Thursday, October 29, 2009

Veal Calves

I don't know what disturbs me most...knowing that this calf has been separated from its mother very soon after birth, chained to hut and will be fed a milk replacement before moving on to a short, stressful life as a milk cow or even shorter life as a veal calf; OR the fact that this picture is so proudly displayed on the cover of this magazine with a caption to go with it on the inside proclaiming : "Livestock exhibitions area a favorite of young and old alike at the State Fair of Virginia." I'm guessing that this very young calf would rather not be one of the exhibits on display.

And then I read this article in the Food section of the Washington Post. It's titled, "Veal, Cast in a Kinder Light",with the subtitle stating ,' The rosy meat from humanely raised male calves is reviving U.S. appetites.' It goes on to ask a stunning question : " What if, under the right circumstances, eating veal were actually more ethical than shunning it? " The logic is that since male dairy calves are, "an otherwise useless by-product of the dairy industry", and a "resource that needs to be utilized", leading one producer in Pa. to conclude , " If you consume dairy, you should eat veal".
Wow. The veal industry does exist because of the dairy industry, true. You cannot have the dairy without the calves. If you consume dairy you are already consuming veal...maybe just not directly. But to encourage people to eat yet more calves, directly, seems especially callous.

Humans do not need to consume dairy, dairy products, calves or the 'spent' dairy cows that enter our food stream as hamburger and other low-grade meat products and as pet food. There are many tasty vegan alternatives that are less polluting to produce, healthier for our bodies,and certainly more humane.

Here's a few sites to check out for information and some great recipes:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hand Pies

I had recently become curious about making Hand Pies...sweet or savory filling wrapped up in a nice crust and baked in the oven. However, my concerns about palm oil, and it's prevalence in Earth Balance and other vegan margarines, kept me from making them. And even though I use Earth Balance for cooking and spreading, I have been trying to cut back. If you don't know about the issues with palm oil,take a look at Mattie's posting about it on his fantastic site, shares his experiences as a vegan baker and includes lots of recipes and product reviews.
Back to the crust! I tried using refined coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature like the other fats, but it was kind of difficult to work with and very pricey. And then I remembered seeing recipes for making oil-based crusts, and after a few minutes of Googling "oil pie crust", I found this., not only did the oil crust work well, but it beat some of the other, more "traditional" ways of making with butter, lard or shortening. Ok ! So I went to work and made a filling of peeled ( they werent organic )and chopped apples, maple chunks ( very solid chips of reduced maple syrup...too hard to use without melting them down ), cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and lemon juice. I cooked the filling some, so that the apples would be cooked through in the little pies.

Here's the recipe I used to make the needs another name, since "Vegetable Oil pie crust" does not really inspire. But in the meantime, here's the recipe, lifted from the Boston Globe. You will notice that 'milk' is listed in the ingredients...of course, us vegans would use a plant milk of our choice. Next week, I'll try using whole-wheat pastry flour and try some small additions of other flours as well. I divided the dough into 8 balls, each one weighing about 2oz. Each ball got rolled out 1/8" thick and shaped into a 5" circle ( more or less). Then I spooned a few tablespoons of filling onto one side, (leaving enough room for sealing the edges), wet that edge with some water, and then pulled the other side over the filling , bringing the two edges together, crimping and sealing them with a fork. I made some vent holes on the top of each one with the fork, brushed with some oil and sprinkled sugar on top. They baked in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Not only do they look pretty, but they taste really great, with lots of crisp edges and no soggy bottoms !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally...a new post!!!!

I can't believe 6 months have flown by since i last posted a entry to this poor neglected blog. I have been very busy...I just got out of the groove of posting regularly , I guess. There is no shortage of subject matter, that's for sure!
New Leaf has been involved in several events over the last six months, including tabling at the Earthfest at the Barns at Rose Hill in Berryville, Va. on the 6th of June. Jocelyn and her family (that's her working away behind the table, and her blond-haired, pink-skirted daughter offering advice on the other side of the table ) helped make our booth probably the most popular one at the event since we were giving away free fantastic vegan food! We had slices of Chickpea of the Sea and Eggless Egg Salad wraps, an awesome Pasta Salad Jocelyn made, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Oatmeal Raisin cookies. People were genuinely interested in how we made these items and went away with recipes and brochures on how and why to Go Veg. Thanks so much to Cheryl Ash from eCycle for inviting us to her event; for financial support ( ingredients for the menu! ) and everyone out there who stopped by and sampled how good vegan food can be.
And then there was our stint at Watermelon Parkfest, also in Berryville, Va., in late September, where we gave away various baked goods and got to enjoy some amazing live music as well. The rain did not dampen Jocelyn's spirit as she offered brochures, cookies and advice to cold and hungry attendees at this 3 day music festival. She covered our booth while I came home to teach a Vegan 101 class , with the help of Lori ( thanks Lori!!! ). We had 12 "students" who gamely sampled some very unfamiliar foods ( seitan, cashew cheese, nutritional yeast... ) and we had such a good time we are meeting for a potluck at one of their homes next month!
Whew...enough for now ! I am currently reading 3 books relevant to the vegan lifestyle...they are The Face On Your Plate by Jeffery Moussaieff Masson, Just Food by James McWilliams, and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I did not set out to read 3 books at the same time...I am just greedy, I guess ! I was already reading Just Food on my Kindle, and then saw The Face On Your Plate ( which I had meant to read earlier ), and then read this piece by Foer in the NY Times Magazine a few weeks back and KNEW I had to read his book as soon as possible. So. Time to get back to reading!