February 21, 2008


Just as my sister is preparing to potentially get back on her vegan wagon, I am preparing to, in a limited, guarded, hesitant way, get off of mine or at least stick a toe over the edge.


I've been dreaming about omelets for months. My roommates are both big egg-eaters, and every time I walk through the kitchen and smell delicious delicious fried eggs I have to send myself to my room to Google "battery cages" until I remember why I can't have any. I'm worried that if I keep doing this I will start to get Pavlovian associations between tasty egg smell and horrifying chicken pictures.

But eggs! One of the grad students in my department has taken pity after months of listening to my cholesterol yearnings. She will be hosting a group of happy chickens in her backyard this year and she has promised to supply me with happy chicken eggs! It does not get better than this: not only do I know that fuzzy animals are receiving the benevolent attention of a trustworthy hippie person, I get to eat the delicious direct result! I-the-vegan-who-dearly-hopes-someday-to-stop-being-vegan welcome this development with a fervor I could not possibly put into words.

I have to find some appropriate way to pay her back, but my brain has been derailed by the magnitude of my eggy desire and I can't think of anything except what I'm going to put them in. Omelets. Fried egg sandwiches. French toast, which is one of the few things in the world that are really, legitimately, fucking difficult to make vegan. Meringue? Souffles? My family's admittedly strange recipe for puffy microwaved fried eggs that are soft and nice when you are sick? Eggs and I together make a world without limits!

Also, my egg supplier (egg dealer? egg connection? egg pusher?) has informed me of something I totally did not know, which is that my local plant nursery not only keeps and deals chickens but even holds workshops on urban chickenry. I'm planning to go to one, because a) my owning roommate has mentioned a vague hope to keep chickens in our own backyard at some point and b) a workshop should provide enough time for me to sneak up on a chicken and pet it.


Posted by dianna at 06:00 PM

January 31, 2008

The slightly deranged vegan chef presents: Wait, What?

I'm having a phenomenal week for extemporaneous cooking. Last week I finally got terminally sick of frozen tamales and started forcing myself to actually cook again, thanks to which I have two new recipes to present to you: Walnut-Chard Risotto and Bloody Amazing Sweet Potato Curry.


If you're not already aware, please consider the fact that risotto is criminally easy to make. You just get the right kind of rice and then it's a matter of adding veggie broth a little at a time and stirring for a half-hour. So:

1 cup arborio rice
3 tbsp Earth Balance
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
4 cups veggie broth plus 2 cups water
1/4 cup walnuts (or more!), chopped
2-3 large chard leaves, chopped

Heat the broth and water together in a saucepan, and keep them hot on a back burner. Melt a tbsp of the Earth Balance in a shallow pan (really, you do not want the high-sided pot you would normally use for rice) and stir in the rice and garlic. Cook and stir on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes -- when the garlic starts to turn color that's plenty -- then ladle in a cup or so of hot broth. Stir, stir, and keep stirring. When the rice has soaked up most of the liquid, add more and repeat.

Keep adding ladlefuls of hot broth and stirring. Add the walnuts after about 1/3 of the broth has been added, and the chard after about 2/3 of the broth. When the rice is cooked through, stir in a couple more tbsp. of Earth Balance and, if desired, a splash of soymilk. Stir, return to heat briefly if necessary, and snarf.

Bloody Amazing Sweet Potato Curry*

One of my classmates today got so distracted by the smell rising from my leftover serving of this that instead of talking about our parks project we wound up talking about what spices I'd used. My powers are strong.

1 medium yam or sweet potato
2x2x4 block of very firm tofu
1/2 bunch, or 3 large leaves, green chard
1 regular can coconut milk (maximum fatness!)
3-4 green onions
canola or olive oil
every spice you own. I'm serious.
garam masala
black pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes

Dice the sweet potato and start it cooking in a tbsp or so of oil in a deepish skillet over medium heat. It doesn't have to get all the way done, just progressing nicely. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch chunks and add it to the skillet. Start dumping spices on top: little pinches of cloves and nutmeg and coriander and pepper flakes, and bigger shakes of ginger and black pepper and salt. Pour on the cinnamon and garam masala and chili powder like it's fucking going out of style.
When the tofu is starting to get those nice little browned edges from the hot pan, chop the chard and add it to the pan. Give it just a minute or so, then pour in the whole can of coconut milk, and chop and add the green onions. Stir everything together and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chard and sweet potato are fully cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste -- I wound up adding more cinnamon (much more!), red pepper flakes, and salt. Serve over jasmine rice. Beware: disrupts the learning process.

*Usage note: if you see the word "curry" and you want to reach for the turmeric, resist! Man, I can't stand that stuff. It's like red wine; sometimes I think it's going to be nice but then I taste it and feel let down for weeks. Anyway, this doesn't need any.

Posted by dianna at 10:15 PM

January 25, 2008

Vegan FST*

*An FST is like an FAQ, but for Frequently Said Things that are not necessarily questions. Also, it doesn't feel obligated to be polite and helpful when the Things are patently stupid or mean, although some of them are perfectly reasonable and the FST strives to acknowledge that. Unfortunately it's written by me and I am a cranky bastard, so its loving reasonableness may get patchy in places. Read at your own risk.

