Friday, May 20, 2011

New York City's Twelve Best Vegetarian Restaurants?

Refinery 29 recently put together a slideshow of what they consider to be the 12 best vegetarian restaurants in New York City...and having lived in or just outside NYC for four years, I'm not so sure I agree with all of their picks.

Image via: Refinery 29

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recipe: Lauren's General Tsao's Tofu

On cooking at home for herself and her non-vegetarian husband, she said: 

"I try to make things that he likes that are vegetarian. He likes to order General Tsao’s chicken at Chinese restaurants, and so over the years, I’ve perfected my General Tsao’s tofu recipe, which he loves.

It’s a good challenge for me to find things I can cook for us both, so that he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out. I personally never feel like I’m missing out, like, “Oh, I wish I could go eat a hamburger.” So, I don’t want him to feel that way, either."

Today, she shares that recipe. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't worry about "what's allowed": How Lauren Quit Meat, Learned to Cook Veg, and Lives Consciously in NH

In the 7th grade, Lauren came home from the mall wearing a button saying “Meat is Murder.” It was her way of telling her parents that she was giving up red meat. Having identified with a vegetarian lifestyle from that young age, Lauren’s diet has been continually evolving. Today, she considers herself to be a pescatarian (a self-described vegetarian who occasionally eats wild-caught fish). Here, she talks about growing up as the only person who identified with vegetarianism in her New Hampshire-based family, cooking veg for her non-veg husband, and not being restricted by labels.

What are you eating today?

Trader Joe’s sells these awesome vegan enchiladas that I buy by the case - literally. I eat them all the time, with some fresh cut avocado, for lunch – which is usually a working lunch for me. For dinner tonight…the weather’s starting to get nicer, so we’ll probably do something on the grill - veggie burgers, with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob.

You grew up in small-town New Hampshire, among family and friends that all ate meat. How did you make the decision to stop?

As a kid, I always loved animals. We always had pets. Once I found out about slaughterhouses, factory farming, and where my meat came from, I was horrified. I just couldn’t put that aside. My answer was to immediately stop eating red meat.

For me, it was a very simple equation that the animal on my plate was no different than the one sitting in my lap.

You were 12. What was that like for your parents?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grocery Shopping? Go to the Farmer's Market First.

I love the farmer’s market experience.

Image via: The Atlantic

In fact, when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Kauai, we went to the local farmer’s market. (We weren’t cooking on our honeymoon, but when I saw the ad, I had to check it out.)

I just love being outdoors, in the fresh air, picking through recently-delivered heaps and barrels of local produce, and feeling the raw potential of how those ingredients can be combined, seasoned, presented.  

I also love the fact that buying from the market cuts my grocery bill by about 30% every week.

Now, I know this isn’t something that holds everywhere. When I lived in New York City, the Union Square Farmer’s Market, for example, while inspiring, wasn’t cheap.

However, if you pick the right places to go, research now is showing that farmer’s markets are, in most cases, less expensive than surrounding grocery stores.

This article from The Atlantic outlines the major findings of the research: The Farmer’s Market Myth

The kitchn did a summary post: It’s true! Farmer’s Markets are Cheaper than Supermarkets!


To take advantage of this, I go to the produce market first, pick up everything I can get from there, and whatever I can’t get (tortillas, dried beans, bread, Daiya cheese), I pick up at my second stop – the grocery store. This cuts my grocery bill by about $30 a week. Plus, the produce is fresher.


Here are seven more tips on making the most of the farmer’s market, from Serious Eats: 

LEAVE A COMMENT AND LET US KNOW: Is your local farmer's market is cheaper than the supermarket? Do you use any of the tips offered by Serious Eats? How do you make the most of the farmer's market?

Monday, May 16, 2011

You Might As Well Market Weight-Loss Cookies

According to this recent NY Times article, exclusive nightclub owners in New York City have partnered up with a high-end beauty vendor to create a line of cocktails that will erase your fine lines, even out your skin tone, and restore elasticity and glow to your skin.


Things that used to make you look like crap – lots of alcohol, late-night partying, and little sleep – can now actually help you look younger, healthier, glowing!

