The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate: RECIPE – Seitan Wings with BBQ Sauce and Vegan Ranch Dressing
Published on May 24, 2010 by admin · 9 Comments
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Welcome to Month Two of “The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate”! For those of you who didn’t catch April’s Inaugural Edition, this Monthly feature on GirlieGirl Army is inspired by a show on the Food Network where Famous chefs are interviewed about their favorite foods, including where to get it and in some cases, how to make it. In this feature Kathryn Hostettler will be interviewing awesome and influential vegans each month about their absolute favorite vegan dishes.
This month, I spoke with Vaute Couture‘s Leanne Hilgart. This vegan fashionista extraordinaire has made all of our lives easier by creating a line of gorgeous vegan winter coats. And who better than a Chicagoan to design winter coats I went to college there, and trust me when I tell you it’s forking cold! Finding a fashionable vegan winter coat used to be nearly impossible but Leanne has made this a no-brainer. I personally own the gray Bomono and love it! And fear not vegan boys, she is also launching a men’s line later this year. You can check out a video preview of the Fall/Winter 2010 line in this interview by The Discerning Brute, Joshua Katcher. This actually makes me wish for winter!
Leanne Hilgart of Vaute Couture
Now onto the food!
It’s hard to believe that this beautiful former model pigs out on anything but when asked about the Best Vegan Thing she ever ate, Leanne told me her fave meal of handmade vegan BBQ buffalo wings with tater tots and a little swimming pool of vegan ranch came at the end of a two-day food binge in Milwaukee. If you are ever in that neck of the woods, these puppies can be found at the Palomino Bar on South Superior Street. This is an omni restaurant but very veg-friendly, offering vegan versions of many of their menu items. And the best part is they have a dedicated vegan fryer so you don’t have to worry about animal parts in your fries. Oh and by the way, it can get ridiculously cold there too so wear your new Vaute Couture coat when you visit!
I spoke with Chef Jesse Sorgatz, a vegetarian, who told me since taking over as chef about a year ago, he’s been trying to increase the vegetarian and vegan offerings, adding that he’s going for the vegan truck stop vibe. Some of his star dishes are Macaroni Hates Cheese and a riff on the Philly cheese steak made with blackened portobello mushrooms, sauteed spinach, peppers and onions on a Po’ Boy roll. YUM! As for those BBQ wings, Chef Jesse says he starts with house made seitan and simply cuts it into wing-sized pieces. The seitan pieces and locally made tofu (an optional addition to the platter) are breaded and deep fried. Turns out the BBQ sauce is not home made since they go through gallons and gallons each week. The vegan ranch is a vegan mayo, vegan sour cream, onion, garlic, and cilantro concoction.
After my chat with Jesse, I put together the following recipe so you can try this at home. I noted quickie versions where appropriate. When it comes to the tater tots, I suggest buying a good, organic, premade brand such as Cascadian Farms. Enjoy!
Seitan Wings with BBQ Sauce and Vegan Ranch Dressing
Vegan Chicken Style Seitan**
Chicken Seitan Dough:
Chicken Seitan Broth:
- * 8 cups Water mixed with 9 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Broth Paste
- * 1 cup MimicCreme
- * 7 Whole White Button Mushrooms
- * 1 tsp Shallot Powder
- * 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- * 1 tsp Roasted Garlic Powder
- * 2 Bay Leaves
- * Pinch of Celery Seeds
First, take all of the Seitan Broth ingredients, and mix them together in a very large pot. Bring to a boil.
While the broth’s starting to heat up, make your Seitan Dough by mixing and kneading the vital wheat gluten, water/bouillon blend, and MimicCreme until it’s completely mixed. It will be a little more wet than most seitan doughs. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and form the mixture into a ball. On a cutting board, flatten the ball out, and use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut into wing-sized and -shaped pieces. Then drop each part into the pot.
Cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer, and let the seitan cook for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
Store any unused chicken in the broth in the fridge.
