-style salad for your eating pleasure! This one keeps it light and fresh with the addition of lime and cilantro, but it's packed with black beans and pieces of Quorn veggie chicken to make a satisfying appetizer or meal. If you haven't been clued into Quorn, I can't recommend it enough- it's a mushroom protein based meat substitute, and it's texture is phenomenal- just ask the carnivores I've fed it to! Serve this as it is, or wrap in tortillas.

The Whats:

* 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 pint of grape tomatoes
* 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
* 1 medium red onion, diced
* 1 cup of Quorn veggie chicken tenders, heated through
* juice of 1 lime
* 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
* salt & pepper to taste


The Hows:

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix. Place in the refrigerator for one to two hours to chill and allow flavors to blend.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jicama Salad with Pineapple and Cucumber



I have to admit that until I made this salad,  I've only had jicama occasionally at Mexican restaurants. I love its crisp, apple-like texture and the fact that it takes on the essence of the other ingredients that it's prepared with. But there's a reason that I only ate it in Mexican restaurants- taking the time to peel the thing was never on my agenda.

It was sure worthwhile though, once I finally left the store with a large jicama, peeled through the rough skin, and diced it. I thought it would make a refreshing, sweet salad for a Dia de Los Muertos dinner- with some diced pineapple (I bought a small container of fresh cubed pineapple and added the pineapple and it's juice to the salad), cucumber, and cilantro, it's definitely a festive dish that will balance out a spicy entree that you might prepare!

Alright Jicama, maybe you've got me convinced that you're worth the wait.


The Whats:

* 1 jicama, peeled and diced
* 1 hothouse cucumber, diced
* 1 cup of diced pineapple
* 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
* 1 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

The Hows:

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Allow one to two hours in the refrigerator to chill and allow flavors to blend before serving.

Dia De Los Muertos

So instead of a typical "it's November and it's Vegan Awareness Month!" post, I'm going to start a new  tradition of posting Mexican recipes for Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It coincides with All Saints Day and is a Latin American holiday (celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador among others!) to remember family and friends who have passed on.

It's also a day celebrated with food... and how can you not write about holiday food? Especially when it can be made vegetarian!

Though traditional goodies include chocolate skulls and pan de muerto sweetened bread stamped with a skull pattern, I'm posting a few Mexican-style dishes to help celebrate!