Vegan cheese: Made in PEI

This article discusses the success of a new business in Prince Edward Island, called Fresh Start Fauxmage, which makes a variety of vegan cheeses using cashews and almonds. I very much hope that this company will continue to be successful and to grow large enough to sell its products more broadly. I will certainly encourage my local health food stores to consider carrying these products. I will stock up the next time I am fortunate enough to visit Charlottetown.

Penne with cabbage and collard greens

This is a rather weird combination of ingredients, perhaps, but it works. Like most of my recipes, it’s based upon what I need to clear out of my fridge. In this case, I had some collard greens that were starting to wilt. I always have cabbage in my fridge, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables. I needed to use up some vegan sour cream, as well.

penne

Ingredients

  • Thinly-sliced green cabbage
  • Diced collard greens
  • Diced shallots
  • Diced garlic
  • Sliced shitake mushrooms
  • Sweet corn (I used frozen)
  • Vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Penne
  1. Steam the cabbage, collard greens, and corn  (if using frozen), until tender.
  2. While the penne are cooking, saute the shallots until transparent, then add the mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Add the steamed vegetables to the shallots and mushrooms. Season to taste.
  4. Add sour cream to the vegetable mixture until heated. If necessary, add a little soy milk to thin.
  5. Toss the sour cream sauce with the penne.

I don’t like my food spicy, but if you do, some chili or hot peppers would work well.

 

Canadian vegan cheeses

This article in the Globe and Mail discusses the growth of the vegan cheese industry in Canada. Daiya, of course, is one of the most famous vegan cheese brands in the world, and is proudly Canadian. This article discusses smaller producers of vegan cheeses, based in Toronto and London (ON); these products are not yet available on a large scale, but I live in hope that they will. There are still some very inferior cheeses that look and taste like plastic, but vegan cheese has come a very long way, and some (e.g., Sheese, in the UK, and available in some local stores across Canada) are delicious.

Thirteen things that annoy vegans

This post discusses 13 things that annoy vegans;  it’s written in good fun but it is, in fact, based on the reality we face every day. I’ve been vegan so long that there isn’t anything I haven’t heard or encountered. Most people who know me accept who I am and don’t make a fuss, thank goodness, but I still encounter a few. Some people, for example, seem to constantly look for ways to trap me; for example, they will see me eating a chocolate and ask “is that vegan?”, as though they are hoping to find me “cheating.” Or they proceed to go through the menu in a restaurant to point out what I can eat. Um, I have a number of graduate degrees; I think that reading a menu is within my skill set. Yes, I realize that this is often meant well, but it’s always funny to think about how concerned people become about the state of my health, even though it should be obvious to anyone that if I’m still alive after 30 years of veganism, it’s safe to assume that my I’ve passed that test. I have to resist my very broad streak of sarcasm and not respond with “and where do you get you vitamins and minerals?” when I’m asked from where I get my protein. I try to be gracious as much as possible, of course, as no one likes a preachy or aggressive vegan, and I am Canadian after all, but the urge is there.

World Vegan Day, 2016

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I just need to look at my cats’ eyes any day to think of why I’ve been vegan for so long. Most of us love our companion animals and could not bear the thought of them being harmed in any way. We are appalled when we read and hear about the Yulin dog festival, for example, because we can’t imagine dogs and other animals we view as “pets” (I don’t use that term, as it denotes possessions) being subjected to such cruelty and slaughter, yet turn a blind eye to the suffering, misery, and pain, that farm animals are subjected to every year. We become upset about the appalling conditions of so many zoos in the world, yet think nothing of the millions of animals who are killed every year to feed and clothe us, even though so many animal-friendly alternatives exist. Loving animals means that we do all we can to love and respect them, or simply to leave them to live their lives, unfettered by our cruelty and hedonism. Yes, I know I’m preaching, but this is World Vegan Day, and animals can’t speak for themselves. Even if you won’t give up animal products, try to reduce your consumption. Look into the eyes of your animal companion, and imagine if he or she were treated the way most factory farm animals are, and who end up on your plate. Even if it’s just for one day a week.

 

 

Vegan diets may contribute to longer lives

As reported here, according to a study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital, which tracked the health and diet records of 131,342 people over three decades, replacing processed red meat with vegetables, nuts and cereals saw the biggest drop in death rates, of 32 per cent.

The authors are quoted as saying:

Previous long-term studies on major animal and plant foods are broadly consistent with these findings, and there are several mechanisms which could explain the findings.

‘Overall, the study adds to the view healthy diets should emphasise plant foods, including plant sources of protein, and intakes of animal source foods – especially processed meat – should be low.

The study concludes: High animal protein intake was positively associated with mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source. **

**Mingyang S., Fung, T. T., Hu, F., Willett, W. C., Longo, V. D. , Chan, A.T., & Giovannucci, E.L. (2016). Association of animal and plant protein intake with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine, August. (full online text available to me via my employer).

 

Roasted cherry tomato and vegan cream cheese pasta

I had intended to make a simply pasta sauce with roasted cherry tomatoes but, as usually happens with me, I added some other ingredients at the last minute based on what I had in the fridge. Serendipitous cooking is always so much fun, and I’ve been doing it long enough to know that it rarely fails. The ingredients below were for a single serving, so modify as necessary. As always, measurements are approximate.

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Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice. I used spaghetti this time, but most types would work.
  • Cherry tomatoes. You could  use regular tomatoes, but I like the sweetness of cherry tomatoes. I used about 2 cups, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • Olives.  I used large pitted green olives this time, but use whatever types you like.
  • Green onions, diced
  • Fresh peas (frozen if fresh are out of season). I used up what I had in the fridge, which came out to about 1 cup.
  • Cream cheese. I had a container of Daiya chives and onion vegan cream cheese. I used two tablespoons.
  • Soy milk, as necessary, to thin the sauce.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half. Toss in olive oil and salt, and roast at 400F until they are soft and lightly charred.
  2. As the pasta cooks, saute the green onions, sliced olives, and fresh peas in olive oil. I don’t steam the fresh peas in advance, as I prefer to retain their natural sweetness and bite.
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes to the onion mix. Add the cream cheese, and mix well. I needed to add a touch of soy milk to thin the sauce. Do NOT use almond or coconut milk, as their flavour simply will not work in the sauce.
  4. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and mix well.