Monday, October 30, 2006

VegFest Info. 3 of 3 and food round-up

Ok, Blogger and I have gotten over our issues and are friends again... for now.

So now I can bring you the last installment of my VegFest show-and-tell and also a few images of food from last week.

I know that the animal rights information in my first 2 VegFest posts were incredibly depressing, so I thought I'd conclude on a lighter note: cool foods.

Here are four of the most interesting things I tasted in Boston. (For more VegFest food snippets, visit Nikki's blog)

Soy Feta from the company Sunergia Soyfoods. I've never had soy feta, but the dairy version used to be one of my favorite things. There were 3 flavors to try, and both Daiku and I loved the mediterranean herb. This stuff had the tang, the texture, and the crumble of the real thing. If your market or co-op does not carry it, ask them to right now! You won't regret it. This and Cheezly were vegan cheese revelations at VegFest.

Ok, I might have thought the soy feta was pretty amazing, but May Wah blew me away! They make all sorts of faux meats, and their stuff was delicious. Hot dogs, steak, chicken, if there's any meat you miss, here's the chance to have a cruelty-free version of it. The flavors, and more importantly, the texture were right on. The best part? You can order any of their products on the web.

I know Wildwood for their soy yogurts, but I'd never tried their veggie burgers before, and we got a free 2-pack of their Tofu-vegie Burgers at VegFest. Usually I like my veggie burgers more veggie-packed, but this tofu was a tasty variation.

Here they are coming out of our toaster oven.

Here is the delicious Post Punk Kitchen recipe for Cranberry Chili Dipping Sauce that I promised you. Isa and Terry served this after their cooking demo to go along with their autumn rolls, and it was so so good. Make this sauce right now!

1 cup whole fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
2 large serano-type red chilies, seeded and finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Curls of lime zest for garnish, optional

In a heavy medium saucepan combine cranberries, water and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil. When cranberries start to pop, reduce heat to medium and simmer partially covered for about 5 minutes. Add minced chilies and lime juice, bring to a boil again and then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir sauce occasionally, using the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the cranberries on the sides of the pot. Simmer sauce, uncovered, for an additional 10-12 minutes till sauce has reduced a little and looks syrupy. Sauce will thicken up more as it cools. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups sauce.

* * *

Some food from the past week:

"Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad"

I'm often on my own for lunch, and I use the opportunity to throw every imaginable thing into a bowl for a huge salad. In this case, I had kidney beans, canned green beans, shredded cabbage, celery, carrots, onions, toasted walnuts and pine nuts, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Here's a stirfry we made one night:

Broccoli, peppers, onion, carrots, and zucchini sauteed with black bean paste, tamari, chili oil, sesame oil and some other spices, served with brown rice. I ate this with my favorite chopsticks. (Notice the crunchy things in the background- daikon and cucumber- that I have to have with every single meal.)

We were forward-thinking enough to plant some of our vegetables in containers that we were able to move inside once the weather got cold. Our pepper plants have kept producing a bit and this yellow pepper inspired us to have a taco night. (But then again, do you really need a reason for taco night?)

We cooked up a mess of black beans with canned chipotle peppers, cumin, and other spices and had them with these fixins':

Tofutti sour cream, salsa, chopped cilantro, the yellow pepper, and a tomato that we had picked green and had ripened on the windowsill.

Here is the table. There are some organic blue corn chips to add crunch. We toasted the corn tortillas using the flames of the gas range (a trick I learned as a kid from a friend of the family who is from Mexico and a great cook), which gave them a charred flavor that complemented the smoky chipotle peppers really well.


Daiku made up this stuffed acorn squash one night:

Baked, then stuffed with a mixture of whole wheat couscous, raisins, slivered almonds, pine nuts, and cinnamon. Then baked some more. Yum!

Finally, brownies!

Tania blogged about these brownies from, yes, the Post Punk Kitchen. They looked really good, and I just happened to have all the ingredients, so I made a half batch and they were great! I love my brownies fudge-y, not cake-y, and these delivered. The method was pretty unique (blending silken tofu, water, and flour first and heating them up, almost like a pudding base), but simple. Totally worth it.

In the background you can see my beloved box of Droste cocoa, a high-quality Dutch cocoa powder. Recently, they were bought out, their factory in the Netherlands closed down, and their iconic box design changed. I'm hanging on to this classic box even though it's several years old, because it's going to be a nostalgic collector's item, for sure!

I might not be posting too frequently this week (deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!) but I'll be looking at all of your blogs. Have a great week, everyone!



Urban Vegan said...

I am so jealous of your Veg Fest trip.

Would Daiku be willing to share the stuffed squash recipe? Yowza.

bazu said...

Hey, U.V., thanks!
The recipe is really flexible (as Rachael Ray would say, you can eyeball it- ha ha)
We cut the acorn squash in half and baked it (cut side down) until soft. Meanwhile, cook up some couscous (1/2 cup dry). Once cooked, mix with around 2 tablespoons earth balance, a tiny bit of salt, a pinch of cinnamon, and a handful each of: slivered almonds, pine nuts, and raisins. Stuff the squash halves with mixture and stick back in the oven for 10 or so minutes until baked through. I ate mine with a dollop of sour cream on top, but it was pretty good without it too.