**This recipe is borrowed from Veganize It Don’t Criticize It!
- 2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup MimicCreme (to help the breading stick)
Frying the Wings
Dip chicken wings in MimicCreme and roll in the breading until well-coated. Fry in a cast iron skillet or deep fryer until brown, turning as needed.
QUICKIE VERSION ALERT: If you don’t have the time or energy, you can always substitute Gardein’s seven grain crispy tenders. These are really delicious and ready in minutes.
I adapted this recipe from one by the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I sometimes wonder just how wonderful life would be if Ina Garten were vegan. In the meantime, I veganize her recipes while fantasizing about a fabulous kitchen in the Hamptons.
Makes 6 cups
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 10 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup (you can use up to 1 cup if you like a sweeter sauce)
- 1/2 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup tamari
- 1 cup vegan hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large saucepan on low heat, saute the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in the fridge. You can also freeze this.
QUICKIE VERSION ALERT: Check out award winning Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces. Be sure to check the ingredients as they are not all vegan. Annie’s makes an organic and vegan version.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (my fave brand is Follow Your Heart)
- 1/4 cup vegan sour cream, such as Tofutti’s Sour Supreme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients by hand or in a food processer until combined.
TRY THIS: Mix some of your BBQ sauce in to make BBQ Ranch Dressing. This stuff is addictive!
Next Month: Herbivore Clothing Company’s Josh Hooten gorges on ravioli.
Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries recipe.
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- RECIPE: Roasted Beet, Sweet Tofu Ricotta, and Horseradish SandwichWhenever I am in San Francisco, I love going to the Ferry Building where I can be found caressing chanterelles at Far West Fungi, fondling fruit at the Ferry Plaza farmers market, waxing poetic about the (vegan!) dark chocolate key lime apples at Recchiuti Confections, and drooling over the amazing bread from Berkeley's Acme Bakery. Yes, we have to share this place with non-vegans but happily, there are plenty of options. We found a vegan butternut squash tamale that was divine! Back at the Acme Bakery, they make a few sandwiches and on this day, one of them was roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese, and horseradish. Natch, I had mine without cheese and while still very good, I thought it could use a little something. So on a recent day, I took advantage of some free time to reinvent this sandwich.
Roasted Beet, Sweet Tofu Ricotta, and Horseradish Sandwich
1 small bunch of Beets (2-3)
1 TBS Olive Oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Don't discard these beauties! Saute them up in a little garlic and olive oil for later. Place the beets in a small baking dish, and toss with the olive oil. Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet. Allow them to cool enough so you can handle them and using a pair of reusable kitchen gloves, rub off the skins. This is easier when they are a little warm. You can keep these refrigerated for a few days.
The Sweet Tofu Ricotta
1 14 oz container of Extra Firm Tofu
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp Agave
Salt and Pepper
Press the tofu (don't know how to do that? Read this!) Crumble the pressed tofu into a food processor. Add the lemon juice, agave, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until just combined. These should have a very course texture, like that of a fluffy ricotta.
I TBS Prepared Horseradish (or freshly grated if you happen to have it on hand...use a little less if that's the case)
Greens of your choice...leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, arugula, watercress all work well
Really Good Bread. I used a vegan oatmeal roll that I found at my local coop's bakery and toasted it lightly.
Put It All Together
Spread the horseradish on one side of the bread. Slice the beets and place on top of the horseradish. Next, the lettuce and then the sweet tofu ricotta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries […]
- The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate: An Interview With Josh Hooten Of Herbivore Clothing CompanyWelcome to Month Three of "The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate"! For those of you who didn't catch April's Inaugural Edition, this Monthly feature on GirlieGirl Army is inspired by a show on the Food Network where "famous" chefs are interviewed about their favorite foods, including where to get it and in some cases, how to make it. In this feature, Kathryn Hostettler will be interviewing awesome and influential vegans each month about their absolute favorite vegan dishes.
