Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday Outing

This is the second time venturing out to what was once The Sanctuary, the little pond behind Hospice where I often brought light lunches, books to read, and a creative spirit. Since I haven’t visited my serenity place in forever, I’m making up for lost time while the weather remains beautiful, while the ducks are still present. On the way to the newly renovated pond (more open and less seclusion because they have chopped down the suspenseful, magical overgrown trees), I stopped by the Kroger to pick up my ingredients sans my old wicker basket. I found a lot of clearance items like 99 cent French bread and $1.09 fruit pie filling (which turned out to be the most delightful surprise on the bread— who needs jam?!). After I had eaten some of the amazing spread, I watched two ducks, rested a bit atop of the rocks, and read Shirley Jackson horror (‘tis the season). What a treat!

Lunch included nasayo’s Organic Vegan Tofu Vegetable Dumplings, a loaf of clearanced French bread, markdown Michigan Cherry Fruit Pie Filling, and Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. 

Fruit pie filling on bread is an instant dreamy treasure! 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Birthday Girl

It’s my absolutely favorite day! And this time, in a long time, I celebrated with my sweet family.
First, I walked down to Starbucks and ordered my complimentary venti soy green tea latte. Surprisingly enough, the barista pronounced my name correctly. I enjoyed my beverage with English muffins and vegan Gouda. Afterwards. I waited forever for a Route 17 to go to Whole Foods Market— delayed twenty minutes.

At my coveted destination (almost forty minutes with a delicious Toni Morrison novel), I found the prettiest sprinkled chocolate cake, Nada Moo Lotta Mint Chip (yes, I was worried that Dayton had no Nada Moo for the longest), and ingredients for mac n cheese with broccoli. At my brother’s apartment, we had mac n cheese with broccoli for lunch (made with 365 Foods Cheddar Slices). They sang the birthday song for me (yay). I cut the beautiful cake, smothered it in my favorite ice cream, and ate with sweet relish.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The First Dayton Vegan Food and Drink Festival

Los Angeles has Eat Drink Vegan (known as the Vegan Coachella). Vegandale is all the rage in Chicago, Toronto, and New York City.

Thus, I didn't know what to expect at the first annual Dayton Vegan Food and Drink Festival that happened this past Sunday. However, many questions raced through my head whilst aiding with volunteer set up in the pleasantly warm morning, high and alert from the Whole Foods Market vegan donuts and Trader Joe's blended orange juices that the DVFADF creator, Da'Ves Malone of Sprouting Dreams, LLC had gifted us all. Would there be a supportive crowd to show up and show out for veganism? Was this new downtown Dayton sensation conflicting with Dayton Art Institute's 41st Annual Oktoberfest some mere miles away? Would the weather be terrible? As vendors began unloading their trucks and setting up along Courthouse Square, tantalizing us by the way of their delightful aromas and unique presentations, the contagious happiness spread around infecting everyone.

Even my great uncle came out. I hadn't seen him in ages and it was wonderful to have a mini family reunion-- at a vegan festival too!
Once the hour struck one o'clock-- the festival start time-- the entertainment was alive and pumping hard. First, yoga lovers stretched by the gentle instructions of Ranjani Powers. DJ Mike Cooley and MC Picket Fence celebrated the roots of funk created right in our own backyard, spinning Heatwave, Zapp & Roger, the Ohio Players, Lakeside, and Faze-O. Molly Blackshear spoke compassionately on how veganism influenced and changed her perception of eating. The brilliant spoken word poet A. Slate roused the crowd with an utterly hilarious poem about the desire for the vegan foods on the menu. There was also activities for the kids, Katie Clark, the author of "I'm a Supervegan," jewelry and beauty products for sale, and various organizations like Cincy VegFest, Paw Patrol, and the Dayton International Peace Museum.

Food and drink vendors were of local and locations outside of Dayton including Billie Gold Bubble Tea, Power Plant Kitchen, Leerah's Vegan Treats, Fruitta Bowls Miamisburg, Sweet P's Icepops, Mana Ice Cream Co., Village Taco, Cabin Sweet Confections, and Pure Sweet Bakery.

