• 26Jan

    It has taken me way too long to write this review, and the reason is actually pretty simple: I didn’t want to. I read the book, and cookprepared many of the dishes within it months ago (and again since), and the whole time, I just keep thinking about how my parents always told me that ‘if you can’t say something nice’ … what the hell can I say about this?

    rqd

    “Raw Quick & Delicious” is a pretty book, and I learned a few things and got some good ideas.

    However, it advertises “5-ingredient recipes in just 15 minutes” (it’s right there on the cover), but you don’t get the (major) caveat until you start reading – you learn that many of these “5-ingredient” recipes actually contain one or more ingredients (e.g., nut milk, cashew “cheese”), which you are expected to have prepared ahead of time. Some of which take a lot of time. Further, many also require rather specialized equipment, like a juicer or high-powered blender. So, on just the book’s cover we discover two fairly glowing misrepresentations.

    Then we look inside. On page 10 (really only the third page of actual content), we come to a paragraph about enzymes, and how cooking food breaks these down and makes it less nutritious. This statement is bunk. For starters, there is little to no (actual scientific) evidence that any food enzymes even get past the stomach in the first place,* and I can find none whatsoever that they have any impact on the nutritional value of food. In fact, there actually is evidence that cooking food was a key inflection point in human evolution by allowing us to get *more* nutrition out of food to develop our big brains.**

    So, let’s move past the pseudoscience, even though it does in fact pervade the entire book, and get to the meat … err … vegetables. I love vegetables, and as all our readers know, I do a lot of vegan cooking; even after all that, I was looking forward to learning some new recipes (and techniques) for making delicious dishes.

    I don’t own a high-powered food processor, and haven’t got the time or inclination to do my own sprouting or making nut cheese (real, cheese-cheese, is available and bloody delicious), so I started simple: the Fresh Herb Toss (page 105). As directed, I tossed the herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley) with olive oil and lemon juice, plus salt, and served. It was tasty and refreshing, but a bit bland. I added some cayenne pepper and diced cucumber (see? still raw!), which I found greatly improved the dish.

    I also made (and enjoyed) the Spicy Pear and Cabbage Salad (page 119). I served it with a steak, and was quite pleased (and this is one that really only takes a few minutes to make!). Ditto with some of the other slaws on the following pages, though I did consistently find the recipes (as written) lacked a certain depth, and often added things like cayenne or red onion to fill that gap. The Sweet and Sour Kale (page 179) was a particular offender here, but much improved with the addition of (raw) garlic and onion.

    Now we get to the section on “Pasta and Noodles,” which of course contains neither.*** The most memorable of these, for me, was the Celery Root Ravioli (p. 147). This is a lot of work, even with a good mandoline, and took me more than 15 minutes. In the end, the filling is a bit bland but has a nice texture, and the ‘ravioli’ really don’t hold together very well. After a few attempts, I tossed it all in the blender and used it to fill real (pasta) ravioli, which I boiled and sautéed in butter, and which were actually really good.

    Before closing, I must note that 40 pages (21% of the 189 recipe pages) of this book contain recipes for smoothies and juices, which, while possibly delicious, do not meet my criteria for meals. I am not an infant, I like to chew my food. Then there’s the further 15 pages of dressings, and various recipes for nut milk, jam, etc. I may make some of these to use as garnishes or put them on salad, but that’s a lot of real estate for garnishes.

    All told, “Raw Quick & Delicious” contains some very nice starter recipes, but the dishes are generally a bit bland, and require way more work than advertised. I learned a few things, got a ton of practice on my mandoline skills, and have some good ideas to apply elsewhere (the ravioli, above). If you’re committed to the raw diet thing, there are plenty of things here that, with a (sometimes large) bit of tweaking, are quite good. Demerits, however, must be given for all the maddening pseudoscience peppered throughout (while pepper was often missing as an ingredient, see what I did there?), and the complexity in a ‘simple’ cover, so I have to give this book a C. I’ll stick to cooking (and real cheese!).