Apparently Herbivore Clothing Company's Josh Hooten is some kind of vegan overlord. All this time, I thought he was just another one of my animal rights friends on Facebook who happened to have excellent taste in music. A sort of punk rock, vegan Jack Handy, his Facebook feeds are supremely entertaining so I recommend friending him immediately. Upon further investigation, however, I realized that saying his name in certain circles is like saying David Wolfe in a room full of raw foodists on a three-day cacao binge. Over on the Post Punk Kitchen forum, he's been referred to as the vegan Fabio, and I predict he may become a euphemism any minute now. I just recently figured out that he's the guy who designed one of my favorite t-shirts (It says "Wings are for flying...not for frying." and sadly is no longer available. Not to worry, there are many designs to choose from here.). So, yeah, I am a a little slow but I think all of the worlds have now converged. So let's find out a little more about Josh and his obsession with Portobello Vegan Trattoria's handmade ravioli, shall we?
KH: I'd love to know how you became a vegan...what was the turning point?
JH: I credit my dog with opening my eyes. George came into my life as a 7-week-old and it took everything I had to raise him. He was a handful and I was probably 23 and not very responsible at the time. I was broke, drank too much, stayed out late, and worked too much. But when George came along I did whatever it took to make sure he was cared for. This did not always jive with my lifestyle, but I made it happen. At some point I was sitting on the couch eating a bird, petting George, and I thought how dumb it was that I put so much into caring for one animal but didn't seem to give a shit about this other one. It nagged me for a bit and I went vegetarian shortly after. I didn't think much about it after that until I moved to Chicago. Though I was a devoted vegetarian, I didn't really know much about it so I bought Diet For A New America and about halfway through I knew I had to go vegan. This was about a year and a half after going vegetarian. The reasons were the same as the ones that made me go vegetarian and I couldn't ignore them. I wanted to ignore them, I wasn't happy about the thought of going vegan because it seemed like a huge burden and I didn't know any other vegans who could help me figure out what to eat. But I knew what I had to do. You can't stare truth in the face and not act, right? That was 11 years ago in May. George died last summer, he was 14. I have him to thank for getting me to veganism. I have him to thank for so many other things as well. R.I.P, Housebear.
KH: Please tell me there was a punk rock component in that timeline somewhere.
JH: Yes, there had been a lot of groundwork laid because I grew up in the punk rock scene. There would be kids handing out animal rights literature at shows, and bands writing songs about it and I had a lot of friends who were vegetarian or vegan at various times. It being a component of the community I was a part of, and being a rejection of the status quo certainly made it an attractive lifestyle for me, though it took me a while to get there myself.
KH: How did you start Herbivore?
JH:[Josh's lovely and talented partner] Michelle and I started Herbivore in a spare bedroom with an ancient computer and a credit card. I wanted to buy an animal rights t-shirt and couldn't find one I liked. I'm a graphic designer by trade and had a friend with a screen printing business so I decided to make my own. I figured if I needed something a bit more clever and stylish than what was on offer at the time, other folks might as well. Seven or eight years later here we are with 35 designs behind us and a list of ideas in front of me I haven't gotten to yet.
KH: Tell me a little about the Herbivore family and why any self-respecting vegan who visits Portland should stop by.
JH: I think the only valid excuse I can think of for not coming to Herbivore when visiting Portland would be having fallen into a food coma because you ate your weight in vegan food upon arriving. Which happens. You need to pace yourself and not try and be a hero on the first day. When you come see us you'll find all our current designs, as well as bags, belts, wallets, stickers, buttons, cards, candles, water bottles, art, and a huge collection of vegan cookbooks. But the biggest plus of visiting Herbivore is that you'll be right in the heart of the vegan mini-mall. On our right is Sweetpea Baking Company and on our left is Food Fight! Vegan Grocery, and left of them is Scapegoat Tattoo, all vegan owned and operated. Around the corner is the Red & Black Cafe, which is worker owned and all vegan, and up the block is Hungry Tiger Too, which is now vegan owned. You can walk around and eat anything you want, shop a bit, get tattooed, and live in a little vegan bubble for an afternoon.
KH: What's your single most favorite item that you sell in the store?