Although I left prior to the heavy rain shower, it was good to hear that most of the food vendors sold out. The demand for vegan cuisine is certainly wanted here in Dayton and this first festival answered the call. Hopefully this great community building leads to more amazing vegan events to transpire in the future (another festival is a definite must). It is very obvious that the people crave delicious vegan options when presented to them, when vegan food is readily accessible. The amount of those donning vegan t-shirts, buying official festival vegan merchandise, and proudly displaying their foods and desserts showcase that there is a supportive underground being brought to the surface.

I look forward to the next big vegan happening and will always vouch for helping out in any way possible. I believe that it is possible for Dayton's new festival to be even bigger and better, that our small city has what it takes to make for an epic experience of veganism through eating and activism.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Curried Macaroni With Lentils

Hello all. This was a week. A week. We had some very serious health concerns with a beloved family member whose been in the hospital since Monday. He left yesterday morning. My mom is monitoring him closely. Let’s just say it truly is the hardest sight to see in the world— a precious life in the balance and at so young an age. Dreams and thoughts of tubes, IV cords, syringes drawing blood, doctors alternating between “death,” “dying,” and “dead.” We have to take care of ourselves and those closest to us if they allow it.

On the positive side, in addition to his health improving, I published stories too— Arts of Global Africa at the Newark Museum, Excellent Contemporary Art by Artists of African Diaspora on the artblog and The Ultimate Vegan Guide to Dayton, Ohio on VegNews. Plus, Camille DeAngelis’ book, A Bright Clean Mind: Veganism For Creative Transformation, is coming out soon. She has interviewed creatives such as musician/writer Lacresha Berry of berryandco, poet/writer Donald Vincent of Mr. Hip, myself, and others.

Although I have unfortunately left my VeganMofo incomplete, I still have plentiful Caribbean style recipes to post and upcoming birthday plans to consider. It’s sad and inconvenient that the local Greyhound Station has closed as well. So visiting Cincinnati to get art supplies and delicious Asian cuisine or journeying to Columbus for the art museum and the best Midtown vegan donuts and croissants are out of the question. I don’t like asking people for rides to places, especially if they’re hours away.

I have shared a similar recipe for macaroni with lentils before, but this here has the addition of delicious curried appeal. I let the lentils cook for fifteen minutes then add the macaroni so that the macaroni soaks up the flavorful lentils. It is an incredibly fulfilling meal-- always a plus since one running unfunny joke is that a vegan can never be full.

Curried Macaroni With Lentils Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup lentils
1 cup macaroni
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoon dried onion pieces
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

In two cups of water, cook lentils for fifteen minutes. Add pasta and olive oil, stirring evenly. Cook for fifteen minutes.
Drain pasta and lentils.
Stir in curry powder, dried onion, garlic, turmeric, salt, black pepper, and paprika.
Serve immediately. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #9: Cubano Sandwich

After a very tiring past week and a half, Vegan Mofo can resume. That’s back to Caribbean Cuisine and there are several recipes to post before August ends.
I heard it is National Cubano Sandwich Day! A Cubano or Cuban sandwich is typically a meaty packed sandwich (ham mostly) with pickles and mustard, bread sides toasted to browning perfection. It’s origin is a tricky one— because though it is called a Cubano, the origins are tied between both Florida and Cuba. Each place has a story about the humble beginnings of a very popular lunch order.
My version contains pan seared tempeh, Field Roast Chao, and lime-dill sour cream between buttery, crisp bread. It is an unbelievably flavor packed guilty pleasure sandwich. Our local stores don’t have veggie ham and the Tofurkey slices are just as good. They also sell the Lightlife deli slices— I have yet to try those.

