Month: July 2014

Frittata Florentine

Alan and I think that one of the best ways to enjoy tofu is in a frittata. They are easy to prepare, ready in about forty minutes, and delicious hot or cold.Here is my version of Frittata Florentine, a.k.a. What I had in the house Frittata.
– Linda Nelson
Frittata FlorentineIngredients:1 extra firm package of tofu (do not use silken), pressed
4 cups fresh spinach,chopped
1 fresh tomato, I used the first one harvested from our plants!
1/4 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes
3 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil or water for sautéing
2 teaspoons dried oregano,
or use 1 tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon dried basil, or use fresh
1/4 cup Smokey Spread plant based cheese (This is by no means necessary,but I had made an impromptu frittata using this for lunch at the Microsanctuary one day, and Rosemary and I had enjoyed it so I thought I’d use it for this morning’s breakfast. If you don’t have any Spread around, you could add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Press the tofu for about 30 minutes. This step isn’t mandatory, but it will allow the frittata to hold up to cutting better. Just squeeze the tofu in a colander over the sink, if you don’t want to bother with the pressing.

Heat a wok or sauté pan over medium low heat. Add the water or oil and garlic, and cook until the garlic, stirring occasionally until it turns a light golden color. Add the spinach, oregano, and basil, and cook until the spinach is completely wilted. This whole process will take about eight to ten minutes.

While the spinach is cooking, prepare the tofu by crumbling it in your hands until it has a consistency that will hold together pretty well. Add both kinds of tomatoes, the Spread, if you’re using it, and the salt and pepper to taste. When the spinach mixture is ready, add it, and mix well.

Lightly oil a pie plate, and press the frittata mixture into it firmly.

Bake for twenty to thirty minutes until it is firm and brown enough for your liking.

Let it rest on the counter for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Cranberry Tea Cake

Cranberry Tea Cake

Any time is a good time for tea time at our house, and while a straight cup of steaming tea is almost always more than adequate, we sometimes like to have a treat to nibble on as well. This Cranberry Tea Cake will appeal to those who love sweets and those with less of a sweet tooth (when coupled with tea). The tartness of the cranberries cuts the sugar’s sweetness, while the coconut gives the cake a satisfying richness, and a hot cup of tea rounds out the flavors splendidly.

– Justin Van Kleeck

Cranberry Tea Cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup frozen cranberries

Directions:

Combine the coconut milk with the vinegar and set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9″x9″ baking pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Mix together the coconut milk and vinegar, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, then add to the dry ingredients along with the coconut oil. Mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread out evenly; if the batter seems a bit dry, do not worry as it will moisten during baking. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The cake will set as it cools.

Once completely cooled, cut into 8 pieces.

– Adapted from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan.

Scottish Oatcakes

When Alan and I were in Scotland, we tried the vegan haggis, had a great gourmet vegan dinner in Edinburgh, and otherwise ate our weight in Scottish oatcakes that we found in a tiny corner store. We couldn’t believe our luck when we read the ingredients and found they were vegan!

I was determined to find them when we returned, but all the commercial brands in this country have animal ingredients or palm oil. So I determined to make my own.

Here is the recipe I came up with. Start them at least eight hours before you want to eat them because they do have to sit to soften.

– Linda Nelson

Scottish Oatcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (I put them in my food processor to grind them down before beginning the recipe. Some texture is nice, but the cakes won’t hold together if you don’t take this step.)
1/2 cup spelt flour, whole wheat flour, or oat flour (just whir old fashioned oats in your processor or blender to make the flour)
1/4 cup vegan buttermilk (just add 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to soy milk, and allow to sit for a few minutes)
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup melted vegan butter (or use coconut oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Mix the oats and flour with the vegan buttermilk and hot water in a medium bowl. Cover, and leave on the counter overnight or enough time to have the ingredients soften.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 325. Mix the melted vegan butter, salt, and baking soda into the softened oat/flour mixture. Use your hands to mix into a dough that holds together. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of buttermilk or soy milk.