JH: My favorite thing we sell may also be the least popular thing we sell. It's a two-button set I made that says "Somebody Give The Vegan Corndog A Handclap"on one button and has an illustration of a corndog on the other. People will sometimes look at it and ask me what it means. It means exactly what it says. I'm also really proud of a little book I wrote called "600 Miles To Goat" about a 600-mile bike ride I did to raise money for Farm Sanctuary. I rode down the Pacific Coast from Portland to Orland, California. a little over a year ago and raised almost $13,000 for the farm. I also love the next two designs we're making, one will say "A Little Veganism Never Hurt Anybody" and the other is probably going to say "Only Kale Can Save Us Now."
Merch from Herbivore Clothing Company
KH: So let's talk food, shall we? I hear Portland's own Portobello Vegan Trattoria's handmade Smoked Tomato Sausage and Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Basil and Cashew Cream is the Best Vegan Thing you Ever Ate. They sound amazing! When eating these fabulous ravioli, do you have a method? Or do you just pound them as fast as possible?
JH: Portobello is a funny place. I'm not above just sticking my face into a plate of food and eating like a horse if I'm really excited about a dish. But Portobello is so awesome it makes you want to act civilized. The setting, the charm, all if it makes you kick your game up a notch and savor your food and time there. So when eating the ravioli, I tend to go slow and focus on the layers of flavor, enjoy the presentation, and try not to make sex noises.
Smoked Tomato Sausage and Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Basil and Cashew Cream
Needless to say, I just had to track down the brainchild behind these amazing ravioli and beg for the recipe for the GirlieGirl Army readers. Turns out the owner of Portobello, Aaron Adams is a pretty interesting cat himself. Aaron became an omni-chef in the early 90s in Seattle and after nearly a decade in many kitchens of note in the US, he decided that dishes like foie gras just weren't for him. He arrived in Portland in the mid-2000s and went vegan. He met his partner, Dinae, while working at a local cafe and they decided to venture out on their own. They opened in January 2009 and a little over a year later, realized they needed a bigger place. So they closed this May and created a brand new space in only six weeks. In addition to a mouth-watering dinner menu, they also have an incredible dessert menu featuring a Dr. Cow cashew cheese plate and Josh's favorite, a raw chocolate cannoli made by Pixie Retreat.
Pixie Retreat's Raw Cannoli (center)
A new highlight is a cocktail menu that was created by bartender, Lauren Fitzgerald. Says Aaron, "She is amazing. She may have put together the best all vegan wine list in the known universe. She actually crafted an inquiry letter for vineyards, had it translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and French, and sent it around the world. She has been a professional bartender and worked in restaurants and kitchen for quite some time. Notably, she has worked at Millennium in San Francisco. She makes all sorts of wonderful little treasures, like herbal tinctures, infused liqueurs, and her own bitters from things like Stinging Nettles. Everything she serves is vegan, of course."
Now if this isn't enough motivation to get your asparagus to Portland for a visit, I don't know what is! I do hope as many of you as possible plan your vegan mini-mall sojourns and vegan food tours. But for those of you who can't make it any time soon, place your orders for the coolest vegan t-shirts, belts, books, buttons and more online at Herbivore Clothing Company and they'll mail them to you right away. And with many thanks to Chef Aaron, following is the ravioli recipe that you can try at home. To quote Harriet van Horne, "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." So jump in, cook mightily, and listen to this while doing so!
Smoked Tomato Sausage and Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Basil and Cashew Cream
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Semolina Flour
4T Ener-G Egg Replacer (dry mix w/o mixing with water)
1/2 C Olive Oil
3.75 C Water
Sift and mix the dry ingredients. Put on a wooden table or in a bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in the wet ingredients and start working it together carefully to mix. Switch to kneading it together. On a floured board, knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until the dough is elastic and springs back when you push it in. Wrap with plastic wrap and put in the cooler to rest for twenty minutes. You can also make a few hours beforehand.
