Friday, April 29, 2011

WINNER: Free Membership to Spork Online!

Congratulations, Neha G.! You've won a one month membership to Heather and Jenny's fabulous online vegan cooking classes!

HUGE THANKS to everyone who entered. Your enthusiasm for learning how to cook with tofu, seitan, quinoa, garbanzo beans, fiddlehead ferns, and more, is inspiring!
For all of you, I have some good news - the items you mentioned are covered in archived Spork Online classes! So, all you have to do to learn the best ways to prepare tofu, or cook with dark leafy greens, is start your Spork Online membership today. 
Thanks, again, for participating, and happy cooking!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

WIN a membership to THE BEST ONLINE COOKING CLASSES anywhere: Spork Online!

I wish I could enter this contest myself.

The fabulous Goldberg sisters - Heather & Jenny - co-owners of the groundbreaking organic vegan cooking company, Spork Foods, have expanded their LA-based business nationwide. That's right - their fun and engaging cooking classes, complete with delicious and easy vegan recipes - are now available ONLINE.

There is so much that makes these classes simply the best -

- The food is delicious and the recipes are easy to follow. Every class features a four course meal, so you'll get a lot out of every session.

- The videos are professionally shot and edited in HD video, making you forget that we ever clamored for a vegan cooking show on TV. The classes are shown in real-time, so you actually get to see the entire cooking process from start to finish. And, as a web series, you can watch these fantastic videos on demand!

- The online classes are taped with an actual, diverse class of students present, so you get to follow along with the conversation, and get answers to the questions you might also ask in class.

- In addition to a new class every month, membership to the site comes with TONS of great bonuses:
  • Access to archived classes
  • Exclusive bonus recipes
  • Out of the kitchen adventure videos
  • Direct access to Heather & Jenny for answers to your cooking questions, through Food 911

Watch a sample video on the Spork Online site, (you can even watch a FREE full class), and you'll see -
Heather & Jenny's classes are simply one of the best things out there for anyone who wants to cook healthy food at home.

AND, now you can WIN a FREE one-month membership to Spork Online!

HERE'S HOW TO WIN: Name one ingredient you'd like to learn to cook with, in a future Spork Online class. Leave a comment below telling us about that ingredient. One lucky commenter will win the free membership!

The contest closes on Monday, April 25 at 11:59 PM, PT. We'll announce the winner on Tuesday, April 26.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

WINNER: The $25 Whole Foods gift card goes to...

...VegPost subscriber Theresa W.!

As a new VegPost subscriber, and active reader, Theresa can take $25 off her next trip to Whole Foods - on us.

Thanks for reading, Theresa, and stay tuned for future contests!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Veganized: Ravioli Salad from Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Everyday

I say veganized like it's a triumph.

Which, it is.

But, in this case, as with most of Heidi Swanson's recipes from her blog, 101 Cookbooks, or her new cookbook, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, it's pretty easy to vegan-ize.

To give us a preview of her newest cookbook, Heidi released this sampler, which has six much-loved, (and much-to-love) recipes from her new book.

One weeknight, I decided to try out the Ravioli Salad, which was easily veganized by:
  • replacing the Parmesan cheese with some mozzarella-flavored Daiya shreds (I'm not a big fan of the vegan Parm options that currently exist). 
  • choosing a ready-made vegan ravioli. 
This is a very elegant, but quickly assembled dish. So, it's great for an interesting and flavorful weeknight dinner. It's also great as an appetizer or side dish at a dinner party. If you bring it to a potluck, chances are most people won't even know it's vegan.

I started by putting a pot of hot water on to boil (for the ravioli). And, while I waited for that to boil, I prepared the cilantro-pepita pesto, by pulsing up some olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, and pepitas, in my Vitamix (which I am obsessed with, and could dedicate a whole post to).

Initially, I just removed the Parmesan cheese to make this pesto vegan. But, when I tasted it after initially blending it, I did want to add some cheese-like flavor and texture. So, I added a small handful of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds, some sea salt, and blended some more, until I had a deliciously fresh, tangy, and creamy cilantro pesto:

By this time, the water was boiling. For my Ravioli, I chose:

Rising Moon Organics has a couple of vegan flavors. I thought that the butternut squash would go well with the cilantro-pepita pesto and olives. (And, ultimately, I think I was right.)

