Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cancer vs Concessions

I went to an event today where Relay for Life was a recipient of some of the funds raised.  They had signage all throughout the event but as I was walking around I noticed that there seemed to be a huge disconnect going on.

While the small Relay for Life signs were promoting healthier eating, we were surrounded by fried brownies and sausage sandwiches and meat and fried, well, EVERYTHING!

Not quite a consistent message, huh?

And this is something that bothers me a lot... inconsistency.  A big issue that I have are animal rescue groups who do fundraisers and events where they are serving other animals. It's a connection I never thought about before I was vegan(not that I ate hot dogs and hamburgers, the main items served).

But now it bothers me a lot.  Especially when it's done by groups, groups that I work with, that not only rescue dogs and cats but also rescue cows, goats, chickens and pigs.

I have decided, that as much as want to and do support many of these rescue groups, I will absolutely NOT support them at these events.  I also make a point to tell them WHY I'm not supporting them at their events.

All animals are worthy of rescue and protection.  And those that are working to end animal cruelty and neglect need to adhere to that. They may choose to not be vegan on a personal level but at events they should absolutely be so.

Part of the purpose of these groups is education.  And there are no excuses for not serving vegan food.  There are many commercially available delicious options, including non-animal-based hot dogs and hamburgers.  Not only will you be exposing people to healthy tasty food, you will not be alienating your strongest supporters... those who have incorporated animal welfare into their entire lives.

This post is going to be a part of my response to these groups from now on.  This is a call to action!  Live according to what your mission is all about! 

Compassion for ALL ANIMALS!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends: Miss Oktoberfest Soft Pretzels

Eating giant soft pretzels at Oktoberfest is part of the fun annual tradition.  When we opened our new pub, we didn't want to miss out on this delicious treat.

The great thing is that, like most breads, these pretzels* are basically vegan-friendly already!

I whipped up a double batch and made them a bit smaller for easy mustard dunking.


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups

2 ounces EarthBalance (half a stick), melted

Vegetable oil, for pan

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

Pretzel or kosher salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and melted EarthBalance and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (I have even let it sit twice as long with no adverse effect).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil or use a Sil-pat. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 or 16 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel lightly with vegetable oil sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

These keep well overnight.  If they seem a bit soft the next day, just pop them in a low oven to recrisp.  You can brush with oil and sprinkle with salt again as well.

These pretzels go great with beer or as a snack.

We love them with Lusty Monk mustards...


*recipe adapted from Alton Brown via Food Network online