Three Vegan Potluck Recipes

[Note: This was originally published March 2, 2011. I am able to republish verbatim thanks to reader Krys O who printed it out for me and Adobe Acrobat’s OCR feature!]

So you’ve been invited to vegan potluck and have no idea what to do. Here are three cheap and easy ideas. I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve still been cooking the way I usually do. (Qty’s are appx. No recipe books consulted.) The first two were made in one big pot and the chili used two. I can’t wait until I get a real job so I can do some real cooking. When it starts warming up, you can expect more easy sandwiches and salads besides these winter staples. I freeze and refrigerate my leftovers! šŸ˜€

Cauliflower stew

Rasta cauliflower stew

After the fold, the first recipe will be my cauliflower rasta stew, so called because in the right light, it sort of has the colors of the Jamaican and Ethiopian flags. It also reminded me of the reggae band I used to play with in college. We were called Mystyk and only played two gigs. I overcooked the spinach a bit here though so it lost the green color.

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Vegan Black Metal Chef – Pad Thai

This site was off the air for a little while. Sorry about that. Several posts with yummy potluck recipes were lost but I still have the photos so I’ll try to get those back up at some point. In the meantime, we were highly amused by this video. It’s probably unwatchable for many who don’t have any appreciation for heavy metal but you should at least get a chuckle out of the opening “ingredients you will need.”

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Vegans and Honey

I’m coming in very late but I found a fascinating discussion of vegans and honey at Vegan Bits. Be sure and read/skim through the comments if you go over there. This was originally prompted by an article posted on Slate. I believe Dr. Rotondi would very much side with the Vegan Bits author, Lane Wright. Given a choice, he would probably also buy agave nectar if it were readily available.

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Heavy Metal Vegan

Today, I learned about the heavy metal vegan. (Hey, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath is a vegan!) There are some great recipes there and the video shows you easy vegan sushi. Also see the Youtube channel.

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NPR Radio Show with Vegan Chefs and a Nutritionist

On Point, an NPR syndicated program, hosted a show last Friday which featured Mollie Katzen (author of the original Moosewood Cookbook among many other vegetarian and vegan cookbooks), Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the Post Punk Kitchen, and nutritionist Susan Nitzke. There’s a link there to listen to the whole show.

In response to some of the comments on that page, I would point out that not every vegan is of the irritating evangelist ilk. If some of us can just get people to be more conscientious about their diets and live a more compassionate life towards our animal friends, we’re pretty happy. The fourth guest on that program was journalist/author Kim O’Donnell who writes a standard food column at USA Today. She is just such a convert who believes most people could stand to eat less meat.

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Associated Press Helps Spread the News

The influential news organization, The Associated Press, recently released an article titled “Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream.” The article was picked up by dozens of local newspapers and websites. The author, Michael Hill, mentions more vegan restaurants, more vegan choices in regular restaurants, the popularity of new vegan cookbooks, and more vegan products in grocery stores. Chef schools now offer programs in vegan cuisine. He also points out the draw for anyone concerned with both personal and planetary ecological health.

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PETA Names Bill Clinton Named Vegan of the Year

Happy New Year! PETA has named Bill Clinton Vegan of the Year for doing more to promote the lifestyle than anyone. Along with PETA, the Rotondi Foundation feels it is terrific that celebrities want to talk about and promote their healthy lifestyle choices.

Other celebs who have been feted by PETA (heh) include Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix (narrator of Earthlings), Daryl Hannah, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Alan Cumming, and Elijah Wood. From pop and rock music, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Morrissey, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Alanis Morissette and Sinead O’Connor are also vegans.

Even if it becomes a big news item when one of these celebs admits to “the odd bit of fish” or “some [dairy] cheese” once in a while, you won’t see them hanging around a MacDonalds anytime soon. Eating healthy is everyone’s business.

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Avoid Sodas and Foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sometimes when I discuss my diet with others, they will point out to me a vegan they may know who might be considered obese. Just because a food or beverage is vegan doesn’t mean it’s not junk food. Take high-fructose corn syrup. High levels of fructose in the diet has been shown to be very hard on the liver and a major cause of obesity. People only consume around 15 grams of fructose from eating several pieces of fruit a day while a single can of regular American soda contains 23 grams. (Note that many sodas in other countries still use cane sugar which is actually somewhat healthier for you — and taste better according to this author!)

Of course, sugar substitutes and excess fats (usually in the form of deep-fried foods like french fries) should be avoided also.

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Stewed Eggplant Curry (Bartha)

Stewed eggplant curry (bartha)

If you can’t tell, I’m unemployed and living on a tight budget these days so I’m making large pots of food for myself and living off the leftovers and sometimes putting a bit in the freezer. I usually have a few things to choose from in the fridge so I don’t get bored. Get in touch if you know anyone in the NYC area who needs a vegan chef!

The local produce store sold me 3 lbs of bruised and cold-damaged Holland stem tomatoes for a dollar so I picked up a large eggplant and threw this together. I had a one-pound package of frozen peas in my freezer that came in handy as well. This was one of my favorite curries at a place I used to eat lunch at in midtown when I was employed. I glanced at Ismail Merchant’s Stewed Eggplant Curry recipe before I started. I usually don’t use formal recipes when I’m making big pots of food anymore. Also, I really like it spicy and flavorful but you should know how to tone it down!

3-4 tblsp veg oil (I used olive)
1 large onion – chopped
2 carrots – chopped or sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 heaping tablespoons cumin (I used fresh ground)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1-3 teaspoons red pepper and/or other hot spices to taste
1 large eggplant (chopped into 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch cubes. I leave the skin on for extra vitamins but you can skin the eggplant as you like)
4-5 cups chopped tomatoes (canned equivalent ok)
1 lb package of frozen peas (or fresh if that’s convenient)
2 tblsp lemon juice
Salt to taste (1 tsp should be fine)

Saute the onion and carrots for a few minutes in a very large (cast-iron) skillet. Add the spices and the eggplant and a few tablespoons of water on medium heat, stir and add a little water as necessary. Don’t let the eggplant burn and stick. The eggplant will soften in about five mins and darken. You can chop ginger or tomatoes or ginger during this time although ginger should be added asap! Add the tomatoes, turn heat up until it is bubbly, then bring back down to medium. Cook for several minutes. Add the peas, bring heat back up as necessary until peas are cooking and it is bubbly again. Simmer for a few more minutes. Add lemon juice and salt as necessary. Entire cooking time should be around 25 minutes. Serve with rice and/or pita/chapati and/or mango chutney and/or yogurt (if you’re not vegan). Enjoy! Serves 6-9

Next, I’ll share my Minestrone recipe!

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Forks Over Knives

Check out the trailer for the new food documentary called Forks Over Knives.

According to the movie website, this film will be in theaters in March, 2011.

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