Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vegan Culinary Tour of New Haven (part 2)

We had such a blast on the first one that I had to schedule another tour because New Haven just has TOO MANY awesome places for vegan dining and we couldn't possibly fit them all in one trip.

The Vegan Culinary Tour of New Haven (Part 2) was held Saturday, July 26, 10:00-1:00. Twelve lucky guests toured five of New 
Haven's hidden gems that offer vegan menu items and sampled delicious treats such as tea, noodles, injera, curry, quinoa patties, un-chicken salad, muffins, tempeh reuben, chickpea mock tuna, cupcakes, brownies and cookies... all of it vegan of course!

Blue State Coffee
Book Trader Cafe
Katalina's Bakery
Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
The Green Teahouse

Please "like" them on Facebook and be sure to visit these awesome establishments in person and say you heard about them on the Vegan Culinary Tour!  Thank you Alexandra, Ryan, and Courtney from Blue State Coffee, Kelly, David and Jen from The Book Trader,  Ting from The Green Teahouse, Shilmat from Lalibela, and Kathy from Katalina's Bakery for making the second Vegan Culinary Tour such a success! 

Here are some photo highlights:

sampling quinoa, pistachio & dried cranberry salad

vegan chickpea "tuna"

tempeh reuben wrap with Daiya vegan cheese

Stop #2:  The Book Trader

sampling some tasty lunch items

quinoa burger with home made spicy mayo and vegan "unchicken" salad

the lovely Jen telling us about some special vegan events in the works

strawberry, almond and fresh basil muffins

Stop #3:  The Green Teahouse

look for the pink teapot

beautiful tablescape

sampling some High Peak Oolong Tea


pot of aromatic jasmine tea

Akiko-San's Noodles

Stop #4: Lalibela Ethiopian 

owner Shilmat Tessema describing the vegan items on the daily lunch buffet 

greens & potatoes, spicy red lentil with berbere, zucchini & carrot

spongey injera

our happy & well-fed group

delish dish!  

another happy group shot

Final Stop:  Katalina's Bakery

the lovely Kathy Riegelman with her insanely good confections

I can't believe we ate all of these

look at that little sweetie!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fresh from the Garden Vegan Cooking Demo

Summer is in full swing with hot and humid days followed by thunderstormy nights, which is the perfect weather for our gardens.  And they're abundant!  I was happy to give a cooking demonstration at Cora J. Belden Library in Rocky Hill, CT last night featuring a veggies from the summer garden:  zucchini, green beans and corn.  I picked up these beauties from Northfordy Farm at the City Seed Farmers Market in Wooster Square.

This time of year is perfect for Three Sisters Stew, a recipe featuring the Native American trio of squash, beans and corn which grow together in perfect harmony and taste great together, too.  The squash grows low to the ground and crowds out the weeds while beans vine up the tall stalks of corn.  The corn and beans also form a complete protein of all the essential amino acids the body can't produce, so it's the perfect one-dish meal.  The stew is seasoned with cumin, red pepper flakes and oregano to add a spicy, savory component.

I augmented the recipe just a bit by plating the stew on top of a bed of polenta, then garnished with a drizzle of parsley pistou and sprinkle of toasted pepitas.  This makes for a simple and satisfying meal that has a pleasing balance of color, flavor and texture.  All of these recipes can be found in my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.

I was really happy to see many people come up for seconds, even two young girls who politely asked for more.  Now, when kids eat your food - especially when they want another serving - you know you have a winning recipe!

I also enjoyed reading class evaluations afterward with statements like:

"It was informative and fun to watch as the cooking process and flavors unfolded."

"Great class!!  I enjoyed it very much.  Mary is an excellent teacher/demonstrator, very thorough.  She explained everything as she went along." 

"The chef was very patient to answer questions and kept the class lively."

and my favorite

"I really enjoyed this demo.  From what I learned I would like to try having more vegan meals.  Thank you!"

Thank you to Carole Fisher and friends of Cora J. Belden Library for inviting me to give this presentation, and to everyone who attended.  You inspire me to make vegan food that is easy to prepare, healthy to eat and delicious!  I hope you will share what you learned with family and friends.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Peasy Vegan Eats Book Launch

Earlier this month I held a book signing and raw food demonstration to celebrate the launch of my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.  It seemed appropriate to hold this event at a place that has inspired me along my journey, Your Community Yoga Center in Hamden, where I take yoga classes and attend weekly meditation.  I am grateful to Jen Brosious for offering this lovely space as the setting to share what I do with you.

I don't always remember to take group shots, but I did a quick one before getting started.  It was nice to see every seat filled by the time I began my presentation.

I shared three raw recipes from the cookbook:  two were variations on cashew cheese sauces, one with horseradish and the other seasoned with chipotle pepper.  I piped the sauce in endive leaves and on zucchini rounds.

The other recipe was raw cacao coconut hemp truffles.  These were deliciously decadent, yet relatively guilt-free.

Thank you to everyone who came to this presentation and for listening to my stories of how I made the vegan transition.  As you know, making the decision to become vegan had a powerful effect on my life because it changed me in so many ways.  I'm glad to be able to share my experience with you.