  • "I could never do that." YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT. I have superpowers that you do not possess. I'm glad you recognize this. Actually, you'd be surprised; it's one of those things that gets pretty easy if you just have a reason to care about it.
  • "I tried eating vegan and couldn't make it work for my personal nutritional needs." Neat. I'm glad you tried it and I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. Eat what you need (but, you know, feel free to still eschew the animal products you don't actually need).
  • "I ate only carrots for three weeks and felt like crap, which is a totally appropriate experiment from which to conclude that dietary modifications are unwise." Okay. What the hell were you thinking?
  • "But no see I have proved veganism doesn't work." Truly, you have a dizzying intellect. Or maybe I'm just dizzy from six years on a starvation diet of big well-balanced dinners and lots of cookies. Do I really have to explain to you why your single experience doesn't establish a universal truth about this?
  • "Anyway, I could never give up (X)." Well, that does suck sometimes. I mean, an omelet would be pretty tasty right now. But people go without things they like all the time, for all kinds of health and financial and practical and ethical reasons. This isn't really any different.
  • "I could never give up caffeine/the microwave/wheat/garlic/frozen foods/salt/something else that isn't actually unvegan." It's disturbing to me to think that you may actually believe your microwave runs on tiny ground-up hamsters. Or that the caffeine in your coffee beans (keyword: beans) was squeezed out of some kind of animal. You must feel like you're living in a really gross universe.
  • "You can't be a healthy vegan without lots of artificial supplements!" What do you think those vitamins A & D are doing in your milk, anyway?
  • "Don't you need protein?" Hummus beans tofu nuts soymilk peanut butter seitan tempeh TVP. Totally. I'm a fiend for that shit.
  • "Cows need to be milked!" Okay. If you have a happy cow with a surplus of milk not being used by her calves, you go right ahead and milk. But it is ass-backward to use that to justify the factory dairy industry, and you know it. Or, if you don't know it, please do some research and discover it.
  • "I don't have the time/energy/expertise to cook for myself all the time." Amen to that. I don't either. Who the fuck does? This is why we have frozen tamales and soup-in-a-can. It's also why we live in Portland, where if we're tired and hungry we can just go have a corn dog and a slice of pie at Paradox.
  • "That's a really extreme lifestyle choice. Not the pie, I mean the veganism." Maybe. It depends on where you are and what culture or subculture you operate in, I think. There are places where putting cow milk on your breakfast grains would be considered deeply weird.
  • "We're biologically adapted to eat meat!" Well, yes. We're also adapted to sleep in caves and scavenge abandoned leopard kills. We are adapted for all kinds of things, but that doesn't actually mean they're all mandatory. Some we can, and do, choose to skip.
  • "I know, I know, going vegan would be healthier for me." Not necessarily -- if you live entirely off of junk food from Food Fight, you can have exactly as unbalanced and stupid a diet as anyone else in contemporary America. It's a privilege that I kind of cherish.
  • "I hear vegans never get sick!" I wouldn't bet on it. When they were handing out the super mega resistance to absolutely everything, my immune system was picking its nose in the corner and didn't get any, so I get every damn thing that goes around. YMMV.
  • "But I just love food too much." I totally hate it. That's why I eat three or four meals a day, talk about food constantly, think about it when I'm not talking about it, and own lots of cookbooks with glossy, sexy pictures of delicious foods. Man. Food is lame.
  • "It's too expensive/I'd probably save a lot of money." No it's not/yes it is/no you wouldn't/yeah you might. It depends way more on how expensive your local grocery is and how much you cook from scratch than on whether you're eating meat and dairy.
  • "I only eat vegetarian cows, ha ha, come on, it's funny." Hey, you're right, it is funny! Because actually beef cattle are getting fed all kinds of disgusting animal-based crap and they're not vegetarian at all! Wait, no, that's not funny, that's terrible.
  • "Small animals get caught in plant-harvesting machinery!" Ye-e-es. And people with standard American diets are harming those fuzzy animals too, plus a whole lot more. It's a harm-reduction issue; the effort can be imperfect and still be vastly preferable to the default.
  • "OMG fuzzy animals." Okay, I'm cheating. The imaginary speaker here is totally me. I bought my co-worker a calendar of sleeping puppies today because I just could not resist. OMG, they're fuzzy.
  • "Hey, wait, don't you buy meat cat food?" Yeah. My cat can't meaningfully consent to any health risks involved in me dickering around with her diet, and I'm not confident that I can make her a perfect vegan kitty diet or know how to adjust it if it's not adequate. I'm arguably weighing her life against the lives of other animals, which is unfair, but I've yet to find a better policy.
  • "Do vegans eat honey/sugar/X/Y/Z?" Yes maybe no? There are enough vegans in the world that they get pretty non-unanimous around the edges. I myself get kind of non-unanimous around the edges. Everybody's got a slightly different idea of the boundary between reasonable adherence and total insanity.
  • "Speaking of that boundary, I grow all my own foods and reuse everything and invest a shit-ton of time and labor in all kinds of anti-agribusiness, ecologically-sound awesomeness." I take my hat off to you. I don't suppose you have some happy backyard chickens and want to give me some delicious delicious eggs, do you?
  • "Er, no, sorry." Fuck.
  • "Hey, what about me? I only eat free-range beef. Take your hat off to me too." I did make my own bed with this harm-reduction argument, and so I have to at least give you a nod. But you might be kind of disappointed if you looked into the regulations about free-range livestock; they don't enforce anything close to healthy conditions or minimal suffering.
  • "Enough about that. I made you some vegan cookies. Do you want one?" YES I DO. NOMF NOMF NOMF.
Posted by dianna at 04:36 PM

December 30, 2007

Recipe day!

