Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Veganism From a Medieval Arab Poet

I just saw this beautiful poem on Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach site.   I had to share as posted.

A reader sent me the following, written by medieval Arab poet Abu ‘L’Ala Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah al-Ma’arri, known as Al-Ma’arri. He was born in 973 and died in 1057. He was blind. The translation was obtained from here.

I No Longer Steal from Nature

You are diseased in understanding and religion.

Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.

Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,

And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,

Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught

for their young, not noble ladies.

And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;

for injustice is the worst of crimes.

And spare the honey which the bees get industriously

from the flowers of fragrant plants;

For they did not store it that it might belong to others,

Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.

I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I

Perceived my way before my hair went gray!

 - Al-Ma’arri

I thank the person who sent it and I share it with you as I regard it as most inspiring.
If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet.

But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Gathering

We're busy planning our menu for Thanksgiving and this year we are having the following:

Celebration Roast

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sage Stuffing

Green Salad

Pumpkin-Garlic Rolls

Onion Gravy

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Vanilla Ice Cream

Lavender-Mint Ice Cream

Now who's hungry???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

VeganMoFo: Dinner and Breakfast in a Snap

I've been kind of slack about keeping up with my Vegan Month of Food posts, but here are two quick meal ideas that are perfect for when you want something comforting. 

Hopefully you are making stock, so when you want some good warming soup, you can defrost a few containers, saute up some veggies and throw in the pasta.  Here I diced up carrots, onions, leeks and tomatoes.  I then cooked them until soft in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, as well as a bit of Braggs.  I then added enough stock to cover the veggies well (make it as soupy or chunky as you like, you can always add some water) and about a cup of pasta.  Cook until the pasta is soft and you are done.

Breakfast can be a pain too. Of course, I love cereal, but on the weekends, I like a hot breakfast.  We always have oatmeal in the house so that's easy to whip up, but I ran out of my favorite topping of chopped dates.  So I added a more seasonal ingredient - apples and walnuts!

I sauteed the chopped and peeled apples and chopped walnuts in a bit of EarthBalance, ground cinnamon, brown sugar and maple syrup until the apples are soft.  Add the hot apple and sugar mixture to your cooked oatmeal and you have a delicious warm and filling breakfast.  Plus you can make extra and microwave individual portions for a fast breakfast.  Don't buy instant!

There you go!

This recipe is a part of:

Meet Turkeys, Don't Eat Turkeys!

We did this last year, and I'm happy to say we are participating again.   Farm Sanctuary does amazing work, and in honor of Jake, Meg and Gertie, we're sponsoring two turkeys this year.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity and for what they do to help animals.

Turkeys are cruelly abused for our "celebration" each year and as the caretaker of one of these gentle souls, I can't image the horror millions of turkeys go through, just to be a centerpiece on our table.

You can see the aftermath on the bodies of some of the animals that have come to the Farm.  Beaks cut and their snoods sliced off (without any care or anesthesia) as well as feet and toes docked.  Not to mention the day to day conditions they are bred into and forced to live in.

Here are our new adopted friends - Jordan and Kima. 

Jordan reminds me of our Jake and Kima looks like a sweetheart.

This year consider creating a new tradition and have a true Thanksgiving - spare the lives by taking animals out of your meal and then adopt a rescued animal at Farm Sanctuary (or donate to your favorite shelter or rescue group!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends: Miss Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Do you know what a Whoopie Pie is?

I actually had not heard this term until recently because it seems to be regionally New England with Amish origins.  According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in farmers' lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout "Whoopie!"

I would be in agreement with them, because the first time I tasted one from the Menonite farmers at our farmers market, I was hooked.  Soft cake sandwiching a sweet frosting filling.  Not as pretty as a cupcake but, in many ways, I think better tasting and easier to eat.

Traditionally you will find whoopie pies in chocolate, oatmeal or pumpkin.  Mostly with a white sugar frosting center but sometimes with a creme cheese frosting filling. I've also been seeing red velvet cake versions too.  These cakes are firmer than a yellow cake so they hold up to sandwiching.

Pumpkin is my favorite though. Since the sugar pumpkins have been coming in, I've made these twice. I think it is very important to use your own roasted pumpkin over canned.  The results, no matter what you are making with it, are going to be incrementally better.

Roast your pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and puree it (you can do this in advance).


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh gound nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 Cups brown sugar (I do a mix of light and dark)
1 Cup canola oil
2 egg replacers (I use Ener-G brand)*
2 Cups pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract

*Note: No matter if you cook vegan or not, you should have a box of this on hand. Besides the obvious cruelty issues, eggs spoil and having a box of this on hand ensures you will have all the ingredients you need when baking.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a large mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg replacer (mixed separately first, according to the box instructions), pumpkin and vanilla extract. 

Add wet ingredients to the dry and combine until well mixed.  Drop by rounded tablespoons, not too close together, on a parchment paper lined (ideal) or greased baking sheet.  You should have enough for about 24 - 30 sets.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly pressed. If you bake on parchement, you can transfer the whole sheet off of the baking sheet and onto wire racks to cool.

When thoroughly cooled, pipe or spoon on a dollop of frosting and sandwhich together.

My frosting of choice for cupcakes, cakes and Whoopie pies is the Wilton icing.  It's pure white so it takes colors perfectly and it's pretty stable. Plus you can make it in advance as well.

Wilton Frosting Ingredients:

1 16oz can of Crisco
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar
2 Tbl Meringue Powder (optional)
Pinch of salt

*Note: you can play with the amounts or add other extract flavors as you choose.  Almond is a good one too.

In a stand mixer (ideally) whip the vegetable shortening with 2 Tbl water until fluffy.  Add in half the powdered sugar, 1 Tbl of meringue powder (if applicable) and 1tsp of extract.  Blend in the mixer until well combined.  Remove from the mixer and add 2nd half of the powdered sugar, 1 Tbl of meringue powder (if applicable), pinch of salt, the other extract and 2 Tbl of water.  Blend on medium speed until well-combined.  You can add more water until the fosting is to the consistency you like for decorating or icing.


This recipe is a part of:

Top image by: Teeny Tiny Turkey
All other images by me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Getting Ready for VeganMoFo

We're going to try and participate in the Vegan Month of Food (tracked as #VeganMoFo on Twitter).  This means we will try to post at least 20 times during the month of November about vegan food, cooking, baking and more.

We're even in the process of creating an event. If we can get it all organized, we'll be sure to share here.

Let the tasty food begin!

To see the forum of events around the web, check in here.

To see the Vegan Month of Food Flickr pool, go here.