Welcome 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.
My name is Kathryn and I am addicted to food porn. I spend hours cruising vegan food blogs and Flickr pages looking for excitement. There, I said it. The first step is admitting it, right? Lucky for you, dear readers, my dirty little secret provides the inspiration for this very blog.
Meet Evan McGraw, the person behind an amazing dessert and baking blog called Bjorkedoff. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Evan is a student at Cooper Union in New York and the mastermind behind some of the Best Vegan Things I have ever eaten, his ridiculously amazing raspberry danish and chocolate chunk banana bread. Evan recently started baking at Champs in Brooklyn and is creating the most porn-worthy cinnamon rolls you have ever laid your eyes on. Seriously, I was licking my screen after reading this post. Go there now if you dare…but you’ve been warned!
Evan at Work
A certified coffee snob, Evan and I met earlier this year at our modern day crack house, the Stumptown outlet at the Ace Hotel, where you can often find Evan sipping coffee and sketching, to chat about all things sweet and vegan, and so I could score some danish.
KH: When did you become vegan and why?
EM: I became vegan when I was 14 and had been vegetarian since I was 12, for ethical reasons, after my sister showed me Meet Your Meat.
KH: Yup, that would do it. I dare anyone to try and eat meat after seeing that one. I know you lived in a few different cities and have also traveled a lot. What do you think is the best vegan city in the world?
EM: I think that the best vegan city in the world is too hard to say. Portland is amazing. I have spent lots of time there. Vancouver has a lot of vegan-friendly places too. Here in New York there are so many incredible places. I actually have dreams of the amazing sweet potato BBQ tempeh sandwich from Candle Café.
The Artist: One of Evan’s amazing drawings
KH: I can’t tell you how much I love your danish and banana bread. How did you start baking?
EM: I started baking right before I went vegan. My mom is an amazing baker, used to have her own baking business, was a head chef, went to culinary school, and baked ALL the time when I was growing up. One day after school I decided to help out and the next thing I knew I was trying to make perfect banana bread, and have been every day after school in 9th grade! After becoming vegan, I discovered the Post Punk Kitchen [author’s note: the ppk forum happens to contain some of the best food porn ever!]. It was suddenly cool to be baking and be vegan. Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World came out and I made every single cupcake in less than two months and started my baking blog. I realized how crappy most vegan baked goods were so I started selling my own at craft fairs in Vancouver. Soon I had a local following. When I moved to New York I did the same thing and developed a following here. The danish thing happened when I experimented with a friend’s recipe. Vegans and non-vegans both approved so that’s kind of how the business started.
The Baker: Evan’s Famous Danish and Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
KH: I hear your baked goods were featured in VegNews too. Congrats! So tell me, Evan, given that you are up to your eyeballs in vegan goodness most of the time, what is the Best Vegan Thing you have ever eaten?
EM: The Best Vegan Thing I Ever Ate was the peanut butter parfait from Native Foods in Southern California. It is a parfait made of amazing peanut butter mousse, “boogie bar” chunks, and chocolate chips. The “boogie bars” are banana bread with coconut, almonds, and oats and chocolate chips, peanut butter and slivered almonds on top…OMG. And you know how much I love banana bread!
KH: That sounds amazing! I love Native Foods. The chef, Tanya, is genius. Please tell me you got the recipe!
EM: I did some experimenting and recreated it myself and can share it with you if you want.
KH: Duh. Seriously, I would be honored to share it with my readers. Before we go, tell me how we can buy your baked goods?
EM: You can buy danish, banana bread, and other things directly from me if you are in the NYC area. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me for more info and specials at 646 918 3772.
The Assembled Parfait
Peanut Butter Parfait Recipe
Peanut Butter Mousse
Blend tofu and peanut butter in blender/food processor until ridiculously smooth, scraping down sides. Add cream cheese and blend. Add agave, sugar, and vanilla, keep blending and scraping. Add soymilk until it’s a bit thinner consistency but still a rich, thick pudding/mousse. For the ‘boogie bars’, you can make the ones from the Native Foods cookbook, or just use a regular banana bread recipe and add some of the extras. You can also buy it from me! To assemble, layer banana bread or boogie bar chunks with the peanut butter mousse and top with chocolate chips, granola, banana slices and whatever else you like.
Kathryn Hostettler is a social work graduate student, pet nanny, animal advocate, and unabashed food porn addict. She volunteers for Rogers’ Rescues, a virtual dog rescue group located in NJ and PA.
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