Friday, December 21, 2007

New home

If you happen to have this blog bookmarked, we have a new home: new Veggin' Out URL.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Veganomicon Review

Isa Chandra Moskowitz burst onto my cookbook shelf in 2005 with Vegan With a Vengeance, a book filled with wildly tasty recipes and a refreshing Brooklyn attitude that quickly became a favorite both for idle browsing and serious cooking. In 2006 Moslowitz and co-author Terry Hope Romero followed up with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Now, Moskowitz and Romero have have published the ambitious Veganomicon - which may just deserve its subtitle, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

The Big M, a.k.a. my personal chef, and I have cooked and sampled our way through several of the recipes, and not a one has been a dud.

My favorite so far is the Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip, which the authors describe as a "whimsical marriage of the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi, and the American classic 'French Dip' sandwich." The lively dipping broth - a riot of garlic, ginger, pepper and lime flavors - is a great complement to the savory yet fresh flavors of seitan, red onion, cucumber and cilantro in the sandwich.

A section of color photographs of several recipes offers inspiration, and as usual the author's comments make the book as much fun to read as to cook from. For example, I'm eager to try the broccoli polenta, because the authors promise, "Broccoli gives polenta a great texture. It just makes it, like, 'RAR!' That's the only way we can describe it."

You can get a taste of the book by sampling some of the recipes available at the Post Punk Kitchen here.

There's another reason I like the book - its title. Are any Bruce Campbell or H.P. Lovecraft fans reading this? I’ll explain why I ask in my next post....

Friday, December 07, 2007

The spirit of giving without the "stuff"

If you're looking for a way to make your holidays a little more environmentally friendly and a little less commercial, why not try giving some gifts this year that won't create any clutter? Here are a few suggestions:

*Cooking lessons: Branches Holistic Health and Wellness Center offers lessons tailored for individuals and families, including vegetarian cooking. This would be great if you're just getting started as a vegetarian and not sure about what to cook -- or you're a longtime vegetarian stuck in a rut. They also offer classes in which a nutritionist helps you learn to shop more healthily or stock a healthy pantry.

*Give a gift of charity: There are quite a few places where you can "buy" an item in honor of someone for charity, such as a cow or goat for a needy third-world family. A few of these are Oxfam America (a gift of $30 represents planting 50 trees), MercyCorps ($20 for a "Children's Food Kit" to help poor children eat better) and Heifer International ($20 for a flock of chicks to provide eggs for a family).

It's always wise to check out a charity's reputation on a neutral site, such as CharityNavigator, which shows how much of the donations are actually used for the intended purpose, how much goes toward fundraising and salaries, the charity's overall rating, etc.

*The gift of your time: Give your friend or family member a coupon booklet with coupons they can redeem for things like a night of babysitting, your uncomplaining company at a movie or concert of their choice (even if you know you'll hate it!), a foot massage or fixing dinner for them. (It should be things you might not normally do!)

*Memberships: Buy them a membership in a group or organization they're intererested in, such as The N.C. Zoological Society (you can adopt an animal, too!), Friends of Old Salem, SciWorks or a professional association they can't afford to join. These usually come with such benefits as free admission, special offers or members-only times.

Do you have any other ideas for a clutter-free gift?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unbeatable breakfast

For some months now I've been thinking that a vegan fried egg was available in the UK; and I eagerly awaited the day it might be available in the U.S. But it turns out it was an April Fools joke that some folks took seriously. (The report I saw wasn't dated, and didn't include the tell-tale "spokesmen" quoted in the faux press release, Joe King and Fritz D’Embrio.)

But that's OK. Vegans have plenty of options for re-creating favorite eggy recipes anyway. Vegan quiche, anyone? Tofu scramble? How about a quick vegan omelet?