I. Chai Spice Crumb Cake (a shameless modification of this)

1.5 cups sugar
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan buttery thing)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Ener-G (or other powdered egg replacer)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup soy milk
1 black tea bag
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, powdered ginger

Heat soymilk until steaming (a mug in the microwave works fine), and stick tea bag into it. Add a generous shake of cinnamon (~1/2 tsp), a biggish pinch of cloves, a smallish pinch of nutmeg, and a smallish pinch of ginger. Stir up with a fork and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl or Cuisinart, and cut in Earth Balance to make little crumbs. Scoop out 1 cup of crumb mixture, toss a small pinch of each spice into it, and set aside for topping.

Mix Ener-G and water in a small cup and fork vigorously until lumps are gone. Add it to the tea-y soymilk (first take out the teabag and squeeze to get all the tasty tea flavor), add vanilla, and stir. Pour entire liquid mixture into main crumb mixture, fork until evenly mixed, and pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top, and bake for 45 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Snarf.

I realized while typing this that where I went wrong last night was in completely forgetting the baking powder. So, for the record, if you completely leave out the baking powder, what you get is an extremely dense and kind of doughy but still very delicious cake.

II. Peanut Butter Granola Muesli Breakfast Whatever

You can make this a bowlful at a time, but you can also make a huge batch in a mixer/Hobart/Cuisinart/Robocoupe/whatever. If you use a thing with blades, you should probably start with the big chunky oats because otherwise they'll get ground into powder.

1 cup quick oats (no, don't cook them. what are you thinking?)
1-2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1-2 teaspoons honey, or slightly more maple syrup
small heap of chopped or smashed walnuts
small heap of dried cranberries
1 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp (or more!) cinnamon

Dump oats into a bowl and squish in peanut butter and honey-or-maple-syrup with a spoon, knives, pastry blender, mixer, or whatever you please. When you have smallish crumbly tasty-looking gooey oat clustery things, add walnuts, cranberries, flax seeds, and cinnamon, and mix. Then pour soymilk over it and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

For a huge batch I use something like: a medium canister o' oats, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 2-3 tbsp honey, 3/4 cup walnuts, 3/4 cup cranberries, 3 tbsp flax seeds, and I just stand around shaking the little cinnamon shaker until I'm sick of it. It all goes in the stand mixer and then I eat half of it at once.

Posted by dianna at 02:56 PM

March 14, 2007

By popular* demand part 2: the hummus recipe you've been waiting for.

  1. Soak some garbanzo beans. My method is to select the size of container I'd like to fill with hummus, and fill it halfway with dry garbanzos. Add cold water to the top of the container, and let it sit 8-12 hours (say, from lunchtime to after dinner). You can skip this entire step by using canned beans.
  2. Drain the now-enormous beans and put them in a big pot with water up to about 3 inches above the top of the beans. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and cover. Simmer gently! for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Go and goof off, or do what I did the other week and make fudge while you're waiting.
  3. Peel some garlic and mince well. 2-3 cloves is good for a small batch, up to a head or more if you're making a gallon of hummus. Can I recommend that you make a gallon of hummus? It's a really nice feeling.
  4. When the beans are ridiculously soft, take them off the stove, pour off the cooking water, and save it. Easy trick: stand up a cup inside a colander inside the sink, and then pour the liquid from the pot into the cup. If you spill some, no problem; if you pour beans by mistake, just fish them out. You don't need all of the liquid, just as much as it's easy to get. Then drain the beans the rest of the way.
  5. Now haul out the food processor and assemble a batch that looks something like this (scale down for small food processors):
    • 3-4 cups of garbanzos
    • 2 tbsp of tahini
    • a small heap of garlic
    • a generous splash of olive oil -- 3-4 tbsp worth
    • an even more generous splash of lemon juice -- 4-5 tbsp
    • 2 tsp or huge pinch of paprika
    • 1 tsp or medium-large pinch of salt
    • 1/2 to 1 tsp or medium pinch of chili powder
    • 1-2 tbsp of dried parsley or a small handful of fresh
  6. Whizz briefly, then stop and pour in a generous splash of the cooking water that you saved. You'll know when you've added enough because the whole mess will start spinning merrily instead of getting stuck. Blend until it looks beautifully smooth.
  7. Break out a bagel or a piece of bread and taste. Adjust seasonings to taste and re-blend, then scoop out into a big container and repeat until you're out of garbanzo beans.
  8. Final and most important step: eat a crapload of it before putting whatever's left into the fridge for anyone you may happen to live with.

