Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh Sugar!

Oh agave, agave! You are my candy girl. And you've got me wanting you.

Today DanT and I went on a dessert tour of the Lower East Side. This was semi-intentional and semi-unintentional. We intended to go to Cowgirl's Baking, the new vegan bakery in the East Village. We did not intend on going to Lula's Sweet Apothecary, but we were right nearby and we live so far from there that if we are in the neighborhood, we cannot help ourselves.

While at Lula's buying our ice cream (I had a half scoop of peanut butter and jelly and a half scoop of cookies and cream. DanT had cake batter and chocolate soft serve twist. He always gets the soft serve. His ice cream choices are boring but delicious.) I noticed that they had a cute little display of Dun-Well Doughnuts! This is a new vegan doughnut company made here in NYC that has a few drop off spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I had forgotten that Lula's was one of their drop off places and that the deliveries happen on Saturdays! I had to get a doughnut! And DanT had to get a doughnut. So we came home with two doughnuts... And a box of baked goods from Cowgirl's Baking.

Taste test!
A chocolate frosted with peanuts, and a coconut frosted with flaked coconut.
Slice them up, DanT!
Please ignore the mess in the back...
So the doughnuts. DanT didn't love the coconut one, because as he says, he doesn't love coconut. Fair. He did love the chocolate frosted doughnut. I loved the doughnut dough. It was very much not a cake doughnut and I appreciate that. Yeasted doughnuts are the only kind I ever ate in my childhood (I think) and I loved them. These are the doughnuts of my childhood. I would kill for a jelly-filled one of these suckers covered in powdered sugar, but these work for now. Dan and Christopher, keep my request in mind!
Look at those magnificent innards!
Next, we opened our box from Cowgirl's Baking to taste test some deliciousness. This was the disaster we found:
These had a long trip home...
Not the best look ever, but smooshed cupcakes still taste like the unsmooshed ones! So I soldiered on and cut them up for testing.
Man, the tart looks big from this vantage point...  

Top row from left to right: French toast, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, and chocolate with mint frosting. Bottom row: Strawberry tart. Duh.

The French toast was delicious. The cupcake was solid enough to be lifted up and not crumble at all and the taste was fab. The frosting was maple-y goodness. I will eat more of that one when I work off this sugar coma. The other two had one major problem... The chocolate cupcake doesn't hold together well! I think it's downfall might be the chocolate chips that it is filled with. But I also loved having those chocolate chips to bite into. I am very conflicted about the chocolate cupcakes. They were moist, however, so if you are smarter then me and bring the plate up to your face while feasting, you might not mind the crumblyness of these cupcakes. On to the frosting. DanT loved the mint. I wasn't so hot on it. It is very green. I know that is a silly comment, but I don't like artificial coloring and it looks really fake. It just didn't do it for me. It was minty, but it didn't hold my attention. That peanut butter frosting, however, I loved. It was dreamy. Light and fluffy and fully of peanut buttery goodness.

The tart. Well, the pastry was salty. I'm sure I was all sugared out at this point, but then you would think I would have appreciated a salty pastry, but this was a bit much. It felt like the pastry's only purpose was to hold the filling in, not to stand out on its own. If I'm going to eat five-million calories of pastry, I would like it to taste worthy of those calories. So I ended up breaking off that outer crust and eating the yummy strawberry innards. But overall, I would say the cupcakes are a better bang for your buck.

I hope you get a chance to support all of these wonderful vegan businesses if you are ever in NYC, oh faithful readers. Catch you as soon as I come out of this sugar coma!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baking cookies for another bake sale!

Hi all! Sorry for my long absence, but it was my quarter century birthday. I deserved a break! So now I'm 25, slightly older and wiser, and back to blogging. On my actual birthday last Saturday, February 12th, Darwin Animal Doctors had a fundraiser. I had a birthday "Cause" on facebook raising money for DAD, but on a more involved and fun note, I baked for the bake sale the evening before my birthday! Money-wise, my amazing friends and family raised $581! Yeah, they rock. Thanks guys!

