Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mike's Almond Poppyseed Scones

My husband Mike is the best baker ever (flattery gets you more baked goods!). Here is his veganized recipe for almond poppyseed scones. The poppy seeds can be left out and they are just as good. We have also made them with blueberries folded in at the end of mixing, but that is a little trickier because the dough gets really wet if you are not careful.

Almond Poppyseed Scones

1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unrefinded sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into bits
1/4 cup earth balance vegan margarine; chilled and cut into bits
1/3 cup tofutti sour cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix ground flax seeds and water with a fork in a small bowl and set aside. This is the egg replacement.

Mix the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the shortening and the margarine and cut in using a pastry cutter or fingers until you get a coarse meal (avoid using hands as it heats up the margarine).

Whisk tofutti sour cream, flax/water mixture and almond extract in a small bowl to blend. Add to the flour mixture and combine with hands until incorporated, be careful not to overwork the dough or you will have bricks.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half. Press the dough into two rounds about 3/4" thick (about 6" across). Cut into quarters and sprinkle with sugar. Place the scones on a heavy baking sheet, spacing about 1-inch apart.

Bake in 400 degree F oven until lightly browned, about 17-18 minutes.

Servings: 8

Pesto Kale Pizza

Someone on a forum I read wanted to know if they could put kale on a pizza which got me thinking about it. Then Animal Friendly Eric told me about a pizza that he had in LA from Native Foods that had greens and pesto on it. I looked it up on the web and it says "Creamy pesto, grilled veggies, steamed greens, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a balsamic drizzle". Well, I had to try that! So here it goes. This was more time consuming than expected because I forgot to take the frozen pizza dough out of the freezer and had to make a fresh batch, and because I also had to make some pesto. It was really good and we plan to make it again and again and again, esp once the zucchini from the CSA starts pouring in.

Kale Pesto Pizza

Breadmaker Pizza Crust (makes 2)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup warm water (plus more as needed)
2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Place ingredients in breadmaker according to manufacturer instructions and set it to Pizza Dough. Meanwhile preheat the pizza stone to 500 degrees. Pull out the dough, punch it down, cut it in half. Place half in an oiled ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer for another day. Roll out the dough some, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then roll it out some more.

I used Peter Berley's Almond Pesto recipe as a base but used all the CSA green garlic, garlic scapes, and added one clove of garlic. The original recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic instead of the mixture below.

Garlic Scape Green Garlic Almond Pesto
1 1/2 cups toasted blanched almonds
3 garlic scapes
4 green garlic bulbs and stems
1 clove garlic
2 cups packed basil leaves (or more)
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
salt to taste

Grind the almonds in a food processor. Add the various forms of garlic, lemon juice, water, lemon zest, basil and puree. Add the olive oil gradually. Add salt to taste. Place in a container and cover with a light film of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.

Pesto Kale Pizza
1 bunch of kale, middle ribs removed, cut, steamed and salted
2 small zucchini, sliced in 1/4" slices, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled in a grill basket
1/4 cup toasted salted pumkin seeds
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Preheat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for about an hour. Roll out the pizza dough and place in on a peel with semolina to prevent sticking. Drizzle with olive oil and brush to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Add some pesto as a base layer. Mix the greens with some pesto and add it to the pizza. Top with zucchini slices and pumkin seeds. Drizzle on some balsamic vinegar. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Veggie Burger Pic

I found a picture of the veggie burger on the camera.


The fries in the pic are just a russet potato roasted at 425 with salt, pepper, and olive oil for about 40 minutes (turning every 10-15 minutes).

Almond Butter Chip Ice Cream

Summer is here and we decided to experiment with the old ice cream maker. You may see a few ice cream recipes over the next few months. Here is one that I have been wanting to make for a while:

Almond Butter Chip Ice Cream

2 c. French vanilla soy creamer

1 1/2 c. almond milk

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. fresh ground almond butter

2 T. arrowroot powder

1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds
1 bar dark chocolate bar, in shavings or ground up in the food processor
1/4-1/2 cup additional almond butter to swirl in.

Mix ¼ cup of almond milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Combine soy creamer, remaining almond milk, and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat. When hot, whisk in almond butter so it is thoroughly incorporated. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add chopped nuts and chocolate shavings in the last five minutes of freezing.

As you put the ice cream into a container to store in the freezer, occasionally add some dollops of almond butter into the mix.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

There is no such thing as happy meat

This post is probably just preaching to the choir, but some of my meat eating friends do read this, so I persist.

In my last entry, I alluded to the fact that this comment on a friends blog irritated me to no end:

"By all means make it humanely slaughtered organic red meat, but red meat is still your very best source of dietary iron."