*Actually, this time I'm not sure there's any demand. But I'm doing my best to create some.

Posted by dianna at 11:32 PM

February 22, 2006


It looks like Tuesdays are Experimental Dianna Cooking days this semester, since Jacob teaches a late class and doesn't get home until at least 8:30. It's worth noting that Experimental Dianna Cooking differs essentially from the general run of daily cooperative cooking in this house in two ways. One, when there isn't anyone around to question what I'm doing or whether it'll taste good, I'm not shy about trying whatever stupid shit occurs to me. If it's bad, I'll eat it anyway; if it's really bad, I'll throw it away and have cereal or toast for dinner instead. Two, when I know there's no one to help me cook, real recipes start to sound insurmountably complicated and labor-intensive. Vague, half-formed ideas are much easier to commit to.

All of this really could lead to far stranger things than it recently has, and frankly, in most of the cases I can recall the results have been prosaic no matter how revolutionary the ideas. Still, the fact is that if I'm going to invent a food sensation that will sweep any significant portion of this or any other nation, it's going to be the result of an ill-conceived solo experiment. This week, all I did was make some very nice chili.


1 1/2 cups vegan "ground", such as Morningstar Crumbles
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup small white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
6-oz can tomato paste
14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence spice blend
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
pinch coriander
pinch dried basil
red pepper flakes or ground piquin chiles to taste

Sautee the onion and crumbles in a medium pot with a dash of olive oil, then add the garlic, mushrooms, and celery and sautee until veggies are starting to soften. Add the diced tomatoes, most of the can of tomato paste (I used probably 4 ounces), and enough water to allow the mixture to simmer. Stir well. Add spices, adjusting to taste and keeping in mind that my quantities are wild guesses, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes or until your boyfriend comes home. Serve over rice (jasmine is incongruous but delicious).

Posted by dianna at 08:26 PM

February 14, 2006

Dueling dinners!

Zach posted a picture of his Valentine's Day solo dinner, so can I fail to do the same? Jacob's teaching a class until late and I'm left to my own not inconsiderable devices to find my own subsistence and entertainment for the evening. While I fully intend to add the stand mixer to the list of such devices before the evening is out (that means cookies, which takes care of entertainment also), so far the only device in use has been a stove with a skillet on it. I present to you...

Some Kind of Caribbean Rice and Bean Skillet Thing

1 cup cold, cooked jasmine rice
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 small tangerine, such as the clear winner of the Most Delicious Tangerine Award, the lovely and piquant Clementine
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes or ground piquin chiles
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice
salt to taste, probably at least 1 tsp.
whatever other horrible spicy thing you feel the need to add, to taste

It's probably fairly self-explanatory, but... sautee the onion in a little bit of olive oil, then turn the heat to medium-low and add the orange juice, black beans, rice, raisins, and spices. Peel and section the tangerine and add the sections whole. Stir, make sure you have enough orange juice for it to be stewing slightly, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until warmed through. Enjoy.

Oh, and in keeping with the theme of tonight's dinner descriptions, this dinner is sweet and focused on fruits. Just like my love.

Posted by dianna at 08:32 PM

October 24, 2005

In the name of all that is holy!

I've just made the most delicious cookies of all delicious cookies anywhere in the universe. There have never been such delicious cookies before in the history of mankind. These cookies are a tour de force, a masterpiece, a grand demonstration of my cookie-making brilliance. They're also warm out of the oven right now, and I, having been called for jury duty this morning but dismissed without having to serve on a jury, am at home with nothing to do but feast my eyes, nose, mouth and all other sensory organs (what do cookies sound like?) on these delectable cookies.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

1 cup Earth Balance, softened
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1 tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer
4 tbsp. soymilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups quick oats
1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 cup sweetened sour cherries (I got these in bulk at Berkeley Bowl -- they're semi-dried but very soft, and taste like cherry pie)

Mix all ingredients together in a huge bowl, drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 10 minutes (turning cookie sheet around once halfway through baking).

For soft, delicious, wonderful cookies, take them out after 10 minutes when they're still extremely soft and underdone-looking. They'll firm as they cool. For hard, nasty, crunchy cookies that are an insult to this recipe, leave them in longer and then repeat ten times, "I should have taken them out after 10 minutes."

Posted by dianna at 01:50 PM

October 10, 2005

I take that back.

I have not figured out how to use Movable Type category tags, at least not without screwing up all of my other page links. Alas. Alack (of proper HTML knowledge). Anyone who'd like to advise me is welcome to do so.

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer (just the powder!)
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 tbsp vinegar
(1 cup chopped walnuts)

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, wet ingredients in a separate medium bowl, then pour wet ingredients into dry and stir well. Add walnuts if desired (almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts also work well, as do chocolate chips).

Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan, small casserole dish, or muffin tray. Whatever container you use, the batter shouldn't sit more than 1 1/2 inches high or you'll have a hard time getting the center to bake fully. Bake at 325 Fahrenheit for 75 minutes for a loaf or 25-30 minutes for muffins. Snarf.

