Vegan Chews & Progressive News {2-27-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Hello, C&C readers! I hope that your week was manageable and offered some joyous moments. Perhaps you’re now able to relax a bit with some Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)!…or you’ll just get riled up again about the stuff I’m about to share with ya’ll. Either way, you won’t want to miss some mouthwatering noodles and sandwiches, the fight for trans justice, the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, or a book that will have you looking at American slavery in a whole new light. Andiamo! (That’s Italian for “let’s go!)

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Veggie Pad Thai with “Eggy” Tofu & Tamarind Sauce
Via Vegan Miam

Photo via Rika of Vegan Miam.

Photo via Rika of Vegan Miam.

I really appreciate Rika’s approach to creating recipes with origins in cultures other than her own — rather than completely appropriating the dish, she explains its cultural origins, its significance, and why/how her interpretation differs from the authentic dish. Rika does this well in her post about her version of the iconic Thai dish known as Pad Thai, which features crumbled tofu mixed with black salt to achieve the “eggy” flavor and texture included in the original Thai dish. Complete with a tangy tamarind sauce, this dish promises a deep complexity of flavors and textures.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Jackfruit “Tuna” Salad Sandwich
Via Carla Kelly in Vegan al Fresco

Photo via Arsenal Pulp Press.

Photo via Arsenal Pulp Press.

Though I have no photo of this impeccable salad for ya’ll today, I do want to highly recommend that you mash a can of jackfruit with Vegenaise, mustard, dill, seaweed, celery, scallions, and capers; pile it high between two pieces of bread; and top with lettuce and tomato. For those of ya’ll who enjoyed tuna salad as youngins, this recipe is sure to strike all those nostalgic notes, while still maintaining a cultivation of anti-speciesist politics. I’d highly recommend Carla’s cookbook for this dish and more.

Must-Read News Story

No to Prison Industrial Complex: San Francisco’s Trans Community Responds to Brutal Murders
By Toshio Meronek at Truthout

22 JUNE, 2012- Members of the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), march in the streets. (Photo: Eric Wagner)

22 JUNE, 2012- Members of the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), march in the streets. (Photo: Eric Wagner)

Since the beginning of 2015, at least seven transgender women — most of whom were of color — were reported to be murdered. Yet we don’t hear about it. Their names don’t stick in our minds like those of Eric Garner or Mike Brown. Organizations like the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIP) and Critical Resistance are working to change that, in part by marching in the streets of the Bay Area. We need to follow their lead and demand an end to the injustices committed against trans people on a daily basis, and we can start by preventing each individual murdered from becoming just another statistic. We can learn their names and stories, and share them with others. We can amplify their voices. Here are some recently murdered trans people of color for whom we can do this:

Lamar “Goddess” Edwards
Lamia Beard
Ty Underwood
Yazmine Vas Payne
Taja De Jesus
Penny Proud
Bri Golec
Kristina Gomez Reinwald
Sumaya YSL

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Remembering Malcolm X

Photo via The Shabazz Center.

Photo via The Shabazz Center.

February 21 marked the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, and this week Democracy Now! aired a series of tributes to the legacy of this historic, truly revolutionary activist. You’ll find links to the various video tributes below:

Malcolm X on Democracy Now!: Watch Speeches, Interviews with Activists & Biographer Manning Marable

Grace Lee Boggs on Malcolm X: “He Was a Person Always Searching to Transform Himself”

50 Years After Murder, Malcolm X Remembered by Daughter Ilyasah Shabazz & Friend A. Peter Bailey (Part 1, Part 2)

Book Recommendation

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
By Edward Baptist

Photo via Amazon.com.

Photo via Amazon.com.

Though American historians and the general public alike tend to treat slavery as an isolated incident, independent of the nation’s vast economic success, Edward Baptist in his book explains how the expansion of slavery played the primary role in American modernization and economic growth; i.e., America would not be what it is today if not for the innumerable African Americans whom we enslaved. Perhaps we need to look critically at our professed American virtues of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and instead consider the possibility that our real values lie in torture, violence, and profit over all else.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {2-20-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Welcome to the 37th installment of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews), everyone! Today’s recipes feature some winning flavor combinations, while the stories highlight some truly astounding activists working at the marginalized intersections. Enjooooy.

