vegan

Mac’n’Yease: An Attempt at the Plum Bistro Classic

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There are a lot of takes on the ‘problem’ of vegan mac & cheese, but local vegan bistro Plum has it dialed in just right. Here’s another blogger’s effort to deconstruct the recipe, with photos.

The Dough Also Rises

Mac'n'Yease

In early August, I had my first experience of Plum, the fabulous Seattle vegan restaurant. I had never heard of Plum until some Amazon browsing brought me to their new cookbook. I was so excited about the look of the cookbook and the food that I bought the cookbook before ever visiting the restaurant. Now having eaten at Plum and cooked from the book, I can fully vouch for both.

Anyone who knows Plum also knows their classic dish: Mac’n’Yease (a vegan macaroni and cheese). I am not one of these in-the-know folks, but luckily I had my friend LJ there to fill me in on its infamy. In fact, it’s such a well-known Plum specialty that they don’t even give away the recipe in the cookbook…which led to this weekend’s culinary adventure. LJ and I, who had brainstormed the recipe together, made it as a special treat for…

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Vegan Tofu Foo Young

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Another recipe from Chef Jo Kaucher’s collected wisdom in “The Chicago Diner Cookbook.”

Vegetarian Chard Soup

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Vegetarian Chard Soup, recipe courtesy Shockinglydelicious.com

Just made a pot of this to stave off the chill of a rapidly-advancing Northwest fall. Utilizing a convenient mix of prepared and fresh foods, this soup (found at Shockinglydelicious.com) was quick, easy, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large chard leaves, stalks separated (leaves should be in 1- to 3-inch pieces, stalks sliced to ¼-½ inch pieces)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth/stock
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini (or any white) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  • Sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add chard stalks, stir and sauté until they are starting to get soft. Add garlic and chard leaves. {See my note below. I would add the stalks here, but save the leaves for later.} Cover and stir occasionally, cook on medium heat for 10-15 min. (until the leaves begin to shrink).
  • Add stock/broth, tomatoes, beans and potato, plus 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes, uncovered.
  • Add 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Portion into bowls, and once served, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • I ran my immersion blender through the soup for :15-:30s or so to produce a richer broth; was quite pleased with the result.

Fresh basil tofu stir fry

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Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry
Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry

I had a pound of fried Than Son tofu from Uwajimaya in my fridge at risk of becoming un-fresh, a basil plant in need of debushing, and a son demanding something stir-fried on the double. A quick scan of available tofu fresh basil stir fry recipes revealed this gem, which I adapted for our purposes. The original includes a mess of greens in lieu of the carrots & green beans I had on hand, which also sounds good.

Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 500-750g fried ‘restaurant style’ tofu (or an equivalent amount of fresh firm pressed, cut into 1.5″ cubes, and fried in hot peanut oil until golden & crisp)
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 200g carrot, sliced
  • 200g green beans, trimmed
  • .5 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c. light soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. vegetable stock
  • 1/4 c. Mirin
  • 1 c. basil leaves, chopped
  • cooked brown rice Note: I use Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice b/c it doesn’t send my Type 1 Diabetic daughter’s blood glucose through the roof.

Instructions

  1. Steam the carrots and green beans 5m.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or non stick frying pan or large wok) over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the fried tofu and cook just 3-4 minutes or until becomes golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil, chili, garlic, ginger and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and add the carrots & green beans; stir fry until up-to-temperature.
  4. Add the soy sauce, stock and wine. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Note: Add a little ( .5 tsp) corn starch if the sauce takes too long to thicken.
  5. Top with the basil and serve over brown rice.

Serves 4.

Nutrition

  1. 1 c. Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice (2*.25c uncooked is 2*.5 cooked) 70g CHO; 4g fiber; 2g total fat; 6g protein
  2. 250g fried tofu 25g CHO; 0g fiber; 18g total fat; 31g protein
  3. 1/16 c. Mirin 3.5g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
  4. 1/8 c. vegetable stock .5g CHO; .5g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
  5. 1/16 c. soy sauce 0g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g fat; 2g protein
  6. 50g carrot 4g CHO; 1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
  7. 50g green beans 3.5 g CHO;  1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
  8. 106g CHO;   7.5G fiber;   20g total fat;   40g protein

How many animals does being vegetarian save?

