Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Upcoming Cooking Classes

Yes, yes, I know I haven't posted anything in over a week. I've been super busy over the past few weeks with workshops and whatnot. I haven't been cooking anything new, and I've had a little more take-out than I care to admit.

But anyway, I wanted to tell everyone about my upcoming cooking classes. I will be teaching both with my friend Jenna, who is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute and has worked at various organic, vegetarian, vegan and raw restaurants and caterers in New York City. Both classes will take place in Montclair and cost $20. Please contact me if you are interested in attending. 

Healthy Protein
Sunday, October 17th, 1:00pm

"But where do you get your protein?"

How many times have you been asked that question? Americans are obsessed with protein and most of them are eating to much of it. Protein is important for building, maintaining, and repairing the tissues in the body, but eating too much of it can be just as bad as not eating enough. Scientific studies have shown that animal protein is actually harmful one's health. Plant-based protein is ideal for optimum health and is easier to find that you would think.

In this class you will learn all about protein: how much you need, which plant foods are high in protein and why animal protein foods are not healthy. Jenna and I will show you how to make some delicious and healthy plant-based dishes that are high in protein.

Vegan Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 14th, 1:00pm

I'm often asked "What do vegans eat at Thanksgiving?". And my answer is usually "Food". But the truth is that Thanksgiving can be rough on vegans since it's a holiday that's centered around a meal that revolves around eating meat. It doesn't have to be though. Jenna and I will show you how to make delicious vegan Thanksgiving dishes that will make any omnivore ask for seconds.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Not Too Late!

It's not too late to sign up for my Fall Detox! The kick-off meeting will be held on Saturday, September 18th. At the meeting, we'll be watching the film Processed People and enjoying some raw chocolate pie! Details can be found here:

If you're interested in signing up, contact me or visit

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Raw Junk Food Class

On Saturday I had a raw junk food class for my Montclair Vegans meetup group. It was a lot of work and I started preparing for it on Thursday. I had a lot of fun though, and everyone that attended seemed to enjoy it. My friends Karen and Jessica helped me with cleaning and passing out the food, and I don't know how I would have been able to do it without them.

In the middle of the class, my cat Schroeder threw up. I ran through the crowd and caught the vomit on paper towels. No one seemed to mind though. They were all concerned that he wasn't feeling well. Schroeder's always had a bit of a queasy tummy. He's been throwing up often since he was a tiny little lad (he's almost 13 now), and the vet has never found anything that could be causing it.

Anyway, back to the class... I started out with raw pizza. I made sesame sunflower bread ahead of time for the crust, and I marinaded mushrooms ahead of time too. In class I made sunflower seed cheese and marina sauce. I also topped the pizza off with some chopped olives, red bell pepper and basil.

Then I made sunburgers. I showed how to make thim in the class, but I dehydrated a big batch ahead of time. I also made ketchup and spicy jicama fries.

Raw tacos are one of my favorite things to make. The meat is made with sunflower seeds and sun-dried tomatoes, and then the tacos are topped with salsa, guacamole and cashew cheese. (Everyone LOVED the cashew cheese.) Lettuce leaves are used as taco shells.

I ended the class by making chocolate mousse pie for dessert. I made the crust with almonds, coconut and dates. The filling is made with dates, avocados and raw cacao powder.

My next class will feature cooked foods. My friend Jenna and I will be making meals that focus on healthy, plant-based proteins. We're also going to teach a Thanksgiving cooking class in November. If you're in the area, join Montclair Vegans to find out more about them or to sign up.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rutherford Street Fair

Monday was the annual street fair in Rutherford, NJ. It's usually extremely crowded, and the vendors tend to sell over priced junk, but Dennis and I like to go anyway. It's a good excuse to go to Rutherford Pancake House for lunch and Sweet Avenue Bakeshop for vegan cupcakes.

Rutherford Pancake House is very vegan friendly. They have quite a lot of vegan options on the menu. Most aren't very healthy because it's diner food, but we all need a little bit of junk food here and there. I usually have salad with my meal to make up for the whatever it is I'm eating. Dennis and I both had big salads, and we split a large plate of vegan nachos. I would have liked a little more cheese on the nachos, but they were really good!

