Monday, December 19, 2011

Vegan Eastern Carolina Style BBQ Jackfruit Recipe

Do you love vinegar based BBQ, or buffalo sauce? Do you crave new ways to stuff your face with spicy vinegary goodness? Okay, well maybe I'm the only one who likes to take a swig of hot sauce in-between dashing it on the food stuffs. So I will tone down the cayenne in this recipe just for that reason!

Eastern Carolina Style BBQ Jackfruit

2 cans brined Jackfruit (They sell it in syrup, not a good idea)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tbs molasses
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs hot sauce
1/2 Tbs cayenne

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk till sugar is dissolved. Drain the jackfruit and chop to BBQ-esque sized pieces. mix the sauce and jackfruit together in bowl. Cover and let marinade for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. You can go overnight and it will just make everything taste better. Heat till just boiling, then let simmer for at least 10 minutes (tip: I added a 1/2 Tbs of coconut oil to the BBQ while simmering... the thought being that some fat might enhance the yum factor). Serve on hamburger buns, with coleslaw if you so choose.
chopped jackfruit

Easy Coleslaw

1/4 head cabbage (shredded)
2 carrots (shredded)
2 tsp celery seed
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Veganaise
salt and pepper to taste

mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill and serve a top your BBQ sandwich.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How to throw a Vegan Holiday Cocktail Party for CHEAP!!!!

All this for less than $50!
Step one: Cocktails
  • look at the liquor you already have and try to find drinks that will use your pre-existing liquor supplies.  For me, it was a ginger liquor and orange vanilla liquor. Together with a bit of lime and ginger ale, you have "Gingerbread Punch"! Very festive, no?
  • Also ask your guests to bring either something that can be eaten with a tooth pick or some sort of alcohol. Most of my guests either brought wine or champagne. We mixed the champagne with some pre-existing Chamboard. This is called a Kir Royale (ooh, fancy!).
Step two: Food

At a cocktail party, you want food that can be nibbled on throughout the evening, and stuff that won't get your fancy cocktail dress dirty, even after you've had one too many cocktails!
  • Hummus: 1 drained can chick peas, 1/4 cup tahini, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons EVOO, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and juice from one lemon. Blend till creamy in a food processor.
  • Pinwheels: tortillas, spinach, red pepper, avocado and hummus made from the above recipe. spread hummus and veggies on tortilla, roll up and slice into 3/4 in pieces. Stack the pinwheels on a plate.
  • Lemony Edamame Dip: 1 1/2 cup shelled and cooked edamame beans, 1/2 cup cooked peas, juice from one lemon, salt, cayenne pepper, 2 Tablespoons EVOO, 1/4 cup water. Blend till creamy in a food processor.
  • White Bean and Artichoke Dip: 1 drained can cannelleni beans, 1/2 cup marinaded artichokes, 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 pitted kalamata olives, parsley, salt, 1 tablespoon EVOO. Blend all ingredients till creamy in food processor, then add chopped olives, mix well.
  • Pita Chips: Purchase one package pre-made pita bread. Slice into triangles (like you would a pizza). Pre-heat oven to 350. In a separate bowl, pour EVOO. split the pita apart at pre-separated part and lightly coat the rough side with the olive oil. place coated side up on a baking tray. sprinkle all slices with salt and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • bruschetta: Buy 2 pre-made french baguettes. slice thin and arrange on a baking sheet. top with diced tomatoes, chopped pitted black olives, EVOO, salt and chopped basil. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400.
  • Cupcakes. I made Red Velvet and Golden Vanilla (dyed green) with cream cheese frosting from VEGAN CUPCAKES TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Festive.
Step 3: Decorate

  • Thrift Store. $1 strands of light, $.50-$1 glass ware, $.10 cloth napkins etc.
  • Dollar Store. Mistletoe and whatever else you want for faux greenery
Step 4: Music

  • Pandora on the computer, find a style of holiday music and voila! Holiday soundtrack!