For the bake sale I made the ultimate cookies: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles! If you don't have "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, you are silly and should buy it right now. But lucky for you, this recipe can be found online! But you should still buy the book for all the other amazing cookie and bar recipes. I can vouch for the "Chocolate Chip Cookies" and the "Lemon Bars". Yum.

Above you can see all the ingredients needed to make these cookies, plus the bunch of wood roses DanT got for me a few years ago. Wood roses never die! See, it's romantic.

Ready to bake!
The final product, plus all the leftover cinnamon sugar.
The only thing I can say about this recipe (which I doubled for the bake sale), is that the cinnamon sugar part of the recipe, which you dip the tops of the cookies in before baking, makes WAY too much. I accidentally spilled about 1/6th of it on my floor (which sucks, by the way) and still had a ton leftover. I recommend cutting that part of the recipe in half.

But taste-wise, these cookies are amazing!! Seriously, they look pretty (important for bake sale fund-raising!), and taste great. A one-two punch, you could say. They are barely spicy (I go a little light on the chayane), and the spice is more heat on the back end. The first thing you taste is yummy chocolate! Seriously yummy eats. Get that book!

Until next time! (which will be soon, I hope!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jerusalem Vegan Highlight

Okay, okay... We got back from Israel a month ago, more or less. I apologize for the delay, but I hope this post (and a few more to come) make up for it!

DanT has my other set of pictures with the photos of the amazing vegan restaurant we went to in Tel Aviv, so I'll have to post about that at a later date. For now I have three photos taken outside of The Ginger Vegetarian Community Center in Jerusalem. We never got a chance to go in, but we walked by it many, many times as it was on our way home to the apartment we rented (on AirBnB. It worked out great!). I regret not getting to meet the people running this fascinating looking place. It is right across the street from the Prime Minister's house! An amazing location in the new city of Jerusalem.

A Chassid (ultra-orthodox) man telling you that god says to go vegan!

Hanging outside of the vegetarian community center was this billboard of sorts. It can read two ways. One says "We love animals, don't eat us" and the other says "we love our lives, don't eat us". One sentence can say both things as the word on the top left hand side, "haiyot", means animals and life. Hebrew is a pretty fascinating language.

Also, I recommend that anyone planning a trip to Jerusalem, email the people at Ginger Vegetarian Community Center and see if there are any events happening. (the site might be mostly in Hebrew, but most Israelis speak very good English) They have a vegan restaurant there! It's called Mahatma Vegan Kitchen. If you go, let me know how the community center was!

Oh, and in case you missed it, there is a kitten sleeping in the bottom of this sheet/sign. See below for a kitten close-up!

So friggin' cute!

Israel has a huge feral cat problem. You see cats everywhere. I have another good cat picture in my Tel Aviv photos which I'll try to get soon! They do have trap-neuter-release programs in Israel, but progress seems to be coming along rather slowly. The cat "problem" has not gotten noticeably better since I've been traveling to Israel over the last 20 years. Thankfully, it rarely gets too cold in most parts of the country, so at least the kitties don't have to worry about keeping warm!

Coming up, a review of Tel Aviv's vegan restaurant mini-chain, Buddha Burgers and the Tel Aviv vegan scene.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Wonderland Bake Sale!

Hello internet visitors!

There is a big event coming up that I need to let you guys know about. So, NYC has a Sea Shepherd chapter and we are having a bake sale!

So, you can see the details above, but I am going to reiterate them here:
When: This Sunday, January 23rd from 12:30 to 5:30
Where: Mooshoes, 78 Orchard Street
Why: To raise funds for Operation No Compromise! To continue fighting the Japanese whale killers!

I'll be one of the volunteers there to help answer your questions, so if you can make it out on Sunday come find me and say hello! I'm baking chocolate chip cookies. Come buy some! It is for a really swell cause. Sea Shepherd is the only group taking direct action to protect our oceans. Besides, who doesn't love whales??