An Easy Filling
2 cups Field Roast Italian Sausage, crumbled
1/4 cup Tofutti Cream Cheese, non-hydrogenated
1/8 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 of a Sauteed then Pureed sliced yellow onions with a little minced garlic
3 T Chiffonade of Fresh Basil
2 T Chopped Oregano
1/8 cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Daiya Cheese
Mix together well. Chill for a bit until totally chilled through. Make a slurry of cornstarch and water (to make a sort of lighter than glue paste). Cut pasta dough into quarters. Roll out with a rolling pin into a rectangle and run through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Keep running through until you get to an appropriate thickness (usually setting number 5). Take a long piece, fold it in half, and cut into two equal sized pieces. Take one piece, brush on a bit of slurry, and place small, evenly spaced piles of ravioli filling (about 2T). Place the other piece of dough on top and press with your fingers to seal and push out air. Now you should have two pieces of pasta dough glued together with some filling sandwiched between them. Take a knife, pastry cutter, or ring cutter and cut out your ravioli. Place them on a plate dusted with semolina flour and chill until ready to use.
To serve, drop in salted boiling water. Cook for three or four minutes, strain carefully (better with a mesh strainer than a colander), and serve with your favorite tomato sauce [I personally love Rao's so much I could drink it!], cashew cream, chiffonade of basil, sea salt sprinkle, and a fine olive oil.
Puree some cashew and water to a thin cream in a blender. Pour into a heavy bottom pot and place on the stove at a moderate heat, whisking continually until thickened and hot. Season to taste with fresh grated nutmeg and sea salt. Strain through a fine sieve and keep hot until ready to serve (or chill and reheat carefully).
Quickie Substitute: If you don't want to make your own cashew cream, use Mimic Creme instead.
Kathryn Hostettler is full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, and vegan cook. She owes the better part of her life to a dog named […]
- The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate: Vegan Ice Cream Sundaes with The Urban Housewife, Melisser ElliottWelcome to "The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate"! This Monthly feature on GirlieGirl Army is inspired by a show on the Food Network where "famous" chefs are interviewed about their favorite foods, including where to get it and in some cases, how to make it. In this feature, Kathryn Hostettler will be interviewing awesome and influential vegans each month about their absolute favorite vegan dishes;
Melisser Elliott is one of my favorite vegan vixens of all time. A few years ago, I was in the midst of yet another existential crisis and emailed her to ask for some advice about how to parlay my passion for animals into something creative, useful, and interesting. She wrote back right away, and very generously and patiently answered all of my questions. Turns out I couldn't have asked a better person since turning her passion for animals into something amazing happens to be her specialty.
As a result Melisser has created a creative, tasty, informative and totally kick- ass empire, all while continuing to participate in grass-roots animal right efforts. She is the mastermind behind various projects including two websites, multiple award-winning The Urban Housewife, where she shares her culinary adventures from vegan dining around the world to the sweets baked in her own kitchen, and the newly launched Cruelty-Free Face, a site for information on the often confusing world of cruelty-free cosmetics. Melisser was a professional makeup artist for a decade so she knows the industry inside out. As if running two websites isn't enough, she is the founder of Sugar Beat Sweets, a wholesale vegan in San Francisco bakery (a storefront is in the works)and has written a new book titled, The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More, coming this fall. Follow the link to pre-order now.
Previously based in San Francisco, Melisser, her husband, Ryan, rescued Chihuahua, Strummer and two kitties, Beamish and Scurvy, are packing up and relocating to Vienna, Austria. She will still be hard at work on all of her current projects while reporting on how her vegan travels and findings all over Europe.
I spoke with her recently about all things Melisser and the Best Vegan Thing she's ever eaten, a giant sundae from GirlieGirl Army favorite, Lula's Sweet Apothecary.
KH: Tell me about your journey to veganism.
ME: I came to veganism as a long time animal lover and vegetarian, having grown up with a million pets in my home. I made the connection about what was on my plate at age 13, much to the chagrin of my parents. As a vegetarian and a baker, I started reading a lot of blogs and found myself especially enjoying vegan blogs, leading me to do more research about veganism. Since animal rights was the backbone of my vegetarianism, I knew I had to go vegan once I knew about the suffering of sentient beings.
KH: Tell me about your amazing website, The Urban Housewife. What was your inspiration?
