Vegans often find themselves out of the loop come barbecue season, when carnivores are too busy filling their faces with charred flesh to pay any mind to the grazers and their sad, soggy plates of macaroni salad. That's just not right, says the folks on The Vegan Bus ï¿½ that's why they're making a trip from Northampton, Massachusetts to Clark Park this Fourth of July.
The Vegan Bus is a two-year-old program founded by Derek Goodwin and a rotating collective of activists, performers and speakers, all of whom use art and entertainment to expose a compassionate vegan lifestyle to a national audience. They're managing all this while puttering around the country in a school bus powered by waste vegetable oil.
All money that the group raises at its events is used to expand the org, and though they don't officially have non-profit status just yet, theyï¿½re heading in that direction. "We're actually in the process of becoming a valid organization right now," says Goodwin, "and Philly will host our first big event in helping to get us to that non-profit status."
At the day-long event, the crew will be hanging at West Philly's Clark Park ï¿½ we're invited to bring a picnic blanket, delicious vegetarian grub and a hula hoop or two. The Bus will be handing out samples of burgers, dogs and other fare courtesy of vegetarian company LightLife. The Bus has teamed up with Public Eye Philly and its Kids Club in putting on this event, so much of the stuff theyï¿½re planning will be family-friendly ï¿½ performance activities, art projects, etc.
After the BBQ, the Bus will be heading to Chinatown's New Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant to party with dim sum and drinks alongside Vegan Drinks Philly, a social networking organization dedicated to promoting veganism. Twenty bucks will get you in to the restaurant for dinner, and you can BYO whatever youï¿½d like. (RSVP required; flyer after the jump.) Do the Bus peeps have any special plans for this evening portion of their Independence Day escapade? ï¿½Weï¿½ll have the bus on display for anyone interested in taking a look inside, but weï¿½re mostly excited to just chill out with you Philly people," says Goodwin.
|Click to enlarge
|Photos l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Kohlrabi with its greens sliced off and set aside|
Kohlrabi, a Sputnik-shaped member of the cabbage family, is poised to make a comeback. ï¿½The kohlrabi has a European pedigree, and was a popular vegetable amongst peasants and nobility alike for hundreds ofï¿½ years before falling out of fashion.ï¿½The vegetable is often mistakenly referred to as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, but it has a flavor all its own.
The bright green or pale purple bulbs grow just above ground, with stems and leaves sprouting from multiple points on the bulb. ï¿½ The green and larger bulbs must be peeled before eating raw or cooking, while the purple variety is tender enough, when small, to eat entire.
The flesh is crisp and refreshing, with hints of both broccoli and cabbage.ï¿½ Kohlrabi is only about 19 calories per half-cup and rich in dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C and folic acid.
Once peeled, the bulb can be sliced or grated to eat raw in salads or included on a vegetable tray.ï¿½ For a heartier snack, the flesh can be julienned and simply boiled for two minutes, then tossed with sea salt and a small pat of butter for healthy kohlrabi fries.ï¿½ The washed greens can be blanched and sautï¿½ed like you would prepare swiss chard. Look for the standout vegetable at farmer's markets right now.
Super simple method in pictures, after the jump.
|Peel the bulb with a sharp paring knife|
|Slice as you would french fries|
|Boil until al dente; serve with sea salt and butter|
|All photos l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Toasted cheese on naan with fried mint leaves.|
When eating NOW is my first priority, I beeline to the staples I always keep on hand ï¿½ Locatelli pecorino-romano cheese, butter or olive oil and bread. Unlike a grilled cheese, which is a serious meal, this little toasted, open-faced snack is luxurious but doesn't require three hours at the gym after you've eaten it.
Here I utilize a weird method ï¿½ applying a grated hard cheese (pecorino-romano) directly to the surface of a hot, non-stick pan, then topping the cheese with a single piece of bread. My favorite is Trader Joe's garam masala naan, a lightly spiced flat bread that is cheap and freezes well. You can use any sort of bread or bread-like product here, as long as it is flat: half of a roll, a pita, a slice of Wonder, a slice of a baguette, even a big cracker ï¿½ they all work.
The cheese layer gets lightly toasted and crisp and forms a beautifully salty crust atop the warm bread. I fried a few mint leaves in the residual fat to top mine up, but you can add anything that looks tasty. This toasted cheese snack is the platform to build lunch upon, or just to keep you going when you only have three minutes to ingest calories and go.