Okay, I provided all that I can. The rest is up to you, young padawon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup from Scratch

Now that December has rolled in, the weather has officially turned chilly! And while a good ol' fashioned can of tomato soup is vegan, I wanted to make something healthy, fresh, and without all the preservatives one might find in traditional condensed soups. So here you go: 

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
  • 4 diced garlic cloves 
  • 2 Tbs vegan butter (Earth Balance or in a pinch, Betty Crocker Light)
  • 4 medium to large diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
Blend your cashews and 1/2 cup broth in a food processor or with your handy dandy immersion blender until smooth, then set aside for later. Saute the garlic in the butter.  Add your diced tomatoes (try to keep as much of the tomato juice as possible during the dicing) and 1/4 cup of remaining broth. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool for about another 10-15 minutes.
Make yourself a Daiya cheddar grilled cheese sandwich in the mean time to go with you soup. Mmm, mmm good!

Blend the tomato mixture with an immersion blender in the pot until smooth. Add 1/3 cup nutritional yeast and pulse a couple times. Lastly, add the cashew/broth mixture and blend until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and pulse a few more times until complete.
I am hoping you know what to do next...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tonight's class has Sloppy Joes and CUPCAKES!!!

cupcakes and robots. The world is indeed a wonderful place

The last Vegan 101 class of this year is tonight, at the William Byrd Community House. Class starts at 6 p.m. We will make delicious cupcakes... and for a quick snack, some tvp Sloppy Joes.
Sign up here: VEGAN 101 CLASS

I tend to look goofy in pictures, but the chicken looks FABULOUS!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soliloquy for the Turkeys

Cage free. You pay more for this.
248 million
The number of turkeys raised in the United States in 2011. That’s up 2 percent from the number raised during 2010. The turkeys produced in 2010 together weighed 7.11 billion pounds and were valued at $4.37 billion. (So sayeth the U.S. Census Bureau)

There are 312 million people in America so that means that each person in America gets over 22 pounds of turkey per year, and quite a hearty portion devoured during this one specific holiday.

The typical age of a slaughtered turkey is five months.
(Thank you!)
Vegan that I am, I neither touched nor purchased a turkey. I did, however, allow two turkeys to be served in my house on two different occasions over the long holiday weekend. Judge as you will, I am not attempting to say what I did is the right thing for fellow vegans to do or not. It was my decision, and it was a decision I chose to make based in part on the idea of hosting all friends and family under one roof.

During the holiday weekend I also refrained from commenting on the abhorrent conditions our fellow feathered earthlings lived in before their mass slaughter. My friends and my family have heard these diatribes before. I made a conscious decision to not be the grumpy hostess. If you want to see the conditions the turkeys lived in for yourself, click here, by all means!

While I frolic in the land of city dwelling urban folk, accustomed to varying degrees of dietary restrictions and preferences, to many of my family "Vegan" is still considered a curse word that must incessantly be mispronounced in a passive-aggressive attempt to lash out against the lifestyle choice their "crazy hippie" neice/grand-daughter/cousin has made. The first few years of being vegan during the holidays were self-righteous attempts to have them see the error on their carnivorous ways. Once I chilled out, I started to notice a difference. No matter how many times I attempted to explain factory farming to members of my family, it took self-discovery for the reality to click. This brings up great conversations from these newly enlightend family memebers, " Did you know store bought chickens are fed antibotics to prevent them from getting sick while they are kept in a one-foot square area!?" (so cute!). I am pretty sure I am not alone when I say my family is stubborn. Perhaps yours is too?

Thanksgiving 2011 went off without a hitch. everyone loved my vegan lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, green bean casserole, and pumpkin tiramasu. In fact, besides the turkey, everything else that was brought was made vegan! Sweet potato casserole, stuffing, fresh bread, salad... all specially made vegan (Bwahaha! my plan is working!).

seating for twenty-three
 I wish we could make the connection between things like the annual Presedential turkey pardon, and the idea of over 200 million unpardoned lives lost for one holiday. It is not about the turkey, it's about the loved ones we surround ourselves with. It's about sharing, remebering how lucky we all are, making new memories and sending out positive energy to those who we care about and who we don't see often enough. Really, what the hell does a turkey have to do with that?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall = Butternut Squash Soup. Oh. No. Wait.. Let's Use Sweet Potatoes Instead!