ME: I started The Urban Housewife about 3 years ago as a way to share my baking experiments. At the time, I was reading blogs like Bake and Destroy, Cupcake Bakeshop, and wanted to join in the fun. When picking a name, I was trying to come up with something that would represent my life as a city gal, but also a baker, hence The Urban Housewife. I didn't think much of it, I just thought it was a fun hobby, but it developed into so much more!
KH: What will become of the Sugar Beat Sweets while you are in Vienna?
ME: The bakery is still alive and kicking! We're hoping our retail space will be done by the end of this year. What many people don't realize is Sugar Beat Sweets is a vegan women owned and operated collective, so I'm not the only one elbow deep in flour these days. I'll be running the PR from Vienna, while the other ladies are baking!
KH: I am so excited for your new book, The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More! Can you share a sneak peek recipe or craft idea from the book with the readers?
ME: Sure! Here is a great stew for cool fall and winters nights...which are coming soon, right??
Chipotle Hominy Stew
This warmly spiced Mexican stew gets a bit of zip from the chipotle peppers, and is full of chewy hominy and beans with a kick of lime. It's a great dish to feed to anyone, vegan or not, and can be dressed up with an array of delicious toppings!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon epazote or oregano
1 to 3 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles, based on your spice preference
1 chipotle chili, finely diced
1 (29 ounce) can of prepared hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (14 ounce) can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, preferably in juice
28 ounces of water
Juice of 1 lime, 3 to 4 tablespoons
Radishes, thinly sliced
Crushed tortilla chips
Non-dairy sour cream
In a 5-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add salt, pepper, cumin, epazote, chipotle in adobo, and diced chipotle. Stir to combine. Add the pinto beans and hominy, and then add the can of diced tomatoes. Fill the can with water, add it to the pot, and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, partially covered. After 10 minutes, add the lime juice. Allow the stew to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to combine the flavors. Taste for seasoning, then divide among soup bowls and garnish as desired.
KH: What's happening with Cruelty-Free Face? Can you share what's coming up?
ME: I will report on what makeup companies are up to and also what's suitable for vegans. In the future, I will have special giveaways, keep adding information on vegan companies, add more video makeup tutorials, and I'm embarking on a quest for the best vegan mascara!
KH: Your dog, Strummer, is ridiculously cute! Do you want to share her rescue story?
ME: I would love to! On the day before Fathers Day in 2008, my husband and I were taking a walk to our co-op, partaking in our usual routine of fawning over every dog we see. As we approached two men and a tiny chihuahua, I couldn't help but comment on how adorable this pint sized puppy was! Next thing I know, I am being told to take the dog, as they didn't want it and claimed to have found it on the sidewalk. Not one to leave an animal behind, we walked away with a shivering, flea-ridden, hungry 1.5 lb puppy. Over the next few weeks, we checked the area for lost dog signs, posted and read ads on Craigslist, but no one claimed the little one, so we acquired a dog! It's one of the best things that has happened to me. She is my love!
KH: So let's talk food, shall we? What the Best Vegan Thing you have ever eaten?
ME: It has to be a massive vegan ice cream sundae with the works at Lula's Sweet Apothecary in New York City! I've had many incarnations of this, but my favorites include anything with caramel, toffee, marshmallows or better yet, all three! I'm a baker, so I know my way around sweets, but ice cream always wins for my favorite indulgence. This vegan owned and operated shop is not only adorable, but my daily dessert spot when I'm in NYC! I always finish a trip to NYC by sitting in Lula's to enjoy a sundae, then I hop in a cab and head to the airport!
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KH: I am a huge fan of Lula's Sweet Apothecary and on a recent visit had some PB&J ice cream that was divine! If you visit NYC, you must go! I caught up with co-founder, Blythe Boyd and asked her how Lula's came to be and for more information on the shop.
BB: [Co-founder] Derek [Hackett] has a background in computer programming and I have one in biology. We both realized we didn't want to work for someone else and that we wanted to work at something we believed in. As long-time vegans, this meant doing something related to veganism. We moved from New York to Philadelphia and started a vegan lunch truck, but soon knew we wanted to head back to New York. New York is home to so many extraordinary vegan businesses, so we wanted to make sure we did something original. Eventually, we came up with the idea of an old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century soda fountain where we made all of the frozen desserts in-house and served up vegan versions of the classics - sundaes, splits, floats, egg creams and so on - and Lula's Sweet Apothecary was born!