Posted by dianna at 08:51 AM

October 09, 2005

Oh my god, I don't have to say curried grass anymore.

I've finally figured out how to use Movable Type category tags. I'm the most brilliant person alive!

Thai Coconut Soup (modified from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

Lemongrass stock

5 cups water
5 fresh lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped (2 inches or so)
3-inch piece of fresh ginger root, sliced
3-inch piece of galangal, sliced
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
(1/2 tsp salt)
( 1 tsp. powdered vegetable stock)

Put the water, lemongrass stalks, ginger, galangal, peppercorns, and coriander seeds into the most enormous soup pot you own (this makes a LOT of soup). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove lemongrass, ginger and galangal if desired. If you're using vegetable stock, add it now (use sparingly, only 1/2 or 1/3 as much as you'd normally use for that much water ). Otherwise, just add 1/2 tsp. salt.


3 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (juice of 6 small limes)
cayenne pepper or ground piquin chiles, to taste (I used about 1 tsp. piquin chiles)
1 large carrot, sliced
3 small leeks, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 1/2 cups quartered small mushrooms
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato, cut into small chunks with skin on
3 or 4 green onions, minced

Add carrots, leeks, and celery, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime juice, cayenne or ground chiles, tofu, mushrooms, cilantro, and salt if needed. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and add tomato. Let stand for 1 minute to allow tomato to warm, and serve garnished with green onions.

I particularly recommend stirring in 1/4 cup of jasmine rice per bowl of soup, but don't store the soup and rice together as the rice will absorb all of the soup broth.

Blackberry Pie


2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cold water

Mix flour and salt in bowl. Pour canola oil into flour mixture and use pastry blender or forks (or stand mixer!) to mix it into the flour. Slowly pour in cold water while mixing; use only as much water as needed to make a dough that will form a ball without falling apart. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into two balls and return one ball to refrigerator. Lay out other ball of dough on waxed paper and place another sheet of waxed paper on top. Roll out as thin as possible (around 1/16â) with rolling pin, remove top sheet of waxed paper, and gently flip crust into 8â glass pie plate. Trim edges.

Prick crust with fork, fill with pie weights (or a sheet of tinfoil weighed down with 2 cups of dry beans) and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. While baking, remove other ball of dough from refrigerator and roll out the same way.

Pie Filling

5 cups fresh, or frozen and thawed, blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached white flour

If berries are frozen, let them stand in a colander until mostly thawed to drain off ice and excess juice. Mix berries, sugar and flour in large bowl and pour into pre-baked pie crust. Gently lay second crust on top and use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 slits in it. Fold edges of top crust around and under edges of bottom crust (or simply pinch them together to seal).

Cover edges of pie with foil to keep them from overbrowning (the easiest way is to cut a large circle out of the center of a 12-inch square of foil). Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more until top is slightly golden.

Pie will be liquid when removed from oven, but will solidify when cooled. Serve with enormous scoops of vanilla Soy Cream and devour.

Posted by dianna at 01:20 PM

October 04, 2005

Brown rice and curried sugar

The original stated purpose of the Brown Rice and Curried Grass entries was to share useful information on vegan food, lifestyle, and nutrition. I haven't quite gotten to the nutrition part because I only ever remember to blog when I'm at work, and my cookbooks with their useful information on vitamins and proteins are sitting on a bookshelf in my kitchen. Apologies.

And yet, once again I find myself at work with a blank blog entry staring me down. What am I to do? Without reference material I can only talk about what I know by heart. This is officially the most elaborate apology I've ever crafted for talking about junk food.

The following disgusting crap is all vegan by my personal standards, which, please note, require two caveats. Caveat 1: Fuck sugar. Refined cane sugar is processed with bone char, which technically results in a product without animal ingredients but is still an essentially unvegan process. Beet sugar, god knows why, isn't made with bone char. I haven't called the companies to find out what kind of sugar they're using. Sue me. Caveat 2: Natural and artificial flavors are made from all kinds of crap, and, as above, I haven't delved into the manufacturing processes to find out which kinds of crap are being used. If you need things that are excruciatingly researched, try VeganEssentials or Food Fight. This, here, is generally available junk food with no stated or recognizable (even to someone who's fairly adept at reading labels) animal ingredients.

  • Original flavor Pringles
  • Kellogg's cinnamon Mini Swirlz cereal
  • Red Vines
  • Safeway "movie theater butter" flavor microwave popcorn (Edit: apparently not.)
  • Most movie theater "buttered" popcorn anyway
  • Oreos (finally!)
  • Lay's KC Masterpiece barbeque potato chips
  • Betty Crocker Rich 'N Creamy chocolate frosting (Katie, please check my brand here)
  • Wheat Thins
  • Mike & Ikes
  • Sunkist Fruit Gems
  • Walgreens generic starlight mints (even the chocolate kind)
  • Walgreens generic gummy spearmint leaves
  • Safeway Select Very Chocolate semisweet chocolate chips (hot god damn these are good)
  • Pillsbury butter-flavored canned crescent rolls
  • Cap'n Crunch
  • Trader Joe's peanut butter filled pretzels
  • Ore-Ida frozen hash browns and tater tots
  • Triscuits (these aren't disgusting crap, okay, but they are a snack)
  • Safeway frozen onion rings
  • Guittard semisweet chocolate chips
  • Pepperidge Farm Entertaining Hearty Wheat Crackers
  • Necco wafers (Edit: apparently not.)
  • Bottle Caps and Sweet-Tarts
  • Nerds and Pez
  • Ritter Sport dark chocolate and marzipan bars
  • Pepperidge Farm frozen apple, cherry, or raspberry turnovers

Begin input and amendments... now. And speaking of vegan things, everyone go look at my sister!