Tonight at the William Byrd Community House we will be making Butternut Squash Soup. As an FYI, You can use sweet potatoes as a great butternut squash substitute. I may just prove this tonight since I have some great heirloom variety sweet potatoes picked straight outta the 17th century gardens at Bacon's Castle in Surry County (about an hour and a half south east of Richmond)! ...Sounds good, doesn't it!?
Built in 1665, this is the oldest brick residence in VA, ask me more, I tell ya a book!

So tonight, at the William Byrd Community Center, come warm up with some deliciously flavorful, and historic fall soup, hang out with me, hear all about the nutritious vegan life style, and if you want, we can talk about historic architecture, too!

Awesome, I know, Right!?

Sign up this way:

Click on the link to register!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

VEGAN 101 Topic 1: PROTEIN!

Yep, The very first question anyone asks, "Where do you get your protein?".

Tonight's class will explore just how easy it is to obtain your daily requirements for a full spectrum of amino acids. Of course you will also receive your dinner portion of protein with a healthy dose of down home goodness with vegan sloppy joes and a phyto-nutrient rich raw kale salad!

Tonight, Wednesday, September 21st @ 6:00 p.m. William Byrd Communty House. Be there!

Click on the link to register!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pre-Registration Now Available for VEGAN 101 @ William Byrd Community House

Sign up now for VEGAN 101 at the William Byrd Community House!
Here is the link:

Here is the blurb from the Byrd House Market Blog:

Jen Hurst returns! This time Jen is offering a basic how-to class focusing on how to maintain a healthy and inexpensive vegan life-style. Classes will include talks on nutrition, food demos/ tastings, and discussions on varying vegan topics. All are welcome to attend, vegans and vegan curious. To learn about your chef's passion for vegan cuisine, please visit Fee is $10 per person per class, payable by cash, check or money order in advance or at start of class. Payment by credit card is accepted only in advance of class, by phone or in person. For payment questions only, please call 643-2717 and ask for our Financial Manager. All cooking classes are FREE for current WBCH program family members.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sprout Classes Cancelled Due to Restaurant's Strange and Ultimately Upsetting Closure

Yup. It is sad but true. Sprout is closed. And while I was hoping for a Huck Finn-esque fake closure just to see the reaction of the natives, Sprout has closed its doors on delicious localvore foods for good (major sad face).

This means my Vegan 101 Class at Sprout is also cancelled (Oh, so sad face).

I hope to see all of you at the Vegan 101 Class held at the fabulous, tried and true, William Byrd Community House, on Wednesday, September 21st @ 6:00 p.m.! YAY! It'll be the most awesome class yet!

I am working on getting two more classes in order for the very near future... I'll keep ya posted.

Oh, and also... Wednesday, September 7th I'm gonna be on the ABC morning show! Eeep! Excited! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011



A basic how-to class focusing on how to maintain a healthy and inexpensive vegan life-style. Classes will include talks on nutrition, food demos/ tastings, and discussions on varying vegan topics. All are welcome to attend, vegans and vegan curious.

Classes held at Sprout,

every other Tuesday, beginning at 6 p.m. on September 13th

September 13th @ 6 p.m.
September 27th @ 6 p.m.
October 11th @ 6 p.m.
October 24th @ 6 p.m.
November 8th @ 6 p.m.
November 22nd  @ 6 p.m.

Beginning on Wednesday,
September 21st at 6 p.m.
September 21st @ 6 p.m.
October 5th @ 6 p.m.
October 19th @ 6 p.m.
November 2nd @ 6 p.m.
November 16th @ 6 p.m.
December 30th @ 6 p.m.