Super easy method and how-to photos, after the jump.
Basic Toasted Cheese
Go Get This:
One slice bread of choice
One tsp. butter or olive oil
2 or 3 tbsp. pecorino-romano or other very hard, grated cheese
Now Do This:
Heat a sautï¿½ or frying pan over medium heat. Add butter or oil; if it sizzles but does not burn, the temperature is right.
Sprinkle cheese directly on pan in the rough shape of your piece of bread. Allow to set for 10 seconds or so, then press slice of bread directly on top of cheese.
Leave it alone for two minutes, then oh-so-gently flip over with a spatula. If cheese is golden and crisply toasted, it's done. Let the un-cheesed side crisp for thirty seconds in the hot pan, then remove from heat.
Garnish with whatever you want (herbs are nice) or not. Eat hot, right away. Feel impressed with yourself for turning three ingredients into such a stylish snack.
Dudes from the band Thursday attack a
The cakes, bombs and confections of Vegan Treats are available in more than 100 cafï¿½s and restaurants ranging from New York City to D.C. and Virginia; most are consumed by regular folk whose animal ethics extend to dessert. But among the rank-and-file are star-powered vegans who flock to baker Danielle Konya's shop in Bethlehem to stock up on their cruelty-free favorites.
Scope the boldface names with sweet, vegan teeth: Alicia Silverstone, Daryl Hannah, Joan Jett, Rory Freedman, presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, The Beastie Boys, Moby, AFI, Bayside, Kathleen Hannah (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) and H20.
Derek Grant of Alkaline Trio gets so down with Vegan Treats that he composed an ode to devouring cakes/jingle for Danielle. Hear it on AltPress.com here.
And visit Danielle's sick new Web site, vegantreats.com.
PREVIOUSLY: Vegan Sweetheart: Baker Danielle Konya [17mar09]
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Really, there are dozens of things you can do with the infinitely variable preparation of corn salad. Just grill the ears in their husks for a few minutes (to keep things crispy) and then shuck under cold running water. Stand the ears up vertically in a mixing bowl, and slice off the kernels with a sharp knife using a smooth downward motion. If you ever had braces and corn on the cob was verboten, you remember this action.ï¿½ Once the kernels are off the cobs, mix in whatever is living in the fridge and suits your fancy. Chop everything into a quarter-inch dice for ease of eating with a big 'ol spoon. Examples:
- Roasted or raw red peppers, red onions and basil; toss with a sprinkle of red wine vinaigrette
- Raw fennel and fennel tops, grilled red and Vidalia onions, mint and a few radishes; juice of one grapefruit (pictured above)
- Diced jalapenos or serranos for heat, cilantro, tomato and Mexican tarragon
- Asparagus rounds, sweet peas, arugula, more radishes, flat-leaf parsley and the juice of two oranges
And so on and so forth! The crew at Greensgrow Farm in Kenzo makes a soon-to-be-famous corn salad that features some lovely local dried blueberries; you can incorporate anything you want. Then it's time to work that corn salad into a plethora of warm-weather dishes.
- Bury a veggie or carnivore fajita or taco in the cool salad
- Heap the warm salad on grilled or broiled fish
- Fortify a pile of mixed greens ï¿½ arugula, butter lettuces, friseï¿½, spinach ï¿½ with your mix
- Sautï¿½ the corn mixture and make a quiche or frittata for breakfast
- Pump up a cornbread or corn muffin mix with the real stuff
With fresh, local ears so cheap ï¿½ $2 for six just yesterday at Acme ï¿½ you must scoop up this quintessential summer taste.
|Radishes are rich in vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, fiber and vitamin B6.|
Emmy Award-winning host of Christina Cooks and nutrition expert Christina Pirello's latest book, This Crazy Vegan Life (Penguin Group, 2008), is packed with more than 100 recipes based on fresh plant ingredients, offering a road map for those eliminating or reducing meat, fish and dairy in their diet.
The bounty of Pennsylvania and New Jersey's farmland is pouring into the city right now, making it even easier to fill your plate with locally grown, nutrient-dense and seriously sexy produce. Pirello celebrates this most wonderful time of the year and complements her book with a seasonal guide to shopping farmers' markets, shared after the jump.