Flour the counter, and flatten the dough before rolling it out to 1/4 inch thick. Use a mason jar or a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Place 1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.

Bake for 20 or 25 minutes until golden.

These are equally good served with a cup of tea and a spread of jam for breakfast or with mango chutney and a cold beer for an evening snack.

They are a pretty versatile and healthy snack providing plenty of fiber.

TCA’s Upcoming Class Schedule!

As our mission statement expresses, Triangle Chance for All is focused on promoting a vegan lifestyle in order to end the exploitation of all animals. We are excited to announce the following schedule for our vegan classes and other events for the remainder of 2014!

Some dates are subject to change; please stay updated on upcoming classes and events on our events calendar: http://trianglechanceforall.org/events.

  • August 10, 2014: Vegan Bread-Making Workshop
  • September 16, 2014: Vegan Night Out
  • September 28, 2014: Vegan Butter, Cheese, & Yogurt Workshop
  • October 4, 2014: BIG Fall Vegan Bake Sale
  • October 26, 2014: Canning Workshop
  • November 8, 2014: Vegan Pie-Making Workshop
  • November 22, 2014: Thanksgiving Potluck
  • December 14, 2014: Holiday vegan cookie exchange

We hope you can join us for these and other fun TCA events!
And look out for more ways to learn and engage.

From our vegan bake sale at the UNC School of Law!

Diary of a Mother Hen: Now that she has grown

Harumi laid her first egg today. When Rosemary called to tell me the news, I felt the same kind of jolt to the heart and sting to the eyes that I felt when my son’s voice cracked for the first time.

The passage of time takes our babies away, and I think it is a rare parent who is completely ready.

This isn’t merely a case of baby grows up though. I looked at her egg and held it in my hand, and knew that to so many it would not be good enough. A first laying marks the beginning of a hen’s profitability to those who would gain from what is not theirs, and they would find our beautiful Harumi’s egg inadequate. A person clamoring for a breakfast of sunny side up or scrambled would scoff at just how poorly this egg would feed their appetite.

They wouldn’t see Harumi. They wouldn’t see the little chick who had grown into her yellow-green feet. They wouldn’t wonder how Harumi experienced the laying of her first egg. They wouldn’t cradle her egg in their hands as I did while feeling it to be a precious part of someone I love.

They would likely dash it to the ground in disgust.

I dashed it to the ground myself, but my intent was so very different. I gave her back her egg so she could eat it as chickens like to do. We don’t need her to be “economically viable.” We don’t need her to produce anything for us. We only want a life of health and comfort for her.

We will not take. We will only give. You’re safe with us, Harumi.

– Linda Nelson

Plant Profile: Hop

HOP

Most of us know the HOP plant for its female variety’s flowers, hops. Some people love the bitterness added to beer by hops flowers during brewing, while some do not. Either way, the hop plant is a fun vine to have in your garden.

The hop plant is a native of the British Isles and is a perennial, each year sending out a new, fast-growing main vine that can grow up to 25 before it (and its many tendrils) die back. The famous (and splendidly useful) flowers have a conical shape and are light green in color when fresh but turn light brown when dried. The flowers have been used for almost six centuries during the beer-brewing process. But long before that, hop shoots were apparently eat much as asparagus is today! The flowers can also be used in a tincture or infusion to promote appetite and help with sleeping. (See more about its history, cultivation, and medicinal uses here: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hops–32.html.)

Our hop plants, pictured above, are creating a wall of green on our chicken enclosure. The chickens seem to enjoy the leaves very much, and the vigorous vines offer helpful shade from the hot summer sun. They can thus be cultivated like other viney flowering plants, such as morning glories, to provide a unique flower color to the garden. Just make sure they have something to climb (if left to roam on the ground, they seem to fare more poorly) and plenty of space to stretch their green legs.

So far we have not tried utilizing the flowers for any functional purpose, but perhaps one day we might try our hand at a Microsanctuary Microbrew with some of our very own hops. What about you?

Black Bean Hummus

Though there are those who would have you think that vegans only eat sticks, stones, and hummus, that is no reason not to enjoy this spicy and delicious food!

