Happy Hanukkah everyone! It's that time of year when Jews the world over pretend that our winter holiday is as fun and important as Christmas! Well, I happen to think there is no need for pretending. Not only is Hannukah 8 days instead of 1 (or 1.5, ish), but the traditional food is simply fried stuff. For Christmas, the holiday calls for turkey, goose, crap like that. But for Channukah, you just have to fry shit up! Whatever you want! It's like a vegan's dream! Unless you're one of those vegans.
How many of you bake during the winter months just to make the house warmer? Here in London, it's more of a necessity than a quirky activity. They didn't get the memo on windows here so there's like a good centimeter of separation between windows and frames. Cold air blows in all the time and you're like, man alive turn on the oven or something.
But cookies? Those jerks only take 10 minutes or less in the oven. PASS! Cakes? Who am I making cakes for? Muffins are just bread with sugar and I'd rather eat my bread without sugar (and with hummus). Kale chips? Am I the only vegan who prefers kale raw (or any other way) to chippified? What can I make that's feasible and that takes a long time so I have maximum oven usage? GRANOLA!
Not that I know what your childhood was like, let alone what the defining tastes of it were, but I'm assuming these will give you such nostalgia you'll be compelled to call your best friend from day camp.
This evening, I felt compelled to make caramel cookies with these fancy new accidentally vegan products (caramel extract and caramel chips!! score!) I found. I winged a recipe, expecting (hoping?) to test a few batches to get it right, but I loved the first ones! As I bit into my first of many, I realized oh my god I know this taste! But what was it? It was CHILDHOOD .
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Even though my last name rhymes with Pilgrim, Thanksgiving was never my favorite holiday. I hate how people focus on the actual turkey, on all the death and suffering masquerading as the central food and important ‘tradition’, rather than making it just about being with people you love. (Or despise.) But I loved being with my family and playing games and laughing a lot. And of course sneaking vegan sides and desserts into the mix! This year, I’m not with my family. I’m not even in America for chrissakes! But we’re still celebrating Thanksgiving. I miss not having lots of people around, but I do get to have my first entirely vegan Thanksgiving dinner! Yay!!
To kick off the next few posts dedicated to Philadelphia, I wanted to start with something I made as a challenge from my grandmother. She's is a real Philadelphia eye-talian, and therefore she is the greatest cook. This summer, she told me how her mother (a Calabrese, from the toe of the boot) used to make polenta for breakfast in the most amazing way you've never considered: fried in maple syrup and butter and covered in powdered sugar. I mean, polenta is one of the most amazing foods ever, but as a sweet food? Incredible! I am not usually up for sweet foods for breakfast (unless we are splitting it 'for the table' and we all get savory items in addition, because that's always a great plan and it's how I suggest everybody do brunch from now on you're welcome), but this is something I would happily wake up for. Well, I don't happily wake up for anything but you get my point.
Okay, today's Berlin Inspiration really IS inspired by specific experiences during my travels! Currywurst, Germany's favorite fast food, is a fried sausage cut up and served with curry ketchup sauce. Not only was currywurst sold on literally every corner in Berlin, in little hot dog vendor-style carts, but we also got to try vegan currywurst at Voner! So Voner's was decent, but it was still covered in sweet ketchuppy curry sauce - that's what makes it currywurst. Are you still wondering why it's called currywurst? It's because it's the worst way to consume curry. Seriously. Currywurst is the food version of Mona Lisa Saperstein.
Mmm, soup! I mean noodle soup! I mean soup! ("Friends" is always on my mind during MOFO.) Well, I didn't necessarily have potato soup in Germany so this soup isn't specifically inspired by my travels but it's generally inspired by Germany. Because German potato soup is a thing, according to the internet and common knowledge, as well as Tony Horton and the German pornstar who was in the Chest & Back P90X video. (Okay, so I'm 50% making this for Germany and 50% for one of the funnier parts of the original P90X, when four people look ridiculous swinging their arms around doing pot-stirrers and the always insane Tony Horton tells them to call out their soups. See below. And yes, all of us innocent Xers were informed afterwards that Maren is a pornstar.)
One of my absolute favorite places in New Orleans was the old school (and regular type of old) shaved ice shoppe Hansen's Sno-Bliz. Born in 1939, Hansen's sells amazing snow cone treats that somehow have fluffy ice and sophisticated, absolutely delicious syrup flavors. I had many wonderful flavors there, but missed out on the cream flavors (because cream). So we are recreating them here with our trusty beloved Vitamix! (NB: You can participate with any method of creating shaved ice.)
Welcome, my little bunnies, to my post about - without a doubt - the most gluttonous, glutenous thing I will make and eat probably EVER.
We are going to have to listen to this while we work, because it's the only sound I can think of that properly captures both how ridiculous this is and how my friend and I felt when we didn't have to eat any more of it.
Oh lordy lord, how good is gumbo?! WHO DAT! When I was in New Orleans last month, gumbo was obviously being sold everywhere you looked. I had delicious Gumbo Z’Herbes at the famous Gumbo Shop, which is a naturally vegetarian (and vegan if the roux isn’t made with butter) traditional gumbo, with parsley and cabbage and other leafy greens. I loved it and I could eat something like it every day, but seeing the tremendous variety of more interesting non-veg gumbos made me hella jealous.
The Spark of Creation
I love to cook. Love it! 9 times out of 10 I'd rather cook my own meal than have someone else (especially a stranger! Stranger danger!) make it for me. However, I am not a chef, so my recipes usually are haphazard slapdash ragamuffin mixtures of ingredients. Proceed with caution.