Get to your favorite market now for bright organic strawberries, healthful chives, sweet peas and just-picked spinach ï¿½ peep Pat Rapa's May 6 cover story The Freshmakers for a completely handy 2009 Philly farmer's market guide.
Click through for Pirello's spring-early summer picks for wild flavor and good health.
Christina Pirelloï¿½s Farmersï¿½ Market Shopping List
This is a special time of year, one that is even more near and dear to my heart than Christmas: the season of farmersï¿½ markets. ï¿½We are especially lucky in this region of the country, where we are surrounded by some of the most lush and abundant farm land in the nation.
So why should you be shopping at a farm market? A better question is, why wouldnï¿½t you?
I know what youï¿½re thinking: ï¿½In these economic times, can we afford to be elitist and run off to the oh-so-trendy outdoor market for designer veggies?ï¿½ In these economic times, you canï¿½t afford not to buy local. ï¿½One of the biggest misconceptions about farm markets is that they are unaffordable and only for foodies. And while you will see latte-sipping chic urban types strolling around eating freshly baked croissants, most of what you will experience at the market are local farmers and shoppers looking to create synergy between the city experience of food and the rural production of it.
Farm markets offer the best bang for your buck on many levels. With truly fresh produce (like, picked this morning fresh) at truly affordable prices, the local outdoor market gives you the chance to experience food on another level. Since itï¿½s so fresh, the flavors are off the charts and the nutrients are at their most dense. Perhaps best of all, you get to connect with the person responsible for growing your food. You create relationships when you shop regularly at a farm market, building a sense of community.
But if nutrients are all you care about, well, the market is still for you. Check out these incredible powerhouses of nutrition, all available at your local farmersï¿½ market right now!
With 134 calories in a whole cup of peas, these seasonal beauties are delicious examples of why we eat veggies. A great source of calcium (43% of your daily requirements!), potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, fresh peas contribute fiber to our diets, folic acid for strong blood and immune-boosting vitamins A, C and K for all you antioxidant lovers out there.
This antioxidant-rich tender green is an amazing source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as calcium, iron and protein (Yes, protein!). With only 7 calories per 30 grams of baby spinach, this is green you can binge on until your heartï¿½s content. Satisfying and nutritious, baby spinach will keep you sated and never land on your hips.
Just a garnish, you say? Not so fast. With just one calorie in each tablespoon, chives are dense with essential nutrients and can do so much more than just make a dish look lovely. A rich source of niacin and thiamine, which help to regulate metabolism, this delicate herb can aid in the battle of the bulge ï¿½ so pile them on. Oh, and the vitamins (A, K, C, B6), as well as calcium, iron and folate, make them all the more beautiful ï¿½ you, too!
Not just the colorful bits in a salad, radishes offer great nutrition. With 16 calories in a cup, radishes are jam-packed with nutrients like vitamin C and folate, both essential to strong red blood. Great sources of fiber and riboflavin, radishes help to regulate digestion, particularly of fatsï¿½ Meanwhile, vitamin B6 levels off your nervous system making you (and everyone around you) less stressed and happier.
Baby Bok Choy
Part of the cabbage family, these sweet and tender beauties are not only delicious, but are one of the greatest anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. And since they contain the cancer-fighting compounds common to other cruciferous veggies, as well as beta carotene and calcium, can you think of a reason not to add them to your veggie repertoire?
With a harvest season that can seem like just minutes, when you see local strawberries at a farm market, grab them ï¿½ especially if they are not sprayed or are organic! Their sweet-tart flavor is just one bit of their allure. With only 49 calories in a cup, these vitamin C-rich berries give us all the immune-boosting power we need, in a delicious way. A great source of fiber, magnesium and potassium, strawberries go a long way towards helping us feel balanced. And once you have tried locally grown, youï¿½ll understand: they are worlds away from the flat-tasting, out of season, ripened-under-grow-lights versions you find at the supermarket.
I know, I knowï¿½seriously, turnips? Yup. A member of the cruciferous family, turnips are cancer-fighting powerhouses with a mild flavor that lends itself to roasting or braising, not to mention boiling, perhaps to add to a potato salad. This time of year, you can get turnips as Mother Nature intended, with their tops intact, and get the added benefit of the vitamin C in those bright green leaves. In natural medicine, turnips are used to help lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar, as well as cardiovascular disease. ï¿½Are you still rolling your eyes?