Posted by dianna at 10:44 AM

October 03, 2005

Brown rice and curried grass in your hair.

I tend to think that animal testing is actually a slightly more complicated issue than PETA would have people believe. It's true that I'm less than likely to take a job, oh, injecting artificial sweeteners into mice's eyeballs until they go blind. It just isn't my cup of tea. At the same time, I'm not quite willing to stand up and say that we should cease all animal testing of cancer drugs and either prescribe them untested to humans or abandon them entirely. (The rational but wicked side of me would like to point out here that the test mice for cancer drugs do have to get cancer somehow, after all, but that is outside the scope of this discussion.)

However, some uses are more clear-cut than others. At this point it's really not necessary to do animal testing for cosmetics. Honestly. Shampoo does not need to be cutting-edge, and the ingredients that are already in use have been tested exhaustively for at least the last half-century. We know they work, we know they're safe, and doing new tests and finding more new ingredients to test is just beating a dead... well, mouse.

The following cosmetics, toiletries and general nostrums are all not tested on animals. If you're like me and you have to look at the back of every damn bottle to see, this may save you time.

  • Dr. Bronner's soaps (duh)
  • Anything by Tom's of Maine, which at this point includes toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, shampoo, and shaving cream
  • Anything by Nature's Gate (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste)
  • Anything by St. Ives (lotions, face washes, shampoo & conditioner)
  • Citre Shine hair styling products
  • TreSemme shampoo and conditioner (cheap too!)
  • No-Ad sunscreen
  • Mane 'N Tail shampoo and detangler (some of the conditioners have lanolin in them, though)
  • Trader Joe's Next To Godliness dish soap (but you can only use it on yourself if you're a dish)
  • White Rain shampoo and conditioner
  • Anything by Kiss My Face (soaps, lotions, face washes, shaving cream)
  • V05 shampoo and conditioner (also, as Michele points out, cheap)
  • Burt's Bees products (although they do contain beeswax)

I should point out that since I don't wear makeup my contributions to this list are more or less limited to cleaning products and detangling aids. Anyone with greater knowledge should feel free to share it.

Posted by dianna at 08:35 PM

September 28, 2005

No, really, curried grass.

This is not a vegan stuff post. Okay, it's a vegan stuff post, but it's not a useful vegan stuff post; I'm just calling your attention to this recipe, which illustrates something important. Take a look at it.

First of all, butternut squash muffins sound absolutely delicious. They'd be a lot like pumpkin bread, I imagine, which is one of the most wonderful things in the vegetable-teabread pantheon. That's why I clicked on the recipe when Gmail's random link generator offered it to me. I was almost certain it would be unvegan, but teabreads are gloriously easy to veganize. You just replace the eggs with egg replacer and none of the gooey sticky candy-sweet unhealthy wonderfulness is lost.

What I found when I clicked on the link horrified me. This recipe could only have been created by a group of very focused individuals sitting down and thinking very seriously about terrible things to do to muffins. They removed the gooey sticky candy-sweet unhealthy wonderfulness with surgical precision, and still left the motherfucking eggs in. We have spelt flour, rice oil, and reduced apple juice where we should have white flour, unbutter, and three cups of sugar. And four eggs. For twelve goddamned muffins. They're practically omelets; they've even got pepper in them.

The good thing about this is that it serves to illuminate something about vegan food. Vegan baking does not mean spelt flour and hemp oil. Vegan cooking does not mean unwashed beet greens doused with turmeric. No, it means you take out the goddamned meat and dairy and if what's left is greasy and sugary and nutritionally appalling, then so be it. The spelt flour and turmeric and beet greens come from godless communists with no souls, who can just as easily be meat-and-dairy-eaters as they can be vegans.

I am not a godless communist. I made so much cookie dough last week that I've been bringing some in my lunch every day and I still haven't finished it. It's got more sugar in it than it has flour, and a half a tub of fake butter.

Posted by dianna at 10:00 AM

September 16, 2005

Brown rice and curried grass in restaurants.

Wondering where to take a vegan friend for dinner in the extended Bay Area? Here are some suggestions in fairly haphazard order.

Cha-Ya, Shattuck Ave. just north of Virginia St. in Berkeley.
Completely vegan Japanese restaurant - sushi, noodle and rice dishes, soups, dessert, the whole delicious works.