Will you be attending the bake sale? Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Better

Hi everyone! The end of December was a busy one for me, with a trip to Israel (which I'm sure I'll get to in a later post) and holidays, little time was left for much else. But since I returned on the 5th of January I have had some time to think (between the moments of jet lag). And what I've been thinking about is resolutions. It is so cliche, of course, to think about making changes to your life only around the new year, but with everyone else in the world mentioning it how could I not!

But I didn't want to make a stupid resolution that I couldn't keep. And exercising more is a life goal, not a once a year resolution for me. Though I will be trying to take good care of my body this year, I wanted my resolution to be more then that.

I decided on Being Better. It sounds so simple, but for me it can be really hard. Some of you know me personally, but I imagine that 90% or so of my readers do not know me in real life off of the internet. I can be angry and impatient. Humans give me the most trouble, obviously. Perhaps it was nurture over nature, growing up in New York City. Impatience here is a way of life. But my resolution is not to be less impatient, it is to Be Better. What I mean by that is to not let my anger or impatience cause me to react in a way that is wrong or cruel. There is so much injustice in the world, and a vast majority of the injustice is perpetrated on innocent animals who have no voice that sometimes I forget to treat my own species the way I treat all the other species. Kindness, patience, respect, love, open-mindedness. I'm working on showing a bit more of those towards every living being.

This directly correlates to mood, obviously. I am trying to be more positive. I think one will contribute to the other. Positivity will lead to kindness, and vice versa. I'm finally taking that advice that I have been given forever by everyone: Just breathe.

I hope you all see a positive change in me this year, though it will be harder over the internets, obviously! Hopefully I will get to meet some of you in person this year (California readers out there? I'm coming your way for a vacation!!), and you can meet the life-loving girl that I believe I truly am at heart. I'm just going to try to let that girl shine more. I am going to Be Better this year. I believe it will help me make a bigger difference in the world both for human and non-human animals. And myself.

I hope you will join me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lollypop Farms and Rochester goodies!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent Thanksgiving in Rochester. DanT is from a suburb of Rochester and we met in college at the University of Rochester. (though it should be noted, that when we first met freshman year we had mutual disdain for each other. A story for another time, perhaps.)

The day after Thanksgiving, DanT and I went to a place very dear to my heart, Lollypop Farms. Lollypop Farms is the Rochester Humane Society. In college I made a trip to Lollypop Farms to liberate (or adopt, if you must) Pippin. Pippin has been featured on this blog many times. For cute Pippin bunny pictures, see the older posts! Pippin has actually been in my family longer then DanT (though not by much)! And when I recently learned that DanT, who has lived in Rochester since he was a child, had never been to Lollypop Farms we decided it was time to remedy that! Below are pictures from the farm on a very cold day. You can even see snow on the ground in the image below. Yes, it snows in Rochester before/around Thanksgiving.

Cold horse! They bring the outdoor animals inside when it gets really brutal.

Donkeys! They pretty much ignored us.

Inside, the goats were keeping warm. Here are two babies!

The goats appreciated our visit. Yes, you can adopt farm animals if you have the environment for them.
Though we cannot remember the exact wording, there was something about the cows that are up for adoption only being adopted to families that won't kill them! Go Lollypop Farms!

BUNNIES! We wanted to take you ALL home. I hope we brightened your days a bit. We love you bunnies!

Sleepy kitty.

Puppy! Look at those eyes!
Other Rochester goodies:

DanT's chocolate! It was delish. Filled with peanut butter!
The Chocolate above is from Lori's Natural Foods. All of Dan's Chocolates' dark chocolates are vegan. Flavors include: peppermint, peanut butter, orange, and coffee. We had no good reason for being in Lori's the day after Thanksgiving, but I love it there! The stock everything a vegan could want (except Daiya, actually) and lots of local veggies, fruit, and baked goods as well.

It may have been blisteringly cold, but the sky was pretty.

homemade by me and DanT: Lasagna!

