WHAT DOES THE CHEW HAVE AGAINST VEGANS?

The Host of ABC's The Chew

The Host of ABC’s The Chew

I may have been one of the few people who was extremely excited to watch a new show called The Chew since the show basically took the place of a much beloved soap opera – All My Children. So, the show had an uphill battle before it to grab the love and attention of those loyal viewers or at least try to use the fan base each host carried with them.

My excitement came due to Mario Batali who was one of THE big reasons why I watched Food Network. Though these days, it takes a great deal to get me to view anything on that channel. I loved Carla Hall from Top Chef (a staple on my food show viewing shelf) where she always had such cute and quirky little comments about the happenings in the kitchen. Then there’s Daphne Oz. The graduate of The Institute for Integrative Medicine and The Natural Gourmet Institute. The daughter of the Oprah given title – America’s Doctor – Dr. Oz. I have loved Dr. Oz from the moment he stepped on Oprah’s stage on her now long over self-titled show. Dr. Oz brought a breathe of fresh air and great knowledge to the world by letting in the rest of the world to the wonders of what everyone calls ‘alternative medicine’. He echoed subjects I knew and schooled me on others I did not know. Dr. Oz constantly referred to his wife, Liza Oz, who he credits with educating him on all things not mainstream. So when I heard Daphne Oz would be on this new show, I thought about how wonderful that finally someone on mainstream television would be in full support of vegans and vegetarians. Someone would dispense knowledge to those who think they know the veg world.

Well, that has not happened at all. As a matter of fact, on an almost daily basis that the show airs, there is always a jab at those of us (vegans) who are growing in masses every year as one celebrity after another discovers the benefits of a plant-based diet. Now, the premise of the show is food. Plain and simple. They call themselves experts on food, yet once again alienates a growing market of foodies that love to eat sinfully delicious food without animals and animal by-products. They present their audience with dishes from all over the world. As well as take the viewers into different events, establishments, and food occupations for the audience to get an inside view. Yet fail to attempt to invite vegan cookbook authors and chefs to the show. Nor have they gone to any vegan establishments to see how artisanal vegan cheeses are made. Or what dishes vegan restaurants serve and have on their extensive menu. What about tasting some vegan eats at the beginning of the show during their announcement/news segment? Why are they afraid of tofu? Why not show all the innovation in vegan cuisine.

Still, I continued to watch hoping one day something anything would open them to expanding their knowledge. Then on the June 8 episode of The Chew, one of the Hosts starts a discussion. “The New York Post reported how many veggie burgers contain more salt, calories, and saturated fat than a fast food hamburger and that even though they do not contain meat, they do contain a lot of other ingredients to make them taste good”. He went on to ask the other hosts what were their thoughts. Of course, Michael Symon chimes in with “I believe it.” With Daphne Oz going straight for the potato chip eating vegan by saying, “This is to me when people decide to go vegan and then live on like chips. It is vegan technically but it’s not something that’s health supportive. There are veggie burgers out there that are made with whole ingredients and I love some of them but I think some of them are made from texturized wheat gluten, and like a variety of processed ingredients and you know oil and things and there’s added salt that absolutely are less good for the body than having a real…. She was then talked over and cut off by a couple of other Hosts, one of them being Michael Simon, the residence hater (seems like it) of vegans says, “Right Daph, I know we joke about it but these are heavily processed.” Daphne continues on with, ” Heavily processed. The thing I always think about is, what’s the ingredient your body is going to recognize most? And as humans we’ve been eating meat for a long time, so if you’re, it’s a matter of having a smaller portion of high quality meat versus a big portion of really heavily processed mechanized food, I’d probably go for the real option.”

When I heard that, I had to rewind, record, and replay what I had just heard. I became so upset and frustrated that it brought me to tears. I immediately, through tears, began my search for said article from the New York Post. The only article I found that came close was an article entitled “These Veggie Burgers are Worst For You Than a Big Mac” which the information in the article was pretty close to the topic introduced on the show. I honestly, for their sake, hope that there was another article because if not, then the audience was mislead. Because the way it comes off from the Hosts is that the frozen veggie burgers in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country contain more sodium, calories, and saturated fat than a fast food hamburger. The article I found compared veggie burgers from other fast food establishments. These are places that vegans would not visit nor eat due to what is in and on the burgers. Here’s a perfect opportunity for them to try vegan burgers from Gardein, Field Roast, and Beyond Meat as a start on the road to being more open minded.

That little part of the show hurt deeply because the one person on that show that could offer something positive did nothing more than take the knife, shove it in further, and light a match to set us on fire. I became angry in addition to the hurt. I thought about going on twitter and blasting them all, yet I did not. Instead, I chose to meditate on everything from that part of the episode to decide what my next course of action would be. I did not want to come off as the angry vegan nor did I want my silence be an indicator that it was okay. I thought about speaking on the preparations of their recipes, yet I did not see the point in playing tit for tat. All I could think was ‘What are they and other hosts afraid of? Would it be so bad to step out of their comfort zone?