Great Wall, College Ave. just south of Alcatraz Ave. in Berkeley.
Chinese Buddhist restaurant that serves conventional Chinese-restaurant dishes made with seitan and other fake meats. Watch out for the fish, which is real.

Golden Era, O'Farrell east of Leavenworth in San Francisco.
Golden Lotus, Franklin between 13th and International in Oakland.
Two Chinese/Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants under the same ownership, with an absolutely enormous selection of fake-meat dishes. Do not watch out for the fish, because it isn't real.

Cafe Colucci, Telegraph just north of Alcatraz in Berkeley.
Ethiopian restaurant serving both meat and vegetarian dishes; nearly all of the vegetarian dishes are fully vegan.

Addis, Telegraph between 61st and 62nd in Oakland.
Also an Ethiopian restaurant with meat and vegan dishes. Slightly less popular, and therefore quieter, than Cafe Colucci.

Ital Calabash, Adeline south of Ashby in Berkeley.
Ital Calabash, Franklin at 14th in Oakland.
All-vegan Jamaican restaurant which is frankly fucking amazing. Expect earsplitting reggae music, cheerful service from a chatty Rasta dude, and really damned delicious sweet fried plantains.

Herbivore, Divisadero north of Fell in San Francisco.
Herbivore, Valencia north of 21st in San Francisco.
Herbivore, Shattuck around Haste in Berkeley.
All-vegan restaurant with a variety of American-y, Italian-y, and generally Asian-y dishes. Slightly spendy but quite delicious.

Millennium, Geary east of Jones in San Francisco.
Stoa, Emerson east of Hamilton in Palo Alto.
Really, don't ask me about either of these. I've never been to them, and all I know is that they're both fancy, expensive, vegetarian, and reported to be delicious.

Smart Alec's, Telegraph at Durant in Berkeley.
"Healthy fast food" place in Berkeley which has recently expanded into regular meat items but does some excellent vegan burgers, sandwiches, and soups.

Spud's Pizza, Adeline at Alcatraz in Berkeley.
Pizza and calzone restaurant which will make absolutely anything, including cheesy breadsticks, with soy cheese upon request. I can't guarantee that their brand of soy cheese is vegan, because I haven't been able to bring myself to ask.

Papalote, 24th west of Valencia in San Francisco.
Mexican restaurant serving both meat and vegan versions of standard Mexican-restaurant fare, including heavenly tofu mole burritos.

Saturn Cafe, Laurel west of Front in Santa Cruz.
Vegetarian diner that used to serve vegan equivalents of almost everything on their menu, but has recently cut a lot of them. Still does a mean vegan riblet sandwich and soy cream sundaes.

Udupi Palace, University east of Martin Luther King Jr in Berkeley.
South Indian vegetarian restaurant with mostly stuffed-flatbread based dishes and plenty of vegan options.

New World Vegetarian, 8th west of Broadway in Oakland.
All-vegan smorgasbord of incredibly tasty Asian, European and American dishes.

Fellini, University at Acton in Berkeley.
Italian restaurant serving vegetarian, vegan and omnivore options (frequently all three for the same dishes). Actually no longer the best vegan brunch in the East Bay, because of Herbivore.

Jamaican Soul, San Pablo south of University in Berkeley.
Serves vegan and meat dishes in tasty and enormous buffet plates. The folks serving will usually tell you which dishes are vegan without you needing to ask.

Included with reluctance:

Raphael, Center east of Shattuck in Berkeley.
Upscale vegetarian Italian restaurant with vegan options. Honestly somewhat limited for vegans, although not nearly as much as most Italian restaurants. Don't go there with a lacto-ovo-vegetarian because you'll be sad all night about what they were eating that you couldn't have.

Cafe Gratitude, Shattuck north of Francisco in Berkeley.
Fine. Fine. The food is delicious. The dessert is beyond delicious. I still hate the attitude.

How about in Portland?

If you need my help to find vegan food in Portland, you are just not trying. Still, I am nothing if not accommodating. Consider this section under construction until I get my shit together to write descriptions and get exact addresses.

Veganopolis (SW Stark and 4th)
Nutshell (N Williams and Beech)
Vita (NE Alberta and 31st)
Bye and Bye (NE Alberta and 10th, and I'm cheating because this one is a bar)
Laughing Planet (N Mississippi and Failing, SE Belmont and 32nd, NW Kearney and 21st, and way the fuck down on SE Woodstock and 41st.)
Paradox (SE Belmont and 34th)
Food Fight (SE Division and 42nd Stark and 12th!, and not actually a restaurant either)
Blossoming Lotus (NW Davis and 9th)
Pirate's Tavern (NW Industrial and St. Helen's)
FlavourSpot (N Lombard and Denver)
BackSpace (NW Couch and 5th)
Voodoo Donut (SW Ankeny and 3rd)
Garbonzo's (NW Kearney and 21st as of a couple of years ago. I don't know if it's still there)

Other cities?

Araya's, NE University and 47th in Seattle (vegan Thai).
Follow Your Heart, Sherman Way at Jordan in Canoga Park (vegetarian homestyle restaurant and health-food market).

The following are general rules that I've discovered after four years of trying to eat vegan in restaurants.