Tempeh Cubano Sandwich Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 8oz tempeh, sliced in half
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5-6 veggie deli slices

1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 slices vegan cheese (Field Roast Chao is used here)

Heat a skillet with coconut oil.
Mix together soy sauce, garlic, cumin, paprika, and thyme. Add in tempeh.
Toss tempeh into the skillet. Sear on both sides.
Combine sour cream with lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Spread on bread.
Assemble sandwich with tempeh, veggie slices (can be cold or fried), pickles, and sour cream sauce.
Grill the bread on both sides.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #8: Cou-Cou With Lime “Fish”

Missed a few days, but back to Vegan Mofo-ing! I plan to make desserts soon. Just gotta find the right sweets that also match with what’s on hand— something that needs raisins and chocolate for example.
Right now, savory Caribbean Cuisine continues with cou-cou, a specialty dish in Barbados much like ugali and fufu. The main difference is that cou-cou means cornmeal prepared with okra and spices. The okra is cut up into tiny bits, boiled, and the okra water is used to flavor the cornmeal before the okra pieces are added back in. My recipe is inspired by veganizing both CaribCuisine and The Spruce  Eats, throwing in lime gardein fishless filets as the perfect meaty component that celebrates Barbadians love for combining simple ingredients together.  Cou-cou is usually prepared with a cou stick, but a wooden spoon works just fine.

Cou-Cou With Lime Fish Ingredients and Preparation

2 1/2 cup water
8 okra, sliced
1/4 cup spiced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil or vegan butter

2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 gardein fishless filets

Soak cornmeal in cold water.
Bring okra, onion, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and salt to a boil, cooking for about ten minutes.
Take out okra and reserve some of the seasoned okra water. Pour the cornmeal into the remaining water. Bring to a simmer, stirring every fifteen minutes to prevent sticking. Add the extra okra water.
Once the cou-cou is finished (sides should be easy to scoop out), place into a “buttered” bowl to mold.
In a skillet, heat coconut oil. Whisk together lime juice, garlic, paprika, and thyme. Coat thawed fishless filets with the simple marinade and toss them into waiting skillet. Sear both sides for about 4-5 minutes each.
Serve fishless filets with cou-cou.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #7: Picadello

The seventh Vegan Mofo tribute post to Caribbean cuisine is picadello, a celebrated Cuban dish that features unexpected delights in its slow simmered ground beef— like raisins, capers, and olives. I veganized an All Recipes version. Now I personally abhor olives though known to enjoy a good tampanede from time to time. At the grocery store, there were shelves upon shelves of olives, but certainly no tampanade to sneak in as an olive component. Also, I omitted the green bell pepper because one simply has to be in the mood to tolerate them.
This recipe calls for Sazon Seasoning and brands like Goya often times contains dyes and MSG. Here is an easy homemade one:

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, toasted then ground
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted then ground
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, (or dried marjoram or verbena)
1 tablespoon achiote seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika) 

Mix ingredients together well and use 1.5 teaspoons for each packet of the Goya Sazon your recipe calls for.
Picadello can be a side dish for rice, served with fried plantains or used as taco or empanada filling. I made tacos of course. I wish that I had vegan sour cream or plain yogurt on hand to mix with lime and cilantro— would have made for excellent topping to these incredibly fulfilling tacos.

Picadello Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1 12 oz package Lightlife Soy Ground (or any other vegan ground)
1 14 oz can salt free diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon Sazon Seasoning
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon cumin
fresh thyme for tasty decoration (optional)

In a skillet, heat oil with garlic and onion, stirring for seven minutes or so.
Add remainder of ingredients except thyme.
Simmer soy ground for ten minutes.
Serve warm with thyme.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #6: Curried Plantains & Tomato Rice

Everyone loves a little bit of curry in a dish. Plantains are definitely a huge part of most Caribbean meals. All over the region, plantains are either the well seasoned side dish or the fried, greasy snack before the main course. I love them in many ways— mostly savory. Thus, this is the start of several recipes that star yummylicious plantains.
For my delicious meal, I first boiled my unripened plantain so that it was soft and lovely during its short frying time— a ripe plantain, however, is recommended. The tomato rice has the same flavors inside, marrying the components together for a scrumptious, fulfilling meal.

Curried Plantains and Tomato Rice Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 chopped white onion
2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 plantain, cut into three pieces
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Prepare rice to package directions. Drain. Mix in tomato sauce, onion, curry powder, cumin, fenugreek, salt, and black pepper.
In a skillet, let the coconut oil  warm up. Combine thick plantain slices with garlic, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and crushed red pepper and toss them into the skillet. Sear each side for a few minutes.
Serve atop of rice with extra crushed red pepper.