Monday, April 25, 2011

Cooking With Compassion Over Killing

Pine Nut And Basil Seared Gardein "Chicken" Over A Bed Of Brown Basmati Rice And Gingered Kale
     I'm a fan of crusting things. It's just an excellent idea to put a little oompf into your entree. This recipe comes from Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook. I've looked over his cookbook at the bookstore, but it's mainly ways to fancy up gardein so I've never bought it. One of my favorite animal rights group, Compassion Over Killing, posted the above recipe in their Winter 2010 magazine (scroll down to page 13 for the recipe) so I decided to try it. Overall, I wasn't that impressed. The Gardein kept falling apart and the pine nut mixture didn't add that much more flavor than standard bread crumbs. Not to mention that pine nuts aren't cheap something like $20 a pound for organic ones at Whole Foods.
Roasting The Pine Nuts
     Next time I think I would just roughly chop up the nuts, kinda like the macadamia crusted tofu from 30 Minute Vegan. The Kale was excellent; the ginger adds just a nice spice to the amazing green, but like most things involving ginger I would double the ginger called for. It was also featured in this post so I'll keep it short.
 Compassion Over Killing 
     From undercover investigations to vegan outreach, Compassion Over Killing is one of, if not my favorite animal rights organization. They realize that more animals die from food production than any other animal abuse industry so they target animal agribusiness. Not only that but they work to get more vegan options at both local restaurants and national ones. Currently, they have a campaign to get Dunking Donuts to start offering a vegan donut and asking Subway to carry Tofuerky slices. How cool would those be! But really what makes me love COK is their award winning commercials promoting a vegetarian lifestyle. I remember when I first moved out here, I saw one on MTV and the next day wrote a big check (for a student) to continue the campaign. Here is one of their commercials and if you want to help the campaign, check it out here, just choose the pro veg ads in the program drop down box.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Desserts in the Deseret: Cakewalk Baking Company and Grocery

Cookie, Peanut and Jimmie Chocolate-Coated Caramel Apple
     If there was ever a perfect example to buy local; it would be Cakewalk Baking Company and Grocery. Walk inside and find the photos from Vegan Athletes events, which the owner, Kelly Green, is the mastermind behind, or the pictures of rescued animals she sponsors from Ching Farm Sanctuary. She delivered a cake that helped stop a planned training exercise on cats at a local hospital.  There was a new vegans potluck to help people who wanted to make the transition to become vegan for the New Year. Not to mention that's she been behind some of the best fundraisers I've been to; a pizza party to help with court costs for jailed local animal rights activists and a Star Wars themed event for Haiti (complete with a cotton candy machine!). It's clear Kelly and Cakewalk are an asset to the community, and I still haven't mentioned how good the desserts are. ***UPDATE*** Cakewalk has been nominated for the best vegan bakery in the country in Veg News' 2011 Veggie Awards. Please vote for them and be entered for great prizes, like a vegan cruise! Vote HERE until 8/31.
 Xmas Tree Marshmallow Treat
     Well, besides the good deeds, Cakewalk is THE BEST bakery West of the Mississippi. (In case you're wondering, East of the Mississippi goes to Vegan Treats.) The secret is out too. Cakewalk just won best "desserts and sweets" in . Her treats have been featured in Vegnews, Vegetarian Journal, KUTV (2News), and the already mentioned, City Weekly. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but I'll just let the pictures I've collected speak the rest, though I don't remember the exact names.
     The best bet is to friend them on facebook to get the scoop on what treats are in. Just one more secret, Cakewalk really shines on holidays. She puts together gift boxes as well as special treats, like the xmas tree marshmallow treat above. Oh, and you're in luck. There is an Easter Gift Box that I'll post below, but hurry orders and prepayment need to be in by Monday April 18. She will ship them, too. For those of you outside the Beehive State, there is a list of places that stock Cakewalk treats. From Vegan Essentials to Food Fight, you can get a tasty treat with a click of the mouse (and a credit card).
     Oh, one last thing. Cakewalk was the victim of two robberies so the community is rallying to help replace stolen items. It's a bar quiz called Geeks Who Drink on May 3rd at A Bar Name Sue. If you can't make it consider going in for a treat or order a gift box. here is the facebook event and flyer.
Soy Nog Ice Cream
     I'm not going to say much about the pictures other than to say all were delcious, but this one deserves special mention. Not only does Cakewalk have excellent desserts, but they also, wait for it, have a soft serve ice cream machine. The flavors vary so check which one is in. Oh, they just got a new milkshake machine in. I had a cupcake milkshake that rocked my socks off. I've also had a butterfinger milkshake for my birthday. They do root beer floats, sundaes and I think banana splits. Just be sure to ask for JIMMIES, not sprinkles. Oh, about the picture this was one of the best ice creams I've ever had (Right behind the cake batter ice cream from Lula's Sweet Apothecary. I'll be posting my version shortly.) Let's hope they make some for summer.
Chocolate Covered Dillo
     That's right. Twinkies just like when you were a kid. They come in naked (plain), chocolate coated, raspberry, and ding dillos (chocolate cake with chocolate coating). She's done some other flavors depending on the holiday, so be sure to check in. I used to think that was my favorite dessert until I met the eclair, which is one of the best vegan desserts I've had in my life. I've transported them across state lines to bring them to friends. Not matter what be sure to try an eclair. I think I've eaten them too quick to get a photo so you'll have to use your imagination.
Mexican Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Mousse Filling
Creme Puff
King Cake
Triple Layer Cake with Lemon and Raspberry Layers (THE BEST cake I've ever had)
Lemon Filled Snowball Cupcake
Lemon Buttercream Confetti Cupcake with JIMMIES

Cakewalk Vegan Bakery and Grocery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rocking The Shamrock Shake.

Shamrock Shake For One
     Okay, I've mentioned these several times and each time I get a blank stare. I remember these shakes from being a little kid and thinking McDonald's was good food. These are limited edition shakes that would only appear on St. Patrick's Day. Maybe I just have a sweet tooth, but I remember most awesome desserts. So when I saw this recipe, I had childhood memories dance in my head. The recipe is excellent. The only trouble is that I was the only excited for one. Am I the only person who likes mint? 
     The recipe comes from, but since I had to reduce the recipe for just myself, I'll post for those fraction challenged, like myself. Shamrock shake for one: take two parts shamrocks to one leprechaun and then blend. viola! okay, now for the real recipe:
Vegan Shamrock Shake For One
1 1/2 cups of vegan vanilla ice cream ( I used So Delicious Creamy Vanilla)
1/2 cup + 6 tablespoons vanilla soymilk (I used Whole Foods 365, made from U.S. grown soy!)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used Simply Organic)
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or organic fair trade sugar, I just happened to have agave)
soy whipped topping (I used  Soyatoo)
3-4 drops of green food coloring (optional, but not really because everyone knows green tastes better)
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

combine ingredients, except the soy whipped topping and mint leaves, and then blend. top with soy whipped cream, sprinkle colored green sugar and two mint leaves. enjoy! 

     I think I would make this again, but maybe lessen the soymilk because I like my shakes thick. Let me know what you think.