Looks Like there may be more dates on the horizon, so if none of these fit into your schedule, keep an eye out, more classes are forming!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Figs and Grapes Seek Recipe to Call Their Own

Still Life in Kitchen

Figs and grapes abound! These are delicious figs and heirloom variety seeded sweet grapes from Bacon's Castle in Surry, VA. They deserve to be turned into something fantastic. Any ideas, because I'm about to blend them all up and dehydrate them into fruit leather.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunday Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

It's Sunday (technically it is Saturday, but I'm giving you a day to prepare). Go all out! Make a homestyle delicacy.
Maybe you have your own version of this classic Americana recipe. Branch out. This one is good. Real good.

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and TVP Sausage Gravy (better known as MMMMMmmmmm)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 TSP baking soda
1 1/2 TBS sugar
1/2 TSP egg replacer
1/2 TSP salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine or shortening
2/3 cup almond milk
1 TSP apple cider vinegar

In a bowl, whisk almond milk with apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle

Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Cut in margarine till mix is crumbly. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in milk. Stir till dough clings together.

On a lightly floured surface gently knead dough for 10-12 strokes. Roll or pat to about 1/2 in thick. Use a buiscut cutter or a drinking glass to cut out biscuits.

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or till golden.

While the biscuits are baking, start your gravy

TVP Sausage Gravy:
1 cup TVP
fennel seed
liquid amino
liquid smoke
hot sauce
almond milk

Heat dry TVP in skillet and add sage, thyme and fennel. Pour in one cup of water and stir till evenly absorbed by the TVP. Add liquid amino, liquid smoke and hot sauce. Stir well.

Dust the TVP mix with flour, and stir. Allow flour mixture to brown slightly in the pan. Add black pepper. You will scrape the stuck-on bits off when you add your almond milk.

Add the almond milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring to mix well. once the gravy has reached the desired consitancy of gravy, remove from heat. Remember that the gravy will continue to thicken once removed from the heat, so make it slightly more liquidy than you actually want.

Plate your biscuits, cover with gravy. Serve with tattooed boyfriend (optional).

Try it, you'll like it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three Tips for Eating More Veggies Than You Ever Thought Possible

Don't let this happen to you.
Have you ever opened your refrigerator and looked at all the cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, avocado, eggplant, fresh herbs, kale, okra, green beans, mango, kiwis, strawberries and broke down in tears wondering how you were going to eat all that food before is goes bad?
...oh! Well, okay. Me neither.

The point is, around this time of year our refrigerators and counter tops are full of the summer's yummy fruit and veggie bounty, often this means we cannot even give the the stuff away to our friends, as they are trying to lessen their burdens as well!
I know, I know, first world problems, right!?

So here are 
Three Tips for Eating More Veggies Than You Ever Thought Possible:

More veggies than this Russian Dwarf hamster EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE!!!

1. Smoothies. Veggie smoothies, i.e. Green Earth Soup and fruit smoothies will not only make a great choice for your breakfast lunch and dinner, but also give you a powerhouse of raw, easy to absorb nutrients that will allow your body to digest easily, especially in the August heat.

2. Sauces. While we typically think of a pasta sauce as tomatoes, garlic and herbs, you can add sauteed squash in to the blended tomatoes and herb mixture to make a delicious creamy pasta sauce. In addition to that, you can chop your zucchini up and add that to the sauce for a great bit of texture. Of course, you can make as big a pot of sauce as you want, and store or freeze it for latter.

3. Fruit rolls! Yum! And so easy! Take all the fruit that is just a bit too ripe to enjoy cut up as breakfast and dessert, chop it up, blend, and pour mixture into the bottom tray of your dehydrator... or on a baking sheet in your oven on warm. This takes about 8 hours. The secret is to never go above 140 degrees or you will kill much of the great enzymes and nutritional value of your fruit.

