Vegan Scene


It’s Happening!
April 4, 2011, 6:49 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, recipes | Tags: ,

Hello again.

This is yet another tardy post but what can I say? The pace of our lives is  fast, too fast, lately!

But guess what? We’re doing it! The vegan house share!! And we are psyched but also overwhelmed with the ominous and never ending list of DIY that we incurred upon arrival at the sweet May Cottage nearly three years ago. Oh, well. We’re working on it and now we seem to have lots of helping hands.

We’ve had nearly a dozen awesome, inspiring vegans write to us and tell us they want to check this place out and possibly move here.  From the feedback we’ve received so far, there seems to be a real need and desire for some kind of affordable vegan community living and we’re thrilled that there are like-minded folks out there with whom we are able to share our time and space.

We can only  accommodate a handful of those folks at present, but we’ve got a big plot of land and a few dilapidated dwellings onsite that, with a bit of love and a few fun days working together in the sunshine, will be perfect homes for more people.

I’m just a little bit sad that most of my time will be spent working in London. Part of me wishes I could stick around here all of the time, but alas…I will be up when I can!

Switching modes entirely, I wanted to share a really healthy and delicious food we’ve been making every week as of late. Thanks to a local green grocer that somehow gets massive shipments of just-out-of-date organic goods and then sells them for extremely low prices(!!!!!!!!), we have had a steady flow of ridiculously cheap hemp seeds. Usually hemp seeds are like four quid for 250g, but right now we are getting about a kilo’s worth for £1!!!! So while this recipe might not be as cheap for you, wherever you are in the world, it is still worth every penny.

Hemp seeds are good for you. They are probably one of the best sources of complete protein on this earth, full of vitamins, minerals, and an amazing ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 fats. Just google them if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Raw Hemp and Pumpkin Seed Butter

Ingredients:

250 g raw hemp seeds

big handful of pumpkin seeds

sea salt to taste

2 or 3 big cloves of fresh garlic

half of a small onion

lemon juice from 2 or 3 wedges

tablespoon or two of cider vinegar

maybe a tablespoon of water

Method:

Blend hemp and pumpkin seeds in the food processor to a paste-like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more. Keep in a sealed tupperware container or sealed glass jar for up to one week. Eat with crudites, crackers, and other dishes. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot, otherwise you’ll damage the omega fats.

Also: for a really creamy raw hemp and pumpkin sauce/salad dressing/yogurty-dip, simply add more water (probably about a cup more).

 

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snowed under
December 1, 2010, 7:53 pm
Filed under: gardening, recipes | Tags:

Today, I couldn’t get into the city to work. There’s about nine inches of snow on the ground…

…and on the kale, the broccoli, the turnips, the beet root, the roof of the greenhouse…

I don’t think anything is going to survive. We didn’t expect a blizzard and don’t have greenhouse heaters or clotches…so we’ll see what happens, but I think the plants are dying. We will have to take this as a lesson. We’ll need to figure out some sheltered growing conditions for next winter and in the meantime, I’ll keep thinking that maybe the snow will melt away soon and everything will rebound.

I’m  glad we got in a few crops of purple brussels before the major snow storm.

Hands down, the best way to cook brussels sprouts is roasted in the oven, after a coating of olive oil, freshly minced garlic, and salt!



growing and juicing wheatgrass- without the special juicer!
October 30, 2010, 11:37 am
Filed under: gardening, health, recipes | Tags: ,

I don’t have one of those awesome specialized wheatgrass juicers, so for the past week I’ve wondered what to do with a mop of long wheatgrass growing in the green house. I’ve read that wheatgrass fiber is not digestible by humans, so I felt I couldn’t just lob it in the food processor whilst making a green smoothie. A dear friend came to visit this week and she has had extensive experience with wheatgrass at a raw food wellness centre in Puerto Rico; she even washed her eyes out with it! She offered up the perfect solution: put it in the processor, add water, and strain. She said the end product wouldn’t be as concentrated as the properly juiced stuff, but that there would still be a very nutritious and digestible liquid. Cool!

Yup, the strained wheatgrass/water mixture smells and tastes strong! it may not be as intense as wheatgrass that has been juiced properly, but we're now sat here drinking fresh wheatgrass goodness.

To grow the grass, we simply soaked the seeds overnight, spread them out atop some compost, and made sure the seeds were always hydrated. The seed germinated and grew quickly. I can tell that several servings will grow from this little tray!



roasting pumpkins and the last of the magic beans
October 15, 2010, 8:27 pm
Filed under: recipes | Tags: , ,

I’ve been buying pumpkins repeatedly from the farmers market since they’ve been in season.