Sweet Avenue Bakeshop is at the other end of the street, so we joined the crowd and walked around until we found ourselves in front of it. Sweet Avenue is a totally vegan cupcake bakery. They also have a few cookies and candy bars for sale. Their menu changes daily, and usually have gluten-free choices. 

I bought a gluten-free chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, as well as gluten-free pumpkin cupcake. Both were super delicious!!! Yum!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chili and Corn Bread

We had a chili cook-off at work yesterday. It was actually more of a potluck because there was no judging and no winner declared. I took both chili and cornbread with me because I wanted to make sure there would be plenty vegan food for me to eat. Most of my coworkers have tried my chili before and they all really like it. And they all love my cornbread. In fact, several of them asked me to make it for the cook-off.

I don't really have a chili recipe - I always just throw a bunch of ingredients together. I start with a cup of tvp, which I rehydrate in a cup of water. I then add a little olive oil and sauté onion and garlic while the tvp "browns". I add a can of kidney beans, a can of black beans, a can of pinto beans, a large can of tomato sauce and a large can of diced tomatoes. I season with chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. I add chopped zucchini, summer squash and different kinds of peppers. I let it simmer for a hour or so to let all of the flavors combine.

This was the first time I made the cornbread gluten-free, and I wasn't sure how it would come out, but it was delicious. I don't think anyone noticed (not that there really is anything to notice about gluten-free food). At the end of our lunch, there were three tiny pieces left of my cornbread, and a whole pan of glutenous, non-vegan cornbread that no one seemed very interested in.

Several people have asked for my cornbread recipe. It started out as a Vegetarian Times recipe a few years ago. I've made a few changes and doubled the recipe. The original recipe called for half a can of creamed corn, and what the hell would I do with the other half of a can of creamed corn? This goes really quickly, so doubling the recipe is probably a necessity anyway.

Cheesy Double Cornbread

2 cups soy milk
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 15 oz can creamed corn
2/3 cup canola oil or grape seed oil
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 tablespoons light brown sugar, maple sugar or maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese
(Vegan Gourmet works better than Daiya here. The Daiya cheese melts too easily and just turns to extra oil in the bread.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine soy milk and vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes. It will develop a buttermilk like consistency. Whisk in corn, vegan cheese, oil and onions.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and make well in the middle. Pour wet mixture into well and stir until mixed.
4. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zen Palate, Champs Bakery and Cocoa V

On Saturday, my friends Jessica, Rachel, Jenna and I had a very vegan day in New York City. We started out with lunch at Zen Palate. Our friend Jen and her daughter Prairie also joined us.

Zen Palate was a veggie mainstay in Union Square, but sadly it closed last year because the rent got too expensive. Happily it reopened a few weeks ago a few blocks away. The old location is now a TGI Fridays. (Boo!!!) I've read many bad reviews of Zen Palate and I'm not sure why feel the need to bash it so badly. (I think some people just like to write bad reviews for the sake of writing bad reviews.) I've eaten at their various locations dozens of times - the food has always been excellent and I've never had a bad experience. The new location did not disappoint. We were all thrilled with our meals and we left with happy bellies.

We started out with Autumn Rolls. There were actually 6 of them, but I forgot to take a picture before we started to dig in.

Prairie had two appetizers - dumplings and Thai Chopped Salad.

Jessica and I both had Mango Halo.

Jenna had Tex-Mex Moo Shu.

Rachel had Felicity Mushroom

Jen had Rose Petals.

After lunch, Jen and Prairie parted ways with us and the rest of us hopped on the L train and headed to Brooklyn to go to Champs, a new vegan bakery.

Jessica had a chocolate chip banana cake, which I had a few bites of. It was really tasty. Rachel and Jenna both had chipwhich style cookie sandwiches, which I also tried and gave a thumbs up to.