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Easy Sesame Cauliflower
Via My Whole Food Life

Photo via Melissa King.

Photo via Melissa King.

I’m a sucker for basically everything going on in this recipe: that genius combination of tangy, salty, and sweet flavors; starch-thickened sauces; tender cauliflower; a brightening addition of scallions to finish off a dish. Yes, this is one side dish I would happily turn into a whole meal.

Sweet

Matcha Pear White Chocolate Layer Cake
Via Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Photo via Amy Lyons

Photo via Amy Lyons

Show-stopper, amirite? Though I’ve never considered it before, the combination of sweet, champagne-flavored pears with matcha’s mysterious astringence strikes me as rather incredible. When that combo is implemented in the form of cocoa butter-spiked, velvety frosting, I can’t help my jaw from dropping. The recipe calls for a hefty amount of (usually expensive) coconut butter, but I’d wager a guess that the cake would taste just as decadent and fancy-schmancy with the much cheaper Earth Balance vegan butter.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas
Via Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Photo via Heather Poire.

Photo via Heather Poire.

I’ve spoken of my enthusiasm for the Middle Eastern seasoning known as za’atar, but here I am again, highlighting another za’atar-centric recipe (let me know if I start to sound like a broken record). I whipped up a big ol’ batch of these crunchy, brightly seasoned morsels for my cooperative house, and they disappeared within moments.

Must-Read News Story

Black, Queer, Feminist, Erased from history: Meet the Most Important Legal Scholar You’ve Likely Never Heard Of
By Brittney Cooper at Salon

Photo via Associated Press.

Photo via Associated Press.

The deeply embedded structures of white supremacy and heteropatriarchy have a habit of erasing non-white, gender nonconforming groups and individuals from the collective memory—even (or especially?) those groups and individuals who contributed truly groundbreaking work to their fields of work. One such individual, as professor Brittney Cooper points out, is Pauli Murray—the queer Black lawyer who helped to pioneer the legal strategy for fighting gender-based descrimination. Though trans terminology was not available to Murray in the 1930s and 40s (it wasn’t invented until the 1950s), Cooper notes that it is likely that this groundbreaking activist probably would have embraced a transgender identity.

Cooper offers the following regarding the historical erasure of Murray’s work:

“The civil rights struggle demanded respectable performances of black manhood and womanhood, particularly from its heroes and heroines, and respectability meant being educated, heterosexual, married and Christian. Murray’s open lesbian relationships and her gender nonconforming identity disrupted the dictates of respectability, making it easier to erase her five decades of important intellectual and political contributions from our broader narrative of civil rights.”

A good reminder to always center those working at society’s margins in our historical and contemporary memories.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

The Kitty Bella Show
By Katrina Goodlett

Photo via Katrina Goodlett.

Photo via Katrina Goodlett.

I’m not highlighting a specific episode today, but rather an entire podcast. Katrina Goodlett hosts a fabulous radio show that focuses on the activist work of trans people of color, including performance duo DarkMatter, spiritual psychic empath Noah Alvarez, singer/writer Lady Dane, Janet Mock, Monica Roberts, Angelica Ross and many more. I would highly recommend tuning in each Monday.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects That you should totally Check out

Call for Submissions: “On Violence” Issue of Project Intersect
Via Ashley Jo Maier

Photo via Project Intersect.

Photo via Project Intersect.

I’ve featured Project Intersect before on the blog, and am thrilled to let ya’ll know that the radical feminist, anti-speciesist crit-zine is currently seeking submissions for their second issue. This issue will focus on understandings of violence in the context of approaches to radical earth, animal, and feminist liberation. Submissions are due on May 31st, so there’s plenty of time for ya’ll to brainstorm and write!

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {2-13-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Hi there, everyone! Welcome to yet another installment of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews). After you load up on creative, starchy goodness (can you say waffles, sweet rolls, & cake?), get ready to confront the U.S.’s deeply embedded ideologies and structures that uphold anti-Muslim and anti-Black racism, as well as heteronormativity and patriarchy. Easy stuff, right folks? See you on the flip side!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Parnsip, Shallot & Chive Waffles Topped with Eggplant & Salsa Verde
Via What’s Cooking Good Looking

Photo via Jodi at What's Cooking Good Looking.

