Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Simple foods for long days

It has been a tough week settling into classes, the 'new' abode,
the ... kitchen situation..., and of course transportation-- or
sometimes lack there of. Using public transport, I've had to
tac on an extra hour to two hours to everything I do. Sometimes
more when I'm lugging large bags of baking goods or dishes around.

Needless to say that when I've finally gotten back to the ol' tool shed
in the back, I've been a little worn for wear and not the in most
enthusiastic mood for cooking. But it always reminds me that some of
the most simple things can be the best and most comforting...

This evening, while steaming some beets for tomorrows salad,
I made some steamed collards and some potato grill cakes.
As I am not able to cook for one person (I am trained to cook army-
sized portions) I am usually left with at least some leftovers
for the next few days. Well, I'm getting a little better at least.
Now I'm cooking for about three people or two really hungry people.

I was surprised at what a heavenly combination collards
and potato cakes made, I hope you enjoy!

Potato Cakers

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3-4 tablespoons water
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 large potato grated (about a cup and a half)

Mix the flour and just enough water to make a pancake
batter consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix
Portion out on to a heated-oiled griddle and flatten/shape.
Allow to become golden brown before flipping, about 5 minutes
on a medium to high flame.

makes 4-6 potato cakes

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Best Wake Up Call Ever

Yesterday morning, just after 7:00AM, I got a lovely wake up
call from my CSA delivery guy looking for my place. Slipping
on my crocs, I booked my hippy ass out there. He was super
nice and apologized for waking me up, but I assured him that
I could never be mad at someone who bring me veggies.

It felt like Christmas morning, with a huge box of surprise
fruits and veggies. I will get to customize my order in the
future and am sure to start getting the more unusual items.
But everything is local and organic, which makes $20 a box
quite the deal. For regular GMO veg probably not, but a
little bit at a time is what I'm shooting for here.

So I got 6 Huge heirloom tomatoes, a box of rainbow cherry
tomatoes, a stock of celery, 3 sweet peppers, 3 onions, 2 lbs of
valencia oranges, and 6 gala apples! Next time I am getting rainbow
chard and berries. No grapefruit or avocados though, I've all ready
got buckets of them here at my house!
Definitely check out what is in your area!

Mine is http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com and they're pretty tasty~

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vegan Baked Doughnuts

This is definitely a take-one project. I haven't had a doughnut
in years and years. Seriously, even when I did eat eggs and
cow milk -- I rarely ate doughnuts. My Dad used to make amazing
doughnuts when I was little, but that was also when I was too
young to be concerned about deep-fried desserts.

The whole Dunkin' Cruelty project got me in the mood to make
vegan doughnuts. Yes, I'm trying to prove something here.
I got this recipe ages ago from somewhere online and had it
scribbled on a scrape of paper taped to my sketchbook.

They were pretty tasty. More reminiscent of sweet rolls or
sweet bagels than the bubbly texture of classic doughnuts though.
I'm sure if I had deep-fried them it would have been different.
Also, I am currently staying in very high altitude area and I don't
know how much that effects the rising and baking of the
dough. I'm gonna try a couple more recipes as this one was tweaked
already, so...

The frosting-glaze is only made with rice milk and powder sugar.
What I wouldn't have given for some vegan sprinkles!

Vegan Baked Doughnuts

5 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warmed rice milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons earth balance
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 1/4 cup flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and set aside.
Cream the sugars and butter, add in the warmed rice milk
and combine with the yeast mixture. Slowly sprinkle in the
flour and cornstarch while mixing. Roll out on to a lightly
floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic-y.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn over. Allow to rise until doubled-
at least one hour. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
cut into desired shapes and let rise until doubled again-
about 45 minutes to an hour. I did a bunch of rings, holes,
and a couple twists with the left over dough for 'tiger tails'.
Bake at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes. Glaze immediately.
For the 'tiger tails' brush with a non-dairy milk or earth
balance then roll in turbinado sugar and cinnamon.

Dunkin' Cruelty

I am afraid that quite often my blogging gets caught up with the luxury of eating and cooking, romance or entertaining. I confess that it is a hard subject to constantly be dwelling upon day after day. But this is really why I do what I do. I have committed my life to saving the animals and although it may not always be that obvious, it is what drives every action of my life.