This lasagna was so good (and creepily cheesy) that DanT's tofu-scared parents loved it. They even said that the ricotta tasted just like dairy ricotta. Recipe here, except we doubled the tofu ricotta because that's the best part! Also, we left out the hamburger crumbles and added some chopped veggies!

Sorry for the week or so gap between posts, readers, life has been epically busy. I will try to be a better blogger.

How was your thanksgiving? Any travel stories to share?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving roundup

Thanksgiving this year went down at DanT's parents' house. At my not-in-laws, you could say. A small gathering of people enjoyed an almost entirely vegan dinner. The sad, sad turkey was the only non-vegan part of the dinner. I can promise you that 1: the dinner would have been much better without the sad dead turkey and that 2: we did not participate in the turkey consumption. (obviously...)

On to the food! In no particular order we made:

Yams, or sweet potatoes? Whatever, they were simple and delicious.
These were simply roasted. For an hour or so. Just poke some holes in them first so they don't explode!

Vegan mushroom gravy from Veganomicon
This gravy was good, but I know nothing about gravy. Seriously. I think this may have been my first gravy ever. It was good. Not my favorite thing ever, but good.

Vegan stuffing. Just doctored-up Arrowhead Mills bag stuffing. Still yummy. 
Maple roasted brussels sprouts with toasted pecans.
Brussels recipe from the NY Times:

It was amazing. Seriously, this is how I will be cooking Brussels sprouts from now on. Try it with whatever nuts you've got. It was particularly good with the pecans, though. I bet walnuts would be delicious, too, if hazelnuts are out of your price range.

Hazelnut En Croute. There are no words.
Dear people at  Field Roast Grain Meat Company, let me profess my love. Your sausages are delicious. Your celebration roast, which we had for last year's Thanksgiving, is delectable. But this thing above, seitan covered in puff pastry filled with hazelnuts and cranberries, simply divine. If I could afford to, I would eat your products every day. Find their product catalog here:

DanT's grandfather made these napkin holders. He's very good with tools.

A whole plate! My whole plate!
The only thing on this plate that you didn't see in the previous pictures is the mashed potatoes. DanT used his secret (i.e. not written down) recipe for garlic mashed potatoes. We even roasted the garlic! Which is an amazing thing. You should do it, too! Garlic is super good after a roasting. I could eat it with a spoon.

DanT's clean plate.
DanT went back for seconds after this picture, but couldn't finish it! He was too full. Good stuff!

DanT's dog, McGyver! He is hoping for a handout.

Dessert! Vegan pumpkin pie!
DanT's favorite dessert, pumpkin pie. Best recipe ever right here: No tofu involved!

McGuyver says, thanks for having a delicious vegan thanksgiving with us!
I hope your Thanksgivings were as delightfully stress-free as ours! Hopefully next year will be turkey-free as well!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A quicky, but goody

Hello internet visitors! I would like to present you with today's breakfast for a lazy Sunday:
Ezekiel bread with Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
This spread is amazing. I ordered mine on Vegan Essentials. Holy yum. I highly recommend it.
Pomegranate seeds!
So one pomegranate has a lot of seeds! Delicious seeds! DanT and I couldn't finish all the little seeds in one breakfast. Perhaps the leftovers should join me for breakfast tomorrow?? This pomegranate was purchased at Trader Joe's. DanT had never had one before. He is now enlightened.
The whole breakfast
Look at that natural light! My living room is lovely in the morning. And my water glass in the background is a shout-out to my little bro!

And lastly, squirrel alert! Awesome dangling squirrel in Union Square park.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pure Food and Wine review!

Last Friday DanT and I had dinner at Pure Food and Wine as I had a Groupon. I had never been and had heard mixed things. Now, let me preface this by saying I don't eat a whole lot of raw food. In the summer when my CSA is in full swing I enjoy many a salad, but I never have fancy raw food. You see, I do not own a dehydrator or any fancy gadgets (besides my Vitamix!). Pesto is pretty much as raw as I go. So take my review with a grain of salt.