What are some more ways to use up all the veggies before they turn into compost? Please, help me devour my produce before it's too late, please!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Host a Vegan Baby Shower for Non-Vegans

OMG!!! Have a baby and you too, can have a pile-o-presents!

Apparently having babies is the new hip thing... well, for others. I'm bucking the trend, but it was bound to happen that I would eventually be tasked to throw one of these suckers.

A few things to note:
1. I am on a tight budget
2. 23 ladies not including myself would be in attendance
3. Ladies, while fine with eating lighter fare, will descend like locusts upon said lighter fare!

The Menu:

  • Limeade
  • Cupcakes that resemble Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster
  • Salsa Verde
  • Guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Fruit Salad
  • Israeli Salad
  • Hummus and Fresh toasted pita chips


Total Grocery Store Bill: $70 or about $3 per person


I did a do it yourself limeade station. Really this was because I forgot that I didn't have a punch bowl! But also, when you run out of ginger ale, you can fill the limeade pitcher with water and add more lime slices for refreshing lime water... only thing that would be better would be cucumber water!

Pita chips can be pricey. Buy the actual pita bread and bake in the over for 15 minutes at about 275 degrees.
Mutant cupcake!!!! Notice how none of the other cupcakes judge? mutant cupcake is just one of the crew.

I made three types of cupcakes from my new favorite cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Vanilla, Chocolate and Lemon. Chocolate goes first. Always. i used the recipe for vegan butter cream icing, and added dry food coloring rather than the liquid to keep the texture such that it could be piped properly.
These cupcakes are like lemmings... blindly following each other to their doom...

The mom-to-be's only request was for my guacamole. it is pretty darned amazing. true. So, i figured I'll go ahead and post that recipe here:

Jen's Addictively Good Guacamole:
(Also so easy, it's crazy)
1 avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 teaspoon salt

smush all ingredients together, till thoroughly mashed up.

I know. So crazy easy!

Last tip: Have someone else do the games. I do the cooking and the hosting... let another person do that part while you are refilling the guac!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


So... What does everyone think of the new look?!

This design was brought to you by the fabulous, Karyn Jimenez-Elliott, whom I am proud to say is one of my talented UArts Museum Studies alumni (MFA in Museum Exhibition Planning & Design).  Click on the link River City Vegan Designs to see a few more graphics she has worked up for me, and also check out what she has done for other clients.

bumper stickers!!! You know you want one!!!

UP NEXT: How to host a Vegan Baby Shower for 23 Non-Vegans...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Raw Cashew Vegan Pesto

This week I bough a huge bundle of basil from Victory Farms stand at the Byrd House Market for a dollar!!!

So I had to make some pesto. But pine nuts are expensive... so I used raw cashews instead. The result.... DELICIOUS!!!
Half of the basil

1 bunch of Basil
5 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup EVOO
2 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raw cashews
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients preparing to become pesto
add all ingredients into food processor and blend well.

The end result should look similar to this:

PRESTO!!! PESTO!!! (I had to. I couldn't resist.)
I put this on toast with some tomato slices. OMG! Yum! I am sure there will be lots of other stuff to douse with pesto.... hmmmm... any ideas from the peanut gallery?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Israeli Salad Plus Quinoa

Israeli Salad was a staple in my house, growing up. Mom would say, " The secret is in cutting the pieces really, really small". So I now pass that tidbit of wisdom on to you. The other bit of wisdom I now pass on is the extreme health benefit of adding quinoa to the Israeli Salad.
Fresh ingredients.. pre-chop

One cup of quinoa:
  • 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
  • 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
  • 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
  • 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
  • A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
  • 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
  • 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
  • 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)
Quinoa has all eight essential amino acids. It’s difficult for vegans to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Usually, vegans need to combine foods like beans and rice to acquire all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. 
Find out more from this website:

Israeli Salad:
1 Large cucumber
1 Large tomato
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup EVOO
2 Tbs  lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley as garnish
1 cup quinoa
Rinse the quinoa, then brown in a sauce pan. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to medium and continue to let boil until tender (about 10-15 minutes). Once cooked, let chill in the refrigerator while chopping the veggies.