How does it work? Frank Bruni had the same question when he was researching this article, and didn’t see any fine lines disappearing. The cocktail co-creator’s response:

“…the antioxidants and other nutrients infused into the cocktails had undeniable health benefits, and that getting them via alcohol was better than not getting them at all.”

Ok, guess what. Green tea is supposed to suppress your appetite and help you lose weight. So how about I bake some green tea powder into my new fabulous recipe for chocolate chip cookies and create a new line of desserts that will help you lose weight? Will you buy them – my weight-loss-inducing chocolate chip cookies?

Right, I didn’t think so.

FACT: Alcohol is dehydrating, as cookies, albeit delicious and whimsical, are fattening. So, mix whatever you want into your cocktail – or your cookie – it’s not going to help your skin (or your waistline).

Thank goodness the article ended on this note, from Manhattan dermatologist, Patricia Wexler,
“Nothing in a cocktail will give you younger skin,” she said in an e-mail. “But your judgment might be impaired, and you might see Angelina in the mirror.”

If you want great skin, these cocktails got one thing right - it does start with what you put into your body. And a plant-based diet can do wonders, because healthy skin is rested, hydrated, and well-nourished, by naturally occurring sources of vitamins and minerals.

Here’s the truth, from personal experience, (and common sense):

I used to have terribly congested skin. Maybe I’ll put a photo on this blog one day. I went to dermatologists for years. I took pills and underwent procedures. Nothing worked.

Then, I transitioned to a completely plant-based, vegan diet. I cut out alcohol and processed foods. I drank water all day long (with the help of this). It took time for my body to fully detoxify. But, it did. My skin has completely cleared up. The scars have diminished. I don’t take any medication. I will have the occasional drink, but mostly stick to non-alcoholic grown-up beverages like the ones in this post. I feel confident enough to go out without makeup on. And my 22-year-old self would not have believed that I could have looked the way I did at my wedding last December. (Not a point of vanity or arrogance, just personal joy at a food-initiated transformation and healing.)

(Here’s the woman who helped me do it – and the proof is in her own skin. She’s turning 72 this year – 72.)

Want your skin to lock in hydration? Save yourself the $20+ dollars on the Soothing Cucumber cocktail, and go spend $0.49 cents on a cucumber. Throw it into a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, shredded carrots, baked tofu, and sprouts, dressed lightly with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Drink a tall glass of water, flavored with a couple of orange slices – or even cucumber slices! (Like they do at actual spas, where they specialize in actual skincare, and serve you cocktails water with cucumber.) Go to bed on time. And, call me in the morning and let me know how it works out for you.

LEAVE A COMMENT & LET US KNOW: How has a plant-based diet improved your skin, or your health overall? What other products, making outrageous health claims, do we need to watch out for? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recipes: Potato Salad, Six Ways

When I was growing up, I ate potato salad at school picnics, my friends' pool parties, and the end-of-the-season family BBQs for my brothers' baseball teams. I (admittedly) remember liking it - though what I was eating really tasted like mayonnaise and eggs, with potato-like lumps in between.

Having grown up, (in both age and palate), and become vegan, I hadn't eaten potato salad in a long time - until a couple years ago, when I was craving something starchy to pair with a green salad. French fries would be too, well - fried. I did not want a sandwich - too heavy. And, then I found Lolo's recipes for potato salad - two ways.

It was one of those joyous moments for young vegans - "Hey, I CAN eat [insert any food you missed from your previous life, but now know you don't have to sacrifice]!"

Since that time, I've been delighted to discover a series of varied, innovative, simple yet sophisticated, recipes for potato salad - all of which taste contain ingredients that taste like their real selves, and impressively, only one of which calls for (vegan) mayonnaise.

With Memorial Day on the horizon, without further ado, I present to you my six favorite recipes for potato salad...

Potato Salad, Two Ways, Vegan Yum Yum

Grilled Potato Salad, 101 Cookbooks

Samosa Potato Salad, Bittersweet

Red Potato Salad with Scallions and Radishes, the kitchn

Mustard Roasted New Potatoes, Joy the Baker

...and challenge you to make them for your non-vegan friends at your next get-together.

Tell me what you (and they) think!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Hey! Where's my Veg Post?

