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Best Vegan Sandwich in Ann Arbor?

26 Aug

Hello, dear readers!   It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted on my blog.  I’ve not been contributing to furthering the vegan message in my community much at all the last few years except for a few hours volunteering here and there…and of course asking for vegan food at every restaurant I go to!  After co-founding  Ann Arbor’s first Veg Week in April of 2013, I found myself taking somewhat of a hiatus from my vegan activism.  Although I continued to teach monthly vegan cooking classes at Whole Foods through December 2015, I chose to let go of the idea of making Ann Arbor Veg Week an annual event.  My heart just wasn’t in it and I’ve learned to listen to myself before I make commitments, especially ones that require a lot of energy and dedication.

I’ve been pondering for awhile now what my next project would be.  I’m  clear my passion lies in promoting the eating of more plants and less (no) animals.  I’ve asked myself what aspect of advocating a vegan lifestyle excited me and had an impact by inspiring others to become plant eaters, too!

So here’s what’s been interesting me for awhile now:  I have a strong desire to increase the amount and variety of vegan food options available in Ann Arbor (and Ypsilanti!), especially in non-vegan restaurants. I would like to be able to go to ANY restaurant and find a delicious vegan entree on the menu.  My goal is to inspire the many talented chefs in Ann Arbor to create something special for their venue, thereby making yummy vegan food available for everyone who patronizes their establishment.  Vegans get their needs met and non-vegans get to taste how fantastic plant-based dining can be. What’s more perfect than that?

By the way, you can help make more plant-based food available at any restaurant by always inquiring, in a pleasant way, if there are vegan options offered.  Be sincere in your appreciation of  what they do have and make requests for additional items.  You might be surprised at the positive response you get.

To promote the fantastic vegan food already available in our fine town, and to stimulate buzz for additional items,  I’m planning to post “best of” reviews for food categories at vegan and non-vegan restaurants in the area.  I’ll write about best pizza, best appetizer, best stir fry, best burger, best soup, best salad, best burrito and others.  I’m interested in hearing your ideas and recommendations in these categories and others you suggest, so please let me know your thoughts.

So, to start this off, tell me about your favorite vegan sandwich in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.  I personally have two current favorites of my own, namely the Tree Town Tempeh Reuben at The Lunch Room and the Falafel Sandwich from Jerusalem Garden.  Try the Falafel with Hummus and pickled turnips, our family’s favorite combo.  Have you had either of these?  What other local vegan sandwiches should be in contention in the “Best Of” competition?

 

 

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Vegan Tailgating

5 Aug

Hi all,

Next week’s Veg101 Class at Whole Foods Market Cranbrook is themed Vegan Tailgating.  My cooking partner Russ came up with this idea and unfortunately he’s off on vacation so won’t be there to share his favorite tailgating recipes.  Jeri Schneider and I will be at the stove to create delectable football fare.

I was wondering if anyone had any favorite omnivore tailgating foods they would like veganized? Or any requests for this particular class theme?

If so, please comment and let me know.  We’re working on some recipes now and I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the class is Tuesday, August 12th at 7pm.  The fee is $5.00 and you need to call and register.  If you can’t make this one, we offer Veg101 Vegan cooking classes every 2nd Tuesday.

Happy Cooking!

Dana

Lentil Soup with Eggplant and Mushrooms

2 Sep

After our 14 hour mega-marathon drive home from upstate NY yesterday, I woke up with a scratchy throat.  I don’t know about you but my scratchy throat was crying out for some soothing soup. So after a trip to People’s Food Co-op and Trader Joe’s, I started chopping. I decided to use The China Study Cookbook‘s Lentil Soup as my base and then add more vegetables. I had been craving mushrooms and eggplant for a while and this really satisfied.  This soup has no oils, nuts, soy or gluten,  Just pure veggie/lentil goodness!