Photo via Jodi at What’s Cooking Good Looking.

The woefully underrated parsnip (aka my favorite vegetable). The forgotten sibling of the pancake. These two overlooked foodstuffs unite to form a earthy-sweet, crispy, starchy round of yummy comfort in this creative dinner entree. The egg called for in the waffle recipe can be easily replaced by 1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water.

Sweet

Black Sesame Matcha Rolls with Miso-Lemon Glaze
Via Golubka Kitchen

Photo via Anya Kassoff.

Photo via Anya Kassoff.

Include the ingredients black sesame and matcha together, and I’m all over your recipe like static cling is all over socks. Implemented in the form of sticky, sweet, yeasty rolls, these two unique ingredients produce a visually arresting sweet treat. Sub maple syrup or agave for the honey, and you’re golden.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Earth Cake
Via Stephanie Lynn & Minimalist Baker

Photo via Stephanie Lynn.

Photo via Stephanie Lynn.

Yesterday marked the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC)‘s screening of the recently released, groundbreaking documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. The film follows filmmaker Kip Anderson as he investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations largely refuse to acknowledge the leading cause of global climate change today, as confirmed by the United Nations: animal agriculture. In keeping with the Earth-centric theme of the film, I baked up a ton of Earth-patterned vegan cake for event attendees, inspired by this DIY tutorial from Stephanie Lynn, and using Dana Schultz’s cupcake recipe. Fun, right?

Must-Read News Story

White Man Murders Three Muslim Students in Chapel Hill
Via Anna Merlan at Jezebel

Image via Deah Barakat.

Image via Deah Barakat.

In not-so-fun news, however, this past Tuesday a white man named Craig Stephen Hicks shot and killed three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Preliminary investigations into Hicks’ motives for the shooting revealed that he had previously expressed anti-religion sentiments on social media. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad had this to say on the topic:

“Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case.”

Following Awad’s words, I think that it’s important to emphasize that this tragic event is not an isolated case of a single prejudiced man, but indicative of a larger culture of hate, fear, and violence against Muslim peoples that has been growing since 9/11.

For more on the story, here are two additional articles from Common Dreams and Al Jazeera.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Mychal Denzel Smith on What’s Wrong About the Ways People Hate Kanye West
Via Radio Dispatch

Photo via MTV.

Photo via MTV.

Since my introduction to Mychal Denzel Smith‘s work this past summer, I’ve become a huge fan of his journalism and punditry. He often appears on one of my favorite podcasts, Radio Dispatch, and indeed did so this Wednesday. In the episode, Mychal discusses the racist underpinnings of America’s frustration with Kanye West, both in general and following this year’s Grammy Awards.

Book Recommendation

Queer (In)Justice
By Joey L. Mogul, Andrea K. Ritchie, & Kay Whitlock

Photo via Beacon Press.

Photo via Beacon Press.

This semester I have the immense privilege of taking an Africana Studies course entitled “The Carceral State and Black (Queer and Trans) Bodies,” taught by powerhouse Black & queer activist Darnell Moore, a Managing Editor at The Feminist Wire (and so much more)Queer (In)Justice is our focus text for the semester, and it provides an extensive historical and contemporary analysis of the ways that the criminal legal system has disproportionately targeted queer people of color. A clearly written and highly important book.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {2-6-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Hello, fellow radicals, and welcome to your weekly installation of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! In culinary store for you today is a brightly flavored rice salad, a microwaved donut (?!?!?!), and some hearty stuffed cabbage. On the stories side of the equation, I’d like to share with you the problematic implications of #AllLivesMatter, a groundbreaking view of addiction and the War on Drugs, and a cookzine written by and for vegans of color. Exciting stuff today, folks!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Rice, Peas, Mint, & Raisins
Via The Whinery

Photo via Elsa at The Whinery.

Photo via Elsa at The Whinery.

My mother crafted a number of bright, summery rice salads throughout my childhood, and this dish from Elsa at The Whinery reminds me of the warm-weather suppers my parents and I would enjoy on our backyard porch.  Plus, this salad temporarily quenches my undying urge to throw green peas and mint into everything.

Sweet

5-Minute Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Via F00dventures

Photo via F00dventures.

Photo via F00dventures.

