Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scenes From A Birthday

Booboo Kittie had a birthday. She turned nine years old over the weekend. The birthday girl wore a bow & received a catnip mouse. We had a little party. Alas, Thelonious has no party manners...

Yes,Thelonious loves a party.
Happy Birthday Booboo!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mini Rant on Vegan Scandal & Yummy Food

It's been a weird couple of days- but thankfully I can blame it on mercury being in retrograde! For those of you not familiar with this dreaded astrological happening- the planet, Mercury rules communication...when the planet retrogrades, there are setbacks, communication & electronics tend to break down or go strangely wrong, miscommunication & confusion rules. And yes lucky for us (insert sarcasm), Mercury retrogrades a few times during the year...

So of course, no surprise that the huge VegNews scandal and their non-apologetic apology would occur in the midst of Mercury in retrograde. I'm not here to bash VegNews- I produce photo shoots. They cost a pretty penny. However, I think most of us were left seriously wanting in terms of an apology. Their response was inadequate- citing cost as a reason to use actual meat/fish/animal based food stock photos is one thing but they simply could have noted that these were stock photos that contain animal product & not actual results from the recipe listed. They also misused the stock photo agreement by not crediting the photos as well. What's most upsetting is the cavalier attitude of deception & the fact that they were involved in a bit of a coverup. They had a chance to come clean & say, you know what guys- we totally messed up & we are exploring other options such as asking vegan food bloggers to contribute food photos for editorial credit, etc. A true sincere apology from VegNews would be widely embraced by the vegan community, not - sorry we got caught & we're sorry that you found out response. I believe that VegNews needs to step up, not gloss over it & prays that it goes away. Thought the best coverage on this scandal is this: VegNews Mess via lolcats!

Update: Finally, they heard us! Read the actual VegNews apology!

On a more fun note, I found a cute new small studio for castings! The only downside is the leather couch, shaggy lambskin pillow & cow hide on the floor- sads & ewww. Animals skin, fur & hides are so not cool & super creepy if you gave it any thought.
I love when models come to castings with their little animal companions- you know how it's always been said that people look like their animal companions? What I didn't get a pic of was the model in her grey sweatshirt- yep, she & pup matched!!! It was too cute.

Another fun discovery last week was Calexico in Greenpoint, Brooklyn! We are always in search of Mexican food in or near the 'hood & lucky for us, Greenpoint is so close. Calexico started out with a taco cart in NYC and has now branched into two brick & mortar spots in Brooklyn. It's the perfect combo for this omni/vegan couple! There is only one main vegan protein- the tofu asado, but it's truly delicious and I'm thankful for it. 

There were also a bunch of other vegan yummies like their three salsa sampler- roasted tomato salsa, tomatillo salso & my absolute fave- pumpkin seed arbol- roasted pumpkin seeds& arbol chile, garlic, onion, good!
Here's my tofu asado w/ vegan avocado crema- make sure you hold the cheese! Tofu was marinated to perfection.
We also had watercress salad with jicama & grapefruit:
The black beans & red rice are vegan- the beans had a different taste to it, hard to pinpoint- tasted a bit licorice-y, but once mixed with red rice, it was all good- (again make sure they don't do the sneaky cheese sprinkle!)
The space was also nicely done- casual, but warm & a great place to go with omnis and still get a delicious vegan meal. This place is a definite score!
Have a great week & if any confusion, miscommunication, frustration & drama occurs just know that Mercury is in retrograde and that is a reminder to slow down & take things in stride because this too shall pass.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pure Food & Wine, Always So Divine

Sometimes I have homebody tendencies, I simply mean that I opt-out easily from plans if the weather happens to be sketchy or friends declare that they are on the fence about going out or not- I never push it because I am pretty content staying in. My friend, D & I haven't seen each other since last November & we don't even live in different states-we both live in NYC. We had planned a dinner months ago but we both forgot or something or other. Well, this time we made definite plans and I was already feeling the excuses pile up- oh, I really haven't finished my taxes yet or I'm feeling kind of tired...and then, of course, I realized during our phone conversation that my friend needed a friend and needed to be out, and so we kept our reservation & dinner with each other at Pure Food & Wine.