– Linda Nelson

Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can black beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (or leave it out)
1/4 cayenne pepper
reserved liquid from beans
2 cloves garlic or to taste (I happen to live with a garlic fiend so I double the garlic. We will have no need to fear vampires!)

Directions:

Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor, or chop by hand. Add all ingredients to the food processor or a blender except the reserved liquid. Process or blend until smooth. We like it with more texture, but choose what suits you. Add up to 3 tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid until you get the right consistency.

Scrape into a bowl and garnish with smoked paprika and Greek olives.

Lavender Mint Tea Cookies

 

Now that we have profiled both lavender and mint for gardening, I wanted to offer the recipe for these tender little cookies.

– Linda Nelson

Lavender Mint Tea Cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegan butter (check out the easy recipe on our website)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons culinary grade lavender (you can dry your own or purchase it)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl or a stand mixer cream together the vegan butter and oil. Add the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup portions so it doesn’t fly, and beat the mixture until smooth and airy.

Add lime juice, vanilla, chopped mint, and lavender, and mix until all is incorporated.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix until smooth. Drop by the tablespoon onto a parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheet, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden.

Transfer to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets by Kelly Peloza.

Plant Profile: Mint

Today’s plant profile is of MINT. Glorious, glorious mint. Mint is an ancient staple of the herb garden, and over time a great number of varieties have been developed. Along with the familiar peppermint and spearmint, you can find apple mint (pictured here–did you guess correctly?), orange mint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, licorice mint, curly mint, and many many more.

Mint is a vigorously growing herb with mighty roots that have been known to bust pipes in the ground. The flowers are favorites of pollinators, which will benefit other flowering plants in your garden, and mint is also pest resistant (like many strong-smelling herbs) and thus a good companion plant. When growing your own, be sure to plan carefully to avoid mint taking over areas where you do not want it; once established, it sends out tendril-like runners and puts down deep roots, which can make it a challenge to control.

Mint is a common ingredient in everything from toothpaste to soap. It has been used throughout time to soothe the gastrointestinal system and other internal ailments, as well as being used externally for pain and inflammation. Learn more about mint’s medicinal usefulness here: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-705-PEPPERMINT.aspx?activeIngredientId=705&activeIngredientName=PEPPERMINT.

A more detailed article on the history of mint cultivation is available here: http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/herbs-for-health-medicinal-mint.aspx?PageId=1#axzz36nNzhbhg.

How do you use mint?

Plant Profile: Comfrey

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Today’s plant profile is of COMFREY. Comfrey has big, vibrant green leaves that grow on plentiful stalks from one main taproot, as well as small flowers that go from light to dark purple.

You have likely seen many of our chicken residents hiding in, walking through, walking on, nibbling on, and generally cavorting in the comfrey plants we have in the chicken yard. Obviously pleasing chickens is one of the many benefits of growing comfrey.

But comfrey is also a pretty spectacular plant to have around your garden. Its deep taproot goes far down into the soil and pulls up many nutrients that shallower root-system plants may not get to. As the leaves and stalks mature, they fall over or off and start to decay on the ground, which provides an extremely nutrient-rich mulch–as you can see in this picture, gravity and age have gotten a helping hand from Orion and Amandine, and newer stalks are growing up from the same single plant’s root. This mulching ability makes comfrey a perfect companion for fruit and other trees.

Another way for gardeners to use comfrey is to make comfrey tea as a liquid fertilizer. Just take some of the leaves, chop them up into semi-large pieces, and simmer them in water for a few minutes until it is dark greenish-brown. Let it cool and then pour around plants. You can also chop up a few leaves and soak them in water for a few weeks, which will preserve more of the nutrients in the leaves.

Comfrey can be used by humans as well as chickens and plants! Although it has been used orally for centuries, the FDA has recommended that it not be ingested. However, it can be safely used as externally a compress or salve to treat wounds, joint inflammation, and other problems (read more at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-295-COMFREY.aspx?activeIngredientId=295&activeIngredientName=COMFREY).