AUGUST 30, 2007 10:23 AM

New York Times: Dinner Plate = Climate Change
The word is finally getting out about the United Nations report from last fall that declared livestock production to be a bigger contributor to global warming than the entire transportation sector. Read all about it in this article from the New York Times advertising section entitled Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change.

AUGUST 19, 2007 12:01 PM

Thought your Gyros days were over? Think again. This recipe will blow your mind. In a small bowl, combine 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. water, 2 t. dried rosemary, 1 t. oregano, and 1/2 t. garlic powder. In a skillet or frying pan, sautee 8 oz. of seitain slices (either homemade or store bought) in olive oil until browned, and then pour the above mixture over the top and simmer on medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately on pita bread with all your favorite trimmings.

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AUGUST 19, 2007 11:11 AM

A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith
Though Animal Liberation is often considered a "secular" phenomenon, the cause of compassion for animals is gaining ground among people of faith. These advances are happening because of the work of visionary individuals like Gracia Fay Ellwood, publisher of the Vegetarian Friends website, author of "Are Animals Our Neighbors?", and editor of The Peaceable Table, a Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith. Though Ellwood lives and works in California, she has connections to West Michigan as an alumna of Calvin College, from which she graduated in 1961 with a major in (what else?) Philosophy. If you find Christendom's general indifference to the plight of non-human animals alienating, then take a page out of Ellwood's playbook and BE THE CHANGE you'd like to see in the Church.

AUGUST 16, 2007 10:49 PM

"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it."
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. And he must have been thinking of folks like Curly and Uncle Juan when he wrote it. Because today, when I got home from a long slog with an overdue writing project, my dear friends had engineered a surprise bar-v-que in my absence. They let themselves in, fed the dogs, and then slaved away for hours on what can only be described as one of the most satisfying summer meals I've ever enjoyed. I don't have the words to express my gratitude, so I'll steal some from the legendary Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

"Blossom" is an understatement. With barbequed chikin-style seitan (homemade by Curly, of course), dill potatoes, spicy ginger green beans, grilled sweet corn, onions, and peppers, and a tossed salad of spicy bitter greens, this was a veritable soul explosion. Honestly, I almost cried. Here are some highlights:

Readying the Webber Kettle
Uncle Juan likes to do everything on the grill, no exceptions. So the potatoes and the green beans got their own little foil pockets, while the seitan, corn, peppers, and onions went straight onto the fire.

The Honorable Grill Master UJ Presiding
Enough said.

Barbeque Seitan Crisping Up With Sweet Corn
Curly's barbeque sauce is not something you're gonna forget anytime soon. She brings the heat, and she brings it large. Just look at these triple-slathered seitan cutlets makin' the corn jealous as a valet at a Rolls-Royce convention.

Summertime BVQ Ambience
Nothing like a little fruit of the vine to limber up the ol' palate. Since Unc and Curly handled the food, I got to play sommelier. While the food was cooking, we enjoyed a little Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Valley, and then uncorked a 2005 Lolonis Redwood Valley Zin for dinner. Organic. Vegan. Perfect.

Using Up the Leftover Heat
A good Grill Sergeant never lets the fire go to waste. Uncle Juan pressed the glowing embers into the service of prepping a few halved Trillium Haven eggplants for a fresh batch of Baba Ganouj in the AM. Thank you, friends! This was an unexpected gift that I will never forget!

AUGUST 13, 2007 1:34 PM

Bruce Friedrich Rebuffs LaVeck and Stein's "NeoCarn" Charges
PETA's Vice President for International Campaigns, Bruce Friedrich, has written a provocative reply to James's LaVeck's recent argument that Welfarist reforms undercut the animal rights movement. (The above link will take you to directly to Friedrich's article, but you should also check out the excellent blog on which it is posted--Animal Blawg, an animal law blog for academics, students, and practitioners.)

In a rather ingenious turning of the tables, Friedrich maintains that LaVeck's criticisms of those who support welfare reforms betray a hidden but potent form of speciesism in LaVeck's own arguments. Says Friedrich: "Death penalty opponents simultaneously advocate for the abolition of the death penalty while also working to ban the most torturous forms of execution (e.g., hanging and electrocution). Most readers are probably opposed to the death penalty, and yet we recognize that at the very least, we should support efforts to eliminate especially horrible forms of killing prisoners while they are alive. Those animal advocates who don't take the same stance with regard to animal welfare reforms (and demean them as inconsequential) seem to lack the ability fully to empathize with animals in the same way we empathize with humans--again, speciesism in its purest form."

Friedrich's article is a "must read" for those who wish to stay abreast of the most important developments in the movement.

