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My “Route 27” Salad
Aug26

My “Route 27” Salad

A friend of mine recently posted a simple recipe for a marinated cucumber salad. The recipe included tomato and onion as well, and it instantly reminded me of the fresh tomato salads that I grew up with in New Jersey — everyone so generously sharing the fruits of their gardens around this time of year. I promised myself I would try out the recipe soon. And so, as we made our way back to the city from the Hamptons last week, we stopped at one of the myriad local produce stands along Route 27. I loaded up my market bag with all kinds of goodies, including the ingredients for what I will now forever call my Route 27 Salad — a variation on the recipe posted my friend. Thanks for the inspiration, Al! Route 27 Salad ingredients: 1 medium cucumber 1 large tomato 1/2 Vidalia onion 1 ear of corn, steamed  (let cool before cutting from cob) 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup filtered water 1 teaspoon sugar (I used a pinch of stevia) sea salt & coarse ground black pepper Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. ***Stellar Vegan Salads  — My new book is almost here!*** Some salads, like the Route 27, are simple and quick; others are more elaborate but well worth the effort. Making the most of what’s local and in season is always fun. My upcoming book provides tips and recipes to help you tap into your inner salad artist. Click here to learn more....

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Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen
Aug08

Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen

It was a special treat to visit Farm Sanctuary and participate in the annual Hoe Down weekend. Farm Sanctuary has been doing amazing work on behalf of farm animals for more than 25 years — rescuing animals who often have been left to die in stockyards, working to educate the public and promote the plant-based diet, and contributing to legal efforts on farm animals’ behalf. The hoe down is a celebration that brings advocates together to discuss what’s happening, celebrate recent milestones in animal rescue and protection, and spend time with the animals that call the sanctuary their home. What Came Before In addition to all the wonderful activities of the weekend, my husband Seth was honored with this year’s “Friend of Farm Animals” award for his work as producer of the short film What Came Before. The number of viewers is now in the millions, and the film is currently being translated into several languages. Over and over, we’re hearing from people that say this film was what made them decide to go vegan. WOW. While visiting the sanctuary this weekend, we were able to meet two of the three animals featured in the film — Fanny the dairy cow and Nikki the pig (and three of Nikki’s piglets!). If you haven’t watched the film yet, I encourage you to do so and please share: the stories of these three animals are so extraordinary, and they’re also a reminder that each animal has a story all her own. Turkey Time! Which brings me to to the highlight of all the highlights of the weekend: meeting Victoria, my little girl! Each November, we adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey program. Our Kima is no longer in Watkins Glen, and our Raphael lives at the California sanctuary; but what a treat to hold out my hand and offer my little one a clump of grass. Loved loved loved my “mama” time with her. Watkins Glen travel tips: Although most of our time was spent on the sanctuary premises, and lots of delicious vegan food was provided for everyone throughout the event, we did venture out into the surrounding area towards the end of our stay. Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake are absolutely gorgeous country, and we discovered a couple of great little local spots: House of Hong is a Chinese and Sushi place with lots of vegan options. We were pleasantly surprised that such a quaint little town could have such a happening place. Our table of friends enjoyed the steamed vegetable dumplings, edamame, and a couple of specialty rolls before our entrees. Glen Mountain Market is...

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Tea Time with My Nephew
May20

Tea Time with My Nephew

After months of going back and forth between Tucson and New York, we’re finally all settled in the Big Apple! One of the last special things my husband Seth and I did with our six year-old nephew Nicky before heading east full-time, however, was taking him along with us to Tucson’s Chantilly Tea Room.  Our afternoon at Chantilly was Nicky’s first tea experience (although he’s been on board with the practice of removing the crust from sandwiches for quite some time). Nicky immediately was enchanted by the wonderland atmosphere of the tea house, loved the little teapots and cups and utensils — everything seems “kids’ size” — and he loved that he got to select his own teacup before being served. We called ahead to ask that our “Duchess Tea” be a strictly vegan affair, and the chef was more than happy to accommodate. In fact, catering to our six year-old’s tastes, she added some tea-style PB & J to the first tier. Our full vegan menu: sandwiches — PB & J on cinnamon-raisin bread; cucumber & nondairy butter with dill; carrots & scallions with nondairy butter; pecan-almond spread on cinnamon-raisin bread scones with strawberry preserves vegan chocolate cake, dark-chocolate nut clusters, chocolate dipped strawberries Thanks so much to Chantilly for making my cutie-pie nephew’s first tea experience such a delightful one… for all of...

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Philadelphia’s Finest: Vedge Restaurant
May03

Philadelphia’s Finest: Vedge Restaurant

Earlier this week, I offered a lengthy list of places to check out while in the City of Brotherly Love — Vegan In Philadelphia. As promised, here’s a more detailed report on one amazing meal at Vedge, complete with pictures of many of the fantastic tapas-style plates we enjoyed while there. This upscale, lively vegan tapas place on Locus Street features an open kitchen and three separate dining rooms that keep this atmosphere balanced between “happening” and intimate. We were highly impressed with the exquisite tastes on our plates; and our non-veg friend was equally enthusiastic about the various dishes, including some superb desserts. Here’s a look at some of the delectables: In addition to the small plates and entree plates we selected, Vedge offers a “Dirt List” —  a half dozen vegetable specials of the day featuring whatever is  available at the moment from the local farms. During our visit, we tried the Wood Grilled Broccolini cooked in smoky shitake dashi with crushed white sesame and the Brussels Sprouts served in a light mustard sauce that was out of this world (my fave of the night). In other dessert news, there were several vegan ice creams and sorbets to choose from: at our table, spoonfuls of coconut and pecan pie sorbets and habanero (!) ice cream. Vedge also has an impressive wine list and selection of cocktails. Celebrating my roots, I indulged in a wonderful glass of bianco from Sicily. Tip: even during the week, this place is bustling — be sure to make a reservation....