     - MAW

    *  Remember all that acid digestion stuff? Yeah, acid denatures the hell out of proteins – which reminds me of the following statement in the same paragraph: “Our bodies produce enzymes too – substances, usually proteins, that help digest food.” Are you kidding me?! *All* enzymes are proteins. All of them (OK, there’s some very recent evidence that a few amine macromolecules might act as enzymes and are (very) technically not proteins). *Some* of them help digest food. Others do things like facilitate metabolism, facilitate DNA transcription, etc. Anyways, this sort of pseudoscience presented as fact just makes me furious****.

    **  Which we now use to create reality television and fad diets, but oh well.

    ***  An aside to fad diet developers: if your food stands on its own, you don’t need to try so hard to force it in to another mold: vegetables are delicious on their own, and they do not need to pretend to be burgers, pasta, or meatballs. They never will be, and the simulacrum will always be disappointing.

    ****  Almost as furious as the improper use of “that” in the quoted sentence.

  • 09Feb

    Whole Foods has a couple of lovely-looking (and not too fattening – you don’t want your date rolling away!) dessert recipes up in honor of this most saccharine of Hallmark holidays.

    The “Banana Nice Cream” (nice pun there, kids) looks yummy and really simple – just blend and freeze – and vegan too! I might throw in a bit of honey and fresh-ground allspice, and needless to say, if I were the sort to do such things, I would freeze single servings in inappropriately-shaped popsicle molds.

    The cocoa-oat truffles almost boarder on something you might see at a Seder (swapping out the oats, of course). Come to think of it, maybe I’ll make them this year…but of course, I will add ancho or chipotle powder and perhaps, if I go back down South this year, deep fry them.

    Yes, I know, my modifications take most of the ‘healthier’ and some of the romance out of these recipes, but then, what can I say? The way to a man’s heart is (if you don’t have a pitchfork) through his stomach.

    And I prefer treats that fight back.

    – MAW

  • 27Dec

    This is a quick vegan delicacy I whipped up the other day for brunch…it’s almost a pain perdu – sans egg – and really bloody tasty.

    I used:

    1 pound Oyster mushrooms
    1/2 a sweet pepper
    1 clove garlic (crushed/finely diced)
    Fresh Oregano (about a teaspoon)
    Lemon Juice
    Olive Oil
    Stale bread (I used potato bread; challah would be nice)
    White wine
    Soy sauce

    Wash, pat dry, and slice your mushrooms and finely dice your pepper. Heat the oil in a largeish pan over medium-high heat. When it’s to temperature, toss in the peppers, half your chopped oregano, half of your garlic, and a splash of soy sauce. Let that cook about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Turn the heat down to medium, and add your mushrooms, tossing with some lemon juice, and then make sure they are all flat (not on top of one another), sprinkling the remaining garlic and oregano over top. Let that cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until they are done. Turn on your vent fan and the moisture will go out more quickly – this is good.

    When the ‘shrooms are cooked, remove all that to a bowl. Take 2 slices of bread and put them in the pan, upping the heat to high. Toast on both sides, sopping up most of the leftover oil. Remove and
    plate those. Now, deglaze your pan (which should have some nice charred bits hanging about in it) with the wine, and another splash of soy sauce.

    Top the toast with the mushrooms and peppers, and then the reduced deglazing liquid. Delicious!

    -MAW

  • 24Oct

    It’s fall, and that means it’s time again for me to cook pumpkins. Because, as we all know, I love the orange beasties. Plus, it’s just before Halloween, and this is a great party recipe: it’s delicious, easy to make in quantity, and goes well with both booze and candy. I was inspired by a Thai pumpkin soup (Tom Jieufak, I think) I had recently, and so the primary flavors in this dish are Thai, but I modified it for my current veganism (more on that in a later series), and since this was made on the fly the proportions are a bit random and you should adjust to your own tastes. Also, you might like it less spicy than I do, so adjust accordingly. Here’s what I did:

    From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/4988191034/

    Photo by Muffet

    Ingredients:
    o 4″ shoot of lemon grass, sliced
    o 2 tsp fresh ginger
    o Health handful of fresh basil leaves
    o 1 green bell pepper, chopped
    o Juice of 1 lime
    o 4 oz water
    o 1 tbs peanut oil
    o 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    o 5 shallots, thinly sliced
    o Half a vidalia onion, thinly sliced
    o 1 tsp crushed dried red chili flakes
    o 3 Thai chillies, chopped
    o 22 oz vegetable stock
    o A handful of green beans, chopped
    o 2 tbs soy sauce
    o 2 tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce)
    o Cubed peeled meat of 2 small pie pumpkins
    o 1.5 t sugar
    o 1.5 tsp fresh ground white pepper
    o 2 tbs organic creamy peanut butter
    o 3 tsp curry powder (I used Madras, but if you have Thai it might be better)
    o 8 oz coconut milk
    o Splash of rice vinegar
    o Sriracha
    o Turmeric
    o 2 tsp arrowroot powder

    To facilitate cutting up the pumpkin, I microwaved them for about 4 minutes each…while that’s happening, chop everything else. Puree the ginger, 1 garlic clove, lemongrass, green pepper, lime juice, curry powder and water a blender, and drain off excess liquid. In a large saucepan (I actually used a Dutch oven) over high heat, fry the chilies, the other garlic clove, and shallots over high heat till they get a little crispy, then add the onion and let them get a bit translucent.

    Now add your pumpkin, beans, soy/Worcestershire sauce, all but a couple ounces of the stock, and the puree, reducing heat to medium. Stir for about a minute, and stir in the peanut butter, sugar, and white pepper, then simmer. While that’s happening, dissolve your arrowroot in the remaining stock. When the pumpkin is very nearly done, crank up the heat to high, add the coconut milk, and bring to a rolling boil for a minute or two. Drop the heat back to medium-low, and adjust flavor with Sriracha, vinegar, and turmeric. Finally, stir in your arrowroot mixture to thicken (you could probably also just cook it longer to reduce, but I am lazy).

    I served this over French bread, but rice noodles would be good too.

    -MAW

  • 18Jun

    Debbie Miller passed this to us.  We do have vegan readers too…or is that just Debbie? ;)

    -JAY

    ————

    Dear PCRM supporter,

    Three hotdog vendors in downtown D.C. are selling Tofurky vegan franks all summer long and they’re only $1 each!

    Some of these vendors have been selling exclusively all-beef hotdogs for nearly 20 years and this is the first time they have ever tried vegan dogs. Please visit these vendors, and let them know how excited you are that they are selling veggie dogs and that they should sell them year-round.

    Here are the locations:

    • 734 17th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. (Cross street: Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.)
    • 82 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C. (Cross street: 1st St., N.E.)
    • 304 12th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. (Cross street: Constitution Ave., N.W.)

    Once other vendors see that there is a high demand for veggie dogs, they will begin to sell them too—so be sure to take your friends, family, and co-workers with you!

    Have a healthy, happy summer!
    Andria Matrone
    Membership Assistant
    Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

  • 16Jun

    By Chef Michael Kiss of Whole Foods – Arlington.

    He has a cooking class next Tuesday: 29 1/2 minute meals - Steak House Salad.

    -JAY

    ————————–

    Let’s Party! I love getting the garden all cleaned up, the deck all swept off and of course getting the menu prepared for amazing little bites of fun. It doesn’t matter if you have acres of land or a little patio or even nice access to urban green space, it all counts as outside!

    When it starts to get hot, we don’t want to make things hotter by heating up the kitchen. We also don’t want make heavy food that will make us feel even heavier in the heat and humidity. I want to show you 3 little dishes today that are like taking your tongue to the pool for the day. Refreshing is the order of the day!

    Vegan?!? Are you sure?
    Recently at our house Katie, my wife, has gone vegan. She is amazing and has really put a lot of thought and effort into changing her lifestyle. I have been very supportive and took on the challenge to learn how to cook a whole different way. It has been really fun and rewarding!