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AUGUST 12, 2007 7:50 PM

Nominate Extraveganza! for Best Veg Blog 2007
The VegNews 2007 VeggieAwards are almost upon us, and you don't want to miss your chance to register support for your favorite vegetarian and vegan products, people, and places. Not only will your vote qualify you to win some fabulous prizes, but you can tout your G-Rad Pride by writing in ExtraVEGANza! as your favorite VEGAN BLOG. So whaddya say? Will you do your part to help catapult us to fame and fortune? If so, join our write-in campaign and let your vote be counted at the 2007 Veggie Awards online survey.

QUESTION 20 is the one on which you'll wave the ExtraVEGANza! banner. It shouldn't take more than five minutes of your time. Thanks in advance for your support!

AUGUST 12, 2007 5:44 PM

Baba Ganouj (with roasted Trillium Eggplant), Quinoa Tabouli, Cucumber Soy Yogurt, Spiced and Toasted Pita, and Freshly Sprouted Alfalfa. It's summer, it is.

AUGUST 12, 2007 5:40 PM

These breaded babies were quickly dunked into a ginger miso almond orange sauce and then [chomp].

AUGUST 12, 2007 5:34 PM

Lasagna with grilled zucchini, mushrooms, onion, tofu ricotta, and homemade marinara, and for dessert... Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cupcakes! Vegan Cupcakes are indeed taking over the world!

AUGUST 12, 2007 1:07 AM

Adults only--and no animatronic animals!
The exclamation "Pizza Party!" really doesn't do this occasion justice. In truth, it was an all out Pizza Gorge-a-thon. I haven't eaten this much pizza at one sitting since junior high when I won the Grand Prize "Party at Showbiz" for selling 53 magazine subscriptions to a total of five elderly neighbors. My fingers ballooned to the size of toilet paper tubes, and I was haunted for weeks by dark dreams involving "Fatz Geronimo"--the animatronic keyboard-playing gorilla from the Showbiz house band, "Rockafire Explosion".

Silly Rabbit, Fatz is for kids!
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I ate pizza like a child (with banjo-wielding animatronic bears, lots of nappy dead meat, and congealed bovine mammary fluids). When I became a man, I gave up childish ways, and began eating designer vegan pizzas with toppings such as salted lemon puree, roasted beets, walnut pesto, tofu ricotta, and leeks.

Salted Lemon Puree, Roasted Beet, Arugula, Leek

Walnut Pesto, Tofu Ricotta, Mushroom, Tempeh Bacon

Pizza Caprese (Tofu, Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper)

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AUGUST 11, 2007 9:52 AM

This book looks fascinating. Thanks for letting me know about it, Amazon!

Brutal: Manhood and the Exploitation of Animals
by Brian Luke, University of IL Press

In Brutal, Brian Luke explores the gender divide over our treatment of animals, exposing the central role of masculinity in systems of animal exploitation. Employing philosophical analysis, reference to empirical research, and relevant personal experience, Luke develops a new theory of how exploitative institutions do not work to promote human flourishing but instead merely act as support for a particular construction of manhood. The resulting work is of significant interest both to animal advocates and opponents of sexism.

AUGUST 11, 2007 12:05 AM

Another Jaw-Dropping Performance from Chef Miller.
Technically, the act of jaw-dropping is necessary for masticating even the most lackluster meals, so I suppose I should have said "awe-inspiring". After our third trip to Bloom, we're still waiting for signs that Chad Miller is a genuine human being and not a humanoid form of culinary super-intelligence from the vegan planet Perfectopia. Okay. He's human. There are animal products on the menu. (Make sure to harangue him about that when you visit. And you will. Visit. And harangue.) But when you're eating his vegan fare, you'll find it very hard to believe that an omnivore is pulling the switches. There are no sauces to disguise ingredients, no lame pasta-and-overcooked-vegetable travesties, and absolutely NO portobore-o mushrooms in the vicinity. Just lovely, fresh whole foods (and a little tofu) imaginatively combined, expertly prepared, stunningly presented, and affordably priced (the dish pictured above is $12.00 on the dinner menu). Enough effusive praise already. Here's what we had for dinner:

Nature's Bounty, Ligurian Olive Oil, Sea Salt
This dish is on the regular menu under "starters". It sounds silly, but the sea salt in this tasty little cornucopia (sans horn) is mind-blowing all by itself.

Chanterelle Mushroom Soup, Peanut, Corn, Chives
It looks and tastes like a cream soup, but the secret is a little tofu in the puree. Rich, savory, earthy, and...

...poured out before you table-side by the chef himself (so that you can enjoy seeing the ingredients that escaped the mixer before they're "in the soup", as it were).