A miniature ingredient list and a trip in the microwave comprise the entirety of this laughably simple recipe for fluffy pumpkin donuts. I’m eager to test the no-oven method of baking introduced here.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Cabbage Rolls
Via Fat-Free Vegan

Photo via Susan Voisin.

Photo via Susan Voisin.

This dish has held a spot on my “Recipes to Try” list for far too long, so I was thrilled to finally check it off while cooking dinner for my 20-person cooperative house the other night. Instead of boiling the cabbage leaves, I stuck a whole head of cabbage in the freezer overnight and let it thaw the next day, resulting in perfectly rolla-ble leaves while eliminating a step in the cooking process.

Must-Read News Story

Dear Post-Racial White Vegans: ‘All Lives Matter’ Is a Racial Microaggression Contributing to Our Daily Struggle With Racial Battle Fatigue
Via A. Breeze Harper at Sistah Vegan

Photo via A. Breeze Harper.

Photo via A. Breeze Harper.

I’ve seen a number of (white) animal activists using the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, I assume in order to draw attention to the lives of non-human animals whom we often refuse to see. However, this hashtag and others like it work to re-center white people in a world that systemically oppresses people of color, and thus appropriates the entire #BlackLivesMatter movement with the effect of once again employing Black bodies to serve the interests of white people. A. Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan writes on this topic in detail in this post on her blog.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong
Via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

I usually listen to Democracy Now! in the background during my morning workout, but this interview with British journalist and author Johann Hari had me pausing my lunges to actually sit down and watch. With President Obama seeking $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs in his new budget, Hari articulately and in easily understandable language flips the common understanding of addiction and our century-old failed drug war on his head. Watch and be amazed.

Unfortunate disclaimer: Hari discusses rat vivisection in a fairly callous manner, but the rest of his interview is A+. Check out the fantastic Brooklyn-based organization Open the Cages for info and heartwarming stories on rescued lab animals.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects That You Should Totally Check Out

Vegans of Color Cookzine in the Works!
Via Portland Vegans of Color

Photo via Portland Vegan of Color.

Photo via Portland Vegan of Color.

The Portland Vegans of Color group has issued a call to fellow vegans of color for recipes and stories, with the goal of “push[ing] back against the lack of authentic diversity to complete appropriation of non-white cultures by white authors in vegan cookbooks.” If you’re a vegan of color with a recipe to contribute, email pdxvoc@gmail.com with your submission! The deadline is March 31. See the link for more details. Thanks to Hana Low for alerting me to this great project.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {1-30-15}

And the winner of the But I Could Never Go Vegan! cookbook giveaway is…Kirsten Zellmer! Congratulations — I’m certain you’ll adore Kristy’s book.

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Whoa, it’s the 34th edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! Where does the time go? Perhaps in recreating an intricate and show-stopping dinner entree? Or in munching on a handful of well-spiced granola? Maybe slurping up a big ol’ bowl of dumpling soup? But, if you haven’t spent all of your time immersed in vegan recipe land, then maybe you’ve been contemplating how to act in solidarity with women of color and trans people of color, how to advocate for anti-speciesism instead of vegan consumerism, or where to find some kick-ass resources on critical veganism. Coincidence — maybe you’ll find just what you need in today’s post!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Lentil Loaf
Via It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Photo via Sam Turnbull.

Photo via Sam Turnbull.

Though I certainly can’t argue with a blissfully simple, minimally involved recipe that packs a flavor punch, I also can’t help but get excited when I encounter a tad more involved recipe sure to wow dinner guests (or just me). This hearty lentil loaf encased in flaky puff pastry comprises one of the latter sorts of recipes. Maybe I’ll keep it up my sleeve until David Bowie finally comes over for a meal…

Sweet

Ginger & Vanilla Granola
Via Nourish & Inspire Me

Via Ari-Elle at Nourish & Inspire Me.

Via Ari-Elle at Nourish & Inspire Me.

Minimally sweetened yet packed full of vibrant ginger mellowed by vanilla, this granola will surely find a place in my daily smoothie-topping rotation.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Easy Vegetable & Dumpling Soup
Via VeganSandra

Photo via Sandra Vungi.

Photo via Sandra Vungi.