  1. Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurants will almost always have something vegan. It may be an appetizer plate, but it will be tasty and safe to eat.
  2. The exception to that rule is full-meal Moroccan restaurants, where you can order a vegan main dish but the bastela will still have egg and the soup will still have chicken broth.
  3. Bar and grill places? Forget it.
  4. In Italian restaurants you will, 9 times out of 10, wind up with a plate of spaghetti with marinara or oil-and-herb sauce.
  5. Sushi restaurants usually have tasty vegan options, but the miso soup and noodle bowls have fish stock in them unless otherwise specified.
  6. Mexican restaurants are really iffy, because there's often lard in the refried beans and tortillas even if you order a vegetable dish.
  7. In Thai restaurants, you'll want to ask about fish in the sauces (Pad Thai sauce, for example) and fried egg in the dishes.
  8. Indian restaurants generally have good vegan options, but the danger is that you won't be able to have any of the cool soothing yogurt sauces and your mouth will be a fiery ball of pain.

That's all I've got for right now. Katie? Jacob? Anybody who can think of something I've missed, add it in the comments section and I will incorporate it into the list. This, along with my recipe posts and assorted other stuff that I'm planning to post in the future, is going into a fourth category of worthwhile Snoqualmie posts: useful information for being vegan and vegetarian. You'll be able to click it from my "links" section under the wholly unexpected title of Brown Rice And Curried Grass.

Posted by dianna at 11:00 AM

September 15, 2005

Brown rice and curried grass for dessert.

The following recipes are posted at the request of Mr. Sharpe. The lesson to learn here is that if you give me half an excuse I'll drown you in food and/or recipes.... so, give me half a chance. These are both from Sinfully Vegan with only minor adjustments.


8 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
4 c. powdered sugar
2 c. chocolate chips (or other solid dark chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla

Place cream cheese in food processor and blend until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix in. Melt chocolate in double-boiler or microwave, and pour into food processor. Blend well. Pour mixture into 8-inch square pan lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, then cut into bite-size squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Death By Chocolate Brownies

1 1/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. applesauce
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer
1/2 c. water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Stir together sugar, applesauce, and 2 tbsp. water in medium bowl. In separate cup, mix 1/2 c. water with egg replacer, then add to applesauce mixture. Add vanilla.

In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add applesauce mixture to this and stir just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into 8-inch square baking dish (greased) and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes depending on chewiness desired (less time for more chewy, more time for more cakelike).

Chocolate Topping

1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/6 c. cocoa (use 1/3 c. measure and only fill half full)
3 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot
1/2 c. water

While brownies are baking, place powdered sugar, canola oil, vanilla, cocoa, and arrowroot in small saucepan or top of double boiler. Stir to combine using a wire whisk or pastry blender. Stir in water. Heat over low to medium heat and stir until mixture starts to thicken, but do not allow to boil.

Pour topping over brownies while they are both still hot, and allow to cool before serving.

Note: if you don't have a double boiler, make one. It will make your life much easier, at least if said life contains chocolate (if your life doesn't contain chocolate, what are you waiting for?). Put your cooking ingredients into a small saucepan, put an inch or so of water into a medium saucepan, and gently rest the small saucepan inside the medium one. If the small one has one or more handles, all the better; they'll keep it resting nicely above the bottom of the medium pot. Now do your cooking over medium heat and the contents of the small pot won't scorch.

Posted by dianna at 09:38 PM

March 12, 2005

Brown rice and curried grass.

Because I'm not sure that everyone here fully understands my obsession with baked goods, I'm going to post the recipe for tonight's dessert so you can all drool over it. Please keep in mind that I'm eating this right now.

Raspberry Crumb Cake

2 c. turbinado or raw sugar
generous 2 1/2 c. white flour
scant 3/4 c. Earth Balance (or other vegan butter if you must)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. powdered egg replacer
1/4 c. water
3/4 c. vanilla soy milk
1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Mix sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add Earth Balance and cut into the dry ingredients with two knives until it forms smaller-than-pea-sized crumbs. Scoop out 2 cups of crumb mixture and set aside for the topping. In a separate cup, mix egg replacer powder with water and stir well. Add vanilla and soy milk. Pour liquid mixture into remaining crumbs, add raspberries and stir just until combined.

Pour batter into a greased 8"x8" baking pan or casserole dish and pour crumbs evenly over the top of the batter. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes (or 5-10 minutes longer if your fruit was still frozen). When it passes the toothpick test, take it out and serve immediately in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream (I recommend cinnamon-caramel flavor Soy Cream).

Recipe taken from Sinfully Vegan (thank you Katie) and modified for even more sugary goodness. Also, if anyone would like the recipe for the stupendous green chile enchiladas that preceded this, let me know and I'll post that too.

Baker's note: other successful variations on this recipe have included raspberry chocolate chip, cinnamon, and apple spice (use 1 small Granny Smith apple and 1/4 cup raisins for the fruit, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste in batter and crumbs). For best crumbs use 1 cup regular sugar and 1 cup powdered sugar instead of 2 cups regular sugar.

Posted by dianna at 09:26 PM