Here’s the thing, vegans/vegetarians are adventurous foodies who love to eat dishes that are pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. We love burgers, hotdogs, fries, chips, and mac n cheese. As well as a beautiful salad, hardy soups, creamy risotto, steaks made of plant-based ingredients, tofu scrambles, and sautéed dark leafy greens. We love rich desserts of cheesecake, hey, all cakes, ice cream, and truffles. We love to entertain sharing our vegan spirits and wines with our love ones. For us, veganism is not just about the food, it is a full lifestyle where we consider everything. The products we use on our skin, the products and medications we put into our bodies, as well as the clothing, furniture, you name it that we use, period. It is everything. Some of us are vegan for health reasons because it is truly a matter of life or death. It would be nice if the Hosts of The Chew could understand that and stop making jokes. We have food memories that we cherish as well and do our best to recreate them without animals and animal by-products. Maybe the hosts should spend a day in our shoes, having to shop in stores and eat in restaurants that does not have enough of a choice at reasonable prices. I would love for the Hosts or at least one of the Hosts to go out on assignment to restaurants and try to get something vegan. To see what it is like to be in the minority when it comes to eating in most common places like movie theatres, theme parks, restaurants, and a friend/family member’s home. Maybe one day the dream of a mainstream television host/hosts considering those who consume meals differently from the majority will bring about a change in the way the world views veganism.

 

It’s Been A Long Time, Hasn’t It?

Indeed!

The last time I made a post, I was so excited about sharing it with anyone who would appreciate what I had prepared. Even though the name of the dish was probably confusing to those who drifted this way, the photograph, in my opinion, looked good enough to pique anyone’s curiosity.

I usually take pictures of my food after I had finished making dinner for the night. So, as I sat eating dinner in front of my laptop, I’d choose the photograph I loved the best and begin the work of putting the dish into recipe form. Usually, I have at least three photographs ready for me to write a recipe and post. The part I hated doing the most was writing the recipe as well as figuring out what exactly did I want to say in the post.

At some point after I wrote my last post, a part of me could not for the life of me get a post written. Everyday I thought about writing a post especially after each vegan Korean meal I prepared for dinner. Yet, when I sat to write, not one thing came to mind. Not even the desire to write out the recipe of the meal I created. I believe a part of me began to not believe in what I was creating and this is all so personal, really dear to my heart.

I LOVE Korean food and her people, as well as learning her language and her culture. I have had this love for Korean food and her people for as long as I can remember. The only thing is that I didn’t know it all was Korean. I hate to say that for many years I thought it was all Japanese. I knew about Korea, yet the Korea I knew wanted to bomb us. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know there was a South Korea. Still, once I knew, I thought about the dishes I loved and how similar some of them were to some  Louisiana Cajun and Creole dishes. I truly believe that Korean ingredients and flavors work very well with Southern Cuisine – especially Louisiana Cuisine.

During my time away, I have been in deep contemplation of what my next step will be for BeyondNFinity. So now,  I have decided to take things slowly, believe in myself and see where the journey leads me. This should be interesting…

 

ChapaDragon (Homemade Chajangmyun w/Seaweed and Steamed Tofu)

The Simple Late Night Snack Becomes A Meal

I LOVE noodles almost as much as I LOVE rice with kimchi, some soup, greens, and some kim.  MMM, did I mention sushi and French cheesecake? I just love to eat really good food.

One really late night (early morning), a Korean program called THANK YOU was brought to my attention. The first time I watched it in Korean from beginning to end, understanding about eighty percent of it. I’m not fluent in Korean, yet I’m starting to really understand it more. The second time I watched it, there were subtitles which let me know that I had correctly interpreted eighty percent of the show.

During my late night viewing of THANK YOU, I became hungry and wanted a snack. Yet, I did not want to stop watching the show. One of the stars who goes by the stage name of G DRAGON, decided to prepare a meal for the other stars on the show. He was making a very popular dish in South Korea called CHAPAGURI. It is a cross between CHAPAGETTI and NEOGURI instant noodle dishes.

He began boiling noodles and chopping veggie seasonings like onions and chillies. I cringed as I watched him using the knife, I was afraid he’s cut himself. Once he drained most of the liquid, added the flavor packets, noodles, onions, and chillies; the dish looked quite appealing. Until the other stars mentioned that it was salty. Not his fault of course, instant anything tends to have lots of sodium for flavor and for preservation.