Earlier this bitter cold and snowy week, no item on Earth — food-based or otherwise — struck me as just as comforting as this dumpling soup. Dense, chewy balls of starch swimming in veggie-packed brothy goodness? How could I possibly argue with that? I did change up the dumplings a bit from those called for in the recipe, substituting chickpea flour for all-purpose and tahini for olive oil, and found lovely results.

Must-Read News Story

Mourners for Black Queer and Trans Lives Attacked by Castro Bar
By QTPOC Liberation at The Feminist Wire

AND

Race, Domestic Abuse and a Warning Shot: Marissa Alexander Released From Prison, But Still Not Free
By Nadia Prupis at Common Dreams

Photo via QTPOC Liberation.

Photo via QTPOC Liberation.

These two stories – the first about an attack on queer and trans people of color hosting a #BlackLivesMatter protest, the second about Marissa Alexander’s recent release from prison and transfer to house arrest – serve to remind us that, while Black Lives certainly Matter, the Black bodies of women and trans people of color require a particularly concerted effort of solidarity in order to make their lives matter to a society of white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Chaos in Yemen, Wrong Billy Crystal
Via Radio Dispatch

Photo via Leslye Davies at The New York Times

Photo via Leslye Davies at The New York Times

While I don’t usually highlight animal-related stories in my # NewsandChews posts (’cause ya’ll know about that already, doncha?), John and Molly’s discussion of a recent New York Times article struck me as particularly resonant with my understanding of the problematic links between veganism and consumerism.

The article details the beyond-factory-farming torture of typically farmed other animals at an agricultural research center devoted to helping the cow, pig, and lamb industries maximize their profits in the face of a shift in consumer choices toward plants, birds, and fish. Though certainly not an uplifting wake-up call, the article demonstrates that our vegan consumption practices most often do not deter animal agricultural industries from engaging in the most visibly violent forms of speciesism.

Clearly, veganism-as-consumer-boycott does little to combat the dominant speciesist ideologies that permit and even encourage violent industries, and a much broader ideological shift is needed.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects That You Should Totally Check Out

“Critical Veganism” Resources
Via Hana Low

Last week I excitedly shared with ya’ll the work of powerhouse anti-speciesist feminist activist and thinker Hana Low, and this week I’ve gotten their permission to pass along a phenomenal list of resources on critical veganism that they’ve compiled. Take a gander at this Google Doc brimming with necessary viewpoints on veganism from marginalized voices.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {1-23-15}

Hey, ya’ll! Quick note before launching into #NewsandChews: if you haven’t yet had the chance to enter my latest giveaway to win a copy of food blogger extraordinaire Kristy Turner’s new cookbook But I Could Never Go Vegan!, then be sure to head on over to the post! Also read my review of the book and get a recipe for Kristy’s Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Happy late MLK Day, everyone! This edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews) pays homage to the radical legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., so often sanitized by the white supremacist powers that dictate which aspects of history to erase. But first, check out three recipes that have nothing to do with MLK (except that they’re vegan and Coretta Scott King also held vegan principles, so there’s that). Then, as if MLK and the incredible #BlackLivesMatter organizers didn’t provide enough inspiring activism for you, meet the powerhouse queer, anti-speciesist activist Hana Low. Onward!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Maple-Cinnamon Delicata Squash Salad with Jackfruit Bacon
Via Sweet Simple Vegan

Photo via Jasmine Briones.

Photo via Jasmine Briones.

This colorful, nutrient-rich salad bowl screams of textural interest and flavorful simplicity, especially with the delicata squash’s mild succulence and the jackfruit’s smoky toothsome-ness. But really, when avocado and brussels sprouts are involved, I’m hooked immediately, no questions asked.

Sweet

Sweet Dukkah Cigars
Via Golubka

Photo via Anya Kassoff.

Photo via Anya Kassoff.

Dukkah — an Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds — takes center stage in these decadent yet sophisticated crepe-like pastries. Anya’s particular dukkah features pistachios and hazelnuts (two of my favorite nuts), as well as coriander and cardamom (two of my favorite spices). Interestingly, her dough incorporates a bit of miso paste, which I’m intrigued to try out. Make sure to use agave or maple syrup in place of the honey when called for, because bees make honey for themselves to eat, not for us!

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Crispy Orange Cauliflower
Via Cara Reed at Vegan Richa

Photo via Cara Reed.