There is no such thing as humanely slaughtered animals. Killing animals is not humane. If you think it can be done humanely, come over here and let me stun you with a stun gun, or cut you with a knife and then you can tell me all about how humanely I did it. No animal wants to die. And, you know what, no animal needs to die so that a person can eat dinner (my previous post addresses the iron issue). If you want to think that you are eating happy meat, you should assure yourself that the meat was really happy.** Otherwise, you really don't know what you are talking about. So, watch the videos of slaughterhouses, chicken farms, and bulls being castrated without anestisia and then see if you still think that the animal is happy. These things happen on all farms including free range farms, and the animals are sent to the same slaughterhouses as animals not raised free range.

Furthermore, if you are still reading this, even if there truly were some real life happy meat where animals roamed free and slept in hay and rolled in the dirt when they wanted to... and you commited yourself to only eating happy meat, and free range eggs... what happens when you go out to dinner? Do you ask the chef how the meat was raised? or do you eat vegan when you eat out so that you can be sure that you are sticking to your morals about how animals should be raised? Of course not. The fictional happy meat is a myth that meat eaters want to believe and the meat industry put out there. It makes you feel better about eating meat and killing and abusing animals.

Sorry if this seems like an angry post. But, I have a hard time not getting really mad thinking about the 10 billion plus animals that are killed every year for Americans to eat. It's horrifying. Once you know how many animals are killed and how they are treated, how can you still eat it?

** Ask me and I'll lend you some videos.

Wah, iron. Get over it already!

Recently a friend of mine was experiencing health issues that could be easily helped by a change in diet. I am am firm believer in doing everything you can to change your diet and avoid taking pills to fix problems, before resorting to pills. I'm not saying that pills don't have their uses, I'm just saying that Americans are way too willing to take the quick fix rather than finding the root of the problem. The root of a lot of our health problems stem from the SAD (Standard American Diet). In a comment on her blog, I mentioned that a vegan diet might be worth considering as an option to try to correct the problem. Wow, the crazy mis-informed nonsense that came back from people commenting made me insane. I tried to reply to the comments, but well, she moderates comments and doesn't like any conflict on her site, so my reply was never posted. I'll have to reply here instead (too bad they won't be able to see the reply).

The topic today is iron. One of her commenters replied that she shouldn't consider a vegan diet because:

"There really aren't any vegetable-based sources of iron that are as effective as red meat. By all means make it humanely slaughtered organic red meat, but red meat is still your very best source of dietary iron."

The humane meat part of this comment will be my next post, if my head doesn't explode first. There are plenty of good sources of iron in a vegan diet. And, if you are really worried about absorbing enough iron, drink some orange juice too. Citrus helps the absorption of iron. The Vegan Society lists the following sources of iron: "dried fruits, whole grains (including wholemeal bread), nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and pulses [beans to us Americans]. Other foods rich in iron but which are usually eaten in smaller amounts include soya flour, parsley, watercress, black molasses and edible seaweeds. The use of ironware when cooking foods also contributes to dietary intake." So, eat those beans, seeds, and nuts. Here is more from the VeganSociety:

Up to 22% of the iron in meat is absorbed, while only 1-8% is absorbed from eggs and plant foods. If the body stores fall, the rate of iron absorption rises. About 40% of the iron in animal foods is in a form called haem iron, while the remainder, and all the iron in plant foods, is in the less well absorbed non-haem form. Iron absorption can also be reduced by tannins (e.g. in tea) and phytates (found in nuts, grain and seeds). At this point one tends to wonder whether the rumours of vegans suffering from anaemia have substance, however, this isn't the whole story and the reader will be heartened to learn that research has shown that iron deficiency in vegans is no more common than in the rest of the population.

The absorption of iron from plant foods is improved by the presence in a meal of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), other organic acids such as malic acid (e.g. in pumpkins, plums and apples) and citric acid (in citrus fruits). Laboratory research in which experimental meals were given to 299 volunteers has shown that the inclusion of foods (such as fresh salad, orange juice or cauliflower) providing 70-105mg of vitamin C in each meal increased the absorption of iron. A particularly pronounced effect was seen when 4.5oz cauliflower containing 60mg of vitamin C was added to vegetarian meals, causing more than three-fold increase in iron absorption.

So basically, other factors in the vegan diet make up for iron that is less well absorbed from plant sources than from meat. And, you are not more likely to have an iron deficiency on a vegan diet.

Furthermore, the American Dietetic Association says "It is the position of The American Dietetic Association (ADA) that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

Iron is no longer an excuse that can be used to justify killing animals. Go vegan.