Lentil Soup with Eggplant and Mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 cup scallions, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 cups water and 2 tablespoons  vegetable Better Than Bouillon paste or 6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup lentils (brown, green or black, not red)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 8 ounce package baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1″ cubes

In a large soup pot, saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 1/2 cup water over medium-high heat until soft.  Add curry powder and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add 6 cups water and Better Than Bouillon, stirring to dissolve.  Add lentils, scallions, nutritional yeast, lemon, red pepper flakes, black pepper, eggplant and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

(The Better Than Bouillon is salty so taste first before you add extra salt)

Red Curry Soup with Rice and Purple Kale

3 Oct

It’s Vegan MoFo day 2 and I was in the mood for soup.  I knew I had kale and sweet potatoes and I knew I had made a soup recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen blog (which I absolutely adore and highly recommend!) several times before using these ingredients that I had loved.  So, I went through my awesome giant binder of recipe winners.  That is recipes I’ve made before that are husband approved.  Well, to be honest, if he loved the recipe and I did not it got tossed.  So, it has to pass the test of delighting both of our taste buds.  This one was a true winner!

Red Curry Soup with Rice and Purple Kale

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced medium

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

3/4 cups basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed

6 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon salt

1-2 tablespoons of red curry paste (start with one and taste)

1 bunch of purple kale (or any kale really), thick stems removed and cut into bite size pieces

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1 can lite coconut milk

1 tablespoon agave syrup

Juice of one lime

Method:

Preheat a 4 quart soup pot over medium heat.  Saute onion in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes or so, until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger and saute a minute more.

Add rice, vegetable broth and salt, cover pot and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, lower heat to simmer.  Mix in curry paste to taste.  Add kale and sweet potatoes.  Cover pot and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

Add coconut milk, agave and lime.  Taste for salt and flavor.  Add more curry paste if you like.

Remove from heat and serve immediately or let sit for 10-15 minutes to give the flavors time to blend.

Transitioning to Vegan-Kale Butter

8 Jan

Having good recipes to prepare with whole foods makes transitioning to vegan much easier.  This recipe is another one of my favorite uses for the wonderful fresh kale from the Farmer’s Market.  I know I don’t have many more weeks to get local fresh kale but as long as I can I’ll be making this up!

It’s from The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn and is simple and delicious.  I like to spread it on a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast, on a wrap with other veggies for lunch or on some crackers for a healthy snack.  You can also use it as a veggie dip. Yummy!

Kale Butter

1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup water

Salt to taste

Process ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

Optional ingredients that I’ve added: nutritional yeast, freshly ground black pepper

So simple, so green, so fresh, so delicious.

Vegan Fare at the Jolly Pumpkin

26 Oct

I was walking around downtown Ann Arbor last week on my assignment from VegMichigan to help update their website of Ann Arbor Restaurants with vegan fare.  I passed by the Jolly Pumpkin and was delighted to notice several vegan options on their menu including a vegan chocolate cake!  So, of course, I invited my dear husband out to dinner last Saturday night, our long-standing date night.  We hadn’t been to the Jolly Pumpkin for many months and only a handful of times since their opening in September of 2009.  It was hopping busy at 8:30 when we arrived so we hovered near the bar hoping for a couple of bar stools to open up.  About 15 minutes later we had prime seats and were happy to see the television sets at the bar tuned to the MSU vs Wisconsin game.  I don’t follow football much but my husband let me know these were two of the best teams to watch.  If you missed this game, try to find the highlights.  It was amazing!

Anyway, back to the food!  I was feeling like a sandwich so after my husband ordered the Truffled French Fries for his appetizer, I ordered the Red Thai Tofu sandwich.  I subbed out the fries for a nice green salad instead.  It was all so delicious!  The grilled bread was a bit too oily but otherwise I loved the flavors and texture of this sandwich. It also came with a pickled zucchini wedge that was a surprise treat.  Forgive the picture above as it does the fabulous taste an injustice.  I also had a Oro de Calabaza, the Belgian-style ale the New York Times had voted their number one favorite in February 2010.  It was yummy and refreshing with a luscious citrus taste.

Other options on the menu for vegans included an appetizer of Grilled flatbread with Three Spreads.  They also had a Smoked Tofu Salad and an Asian Layered Salad.   Several of the items seem like they could be easily veganized by leaving off the cheese, including the pizzas.  I was too full to try the Vegan Chocolate Cake, which it turns out seems to be provided by Avalon International Bakery in Detroit.  I will definitely be back again soon and be sure to save some room in my belly!  Check out the Jolly Pumpkin’s menu here.