Several subscribers have shared with me that they didn't receive yesterday's issue of The Veg Post.

If this group includes you, I'm truly sorry. For many, the issue ended up in spam folders - probably because I used the phrase "hangover cure" in my subject line. 

To ensure that your Veg Post doesn't end up in your spam folders again, please: 
1. Open an older issue (I'm hoping they're still in your e-mail!). 
2. Scroll down towards the bottom of the e-mail. 
3. There, you'll see a link that says "Add us to your address book." 
4. Click on this link - and you should be good to go!

If the newsletter is nowhere to be found (not even in your spam folder), then please e-mail me at I'm working with our service provider to help resolve this issue, and will make sure you don't have this problem again. 

For those of you who missed it, here is a link to yesterday's issue: The Veg Post, 05.05.11

Thanks for your patience, and your continued support!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Would you have eggplant parm for dessert?

Eggplant parm for dessert...?

It's not what you think - according to Mark Bittman, pastry chef Brooks Headley's version is a "fantastic version of a classic Neapolitan eggplant-and-chocolate dish." In fact, when Bittman, "...ate this dish in Naples, it was grossly sweet; [Headley's] version is like a dessert eggplant Parmesan prepared by a wizard."

Continuing the trend of chefs who are showing that vegetables can be the star of a dish, and in line with predictions that 2011 would be the year of the vegetables, Chef Headley is earning rock-star reviews with his vegetable-based desserts, including a plate composed of "...celery sorbet with a little dressed celery salad; goat-cheese-mousse balls coated with olive-oil-sautéed bread crumbs; [and] macerated figs with balsamic vinegar."

No matter where you fall on the herbivore - omnivore spectrum, it's exciting and inspiring to see continued innovation with fruits and vegetables, further elevating them as foods of interest (not just sides) to the masses. 

Click here to read the full article, with four vegetarian recipes.

LET US KNOW: Would you make one of these vegetable-based desserts?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recipe: Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

I was craving something sweet after dinner tonight.

I knew I didn't have chocolate chips. But, I saw something else on the counter that could be made into a sweet treat: peanut butter.

I Googled "vegan peanut butter cookie recipe," and found this absolutely perfect one:

Auntie Angie's Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

I loved that the cookies in this recipe are sweetened with maple syrup. And, I had all of the required ingredients to create soft, moist morsels of peanut butter goodness.

So, I set out to create the dough,

break off chunks, roll them into balls, and flatten them with a fork.

Just as I was getting ready to pop these in the oven, I thought, "PB&J...wouldn't these be delicious with a dollop of jam?"

So, I used my pinky to create a small dent in a few of the cookies, before popping them into the oven.

Eleven minutes later, I had these:

And, with a tiny spoonful of jam, here's dessert:

Want these now? Get the recipe here.

Want more great recipes like this one? For a weekly round-up of the best veg news, recipes, tips, and stories from around the web, subscribe to The Veg Post e-newsletter here. (Hurry, the next issue comes out on Thursday!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Veganized Recipe: Roasted Asparagus Soup (Six ingredients, five minutes)

Inspired by a series of asparagus-related tweets, I was moved to do something with the lovely spring asparagus in my fridge today.

I've made one-pot, multi-step, asparagus soup recipes before. But, these recipes have long time gaps between sauteeing the onions and adding the asparagus, leaving me standing in kitchen, filling my time by rearranging my oils and adding dishes to the dishwasher, one by one.

So, I was delighted when I found this incredibly simple asparagus soup recipe today - it basically boils down to chop, roast, and blend - and adapted it to be vegan.

Added bonus - this recipe calls for roasting the asparagus. I love how roasting adds depth to my butternut squash soup, and a soulful quality to my red pepper hummus. Here, it adds an earthiness that layers beautifully with the lightness of the asparagus.

Recipe: Roasted Asparagus Soup
Adapted from Pictures and Pancakes

4 cups, coarsely chopped asparagus
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp., olive oil
1 1/2 cups, vegetable stock
1/2 cup, soy milk
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the asparagus, garlic, onion, and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet.
Roast for 20 minutes.
Transfer the roasted mixture to a blender.
Add the stock and soy milk.
Puree until smooth.
Add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve and enjoy!