Now you probably want to know what to put in the hamburger buns!

Inside our homemade buns, we had grilled Tempeh Walnut burgers (recipe link). I did not add any olives (because I hate them so). I also did not add the optional umeboshi paste. I cut the fresh rosemary to 1/2 Tbsp. These burgers are ok and they hold together well on the grill. They are not my favorites though. We both thought they tasted a bit like crabcakes (well as much a we remember from the pre-veg days). I think it was the red bell pepper and celery. A great addition to these would be some vegan garlic aioli. I couldn't find any locally and was too lazy to make my own after making buns, veggie burgers, and oven baked potato fries. We also had a nice green spinach salad, in case you were worried about the color of the plate!

Best Hamburger Buns Ever!! (breadmaker recipe)

This recipe is modified from this one posted at the

Hamburger Buns
Makes 7 hamburger buns


2 cups flour, plus more as necessary
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/3 cups room-temperature water
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS toasted* pumpkin seeds (half ground up in the food processor)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS toasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for the topping (optional)
water, for brushing the tops of the buns (optional)

Place all the ingredients (except seeds and brushing water) into the breadmaker according to manufacturer instructions. Mine takes liquids first. Set the breadmaker to the dough setting. Add a Tbs of flour or two if it is too sticky, or add a Tbs of water if it is too dry. After about 10 minutes, add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. When the breadmaker is done, take out the dough and on a floured surface, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Shape into flattened rounds. Place on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with a damp warm towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. After rising, bake for 18- 20 minutes. Move to a cooling rack to cool. Freeze any buns that you will not be using immeditately since these contain no preservatives.

* To toast the seeds, place them on a baking sheet at 375 until they start to brown, about 5-10 minutes.


Lemon Tofu Broccoli Rabe with Brown Rice and Roasted Balsamic Carrots

A few nights ago we made this recipe for Lemon Tofu Broccoli Rabe. I am not a big fan of broccoli rabe, at least I wasn't before this recipe, but this was really tasty. I think the trick might be lots of lemon. Preparing broccoli rabe is a snap. Just trim off the bottoms, rinse in a sink full of water, drain, and then chop into 1" pieces. It will look like this when you are done:


Here is a look at the final dish. You can't really see the tofu and brown rice in this pic, but I assure you that they are there.


Served with a much needed lemon wedge.

Boston Vegans Unite!

If you've noticed that I haven't been posting much over here, it's because I have been really busy on an exciting new project. Eric Prescott (An Animal Friendly Life) and I have been working to start the Boston Vegan Association ( I have been hard at work on the website in ALL of my spare time. It is not completely ready yet (we still have a lot of work to do), but the web site is up and running for the most part. The Boston Vegan Association is being founded to unite Boston-area vegans and empower them to work as a group toward ending the exploitation of animals by locally promoting and supporting veganism as the moral baseline for animal rights. We intend for this to be a very active community of vegans in the Boston Community and feel that this sort of community is missing in our area.

If you are in the Boston area (and vegan or on your way to becoming vegan), go and register at the site. Registration is open and free. Once you register, you will have greater access to the website. Paid membership will be available after our official launch this fall and will provide access to special member only events, possibly a t-shirt, discounted fees for fee driven events, etc.

If you are not in the Boston area, go and take a look at the web site and let us know what you think.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Vegans love to talk about Poo

Vegans seem to love to talk about poo [1]. See, they even make stickers to brag about poo prowessness:

It seems like an odd thing to post about, but I think that it is an important health issue and we shouldn't be so uptight about it. The average American only poos about once every other day (that's what I've heard). I had a hard time finding any decent stats to back this up... you try googling for poo or defectaion rates and see what you get. Some people go even less frequently than that. It is important to poo regularly. Some doctors say that for optimal health you should poo after every meal.[2] Your poos should be regular and effortless. If you are straining or reading magazines, then you aren't getting enough fiber. Poo that sticks around in the colon for too long causes toxicitiy and can cause tumors in the colon, among other problems.

Most Americans, don't get enough fiber. They eat white flour, white pasta, and other white foods that contains little fiber and almost no nutritional value. When things back up, they rely on laxatives to get things moving again. I'm not sure why the mental connection to diet isn't made??

So, where does fiber come from? Great sources of fiber come from the plant kingdom - not meat. These include spinach, broccoli, mustard greens, collards, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beans, nuts, grains, etc. So, go eat those veggies. And note that another benefit of veganism is regular poo and a healthy colon.

[1] Yes, I am going to use the word "poo" throughout this post, I like it better than defecate.
[2] This should be very distressing to an unnamed co-worker who believes that pooing should be done at home (in the morning), and not at work.