As some of you may already know, I have been keeping up with the Dunkin Donuts Project with Compassion Over Killing : Dunkin’ Cruelty. The project is supported by a number of groups including Farm Animal Rights Movement, Action for Animals, and Vegan Outreach. I was surprised to find that PETA has not yet joined the initiative and cannot imagine why. Though on one hand, I am glad. It seems that lately PETA brings more trouble than support. (ahhh the joy of making mass amounts of enemies..)

Compassion Over Killing is asking Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, to stop using eggs and dairy in their doughnuts and also to offer vegan menu items. According to the dunkincruelty website there are approximately 6,400 stores in the United States alone and serve over 3 million customers a day. That is a lot of freaking doughnuts.

Supporters of animals rights have been stepping forward to contact Dunkin’ Donuts directly to ask for an end to the cruel practice that is involved in supporting the egg industry. I personally contacted the company by email and snail mail, neither graced a reply. I am not surprised. I am surprised though that alternative products are not being explored. One would think of the savings that the elimination of egg products could bring would spark a look into other options. However, subsidies for animal products are so immense that there is really no point while the right people are in power.

Today, COK came out with breaking news. An undercover investigator working for Michael Foods, the main egg supplier for Dunkin’ Donuts, exposed some horrific footage taken during the month of August. This should definitely make one double think that deep-fried, glazed, hunk of a heart attack breakfast.

Watch the video now

Now consider these facts... There are more than 325 million laying hens in the United States that are confined to battery cages. These wire cages, which are stacked atop each other, are roughly the same size as a filing cabinet drawer and hold typically ten hens. Imagine playing a game of sardines with half a dozen people, except it lasts your entire life. Or living in a 7x7 foot room with 12 people. If you get weak and fall over, you’re trampled to death. You cannot stretch your limbs out without being entirely cramped or touching someone else. Chickens have their beaks sawed off with a hot blade so they will not peck each other to death in a stress induced fever. It cuts through bone, cartilage, and soft tissue. Anesthetic? Are you kidding? Their feet often get caught in the mesh of the cages, debilitating them-- they cannot reach the food and water and die slowly of starvation.

This is only a minuet aspect of the entire industrial egg production process... This is after the culling of the chicks to sex, picking out the females. Males are usually thrown away live, crushing and killing those underneath. Imagine a mountain of dying fluffy first day hatched chicks. Another way to dispose of unwanted males is to put them in live to a meat grinder/ wood chipper machine.

Then the pains of transportation, raising them to laying age, forced molting, problems of osteoporosis, egg bound hens, loss of feathers, pollution from waste matter... and on and on... not even mentioning what happens once they are spent and are no longer laying up to speed. This is usually after only one year of their lives. Chickens can naturally live up to 15 years.

This is heavy, I know. Yet, ignoring the facts will not change the practices that continue to take place every second. The suffering of non-human animals will not disappear when you turn your back. I urge you all to not only support the project dunkincruelty, but to also start to reconsider your own habits. Everytime you eat, every time you spend $ you are declaring your support of something-- food, practices, and companies. So think about it. What do you want to support? Every person counts, just as every animal counts. This is life and death.






Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back in the Saddle with Mac and 'Cheese'

I really have no excuses... BUT!!
I just moved states. I left behind warm, rainy Hawaii for evil
hot California. Back to where I was a kid. I'm going to do my graduate
work down in Southern California, while cooking on the side.

Before I left I promised to post a Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe.
What I've found when trying out cheese and dairy replacements is to
not think of it as cheese or dairy. Don't try to stuff a block of vegan
cheese in your face expecting tillamook, ok? And don't try this recipe
expecting it to taste exactly like kraft. You'll be a lot happier that way.

But I really like this adaptation because there is no added fat and it
doesn't involve blending tofu. The nutritional yeast gives the cheese
sauce a nice aged flavour... strangely enough the more salt you add the
more it tastes like kraft.

Last time I made this I poured it over linguini and steamed kale and
topped it all with black sesame seeds. I can't wait to try it over broccoli!

1 1/4 cups water
1 cup plain soymilk
1 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cloves garlic pureed
1/2 small onion, minced as finely as you can
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1-2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon mellow white miso
black pepper to taste

Dissolve cornstarch in soymilk to avoid clumping. Combine all ingredients
and cook over low-medium heat until it boils and begins to thicken.
Cook for a short time whisking or stirring constantly. Pour over cooked
elbow pasta and serve. Amount of sauce= 1lb pasta.

As a child, my favorite way to have mac and cheese was with
fuji apples and hard pretzels!