Photo via Cara Reed.

I’m a sucker for Asian-inspired sauces thickened with cornstarch; I just can’t get enough of that viscous texture and salty-sweet flavor. This orange-centric one from Cara Reed of the Fork and Beans blog seems like just the sauce to please my palate, especially when it coats the Mighty Cauliflower — master and most versatile of the vegetable fiefdom (because plants still operate in feudal times, right?).

Must-Read News Story

#ReclaimMLK
Via Ferguson Action

Photo via Deray McKesson (@deray).

Photo via Deray McKesson (@deray).

On this past MLK Day, thousands of #BlackLivesMatter activists did some hugely important organizing, uniting to #ReclaimMLK from the sanitized versions of his legacy that we learn in the white supremacist history books. While we often only hear about Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech — so easily co-opted by white people who employ the rhetoric of reverse racism — we seldom learn that he linked capitalism’s injustice with racism and militarization, and whose assassination was planned by the U.S. government in an attempt to stop him from shifting the status quo.

I’d like to share the words of Ferguson Action to further expand upon the importance of this organizing:

“The present day Movement for Black Lives draws a direct line from the legacy of Dr. King and the current struggle we face today. Unfortunately, Dr. King’s legacy has been clouded by efforts to soften, sanitize, and commercialize it. Impulses to remove Dr. King from the movement that elevated him must end. We resist efforts to reduce a long history marred with the blood of countless members of our community into iconic images of men in suits behind pulpits. From here on, MLK weekend will be known as a time of national resistance to injustice. This MLK weekend we will walk in the legacy of Dr. King and the movement that raised him.”

Check out the following four news stories for more details on this year’s #ReclaimMLK demonstrations and demands:

Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day
By Lauren McCauley at Common Dreams

What You Can Do to Highlight MLK’s Radical Legacy
By Alyssa Figueroa at AlterNet

Black Lives Matter Aspires to Reclaim the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Via Gabrielle Canon and Bryan Schatz at Mother Jones

Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
By Eric Mann at Counterpunch

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

DN! In Depth: Martin Luther King Jr. & the Civil Rights Movement
Via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

For more on MLK’s radical legacy, check out the collection of interviews, speeches, and other videos that Democracy Nowhas compiled to de-sanitize Dr. King’s work.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects That You Should Totally Check Out

Hana Low’s Opening Cages for Collective Liberation

Photo via Hana Low.

Photo via Hana Low.

I recently became familiar with the work of Hana Low, a queer and genderqueer anti-speciesist vegan based in Denver, CO whose feminist principles pervades their writing and activism. With essays on why pro-choice does not mean anti-vegan, participating in Vegan MoFo on a SNAP budget, and confronting colonialism and whiteness in vegan communities, Hana’s blog is one that I want to help spread far and wide. It’s voices like Hana’s that need to be at the forefront of activism for other animals — voices that advocate collective liberation for all.

In solidarity, Ali.

“But I Could Never Go Vegan!” Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

Can you feel it? The twinge in the air? The rumbling in the distance? It’s coming…it’s…another cookbook giveaway!!!

If ya’ll caught my late-December post about some changes I intend to make very soon on the blog, then you’ll remember the dilemma I’ve been grappling with concerning product reviews and giveaways. To sum up, I’m trying to navigate challenging the consumerism that has overshadowed the anti-speciesism at the heart of veganism, and worry that product reviews and giveaways re-center the materialistic focus of the capitalist system in which we as Westerners are so indoctrinated.

Two fabulous readers, however, offered up some super helpful advice in response to my concerns. Here’s what Elizabeth and Raechel have to say:

“I appreciate your dilemma – as Zizek is fond of saying, it’s easier for most people to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism, that’s the extent to which neoliberalism has captured our very capacity to think. So those of us engaged in imagining alternatives have our work cut out for us. The problem is, we anti-capitalists (or vegans, or Christians, or whatever epistemological designation we prefer) inhabit a capitalist world, in which we have to survive somehow. Etienne Balibar distinguishes between “communism” (which doesn’t exist, and has never existed) and “communists” (of which there are many) and the impossibility of extrapolating between the two, because every communist will make different compromises with capitalism. We can extricate ourselves only so much – the more conscious we are, the more we succeed, in avoiding the language of the marketplace in describing social relations, for example – but we won’t succeed completely, so it doesn’t diminish your message if you support your local farmers’ market or a [vegan] company.” ~ Elizabeth A.