    One of our newest finds is a recipe for vegan deviled eggs, think of it as a hand held mini potato salad. And with great products like “Veganaise” you can still get classic taste and textures without the animal products.

    Katie’s Vegan Deviled Eggs
    Makes 12
    6 small red new potatoes
    2 to 3 Tbs. veganaise
    ½ tsp yellow prepared mustard
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 tbs. minced onion
    1 tbs. minced celery
    1 tsp chopped dill pickle
    Paprika for garnish

    Boil potatoes in a sauce pan until tender. Drain and let cool. Carefully slice in half and with a melon baller or a measuring spoon and gently scoop out the space for the “yolk”. I just make 1 small round scoop near one end.
    Next mix together the potato scoopings with the rest of the ingredients and mash it until it makes a thick deviled egg yolk like mixture.

    Using a spoon or a pastry bag, mound a small bit of the “yolk” into the potato hollows. Shake a little paprika over top for that classic garnish.

    Inspiration comes at the oddest times.
    Sometimes I know for weeks and weeks what I am going to teach for a particular class, and sometime it hits me the morning of class. This recipe is the latter. I was thinking of making a great Asian flavor inspired tuna tartar tonight, but then I thought “what would make a great seasonal add in?” I started thinking watermelon and peaches. Then I thought let’s kick the tuna out and make a vegetarian tartar.

    Peach and Melon Tartar
    1 peach peeled, pitted, and diced into ¼ inch cubes. (add a small squirt of lemon juice to help keep them from browning)
    1 C. watermelon dice into ¼” cubes
    1 tbs. minced chives
    1 tbs. minced cilantro
    1 tsp prepared rice wine vinegar(sushi vinegar)
    ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil

    Gomasio for garnish
    Rice crackers for serving

    Gently toss together all the ingredients keeping the cubes of fruit as perfectly shaped as possible.
    Heap a small spoonful on a rice cracker and garnish with a shake of gomasio.

    Party with Friends as often as you can!
    Katie and I are very excited to go visit our friends this weekend for a summer fun day! We are extra excited that she is making one our favorites of her many fantastic dishes. Sunshine, friends, and a round of mini golf or two, now that is summer living!

    Amanda’s Fresh Cherry Salsa
    2 C. Fresh Cherries pitted, roughly chopped
    3 Tbs. chopped fresh Cilantro
    ½ tsp chopped jalapeno (optional)
    2 Tbs. chopped red onion
    1 tsp fresh lime juice
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Plantain chips for dipping

    Gently toss together all of the ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning. Let stand and come together for at least 10 minutes.
    Enjoy with plantain chips and some sangria.
    Is it the weekend yet?!?!

    I hope you are inspired to call up some friends and make plans this weekend.

    Eat Well!

  • 20Nov

    vegan apple crunch-top pieI ran into Debbie Miller of Art of Compassion at an art opening.  She isn’t the first person to ask for vegan representation on DCFUD, but she was willing to provide some…in the form of some upcoming events and this pie recipe.   Thanks for the article Debbie.

    -JAY

    ——————————-

    ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Thanksgiving. For a vegan looking for a delicious, cruelty- free way to celebrate Thanksgiving, the internet is an invaluable too. Thank goodness for Google searches and Yahoo searches and any searches really. Type in Vegan Thanksgiving and up pops 12 million plus hits.

    vegan pumpkin custard pieFor those in DC who wish to celebrate with like-minded folks, here are two such celebrations that come to mind. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary will host its annual Thanksgiving with the Turkeys potluck this Saturday, 11/21 from noon to 4:00. Of course the animals eat first, and the amazing food brought by DC area vegans will knock your (cotton) socks off.

    The Vegetarian Society of DC will host its annual Thanksgiving feast in Bethesda (almost DC…) on Thanksgiving Day from noon to 5:00. (You must arrive no later than 1:00.)