Chop the cucumber, tomato and onion into pieces that range between 1/4 and 1/2 inch squares.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate dish, then pour and fold all ingredients together. Add parsley and quinoa, too. Chill, and serve cold at your potluck. (perfect with fresh pita chips)
No, you know my camera isn't good enough to take this picture, but for reference on chopping size, you can see what it should look like. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vegan Potato Salad, Perfect for 4th of July Potlucks

4th of July potluck is upon us!

Here is my recipe for "Out of This World Vegan Potato Salad":

Tastes a lot better than it loos in this photo!!!!

5 large Russet potatoes diced and boiled (leave the skin on)
1/4 cup Veganaise
2 Tbs mustard
1 Tbs dill pickle juice
2 Tbs sweet relish
1 Tbs chopped parsley
4 celery stalks, diced
2 green onions diced
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients except the potatoes together. Once mixed, fold into the boiled potatoes until evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

FYI. vacation.

I have been enjoying the ocean, the sun and the sand all week..... and of course,  eating like the vegan foodie I am! Sadly, the 21st century (meaning wi-fi) has yet to catch up to this, my salty sanctuary.   So as I compose this blog, via my smartphone,  know that the River City Vegan will soon be posting more on fabulous food... assuming she does, in fact, return from her blissful patch of silicon dioxide Utopia.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Squash, Mint and Berry Dinner

Stick rice, spring roll and soup
Here are a few yummy recipes for the berry and squash season that is now upon us.

Squash and Berry Sweet Curry Chilled Soup:

2 yellow neck squash, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup mixed berries
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon liquid amino
sriracha to taste
chopped mint leaves

Saute red pepper and squash with coconut oil till tender
heat berries and coconut milk in pan till just before mixture boils. remove from heat and pour through sieve into bowl. The point is that we are trying to remove the seeds from the berries. So go ahead and smush the berries through the sieve as best you can.

Pour sauteed red pepper and squash into the bowl and use an immersion blender to get a smooth consistency. Add in liquid amino and sriracha to taste.

Chill for 30-45 minutes

Blend the mint leaves and a dash of coconut oil into a pesto like paste. use this as a garnish and swirl around the top of the soup. add a few leftover berries as well, to make a pretty finish.

Berry Glazed Tempeh

1 cup berries
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 can coconut juice
1 Thai chili
1/8 cup chopped mint
dash of sesame oil
1 package tempeh

Add first seven ingredients into a sauce pan and heat till just before boiling. remove from heat, and strain into sieve with a bowl underneath to get rid of seeds in the berries.

slice tempeh into short strips that are about 2-3mm thick and place into a frying pan. Pour sauce into the pan and cook until glazed.

I added this to spring rolls with cabbage and carrots, but the possibilities abound, so do with the glaze what you will!

Enjoy. We did!

P.s. Thanks, Kayla for your help, your kitchen and your tasters!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Jen's Famous Tempeh Bacon

Here it is, the recipe that everyone loved on T.V. and at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival's Meatless Gourmet... TEMPEH BACON!

This is a recipe I made up based on the ingredients found in various real pork products, adapted for a healthier and more humane lifestyle.
OMG! Snout kisses! Smooch!

My apologies and a forewarning that these are not the exact measurements, as they have never actually been recorded. If interested, or seriously fiending for structure, message me, and next time I cook this dish I'll try to remember to record the exact measurements.

