Javanese-Inspired “Chicken” Soup (Vegan Soto Ayam)

Javanese Inspired "Chicken" Noodle Soup (Soto Ayam)

I haven’t properly been teaching my daughter to cook. Or at least that’s how I felt after reading an article in the New York Times about a mother who has her 10- and 14-year-old sons cook dinner on their own once a week. When I read the article a few weeks ago, my first, defensive thought was, “Impossible! E would cook lasagna every single week.” My second and more disturbing thought was, “Could I really relinquish control of the kitchen and trust that E wouldn’t burn down the house or sever an artery?” The sad truth of the matter is that, other than teaching her the two easy dishes she makes for herself after school (baked potatoes and pasta and vegetables with basil and olive oil), I’ve done very little to prepare my almost 15-year-old to cook on her own.

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Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Etoufee

Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Etoufee

I’m writing this from a hotel on St. Charles Avenue after a night of revelry in the streets of New Orleans. If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, you might assume that the partying is confined to Fat Tuesday itself, but Mardi Gras day is just the culmination of all the parties and parades that have been going on over the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, out on the street for over twelve hours, my family and I were able to catch six parades (and a couple of bags of purple, green, and gold beads). Tonight we’ll be back out there for four more, and we’ll stay to see Zulu and Rex on Tuesday before we return to real life.

You would think that because we’re in New Orleans we’d get to sample a lot of great New Orleans-style food, but the truth is that, though N.O. has become more vegan-friendly over the last few years, there don’t seem to be many restaurants that offer meatless versions of gumbo, etoufee, or even red beans and rice. While we’re here, we’ll seek out great Vietnamese food or maybe Tapas, but we won’t be able to find Eggplant Creole. Last week, in anticipation of our trip, I began craving spicy New Orleans food, and since I knew I probably couldn’t get it here, I made it myself.

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Beetballs: A Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free Sausage Recipe

Beetballs and Spaghetti

When I heard that a food blogging conference was taking place in the state just next door, I was intrigued. When I heard that friend, cookbook author, and fellow blogger Kathy Hester was going to be there, I said “Sign me up!” So a couple of weeks ago, I drove the four hours to Birmingham, Alabama, to attend Food Blog South‘s second annual conference. Though I don’t do blogging conferences very often, I’ve found that they’re a great way to recharge my batteries; having actual face-to-face conversations with people who share my enthusiasm for food, photography, and writing takes a lot of the isolation out of blogging. This particular conference left me super-charged because I was able to spend time not only with Kathy but also with two other vegan bloggers, Heather of Better With Veggies and Katie Cain of Bistro Katie. Dinner out with them at the vegan-friendly Bottletree Cafe was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Of course, the conference itself offered plenty of information and inspiration, but when you’re a food blogger, your main focus is on the food, and when you’re a vegan, that focus turns into concern, as in “Will there be anything for me to eat?” The answers in this case were “No, no, YES, and not really.” Neither the pre- and post-parties nor the breakfast offered much for a vegan to sink her teeth into other than pickled okra, but the lunch, provided by Shindigs Catering, featured a vegan, gluten-free main dish that turned out to be the second highlight of the conference: Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and vegetable-based orbs that all of us vegans began calling Beetballs after conversations with the very gracious chef revealed that the ingredients included beets, almonds, chickpeas, smoked mushrooms, and smoked onions. I was sure that one, if not all, of us would wind up trying to recreate Beetballs.

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Vegan Most-Viewed on YouTube

According to YouTube, just about everyone loves vegan food with a side of black metal music. The Huffington Post has released “YouTube’s Most Viewed food videos of 2011,” and…

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Silverstone&#146s Hanukkah Recipes

In honor of Hanukkah, actress and vegan activist Alicia Silverstone is posting vegan recipes for eight traditional Hanukkah dishes on The Kind Life, her lifestyle…

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New Veg Health Radio Show

Florida resident Jeff Popick has launched Heroes for Health, a new national and regional radio show, after overcoming morbid obesity and other health…

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Chomp Vegan Eatery Opens

On November 26, Chomp Vegan Eatery opened for business in Port Moody, BC, offering flavorful plant-based dining that is also gluten-free. Founded by …

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Mint Sauce

Mint Sauce

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 cups fresh, raw mint
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar or sugar
1/4 cup hot water

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients but water in a food chopper or processor and pulse until mint is finely chopped.

2. Add hot water and pulse again. Allow to stand for about 2 hours.

Aunt Rosemary says, “The sauce should be thick with mint.” This sauce is good with grilled or roasted vegetables, seitan and tofu roasts or baked tofu. Chill leftovers in a covered glass jar.

Source of recipe: This is a very old, traditional English recipe.

Makes: about 1 1/2 cups, Cooking time: 2 hours stan…

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2011’s 10 Biggest Trends in Veganism

Sorry Charlie Sheen, but this year, veganism was winning. From mega superstars going vegan to the explosion of meat-free cookbooks, VN editors give you the top 10 vegan trends of 2011.

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Bacon, Green Onion and Cheddar Cheese Fries

Bacon, Green Onion and Cheddar Cheese Fries

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

Dipping sauce:
1 cup vegan ranch dressing (I use http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=40981.0)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano

Fries:
1 (28 ounce) bag steak cut French fries
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup vegan bacon, crumbled (I use http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=41042.0)
1-1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to temperature on French fry pa…

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