Tofu Triumvirate
The next step was a set of three tofu dishes. The one pictured at the top of the post is braised tofu, carrot, onion, carrot puree, and chives. The liquid was quite simply an onion lover's dream. I could have eaten it on its own as a soup! The other two dishes featured perfect pan seared tofu and...

Roast Beets, Candied Orange, Soy Caramel, Micro Greens

Pinto Beans, Corn, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion Puree, Pink Peppercorn
Did you know that pink "peppercorn" isn't really peppercorn at all? It's a flower bud from the rose family, apparently. Though I didn't get this dish, I did manage to steal several of these remarkable ersatz peppercorns. Amazing flavor. Finally, it was time for dessert...

Bring us a figgy, gingery, cucumbery treat (if you have one on hand)!
Some of these ingredients may seem like strange bedfellows, but I am at a loss to express how delicious, refreshing, and light this unlikely dessert tasted. You're looking at roasted fig and diced cucumber in a light vanilla bean syrup with ginger sorbet, crushed candied almond, and candied ginger (the garnish is a cucumber sauce).

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AUGUST 9, 2007 10:50 PM

Highlights from Animal Rights 2007 on a computer near you.
One of these days, you'll get tired of watching R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet, low budget ads for mini-malls, clips of skateboarding bulldogs, and videos of idiots putting mentos into diet coke bottles and begin to crave a bit more substance from your steady diet of YouTube. Lucky for you, there's a host of great new clips boasting highlights from this year's Animal Rights 2007 Conference in Los Angeles a few weeks back. Those of you who have attended AR events here in Grand Rapids in the past couple of years will see some familiar faces in the crowd. For instance...

Harold Brown of Farm Sanctuary
If you've ever had the privilege of hearing Harold speak, you know that he can change your life with just a few heartfelt sentences. So imagine what he can do with a full ten minutes on the mic. Or just watch it here.

Howard Lyman
Attendees of the 2006 Vegetarian Awakening Conference here in Grand Rapids won't soon forget Howard's impassioned keynote address. The Mad Cowboy is at it again here at AR 2007 telling big agriculture: No More Bull! Check out his presentation here.

Erik Marcus of VEGAN.COM
Though Grand Rapids has not yet enjoyed the honor of Erik's presence, tentative plans are in the works to bring him to town for Wake Up Weekend 2008! Let's roll out the welcome mat a little early by boosting his book revenues (check out Meat Market and Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating) and tuning into his excellent podcast. Here's what he had to say in L.A.

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AUGUST 5, 2007 1:23 AM

This spinach and onion stuffed pastry is as beautiful to eat as it is to look at.

AUGUST 5, 2007 1:08 AM

I only got one piece, but I could have easily eaten the whole pie. Fresh, local, organic blueberries suspended in cashew cream custard and topped with a scoop of Turtle Mountain So Delicious Creamy Vanilla. That a way, U.J.!

AUGUST 5, 2007 12:48 AM

The picture says it all.

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AUGUST 4, 2007 6:53 PM

Kill the Coping. Kill the Curb. Leave the Animals Alone.
My good friend Harold Brown knows I love skateboards. And vegan-themed skateboards? SHUT YOUR MOUTH! You know I'm down. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find this little number on my doorstep yesterday afternoon (Harold, you're too good to me!). So I got up this morning, rushed to Premier on Westin in GR, hooked up some Indies and some Autobahns, and broke off this SICK custom grip tape job to complement the Food Fight Vegan Grocery graphix.

If you're interested in picking up one of these badboys, you better act fast since they printed a VERY limited edition of only 50 decks. Looks good with my Kyle Field carrot-top cruiser too!

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AUGUST 4, 2007 3:29 PM

These cookies are irresistible, and a snap to make. I slightly modified the recipie I found at Post Punk Kitchen by cutting the amount of sugar nearly in half, using only one teaspoon of vanilla, adding two teaspoons of almond extract, and adding about a 1/4 cup of coconut to the mix. The only question is... are they better than Coach Carson's Cookies?!??!!?

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AUGUST 4, 2007 3:20 PM

Yukon Golds mashed with earth balance and "buttermilk" (soymilk and vinegar) topped with "Punkrock Chickpea Gravy" from Vegan With A Vengence, served with spicy broccoli and a Trillium lettuce.

AUGUST 4, 2007 3:14 PM

This is a spot on version of the summer classic. Fresh organic tomato, fresh basil from the garden, and a hunk of raw China Rose tofu drizzeled with olive oil, served on toasted herb sourdough and seasoned generously with salt and pepper. Summertime!

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