Also, sorry for the crappy pictures. There was "mood lighting", i.e. no lighting or in laymens terms: candles. So these are crappy iPhone pictures taken in candle light. Sorry if you cannot distinguish anything from anything else. It was the best I could do at the time.

King Oyster Mushroom Scallops in a Lemongrass Coconut Broth
This was eh. I have never had scallops in real life, as I grew up kosher, but these "scallops" tasted like mushrooms... Which they were. The broth was too broth-y to get scooped up by anything, which was sad as it was kinda good. This sucker costs $14... And for that kind of money I expect a lot more. I'm just saying...
Porcini Ravioli with Truffle Cream Sauce, Baby White Asparagus
This was my entree. It was delicious, as anything covered in truffle cream sauce is, however I had a problem with this. There were 5 raviolis on this plate. For $26! that is over $5 a ravioli! I know it is organic and raw, but seriously?!? Way to make this food seem unaccessible!

Three Pizzettes in the Style of Southern Italy with Almond and Rosemary Crust
The one on the right is the same as the one on the left in the picture above. I just couldn't fit it all in one shot.

DanT's Pizzettes. Yummy but not amazing. Also $26. Perhaps I am expecting too much, but for $26 I expect to be wowed. I was not. Also, after our shared first course and separate second courses we were still so hungry that DanT could not shut up about going to Chipotle afterward. That's right, we were at a fancy, expensive dinner and my domestic partner could not shut up about an $8 veggie burrito. Not rousing praise if you ask me...

But there is still dessert! Dessert to save the day, right?
Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart
DanT's salted chocolate caramel tart. I liked it. The mousse on the side was way yum. But all DanT could do was complain about the big granules of salt on the top of the teeny tart. He even tried to scrape them off. The thing was a bit salty, but mostly it was dense. Too chocolatey for me, but DanT usually goes right for that stuff. Not his cup of tea in raw form, I guess. (and an FYI, this sucker was $15)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait
Mostly eaten...
So... It tasted good. And super sweet. Almost too sweet, which I rarely say. Actually, I guess it was too sweet as I couldn't finish it. Pumpkin-y and yummy, but too much. It isn't on the menu anymore, so I can't tell you how much it was, but it was also around $15. I think my biggest problem with our dinner at Pure Food and Wine is that without dessert we would have left hungry. Raw food is supposed to be healthy, and make my skin glow, and all that crap. And it took the cheapest item I ate that night, and the least healthy, to make me feel full. Doesn't that seem stupid to you? Personally, I think Pure Food and Wine got lost somewhere along the way. I am not against raw food, I am against a meal that gives me the wrong impression about raw food. I left there thinking that raw food is way too expensive for a regular old person like me to eat, unless all I'm going to get is dessert.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thai Curry Soup!

Recipe! Recipe!

Hi All! I like exclamation points! You know what I like even more? An amazing recipe. And I made it up myself! (with DanT's expertise, chopping skills and organization). One of the best parts about this soup, besides how good it tastes? It is quick!!

Thai Curry Soup

Serves 4 (two dinner and two lunch portions!)

1 bag of soba noodles
1 TBSP Coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 can coconut milk (and one can-full of water)
4 baby bok choys, chopped, separated into white parts and green parts
1 bunch scallions, chopped, separated into white parts and green parts (only use the crisp green parts)
1 lime
Curry paste to taste

1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Place the coconut oil in a big pot and melt it on medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes, onions and white parts of the scallions and saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the coconut curry sauce, coconut milk, and a can-full of water. Bring to a boil. Taste. If not spicy enough for your liking, stir in a teaspoon at a time of curry power until you are satisfied with the spice level.
4. Boil for a minute or so, then add the green parts of the bok choy and scallions. Cook for a minute.
5. Turn the heat off and squeeze the lime juice in.
6. Put some soba noodles at the bottom of a bowl and ladle the soup on top, making sure to get some onions and sweet potatoes off the bottom of the pot.
7. Enjoy!