The first dish I made was a thick pumpkin and coconut milk  soup. I started by baking the pumpkin for about 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius after cutting it in half, placing the halves in a casserole dish (insides facing down), and adding about a quarter of an inch of water  to the dish (to retain moisture inside the pumpkin as it baked). I had a small pumpkin, so I also baked a few sweet potatoes for the soup at the same time. When everything was thoroughly roasted, I scooped the beautiful cooked pumpkin out and mashed it together with the potato. Next,  I added the goop to a pot of sauteed onion and red curry paste. Once it was thoroughly mixed, I added a can of coconut milk and about a cup of water. I let this come to a simmering boil before adding a pile of cooked Wisley Magic beans, which I consider to be a delicacy, and some spinach. I seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper. What a delicious way to savor a pumpkin!

adding the beans

...and the spinach

 

A few days later, we were ready for more roasted gourd, but this time I did not want it mashed into a soup. I wanted to eat it whole and stuffed!

First I made a quinoa stuffing that took only slightly longer to cook than it would to make plain quinoa. It tasted like a tangy white wine (quinoa) risotto. I briefly sauteed onion,fresh oregano, thyme, powdered cumin, and the pumpkin guts I garnered from the halved gourd before roasting. After about 20 minutes (and just in time for my quinoa to boil!) I added the cooked Q, a handful of presoaked raisins, and raw broccoli to the pot. Next, I did something a little bit daring…maybe experimental, but something that ended up creating the flavor for the dish: I got a coffee mug and put a small table spoon of molasses, a big table spoon of miso, a capful of cider vinegar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and just-boiled water, mixed it, and poured it over the quinoa. I put the lid on the mixture and let it sit on very low heat for a few minutes. Then I got my pumpkins out of the oven, stuffed them up with the mixture, sprinkled some dried parsley over the top, and baked the pumpkin halves for another 20 minutes.

The pumpkin was served with a side of seasoned Wisley Magics and a heap of ginger-beet-tomato salad. I made the salad a day before we consumed it, so it could soften and marinade in the fridge. Besides the three ingredients mentioned, it contained a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar.

It was a great dinner but also a sad dinner because we ate the last portion of Wisley Magic beans growing in the yard. They were truly great beans, being that they were hugely plump and creamy. I don’t think there’s anything in the shop that can replicate them. And that said, I will remember them fondly until I grow the next generation….



a green smoothie that’s red
October 10, 2010, 11:41 am
Filed under: recipes

I’m not sure what kind of leaves these are. They’re waxy and red, too waxy to be beet leaf but smaller than rainbow chard. I picked the leaves up at the farmer’s market.

The smoothie was just a mango and a pile of these leaves. It looks like a berry smoothie, and the leaves are surprisingly mild, so it kind of tasted like one, too.



dehydrated kale chips
September 9, 2010, 6:18 pm
Filed under: recipes | Tags: ,
 

fresh kale brushed with tahini, before dehydration

I do realize there’re only so many posts I can make about kale. However…

A few weeks ago, we found a used dehydrator on e-bay, so we took the plunge. A dehydrator is a simple box with a heating system, fan, and thermostat. The dehydrator blows warm air over raw food, evaporating moisture content in the food, hence providing a dried and warmed edible that is still technically raw, since it was never heated above 118 degrees F.

There are lots of ways to use a dehydrator. One of my main goals with the device was to make raw kale chips.

First I made a basic tahini dressing, roughly 4 tablespoons of tahini paste, 2 cloves raw garlic, lemon juice, splash of olive oil, and sea salt whizzed together. I combined that with about 1/2 cup water. I coated about 325 grams of fresh kale leaves with this tahini, then placed them in a warmed dehydrator for 4 hours at 110 degrees F.

When they were brittle and ready to eat, the tahini turned into a thin coating of paste that was unlike anything I’ve tasted because it was very cheesy, savory, and tangy in a unique way. It is very different from “hydrated” tahini, indeed.

These kale chips were one of the tastiest snacks I’ve ever had. It is an easy way to get lots of greens in the old system.




it’s been too long/tofu marinades
September 5, 2010, 9:28 pm
Filed under: recipes | Tags: , ,

The blog has taken a back seat as I’ve been mulling over and working toward big things, things that soon I will put down in words and up on this blog as a way to solidify my reasons and aspirations.

Right now, I just want to share my thoughts on marinating tofu and tempeh. I’ve actually thought quite a lot about it, as it goes. For instance, I think the best time to marinade your tofu is right before bed. This way, it will have just enough time to soak up the flavors by the time you eat it the following night, about 19  hours later.

There are lots of ways to marinade: simple one-or-two ingredient marinades, dry rubs, or the marinades with dry and wet ingredients.

When I have time, I marinade by mixing together dry herbs, rubbing the mixture onto an unsliced block of tofu, slicing the tofu, applying the dry mix to the new slices, and then adding grated ginger, garlic, and fresh lime juice.

The marinated tofu slices pictured here did not have fresh ginger or garlic because we were out of both! It was still a tangy, interesting marinade and included cumin, 2 Indian spice blends, cayenne pepper, paprika, powdered ginger, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and lots of lime juice.

After the tofu slices marinated for about 18 hours, we fried them lightly on a hot cast iron pan and ate them.