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Vegan in Philadephia
Apr30

Vegan in Philadephia

I’d heard that Philadelphia is one of the great U.S. vegan-friendly cities, and it did not disappoint on my recent visit. Whether you are grabbing a quick bite in between sight-seeing or shopping, or looking for a place suited for a more romantic dinner, here’s my list of faves for the City of Brotherly Love. Special thanks to friends on the Cruelty-Free Faves Facebook page who offered up suggestions. Dinner Vedge Upscale, lively vegan tapas place. This place is such a treat, I decided to write a separate piece about the experience, just so I could include a bunch of tantalizing pictures from our meal. So check back at the end of this week for a full report on The Vedge. New Harmony All-vegan in Philadephia’s Chinatown. The atmosphere is casual, but the extensive menu (including mock meats) gets rave reviews. Once my husband Seth heard that there was a vegan dim-sum nearby, New Harmony became his destination of choice. Vegan pork buns, shrimp dumplings, sesame chicken. No surprise, I loved the steamed spinach dumplings. Vegan Philly Steaks Blackbird Pizzeria The first place we head to when we arrived — thanks to multiple suggestions. You can buy pizza by the slice here, and some of the combinations look absolutely delicious; but we were steered to the Seitan Cheesesteak and — what can I say? — it’s a must. I hear the Cubano sandwich is pretty amazing, too. We also sampled the chick pea “tuna” salad and cajun coleslaw, both delicious. Cupcakes from Vegan Treats available if you have room for dessert. Cool piece of trivia: the owner of Blackbird previously worked at Blossom in NYC. Hip City Veg Not far from Rittenhouse Square, Hip City Veg features an all plant-based menu. The burgers and sandwiches are soy and grain-based, but there are delicious salads on the menu, too. Of course, I had to try the Philly Steak — I loved all the grilled onions and tomato on Hip City’s version of the classic. Sweet potato fries with black bean chipotle and a vanilla shake (soy milk, soy ice cream) rounded out this highly indulgent meal. Thankfully, I’d been walking around all day… and did a lot more walking afterwards. Lunch Mi Lah (Dinner /Lunch) This vegan restaurant has a very tempting dinner menu: African Peanut Stew in Tomato Curry Sauce. Brazilan Seitan Feijoado with Pan Seared Red Curry. Grilled Oyster Mushrooms on Brandy-Tequila Tomato Sauce with Vegan Chorizo. Or how about Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, and Potato Cashew Gratin in a Lemon Beurre Blanc? Next time I’m in town, I will be there for dinner. However, on this...

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Kezia’s Homemade Vegan Deviled Eggs
Apr23

Kezia’s Homemade Vegan Deviled Eggs

While I was in Los Angeles last month for The Genesis Awards, my husband Seth and I got together with friends Kezia and Gary for a wonderful dinner at their home. Kezia wowed us with these homemade vegan deviled eggs. As you can see in the picture, the resemblance to real deviled eggs is uncanny. BUT the real wow was when I bit into one. The texture and taste is unbelievably spot-on. The “white” really is like an egg white in its consistency — I never thought I’d have that experience in my mouth again! Even more impressive: the taste of the “yolk” — the secret ingredient is the black salt. Kezia sprinkled some in the palm of my hand just so I could fully appreciate it. This salt tastes just like eggs. So, find it online or at a local Indian market and prepare to be amazed. We ordered the black salt as soon as we landed back in Tucson and my husband Seth made a batch of these “eggs” (success!) on Easter Sunday. ingredients: 450 grams — about 2 cups — soy milk (unsweetened, unflavored) 2 tsp. agar agar powder 11/4 teaspoon black salt 215 grams tofu 2 tbl. Vegenaise 2-3 tbl. olive oil 1 tsp. mustard 1 tsp. white vinegar 3/4-1 tsp. black salt 1/2 tsp. tumeric 1/4 tsp. parsley (optional) 2-3 pinches curry (optional – but Kezia uses it, and it’s delicious) directions: Whites: Combine soy milk, agar agar, and 1/4 tsp. black salt. Boil and pour into egg tray (using it as a mold); if you don’t have an egg tray, you can use a cupcake pan and fill each one about 1/3 of the way. Once cooled (about 30 minutes in the fridge), you’ll scoop out a bit of the center of each. Creamy Yolk Filling: Mix remaining ingredients (including the remaining 3/4-1 tsp. black salt) in the food processor; using a pastry bag, pipe into the “whites.” To finish, we sprinkled ours with paprika. *Kezia credits La Gusta’s as the basis for this incredible...

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