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An interesting analysis on the Counting Animals blog:

If we say that a vegetarian saves X animals per year, we should be able to also say that a semi-vegetarian saves X/2 animals per year and that a Meatless Mondayer saves X/7 animals per year. So, we will use the following formula to estimate the number of animals saved.

Number saved = Total number of animals killed
Population size ∗ ( 1.0 − V − S/2 − M/7 )

where V is the fraction of the population that is vegetarian, S is the fraction of the population that is not vegetarian but semi-vegetarian (defined as those who eat vegetarian at more than half their meals) and M is the fraction that is neither vegetarian nor semi-vegetarian but does eat vegetarian at least one day per week (such as a Meatless Mondayer). Using the results of the most recent pollcommissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, I will use V as 0.05, S as 0.16 andM as 0.04.

…and the results?

  • A vegetarian saves more than 30 land animals each year.
  • A vegetarian saves more than 225 fish each year.
  • A vegetarian saves more than 151 shellfish each year, so therefore:
  • A vegetarian saves more than 406 animals each year, at least an animal a day.
A happy pig at Poplar Spring Animal Refuge; Poolesville, MD
A happy pig at Poplar Spring Animal Refuge; Poolesville, MD

Vegan fish sauce recipe

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Finally, a suitably pungent vegan fish sauce! Our thanks to the informed bloggers at The Kitchn for the R&D and the recommendation. I’m making some alongside a batch of seitan I’m making later this weekend; surely enjoying vegan pad thai come Monday.

Vegan Fish Sauce
(makes about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups shredded seaweed (I use wakame)
6 cups water
6 fat cloves garlic, crushed but not peeled
1 T peppercorns
1 cup mushroom soy sauce
1 T miso

Combine wakame, garlic, peppercorns and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add soy sauce, bring back to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced and almost unbearable salty. Remove from heat and stir in miso.

Decant into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Use one-for-one to replace fish sauce in vegan recipes.

A world of difficult-to-reproduce-as-vegan dishes from southeast Asia come a little closer to a delicious reality.

Business lobbyists ALEC shops bills to silence factory-farm whistleblowers

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…because producers of pork, poultry, and beef who rely on CAFOs or feedlots realize their business depends on their consumers not discovering the unhealthful conditions in which their food is produced. The consumer needs to know nothing except that bacon is tasty and comes in sanitary packaging, even if the creature from which it was cut lived its entire life without seeing the sun, knee-deep in vile-smelling filth, unhappy, and at enhanced risk of mass-infection.

Narrowcast, punitive laws of this nature in no way serve the public good. Perhaps regrettably, consumers retain the right to ignore the facts about the things they consume, but there can be no defense for an effort to prevent consumers from having even the option of informed choices. If pork, beef, and chicken producers are so worried about public reaction to their methods perhaps they should endeavor not to use methods any normal, compassionate human would find abhorrent.

Bills being shopped in six states by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would make it a crime to film animal abuse at factory farms or lie on job applications, in hopes of shutting down animal rights activists who infiltrate slaughterhouses to expose ghastly conditions.

“The meat industry’s response to these exposes has not been to try to prevent these abuses from taking place, but rather it’s really just been to prevent Americans from finding out about those abuses in the first place,” Paul Shapiro, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), told Raw Story. “What they’re doing is trying to pass laws throughout the country that don’t just shoot the messenger, they seek to imprison the messenger.”

The proposals mandate that evidence of animal abuse be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours, or face a financial penalty. Several of the bills bills also make it a crime to lie on slaughterhouse job applications, which activists commonly do in order to get footage like the content of a video published by the HSUS, embedded below.

Read more here. Here’s a partial description of conditions in a CAFO by someone who worked in one (click through for the full NSFL description):

The first thing one notices walking into a CAFO is the smell. It burns in the eyes and mucous membranes. This is the only air the animals gets to breathe all day…