“Although it is admirable to not participate in gross consumer habits and although it is super important to make clear that real ethical consumption doesn’t exist in global capitalism, the real struggle rests in the labor and production, not the consumption. Even outside of my politics, by both choice and necessity, I am not a very material person […] but I have come to realize that it doesn’t actually matter that much. […] [A]ssuming our individual consumption habits can do anything to challenge capitalism is a neoliberal idea. I don’t think it’s useless to buy fair trade products, nor do I think it’s meaningless that I don’t buy animal products, but as you know, what those buying habits do is invite more products, not less. What I’ve come to realize now, as a Marxist, [is that] it only really matters to not buy things if there is a call to not buy it/support it/shop at it/etc. *from the workers.* I support worker-led boycotts, and other than that, I buy things that are good on my conscience, while fully knowing it doesn’t make much difference outside of me feeling good. So […]*not* doing product reviews won’t challenge capitalism. And doing product reviews doesn’t make you a bad activist, at least not from a Marxist perspective.” ~ Raechel.

So there we are. We all get some fantastic food for thought, and ya’ll get your chance to win a cookbook. Win-win. Just don’t let it threaten your commitment to anti-capitalism, ya hear? ;)

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

I do also have an inkling that highlighting the work of those who envision a more just world for all beings has the potential to contribute to fostering the very community that capitalism’s individualistic rhetoric stifles. For example, I’m overjoyed to share with ya’ll the latest project of Kristy Turner, a committed animal activist and talented vegan blogger with whom I’ve had the privilege to connect during my time in the blogosphere. Her just-released book, But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes that Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over For Dinner, is an absolute masterpiece, and I’m thrilled that one of ya’ll will win a copy!

Author Kristy Turner / Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Author Kristy Turner / Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

With a bright and inviting layout, mouthwatering photographs by Kristy’s husband Chris Miller, and charming text from Kristy herself, But I Could Never Go Vegan! serves as one of the most innovative cookbooks I’ve come across in a long while. Organized into sections by the excuses one often hears for not adopting a vegan diet, But I Could Never Go Vegan! playfully and deliciously refutes such justifications as “I could never give up cheese!” (how about after a bite of Tempeh Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pecan Parmesan?), “It’s all rabbit food” (I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over my enormous pile of Jackfruit Nachos Supreme), “Just thinking about salad makes me yawn” (even this BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing?), “You can’t bake without butter or eggs!” (then what on earth is this Rosemary-Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze doing here?), and beyond.

Of course, I would like to note that there are many legitimate reasons for not being able to adopt a vegan lifestyle that are not listed in this book, such as lack of access to plant foods because of geographic location (think “food deserts”) and/or socioeconomic status, desire to distance oneself from a movement made up primarily of people with whom you don’t identify (i.e., people of color looking at a movement where upper-middle-class white people dominate), and desire to preserve one’s heritage — threatened by Western forces of assimilation — through one’s diet. But that’s another post.

I had the pleasure of preparing four recipes from Kristy’s new book, but choosing among them proved a phenomenally difficult task – I don’t encounter recipes this well thought-out, creative, or clearly written very often (and I must have email subscriptions to over 30 different food blogs at this point…). Rest assured, I labored through this heroic effort to bring you a glimpse into But I Could Never Go Vegan! with the following four recipes.

My first foray into Kristy’s realm of culinary genius involved her Thai Seitan Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, housed in the book’s “Where’s the Beef?: ‘Meaty’ Food, Minus the Meat” section. Subbing tempeh for the seitan to test if the recipe would hold up to experimentation, I was verily impressed by the intense flavor lent to the tempeh by a bright marinade of lemongrass and curry powder. And who can argue with a creamy, spicy-sweet sauce chock full of the master of all nut butters?

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Next up on my recipe testing list: the Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Tacos, which emphatically answer the skeptical question, “What about brunch?” Showcasing a method for plant-based breakfast scrambling that fascinated me upon first read, Kristy first stirs up a polenta-like batter of chickpea flour and savory spices (including the infamous black salt that imparts a sulfurous, “eggy” flavor to foods) that she then chills until firm, cuts into cubes, and browns in a skillet to create a creamy-chewy-umami-super flavorful scramble. Honestly, what could you do with it except stuff it into crispy corn tortillas along with roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and avocado? And then finish it off with cilantro and hot sauce, of course.