He also made a second dish called GYERANJJIM or steamed egg. The stars told him that it was not seasoned enough. Someone had the idea to mix the two together to basically create a new dish – CHAPADRAGON.

As I watched the stars eat, ideas on how to make the dish not be so salty, take great, and vegan! I stuck with making it as he did except I did not use the flavor packets and the steamed eggs became steamed tofu – DUBUJJIM. Which you can try the recipe for here.

ChapaDragon (Homemade Chajangmyun w/Seaweed Steamed Tofu)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 med onion (1 cup), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup black soybean paste
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon miyeok or wakame
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 red chile, diagonally thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 green chile, diagonally thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gochujang (optional)
  • 8 ounce ramyun or ramen noodles
  • 1 quarter piece cucumber, julienne

Instructions

    Vegetable Flavorings
  1. Prep all vegetables.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Noodles
  4. Boil noodles according to package instructions in a saucepan with a pasta insert.
  5. Lift cooked noodles from liquid.
  6. Pour out liquid.
  7. Set noodles aside.
  8. Preparation
  9. Using the same saucepan, add onions.
  10. Stir constantly to keep onions from burning until onions brown slightly.
  11. Slowly add ice and continue stirring. *Be careful of steam.
  12. Add black soybean paste, garlic, ginger, miyeok or wakame. Stir.
  13. Add chilies and/or gochujang.* Stir.
  14. Add water to create a sauce.
  15. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  16. Add noodles, stir, remove from heat.
  17. Place in bowls. Top with cucumbers and chillies.
  18. Serve.

Notes

Depending upon how much heat you like, you can add the gochujang and the chillies. Or you can leave out the gochujang and use the chillies as garnish.

http://www.beyondnfinity.com/chapadragon-homemade-chajangmyun-wseaweed/

 

 

 

 

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chestnut Sweet Red Bean Ginger Cookies

Fresh From the Oven and Ready for the Journey

“Vegan Gremlins – The Second Cousin to the Monster Cookie” from Happy to be a Table of Two

We were so excited to be receiving cookies!

First up was the “Vegan Gremlins  – The Second Cousin to the Monster Cookie” from Happy to be a Table of Two. The combination of chocolate, dried fruit, and oats, served with a cup of vegan nog and a Christmas movie and I was in heaven.

“Vegan Gingerbread Biscotti” from My Naturally Frugal Family

Second, came the “Vegan  Gingerbread Biscotti” from My Naturally Frugal Family. Oh boy, my ginger that I love so much was ever present. Those lovely treats with a hot cup of carob, really hit the spot.

“Pumpkin Pie Cookies and “Almond- Cardamom Cookies” from Bites and Bytes

Third, I received a choice of two cookies. A pumpkin pie cookie and an almond – cardamom cookie from Bites and Bytes. Both cookies had great flavors. The pumpkin pie cookies were moist, bursting with pumpkin and chocolate. While the almond – cardamom cookie was light yet held it’s own as a slight almond citrusy flavor with a hot cup Lady Grey tea.

Chestnut Sweet Red Bean Ginger Cookies

Once again, I’ve joined many Food Bloggers to flex my baking muscles to create a cookie recipe for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012.

Every year, I must have the wonderful spicy taste that ginger cookies bring. Yet, when I sat down to come up with the cookie my mind went blank as to how would I make a great ginger cookie. With a roasted chestnut cracked and primed for my mouth.  Slowly, I  took a bite  of the chestnut as I closed my eyes and savored the smooth creamy nut. A vision of sweet red bean paste in a sweet gingery bun called to me.  So, I set out to bring them to life in the form of a cookie to share in the cookie swap.

Chestnut Sweet Red Bean Ginger Cookies

Enjoy Happy Holidays!

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chestnut Sweet Red Bean Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup brown sugar or Wholesome Sweetner Coconut Palm Sugar
  • ¼ cup chestnut paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon egg replacer + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons raw blue agave
  • 2 tablespoons rice milk
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup adzuki beans
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

    For Sweet Read Bean Paste:
  1. Place washed adzuki beans into a saucepan. Add agave, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours. Once cooled place into blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If the mixture doesn’t taste sweet enough for you, add more agave to sweeten to your taste. Place into refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. For Cookie Preparation:
  4. Beat together sugar and chestnut paste. Whisk together egg replacer and warm water until frothy, add to sugar chestnut mixture, along with agave and rice milk. Beat until smooth. Mix together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon with a whisk. Beat together sugar chestnut mixture and flour mixture until blended. Place into refrigerator until firm.
  5. Using a tablespoon measuring spoon or melon baller to scoop out dough. Roll into balls. Put an indention into each dough ball with your thumb. Add ½ teaspoon of bean paste into the indention. Seal dough around the paste. Flatten cookie in your hand. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove cookies and place on wire rack to cool.
http://www.beyondnfinity.com/great-food-blogger-cookie-swap-chestnut-sweet-red-bean-ginger-cookies/

 

Farewell Vegan Mofo: Smothered Cabbage and Tofu/Korean Radish and Green Beans

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

 

It has been such a blast doing Vegan Month of Food again this year! I love vegans, plant based eaters/supporters, animal loves and omnivores alike. I suppose I love everybody. What I desire is to show as people as I am able that being vegan isn’t cardboard and sawdust tasting. It is my desire to educate as many as I can, as well as remind as many as I can from all over the world of some of their veggie roots.