And more often than not, I'm always glad that I didn't cancel after all.

We started with a whole lot of catching up and some sangria & wine, then quickly moved on to food:
Hazelnut Crostini w/Crimini Mushrooms & Caper Bearnaise w/caraway sauerkraut- so yummy!
We also had a spinach avocado starter as well- which turned out to be amazing!
My friend had the Portobello w/brussel sprouts- it was okay but underwhelming. I tried to steer her towards the tamales, but she didn't want something so nut heavy. Now, this friend is not vegan, but we always go somewhere vegan because she's great that way- but she usually always sticks to veggie dishes that are straight-up vegetables.
I had Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles & Baby Bok Choy, w/snow peas, king oyster mushrooms, tamarind sauce, sesame salted cashews & cilantro oil. It was so good- didn't even realize that I wasn't having a cooked dish! That Pure Food & Wine kitchen makes some serious magic back there.
Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart- pecan caramel, dark chocolate ganache, maldon sea salt & vanilla cream- should have been delicious but was simply okay.
 The Mint Sundae of course is always a big hit- pure decadence.

It was great to share delicious food & share all the things that are going on in our lives in such a perfect setting. Good friends & good food are good for the soul.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Addictive Vegan Eats

There are some things that you just can't get enough of despite knowing one shouldn't indulge too much...giant sundaes, a whole bag of Kettle Chips Chipotle Death Valley chips, a whole pie pan of coconut custard pie, back to back Bravo's Housewives episodes- can't stop watching that trainwreck of bickering & sheer pettiness...ok, am not cutting back on Housewives but I have found two "better for me" things to indulge in that I just can't get enough of:

1) Cheesy chipotle raw kale chips:

They may not look so addictive in the pics, but trust- one bite and I almost cleaned off the whole tray from the oven. I don't have a dehydrator, but my oven actually goes down to 105 degrees. So with a whole lot of patience & wait time, these raw "cheesy" chipotle kale chips were born! The person that discovered cashews, red pepper, nutritional yeast & lemon= cheese-like flavor is genius. And I bow to them, I give myself a little pat on the back for having the foresight of adding chipotle powder to the "cheese" which made the kale chips pure genius. Here's the cheesy crack sauce in the vitamix:
Yep, getting crunchy spicy cheesy goodness on as well as getting my kale on? Brilliant. Just remember to drink lots of water when eating dehydrated raw foods, so that you can rehydrate properly!

Cheesy Chipotle Raw Kale Chip Recipe adapted from here. I just added 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder to the mixture before blending. I had some of the "cheese" leftover & have been dipping veggies into it, would also make an amazing nacho queso dip.

2) Homemade vegan nutella aka "hazelnut chocolate crack"

Back in the day, I loved Nutella. Then I went vegan & discovered that it contained dairy & partially hydrogenated oils- bad bad & more bad. It's been many years since I've tasted that nutty chocolate-y yum until disappointed that I didn't purchase a larger bag of hazelnuts or else I would have had a full jar & I poured more oil in than need be, so it's more like a fondue consistency but I got no problem with that, that just means more dipping fun.

The Not Nutella inspired me to make crepes- mainly crepes with strawberries because the bananas weren't ripe enough yet, but that is certainly on the list!
And since we are onto crepes, back in the day my favorite crepe would be a citron-sucre, which is simply a crepe with lemon, butter & sugar- easily recreated with earth balance for butter. So good. Made whole wheat crepes because Fcat likes it healthy, but I made the mistake of subbing 1/2cup of whole wheat pastry flour, which gave it a smoother texture than I had wanted.
There are plenty of vegan nutella recipes online and even in Veganomicon. The one that I used was actually on a non-vegan blog, Su Good Sweets. It had the simplest number of ingredients & super easy to whip up in a vitamix or food processor, now with all that sugar, am not claiming that it's healthy, just not as bad for you as the original spread. But am planning on making Ani Phyo's raw nutella soon and I imagine that will be even better, will share when I do!
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