I started with frozen ravioli:

And, seven minutes later, had this soft and pillowy pasta:

 which I tossed with a spoonful of the pesto.

I let it sit for a few minutes while I started to clean up the kitchen - to let the pesto sink in. Then, I added some more pesto, and some chopped black olives, and gently tossed the dish again.

I transferred it to a serving dish, and sprinkled it with the rest of the olives and some roasted pepitas.
Heidi's recipe called for also garnishing the dish with some fresh thyme - I didn't have any on hand, so used some dried thyme.

And, here's dinner!

LET US KNOW: Have you tried other recipes from Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen? What are your favorite recipes from the book? Ones that are easily veganized?

Want more great recipes, and top veg stories from around the web, delivered right to your inbox? Subscribe to The Veg Post (the next issue, exclusively for subscribers, is coming out tomorrow!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Congrats to our Cookshelf Contest Winner...

Ryann Salik! As the winner of The Veg Post Cookshelf Contest, Ryann has chosen to receive a copy of Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz!

Subscribe to The Veg Post to learn about future contests, and congratulations again, Ryann!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Veganizing Cake Pops (Even Non-Bakers Can Make Them!)

Cake pops have become something of an obsession for me.

I like eating cupcakes. But, the craze doesn't really drive me to make them all the time.

Cake pops - chocolate-dipped, just-right bites of moist cake, sitting on the tops of lollipop sticks, inspiring the child inside of you - however, are a different story.

I love to cook, but I am not a baker. When I saw the kitchn's recipe for cake pops, however, I had to veganize them. I ordered a siftercake pan, and lollipop sticks from Amazon, and got to work on my plan. The timing couldn't have been more perfect - Seattle's Bake Sale for Japan was right around the corner.

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret - I backed out of all the precise measuring, sifting, etc., that baking requires, and used a box mix for the cake portion. But, if you've ever tried Cherrybrook Kitchen's vegan cake mixes, you would wholeheartedly support my decision. Especially, if you're more of a cook than baker - this mix will make you look good.

And here's how it went:

I started by baking the chocolate cake, according to the box directions. If you're braver than I am, you can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe, in place of my shortcut.

I let the cake cool completely. Then, came the fun part. In a large bowl, I broke the entire cake down into crumbs, with my hands. You know, like how one-year-olds are expected to do with their birthday cakes?
In a separate bowl, I whipped together:
  • 8 ounces of Tofutti cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of soy milk (and perhaps a little more when necessary)
Then, I mixed this creamy mixture into the cake crumbs (again, with my fingers!), until the two were completely combined, and I was left with this moist cake mixture (the last of which, you can see here):

I covered the mixture and refrigerated it for an hour, to firm it up. But, you can keep it refrigerated for a couple of days, also.
Time to start making the balls. I used a spoon to help me measure out equal portions of the cake mixture. I rolled each spoonful into a ball, and placed it on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper.

I stuck the lollipop sticks in. And, then I stuck the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes, while I prepared the dipping chocolate and toppings.

To me, this was an important step - one of the issues with cake pops is that the cake ball can easily come off the lollipop stick. Freezing these for a few minutes helped me keep them together during the dipping.

I melted 12 oz. of vegan chocolate chips in a double boiler on the stove. I stirred the chocolate to keep it smooth, and then one at a time, dipped each cake pop in, until covered. Pulling it out, I covered each cake pop in coconut flakes or vegan sprinkles, (you can use any topping really - nuts, mini M&Ms, mini-marshmallows, colored sugar, etc.), and then returned the cake pop to the parchment paper to harden.

You'll eventually have a beautiful assortment, like such:

The first time you make them, not all of the cake pops will be perfect. (See below.) However, because I couldn't sell this, it was just for me. :)


And, then, I packged them, and took them off to Cake Spy in Seattle, where we raised $3,100 for the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts!

(Can you see my cake pops? They're on the right, over the blue card...!)

LET US KNOW: Have you tried making vegan cake pops? How did yours turn out? Any suggestions you'd offer?

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