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From the “Fake ‘Foods’ Freak Me Out: Solid Vegan Recipes That Aren’t Imitating Meat, Dairy, or Anything Else” section, the Potato & Pea Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Sauce immediately caught my eye. My unquenchable enthusiasm for potatoes and green peas made it very difficult not to rave about these tenderly textured and generously spiced patties, and my tamarind fangirl-ing drew me even closer to the recipe. While I do wish that the colorful cakes cooked up a bit crispier and were perhaps a bit more delicately spiced, dipping them into that sweet-and-sour sauce made it difficult to focus on the ever-so-slightly negative.

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Finally, I tackled the “I’d Miss Pizza” excuse section with Kristy’s Seitan Reuben Pizza with Caraway Seed Crust. I’m sorry, allow me to repeat: SEITAN REUBEN PIZZA WITH CARAWAY SEED CRUST. A winning sandwich transformed into a defining food of my Italian heritage? Be still my beating heart. First, whip up a batch of Kristy’s simple yet juicy and oh-so flavorful homemade seitan, then “corn” it in a bright marinade of beet juice and characteristic spices. Next, get a ball of super easy pizza dough rising, rife with the fragrant savoriness of caraway seeds. An almond-based swiss cheese sauce and mayo-ketchup Russian dressing later, and you’ve got a flavor-drenched pie packed with that classic Reuben sandwich charm, ready for a generous forkful of sauerkraut. Yes.

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I’d feel cruel for tantalizing you with all this deliciousness without offering you the chance to taste it for yourself, so I’m excited that the folks over at The Experiment Publishing have graciously offered to let me share with you the full recipe for Kristy’s Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast! Enjoy, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of But I Could Never Go Vegan! by following the links at the top and bottom of this post.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast

Serves 4 t0 6.

Nut-Free.

From Kristy:
French toast on its own is a normal weekend breakfast, and chickpea flour and non-dairy milk make for a simple vegan version. When you stuff a delicious filling inside, you’ve got more of a special-occasion meal on your hands (or plate)—especially when that filling is warm, caramelized apples tossed in a rich, date-based caramel sauce, and even more especially when the French toast is dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with extra sauce. One of my recipe testers made it for her husband on Valentine’s Day, and they thought it was the perfect celebration meal. Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

10 Medjool dates, pitted
2⁄3 cup (160 ml) non-dairy milk
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salt to taste

Apple Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegan butter
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or vegan brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

French Toast Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) non-dairy milk
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) canned coconut milk or vegan creamer
1⁄2 cup (55 g) chickpea flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 large loaf of French bread, about 4 to 5 inches wide (not a baguette)
Vegan cream cheese
Cooking spray
Maple syrup, for drizzling
Vegan powdered sugar or powdered xylitol, for dusting, optional

In a food processor, combine the caramel sauce ingredients. Process until completely smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.

Melt the vegan butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and coconut sugar; stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is gone and the apples are softened and golden. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce.

In a large shallow bowl or baking dish, mix the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, chickpea flour, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slice the bread into four to six 2-inch (5 cm) slices. Use a bread knife to make a slit in the top of each slice, keeping the sides and bottom intact, creating a pocket.

Carefully spread the cream cheese inside one side of each pocket, then stuff it with about 1⁄3 cup (80 ml) of apples.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Spray generously with cooking spray. Take one “sandwich” and soak in the milk mixture, 15 to 20 seconds on each side. Place the soaked sandwich on the heated pan and cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, spraying the pan again before each. Serve warm, topped with maple syrup, the remaining caramel sauce, or both. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Variations

Simplify the recipe by leaving out the caramel sauce and replacing the apples with uncooked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or even mango!

Make plain French toast by slicing regular-size slices of bread and leaving out the fruit and caramel altogether.

Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. www.theexperimentpublishing.com

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Thursday, January 29, and I will announce the winner on the following day on #NewsandChews.

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

I was not paid to run this giveaway, though I was provided with a free copy of the cookbook. All opinions are completely my own.