The epitome of summer, lettuce is more than the delicate leaves that serve as the base of your salad. ï¿½Low in calories (try eight per cup) and high in fiber, folate, vitamins C and K and lutein for eye health, romaine lettuce aids in digestion and is said to aid in prevention of heart disease, stroke and even cataracts ï¿½ helping you see your salad in a whole new light.
Local, Whole Grain Breads
There is nothing like freshly baked artisan bread, and most farm markets include a local baker. Look for the loaves that are dark in color and made from whole grain flours, nuts and seeds. ï¿½High in digestible iron, bread is more than just fun to eat. Whole grain breads provide fiber, antioxidants, protein, essential amino acids and other nutrients. And since these were baked by a local artisanal baker, you wonï¿½t find anything in your bread that you canï¿½t pronounce (and certainly wouldnï¿½t want to eat!).
Collected from a wide variety of flowers, honey is an ingredient that has more than yummy flavor going for it. Being a bit lower in calories than white sugar and not turning to fat in the body in the same way, honey is not as damaging to your waistline as other sweeteners. Used as a digestive aid and to relieve respiratory irritations, honey also has antibacterial properties. It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, aiding in oral health. It even has antiseptic qualities, making it a great way to treat minor burns and scratches. A rich source of iron, honey is used in many cultures to treat anemia. Finally, because it comes from flowers, it can be effective in calming allergy symptoms. ï¿½And you thought it was just delicious!
ï¿½ Hey, who says you canï¿½t eat your way to health?
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Traditional white gazpacho with green grapes|
Say gazpacho and immediately think tomato. Say white gazpacho, the Andalucian purï¿½e of olive oil, almonds and garlic, and think again.
This Spanish soup is a traditional summer starter course, served in restaurants fancy and humble all over Andalucia. Also called ajo blanco, the smooth soup is an easy purï¿½e of blanched almonds, raw garlic and green grapes. The chilled, finished product is shockingly refreshing, yielding spoonfuls more flavor than its milky white appearance suggests.
The major flavors here are clean and simple: sweetness from the grapes, earthy nuttiness from the blanched almonds and a bite from the garlic. If you can find locally grown garlic, by all means use it, as it has a less sharp flavor than commercial bulbs from Cali.
I've tried several recipes for white gazpacho, with mixed results. Starting with just one clove of garlic is recommended ï¿½ it can become a powerful element.
Searching "white gazpacho recipe" on Google turns up 54,200 matches. I filtered for you.
The Good: The best recipe (flavor, ease, good instructions) was adapted by Sean of San Francisco's Hedonia blog. His tips are way useful, and his ajo blanco is supreme.
The Bad: I don't know why I didn't look at the URL of this terrible, one-dimensional recipe. It should have tipped me off immediately.
The Complicated: Bobby Flay adds all kinds of luxe ingredients to his version, including verjus and walnut oil.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Firing up the grill marks the transition between changeable, windy spring and the warm, outdoor-eating nights of summer. At my house, it also means throwing all kinds of things onto the grill inï¿½ char-broil experiments. Pizza, chicken thighs and fruit all cook well on the high heat.
Grilling sweet melon is as unnecessary as it is tasty. The stuff tastes great on its own, but caramelizing the surface sugars amplifies the sweetness of an underripe fruit and amplifies the juicy texture. The grilled melon can then be combined with other fresh fruits and vegetables for a summer salad, purï¿½ed into a chilled soup and garnished with crï¿½me fraï¿½che for a light dessert, or wrapped in prosciutto for a twist on the traditional Italian starter.
To prepare, slice the melon in half and scoop out the seeds. With the cut side down, cut away the skin and green layer of the fruit with a sharp knife. Slice the skinned half-melon into 1/4- or 1/2-inch slices. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high and brush lightly with vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick grilling spray. Grill each side of the melon until dark brown grill marks form and the fruit is softened slightly, two minutes on each side.