    For those who prefer a more homespun, “traditional” Thanksgiving feast, there are plenty of healthful, cruelty-free ways to celebrate. Truth be told, most regular Thanksgiving sides – yams, squash, roasted veggies, various casseroles, stuffing, etc – are pretty delicious and are already vegan or easy to veganize by subbing Earth Balance for butter, soy creamer for heavy cream, and Ener-G egg replacer or whizzed-up tofu for eggs.

    Really, it’s so unnecessary to kill the bird to get wonderful food on Thanksgiving.  But, if you really feel as though Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete with out a “centerpiece” food dish, there are a ton of easy and delicious turkey and meat alternatives. Tofurkey (don’t laugh…), Field Roast, tempeh, seitan, Portobello mushroom anything, are all easily available. Again, the internet is a great recourse for shopping tips and recipes. Of course you might not get the tryptophan-induced drowsiness, but heck, that’s what wine is for.

    To me Thanksgiving dessert means pie! Really, it’s my favorite part of the meal. Below are recipes for a pumpkin custard pie, courtesy of www.cancerproject.org, and an apple crunch-top pie which I have been making for 25+ years. Most store-bought pie crusts are vegan. (Actually, a lot prepared stuff you already eat is vegan, you just might not be looking as closely at the label as I do.)

    Pumpkin Custard Pie

    (Serves 6)

    In this recipe, cornstarch replaces eggs as a thickener.

    Filling:
    1-1/2 cups soymilk
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1-1/2 cups cooked pumpkin
    1/2 cup raw sugar or other sweetener
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    Fat-free pie crust: (Honestly, you can make your own regular pie crust, purchase a frozen store-bought crust, or make this crust-less in a 9 X 12 Pyrex baking dish – it’s all good!)
    (makes one 9” crust)
    1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
    1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
    Preheat oven to 350° F.

    Mix the Grape Nuts and apple juice concentrate. Pat into a 9” pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool before filling.

    For the filling:
    Preheat the oven to 375° F.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the soymilk and cornstarch until smooth, then blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into pie shell (recipe follows) and bake for 45 minutes, or until firm. Cool before cutting. Serve with vegan whipped cream or soy ice cream.

    Nutrition information per slice: 203 calories, 3.6 g protein, 47 g. carbohydrate, 0.6 g fat, 3% of calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 347 mg sodium.

    Apple Crunch-top Pie

    (Serves 8)

    About 6 large tart apples (I like Granny Smith)
    1 Unbaked frozen pie crust
    1 cup graham cracker crumbs (don’t crunch up too fine, some larger pieces are good)
    1 cup sugar or succanat
    ½ cup flour
    ½ chopped pecans
    ¼ to ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ to 1 whole stick of Earth Balance butter spread (use less if you’re worried about fat/calories)

    Preheat oven to 350° F.

    Take one pie crust out of freezer and place on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. This is a messy pie, and this step will spare your oven.

    Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/8, then cut each 1/8 into 1/3 or ¼. Put the apples in the pie crust until they create a nice mound above the rim of the crust.

    Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar (or succanat), flour, pecans and cinnamon in a bowl. Using your hands, add on top of the apple mound and pat down.

    Melt the Earth balance and slowly drizzle on top of the pie.

    Bake at for 1 hour.

    Serve as is or with vegan whipped cream or soy ice cream.

    I have no idea what the nutritional information is, but I know this is one damn good pie. Note: The topping is great for those times you have fruit about to go bad. Put in a baking dish or pie crust. Add the topping. Bake. Yum!

    Go online (wait… you already are online if you’re reading this) and type into your search engine your favorite Thanksgiving food with the word “vegan” in front of it. Chances are you will find a really wonderful, easy to prepare vegan recipe to take to your family gathering. Here’s the really fun part, don’t tell anyone it’s vegan. I bet even your rotund, carnivorous uncle Harold with the napkin stuffed in his collar won’t even know the difference.

    Whether you’re concerned with animal welfare, your health, the planet, are trying to cut costs, or you just want to try something new, treat yourself this Thanksgiving to a meal free from animal products. You’ll be thankful for the good karma points you get.

    -Debbie Miller

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