Ben Kaelan said...

Hey! I'm vegan of the vegfest too!

I saw that vegan feta the other day at the health food store... I thought it was cool but I never had the dairy version so I have no idea what feta is supposed to taste like hehe.

In other news, thanks again for your nice comments about my cake; if you go back to my blog, I answered your agar related questions :)

Dilip said...

Lots of great food! I recently had the vegan feta cheese - it's pretty good!

springsandwells said...

Hi Bazu!
This is an exciting post! I am going to ask my local store about the two vegan cheese products. I am generally 100% wary of vegan cheeses, but I'm willing to try almost anything once!

Wildwood is based here in Santa Cruz, and I really like their products. I think those veg burgers are so good, they are one of my favorites.

By the way, is Daiku vegan too? I am always envious of those of you bloggers who have other cooks in the family. Sigh, must be nice!
:) Amey

Anonymous said...

Great post, Who doesn't love taco night?? Your brownies look awesome....I've never had much luck with vegan brownies, they usually turn out rubbery, I'll need to check out that recipe.

My outgoing email is not hooked up (using my daughter's computer) so I couldn't email you. The Kramer book is already spoken for but I will gladly send you the Jamieson book if you'll email me your address:

Gaia said...

Wow ! Your food looks delicious once again ! And I had missed your post on the Boston Cream Pie Cakes.
I'm drooling !

We have that brand of Tofu Feta here, wow ! And we also have a Quebec brand that is as good and cheaper LOL

Village Mama said...

your stacked brownie are photographed so well that I feel that I could literally pick one from the pile, but I can't...what's wrong with my fingers ;-)

Have a happy hallowe'en and best of luck with all your deadlines!!

Kati said...

Vegan feta - that's awesome! Dairy feta used to be one of my pre-vegan favorites, too, so I will definitely be on the lookout for it.

Happy Halloween! =^.^=

Nikki said...

Oh yes! More food that I *loved* from Vegfest!

I loved the vegan feta. I liked all the flavors and kept begging the guy to bring it to Whole Foods or TJ's!

The Wildwood burgers were so good...they tasted like a tofu omlette or something. Per their rep, they'll be in TJs very soon. I can't wait.

The May Wah stuff is amazing! Especially the sweet spare ribs. I was in heaven! :)

All of your culinary creations look awesome as always. Those brownies look SO good! I have been baking like crazy lately, and I'm starting to feel like a pudge. Good thing it's Halloween and there's all of this candy sitting around to tempt me.

wheresmymind said...

That stuffed acorn squash looks GREAT!!

The Bovine Revolutionary said...

man!!!! I'm missing all the different types of vegan food here in mumbai.. though on the other side I'm getting some of the best indian vegan meals ever.. so I'm not complaining at all.. :-) .. in btw, the food pics are absolutely punk rock!!!!

meesh said...

Whew! You'r posts always make me hungry and inspire me to get into the kitchen and get creative. :) Thanks for the great links, too.
I was so excited about your vegan cheese discoveries. I really, really, really miss cheese. I'm from Wisconsin. I can't help it. I hope I can find that Feta at a store out here in Cali. (fingers crossed)

trac said...

Once again, lots of good looking food! I am definitely going to try the cranberry chili dipping sauce. I bet it would be great with samosas!

Man, last weekend was bad, wasn't it? After being here so long, you would think I am used to the weather. Light that fireplace! :-)

aTxVegn said...

The May Wah tofu foods sound really good, although I'm not so much into faux meat and cheese. Your taco night, however, looks totally great! And Daiku and his acorn squash dish - that squash just pairs perfectly with a sweet rice.

And of course you saved the best for last. I haven't made a good vegan brownie in a long time. I'm with you - no cakey ones. Fudgies rule! I didn't keep my last box of Drost cocoa powder. My favorite chocolate is Scharffenberger.

You did an outstanding job reporting on the Veg Fest!

KleoPatra said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm! Glorious food. Sorry for the drool, please forgive me! :o)

Anonymous said...

Wow. I don't even know where to start. Everything here looks so fabulous. Loving the links to new foods (although I'm still feeling quite jealous that I couldn't go to veg fest). I'll definitely check them out. All of your homemade food looks scrumptious. The acorn squash is perfect for fall and the fillings are healthy and warming. I'm definitely going to make it.

E.R. Carlin said...

Great lookin' food. Thank you for having us over to taste your wonderful cookin'.

Eric et Heather

bazu said...

Hi Eric, it was great having you and Heather over- thank YOU for the cake! I will be blogging about that for sure... >^o^<

Vicki said...

Eating at your house looks like so much fun --- and SUPER delicious. VEgFest looks incredible! All of it -- what an amazing experience.

Jackie said...

Great info as always.

Must try your tacos. Unfortunately I cannot get substitute sour cream or cream here (must start trying to make it myself)so I use hummous instead.

Candi said...

VegFest. I love it too much. Lol!

Vegan feta sounds so good. I used to think I could never give up feta. I have, and have not craved it - but I bet I'd like tofu feta! :)

Your chopsticks are the cutest! I can see why theya re your favorite!

Taco night looks fun and delicious!! :)

Oh no!! The brownies! I want them so. I am trying (again) to stop it on all the desserts. Those look so fudgey and huge and...SO GOOD!