Chop the melon into chunks and mix with sliced cucumbers, Belgian endive and sliced fennel for a unique salad. Dress with lime juice and a bit of cayenne pepper. For a dessert, serve the whole slices topped with vanilla ice cream, or purï¿½e the grilled melons and place in a shallow pan in the freezer for an hour. Scrape the mostly frozen mixture with a flat spoon to create a chilly granita. Layer the granita with whipped cream for a parfait.
|Blackfish Stone Harbor|
As we speak, the staff at Blackfish Stone Harbor is preparing to open for the frenzied summer season down the Shore. Chef and owner Chip Roman has taken over the former Henny's Cafï¿½ waterfront space in the swank resort town, transformed by Stokes Architechture (Buddakan, Continental Mid-town) into a 5,000-square-foot restaurant seating 200. On Saturday, May 9 they will swing open their doors to lure the Lily Pulitzer locals away from the fried flounder and broiled scallops that comprise standard Shore dining.
Like Blackfish in Conshohocken, Roman's menu will play with progressive American dishes, and put the ample local produce and fresh seafood to good use. Think Cape May Salts oysters with carbonated Meyer lemon, watermelon and pink peppercorn for small plates; a bouillabaisse of seasonal fish with saffron broth, crusty bread and rouille for entrï¿½es. Lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and late-night menus will be served. Accompanying the fare will be a specialty cocktail list featuring this year's Philly-come-lately drink trend, vintage cocktails.ï¿½ Moore Brothers Wine Company has created a wine list emphasizing values from small, family operations in Europe and California.
If you can't make it to the beach just yet, Roman has shared his recipe for Chilled English Pea soup exclusively with Meal Ticket. The simple recipe embodies the best qualities of summer cooking ï¿½ no heat is required, the flavors are clean and fresh and the vibrant green soup is impressive-looking enough to serve to your most discerning company.ï¿½ Recipe after the jump.
Look for photos of the brand-new Blackfish Stone Harbor this Monday on Meal Ticket.
Blackfish Stone Harbor, 9628 Third Ave., Stone Harbor, N.J., 609-967-9100,ï¿½ blackfishrestaurant.com.
Chilled English Pea Soup
Chip Roman, Blackfish Stone Harbor
2 Cup frozen English peas (petite pois peas are best)
2 Cup vegetable stock
Dash Salt and pepper
1Tsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tblsp crï¿½me fraï¿½che (available at Whole Foods)
Lemon oil for garnish (available at Whole Foods)
4 Snow pea shoots for garnish
Blend peas with vegetable stock (use vita prep or blender)
Add salt, pepper, crï¿½me fraï¿½che and balsamic vinegar
Pass through fine strainer or chinois
Let sit in refrigerator for 2 hours until flavors blend (should be an Intense green color)
Adjust seasoning to taste
Serve in bowl and garnish with drops of lemon oil and pea tops or snow pea shoots
When Benna's Cafï¿½ and B2 owner Nancy Trachtenberg needed to source locally made, gluten-free snacks for her coffee shops, she clicked her way through the top gluten-free hits on Google. "Mr. Ritt's Bakery on Passyunk Ave. used to be the place to go for wheat-free baked goods," Trachtenberg said, "but they moved to New Jersey and I figured there had to be something made locally." Enter Sweet Christine's Gluten-Free Confections, owned by a mother of three who was diagnosed with celiac disease after a long journey of misdiagnosis and mystery.
Once Christine Ruggio knew she had celiac disease and needed to avoid gluten completely, she began tasting gluten-free cookies on the market and was sorely disappointed in their taste and texture. Knowing her children couldn't live without Mom's chocolate-chip cookies, Ruggio set out to make delicious treats that everyone could enjoy. In March of 2008 she opened her brick-and-mortar bakery in Kennett Square, while providing gluten-free muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes, pizza crusts, sandwich bread and pizzelles to wholesale accounts from cafï¿½s to hospitals.
Rice, potato and tapioca flour substitute for wheat in Ruggio's sweets. Her blueberry and flax muffins, sugar and oatmeal raisin cookies as well as vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (individually wrapped to avoid contamination) are now available at Benna's Cafï¿½ and B2. Trachtenberg noted that if the demand was there, she would expand into carrying Christine's gluten-free baguettes for sandwiches.
Visit Sweet Christine's Web site for more information: sweetchristinesglutenfree.com
Benna's Cafï¿½, 1236 S. Eighth St., 215-334-1502, bennascafe.com
B2, 1500 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-5520
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