It surprises people to learn that neither of us have a culinary background. When we came up with the idea, we initially planned to use vegan ice cream from another company. After more thought, we decided we should make our own - this would also allow us to make flavors that we dreamed of and that no other vegan company made (i.e., cake batter). We literally taught ourselves using a home ice cream maker.
KH: You are true artisans as everything at Lula's is homemade, right?
BB: Yes, we handcraft all of our desserts on the premises in small batches. While this limits the hours we can open to the public, the trade-off is that the batches are fresh, literally made the day before. It also allows for a lot of creativity in the kitchen, which is why we can create so many different flavors. In addition, it means we don't have to use a lot of unnecessary ingredients to keep the product stable - most flavors have fewer than five ingredients. It's funny to watch people marvel at the fact that the strawberry tastes like strawberry and the banana tastes like banana - that's because we use real fruit and not the flavorings that many palates have become accustomed to. We also make many of our toppings, sauces and ice cream ingredients. Our goal is to make as many of them as possible in-house - these include peanut brittle, peanut butter cups, toffee, caramel and brownies. Some of our most popular flavors include Cake Batter soft serve, Drumstick, Peanut Butter Fudge, Caramel Marshmallow Graham Cracker and Toffee Crunch. We proudly use Sweet & Sara marshmallows and graham crackers for flavors such as Rocky Road, Caramel Marshmallow Graham Cracker and S'mores.
KH: I know you are also committed to green principles, another reason I encourage readers to support your business.
BB: Along with being a vegan business, it's important for us to incorporate eco-friendly practices in our work. For example, we only use natural ingredients and we source organic and local ingredients whenever possible. We use real glassware and silverware (even stainless steel straws) for those who enjoy their desserts to stay, while all of our to-go ware is compostable. We separate and dispose of everything appropriately - compost, recycling and trash. We use eco-friendly light bulbs, cruelty-free cleaning products and unbleached paper towels and napkins. Also, a lot of the shop is built with recycled and refurbished items. We are always looking for ways to improve our green practices. We strongly feel like being eco-conscious is an extension of the vegan lifestyle.
KH: I realize that Lula's recipes are all proprietary. Do you have a recipe for an ice cream that the home cook could make?
BB: We make most of our frozen desserts using our house-made cashew milk - this requires special equipment and a lot of time and trial and error to get the consistency just right. You can still make a delicious, creamy non-dairy ice cream using basic equipment and without all the time and labor. To do this, try the no-fail recipe below which uses coconut milk as the base. Coconut has plenty of natural fat which guarantees a creamy, smooth result. All you need is a blender and an ice cream maker.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream Base
Makes about 1 quart (2 pints)
3 cups of coconut milk
3/4 cups of organic evaporated cane juice (or equivalent sweetener of your choice)
1-2 cups of your favorite mix-in (i.e., chocolate sauce, fruit, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, cookies, etc.) - Optional
Extract or flavoring of your choice, added to taste (i.e., mint, vanilla, etc.) - Optional
1-Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2-Place blended ingredients in refrigerator to chill (about 2 hours).
3-Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker.
4-Follow manufacturer's instructions.
5-By hand, add your favorite mix-in and/or extract.
6-Place in freezer and allow to freeze until solid.
7-Scoop and enjoy!
Lula's Sweet Apothecary: Formulator & Dispenser of Frozen Confections
516 East 6th Street, East Store (between Avenues A & B)
New York, NY 10009
Hours of Operation: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: 3:00pm-10:00pm
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 3:00pm-11:30pm
And if you tell them GIRLIEGIRL ARMY SENT YOU.. you'll usually get a free topping or some extra lovin'!
Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, pet nanny, animal advocate, and vegan ice cream lover. She volunteers for Rogers' Rescues, a virtual dog rescue group located in NJ and […]
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