I have been deeply touched by those who reached out to me and humbled at how difficult this entire process of composing recipes considering that I don’t measure anything. I basically eyeball and dump how ever much I believe she go into the dish. With that being said, I offer two recipes that can be used as banchan or side dishes.

The first dish is simply Smothered Cabbage and Tofu.

 

 

 

I took from my Cajun roots and simply smothered cabbage with baked tofu that’s seasoned with onions, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Smothering is basically cooking an ingredient in it’s juices. Cajuns tend to do a lot of smothering basically Koreans do the same thing in a faster amount of time simply because their cuts of meat are cut smaller as well as there’s high heat involved in stone pots.

The second dish is Korean Radish and Green Beans.

 

 

 

 

This is just a simple sauté of Korean radish and green beans seasoned with red bell peppers and gochujang. Both recipes also have been kissed by soy sauce or tamari and sesame oil.

 

 

Farewell Vegan Mofo: Smothered Cabbage and Tofu/Korean Radish and Green Beans

Ingredients

    Smothered Cabbage and Tofu
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Korean Radish and Green Beans
  • 1 small Korean radish, peeled and thinly sliced into squares
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions

    Smothered Cabbage and Tofu
    Tofu
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Drain and rinse tofu. Slice tofu into 1/4-inch pieces then into squares.
  3. Place tofu onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip halfway through the baking process. Set aside.
  5. Cabbage
  6. Heat pot to medium-high.
  7. Wash cabbage. Cut in half and cut out core. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  8. Place cabbage into the pot with water, onions, garlic, ginger and black pepper.
  9. Cook until cabbage becomes limp or about 15 minutes.
  10. Add soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, and tofu. Cook 5 minutes more.
  11. Serve.
  12. Korean Radish and Green Beans
  13. Wash, peel and slice Korean radish 1/4-inch square pieces.
  14. Place radish into pot with water, green beans, gochujang, and diced red pepper.
  15. Sauté for 10 minutes.
  16. Add soy sauce or tamari and sesame oil continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
  17. Serve.
http://www.beyondnfinity.com/farewell-vegan-mofo/

 

Korean Veggie Chili

Chili con Tempeh! Huh?

There is nothing like a really good bowl of something hot and filling on a chilly night. Yet sometimes, chili is just good on some chips with vegan cheese for nachos. Over some cornbread. Or some rice crackers. Rice noodles are great. Even over rice. Sorry, I gotta have my rice everyday.

 

Chili is one of those meals like soup that has the protein base with tomatoes in there somewhere. Different vegetables are also tossed in, as well as some kind of broth, beans, and spice choices. All combined and served with biscuits, cornbread, or even tortilla chips.

For something more hearty, I chose to use tempeh instead of just beans or tofu. Usually, I bake the tempeh to help add another depth of flavor. The browning or roasting aspect helps deepens the flavor; it builds a base, a foundation that sets the entire stage for the chili.

Beans add extra protein as well as fiber. I chose black beans for their heartiness as well as their slight sweetness. While adding corn for a hint of sweetness, as well as corn is a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Still, be careful not to eat too much corn, it’s high in sugar content and will blow you up – inflame you, cause you to appear bigger than you really are. Yet when you balance foods, it lessens the effects of a single food on it’s own. That is why when you eat things that are flour, sugar, fat and fried (all inflammatory), it creates a reaction within your body that has damaging effects when eaten regularly.

Korean Veggie Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, roasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 1 perilla or shiso leaf, chiffonade,
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen yellow or white corn
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

    Preparation
  1. Sauté 2 tablespoons water, onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, and ginger in a medium-high heat pot until onions are translucent.
  2. Add ground sesame seeds, cinnamon, gochujang, and perlla or shiso leaf. Continue to sauté to intensify the flavors by caramelizing the onions, peppers, and gochujang for 3 minutes.
  3. Add black beans, undrained tomatoes, corn, and 2 cups water.
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes. You can cook longer to intensify the flavor. If that is the case then simmer for 45 minutes total.
  5. Serve with blue corn chips, rice crackers, corn bread, biscuits, rice, or noodles.
http://www.beyondnfinity.com/korean-veggie-chili/