I didn't get anything to eat there, but I bought gluten-free scones and chocolate chip cookies to go. The scones were delicious, but they were too small!

After Champs, we got back on the L train and went back to Manhattan.  The subway station at 14th Street and 8th Avenue is the home Tom Otterness's Life Underground sculptures. 

Then we then walked The Highline. The flowers and plants have really grown since the last time I was there and everything looked really pretty. We then walked over to Cocoa V. We were hoping to get some chocolate to go with Groupons we recently bought, but sadly, they were closed until Tuesday. But that just gives us an excuse to have another City Day!!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Vegan Barbecue

Even though Autumn doesn't start until September 23, Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer and many people celebrate the day with barbecues. My friends and I had a potluck vegan barbecue on Saturday, which was lots of fun. Most people think of meat when they think of barbecues, but there are so many delicious vegan options to grill - even omnivores won't miss the meat.

I can't remember the last time I had corn on the cob. In the past it has upset my tummy, but it's really good and I thought it would be fun to grill. It was on sale at Whole Foods - five ears for $2.00, so I bought ten! I pulled the husks apart, removed the silk, soaked the ears in water, spread some Earth Balance on them, then wrapped the husks back around them. I tried to tie everything back up with pieces of the husks, but they all fell apart. They did fine on the grill anyway. They were really delicious and I ended up eating 2 ears. 

Master griller Brett did all of the cooking. We had tofu pups, veggie burgers and marinated portobello mushrooms. I also brought the mushrooms. I marinated them in olive oil, red wine vinegar, Braggs Liquid Aminos and minced garlic. Grilled portobellos are always extremely tasty and these lived up to their reputation.

We also had kale slaw, cole slaw, Venkat's corn bread and Jenna's baked beans. Everything was super delicious! We had watermelon, cookies and Jenna's famous brownies for dessert.

Making a guest appearance at our barbecue was super sweet Cuddles, who had to wear a softy cone to keep himself from chewing on his own tail. (Cuddles is allergic to gluten and accidentally ate some, which was causing the chewing.) Even Cuddles is vegan! He used to have chronic ear infections, and instead of having expensive ear surgery that would have left him deaf, he was switched to a vegan diet. He's now completely ear infection free, and despite the cone, he's healthier than ever!

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Raw Sunflower Seed Tacos

These tacos are pretty much identical to the raw burritos I made a few months ago, except that I served them with "taco shell" lettuce leaves instead cabbage wraps.

The taco shells are stuffed with sunflower seed "meat", red pepper and corn salsa, guacamole and cashew cheese. These tacos are really delicious, and I will be teaching the recipes at my Montclair Vegans Raw Junk Food Class next weekend. The class filled up really quickly! I'm really looking forward to it - it's going to be a lot of fun!

I used the leftovers to make a yummy taco salad!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Raw Favorites

Yes, yes, I've made these dishes before. But they're favorites of mine, and even though September has arrived, it's still really hot here in NJ, and raw food is a nice treat in the heat.

First, I made zucchini linguine and topped it with spinach pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and heirloom cherry tomatoes.

I found these little heirloom cherry tomatoes at Trader Joes. Aren't they cute? They look like little pieces of candy.

What's cuter than a container of heirloom cherry tomatoes? A little cat trying to play with that container of heirloom cherry tomatoes! This is my kitty Clementine, who really likes to inspect anything new that's brought into the house.

Then I made raw sandwiches. I topped them with cashew cheese, the leftovers of the spinach pesto, more mini heirloom tomatoes and diced avocado. I also made raw zucchini sticks and onion rings from Ani's Raw Food Essentials. The sticks and rings were breaded with buckwheat flour. First I soaked raw buckwheat, then dehydrated it, then ground it in my Vitamix until it was a fine flour. I dipped the zucchini and sliced onion in olive oil and water and then into the buckwheat flour. Then everything was dehydrated for a few hours. I will have to admit that I wasn't very crazy about either. They tasted raw and floury, which makes sense, because that's what they were. So I actually put them in the oven for a little bit. Gasp! Don't tell anyone!

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