1 package of tempeh (I prefer the multi-grain, but it doesn't really matter)
1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoons liquid amino
1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance or coconut oil

  • Slice the tempeh into short strips, about 2-3mm thick and place into a large pan. 
  • Just barely cover with water and set the burner to medium-hot. 
  • Sprinkle fennel seeds into water. 
  • Shake the thyme and sage over the tempeh so that each piece is lightly covered. 
  • I tend to rapidly squeeze the liquid amino in a zig-zag formation, basically being sure that each piece has a little dose of the liquid. 
  • Again, with the hot sauce, just be sure each piece has a dash. 
  • I just use a cap full of the Worcestershire sauce, and a few shakes of the liquid smoke. 
  • Gently stir the ingredients to be sure everything is evenly coated. 
  • Let the mixture boil till there is essentially no water in the pan. 
  • At this point add a bit of either Earth Balance or coconut oil into the pan and lightly fry the tempeh on each side till just slightly crispy. 
  • Remove from pan and enjoy in all the places you would eat bacon, if you ate bacon!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Vegan Iron Chef: Overview of Fabulousness

Saturday, Bryan Park in Richmond hosted its 9th Annual Vegetarian Festival. I had the honor of participating in the event's first annual Meatless Gourmet... er, Vegan Iron Chef.
Photo by Otway 

Fabulous Chefs:

Nick Bergheimer, Richmond area restaurant chef extraordinaire, and guitarist for punk band, Landmines. I am beyond thrilled to have met Nick through this event. He is a talented, chill and totally down to Earth dude (I can only assume it is because of his healthy and ethical life style choices). After the food prep was finished, and we were all waiting for the judges to taste our plating's, I was so glad Nick sat down next to me. We chatted about the experience, greatly alleviating the nervous tension we were all feeling while waiting for the judges to dissect our food (Thanks a bunch, Nick)! He and his brother made some beautifully plated food. You have no idea, I wish I had a picture! And dude made his own toastadas... from scratch! Wow!

Maat Free, Owner of Vegi-Luv kiosk on the corner of Adams and Broad Street. She also owns Vegan Valet, a personal chef service. For everyone who didn't get a chance to see this lovely lady, and all the support that surrounded her, well, you missed out. She practically had a procession of fans, family and friends. I can see the reason why, too! She puts her heart into each dish she makes. When she described the dishes she prepared, she spoke of how they were part of her ancestry, her soul, and how they were almost an ingrained instinctual creation. Cooking, for this fabulous lady, is a spiritual experience!

And me, of course!

Secret Ingredient: Tomatoes!!!!!
It makes sense when you think about it, tomatoes are just coming into season, like this week. So of course the Meatless Gourmet/ Vegan Iron Chef would showcase interesting uses for a food that is just now coming into season.
Kayla and I having a blast!

And the winner was...... MAAT FREE!!!!!!
I couldn't be happier for Maat. She not only cooked with the entire essence of her being, but she had so much support from friends and family. Her sous chef, Carol Brown, of HausFrau Cakes is also one of the coolest people I have met.

I also can't forget to mention the awesome MC, Jason Guard, who operates THE premier Richmond food site, He generously placed my blog on his site, THANKS, JASON!!!

And then there were our fabulous judges, Brittany Mullins, who runs the site,, and who imparted a wealth of knowledge on how to run a successful blog to me during her time not being a judge.

Deveron Timberlake of Style Weekly was a fabulous judge, as well as your young audience judge, twelve year old Miles, who was our quintessential Simon Cowell.

As a participant in the first Meatless Gourmet/ Vegan Iron Chef  in Richmond, I am beyond proud of our community, the thousands of vegetarians and meat eaters who ventured out to support a healthier, more ethical, and eco-friendly lifestyle, even if just for the day!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sticky Fingers and Smart Kids

I was a judge for National History Day at the University of Maryland on Monday. Every year that I participate in this event, I have renewed faith in the future of humanity. I am reminded that children can be brilliant, and their ideas can hold meaning and purpose.  I <3 smart kids!

So after spending all that time in College Park, MD, I headed down to D.C. to visit with one of the most amazing people I know! We had dinner at Sticky Fingers, on 14th and Park. Just go there. I can't describe how great everything tasted. Especially the cupcake. Beyond.words.
Visited this amazing vegan bakery and cafe in D.C.

Yup, I had one of these.
UMD. <3

Buffalo Chick'n wrap