Newsworthy: Californians Toast to Eco-Friendlier Wines on LA Confidential

Californians Toast to Eco-Friendlier Wines
By Eric Rosen

Wine is made from grapes so it must be vegan, right? Wrong. You don’t have to be a wine geek to know that certain wines, especially whites, are clarified—through a process called fining—to improve their clarity and remove protein, yeast, and other particles that might affect the wine’s flavor palate.

Fining is usually accomplished using animal-derived products such as egg whites, the milk protein casein, or a gelatin derived from fish bladders called isinglass. Though these fining agents are removed after the process, some particles remain in the wine, which means they are vegan-verboten.

Luckily, other substances such as types of clay or limestone can be used to fine wines. Many winemakers, including some high-end household names, are pursuing “natural” winemaking that either eschews fining or accomplishes it without animal-derived fining agents in the hopes of maintaining more of a particular wine’s or vintage’s character. Even brands like Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot offer vegan Champagnes.

Read the rest of the article, here.

Newsworthy: 4 fake food products drawing venture capital by Melissa Breyer on MNN

 4 fake food products drawing venture capital

Mon, Dec 09 2013 at 2:44 PM
“Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” writes food enthusiast and intellectual Michael Pollan in “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.”
Would great-grandma recognize faux meat made in the lab as something edible?
With news that the Bill Gates’-backed Hampton Creek Foods has launched Just Mayo, a vegan mayonnaise based on the fake eggs the company is developing, the issue of faux foods is in the news again. While natural foods with minimal processing have been the gold standard for nutrition- and sustainability-minded eaters ever since the advent of junk food, a new way of thinking about food is taking root. Namely, fake food.
High-tech substitutes for farm-animal products – primarily eggs and meat – could be good for the environment, proponents say, because they require fewer natural resources than livestock agriculture. As well, they could result in lowered consumption of saturated fats. But are we ready for high-tech products that take Tofurkey to the next realm?
A number of food-tech ventures think we are.
Read the rest of the article, here.

Marinaded and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ok… so, everyone loves brussels sprouts now that they are available fresh in bags or on a stalk.  Let me come out right now and say I’m old school sprouts–loved them since I was a kid and I pretended that I was a giant eating an entire head of cabbage at a time!  Fee Fi Fo Fum and the whole 9.

But, I do love them now more than ever.  And I, like everyone else (and those on the kale train) can’t get enough of them.  However, this recipe… this recipe right here?… this is my favorite way of preparing them.  I guarantee it: a delicious balance of sweet and savory and sprouty goodness.  Sweetness comes from roasting the sprouts until they caramelize.

I admit, I really recommend TJ’s dijon mustard for this one.  It is super hot coming out of the jar, but really mellows once roasted.  I also suggest adding a little nutmeg, if it suits you–it isn’t necessary, but is a nice addition.  Also, and always, the fresher your spices, the happier you’ll be.  Also, play with your own spice mixes and let me know how you adjust for your taste!  I’d love some new ideas.  I only suggest that you leave the dried herbs (except maybe rosemary) out of it… I find that fresh herbs are great, but dried don’t really have a nice mouth feel when roasting.  A superfine rosemary powder might be the exception.  But, honestly, fresh will do ya better, every time.  If you do use some fresh herbs, remember to, as with all roasted veggies, reserve some and toss with the final roasted sprouts for a flavor boost.

Image courtesy of James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marinaded and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  approx. 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 20-30 brussels sprouts (one stalk or bag – if larger, increase the marinade amounts)
  • 3 T creamy dijon mustard
  • 3 T grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 t ground paprika
  • 1/2 (or more) t ground cayenne
  • 2 t freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 t sea salt

Directions:

  1. Cut all of the brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise.
  2. Whisk the mustard, oil, and spices in a bowl, until oil and mustard are fully incorporated.
  3. Add sprouts, and fold marinade over the sprouts.
  4. Marinade for at least one hour at room temperature.  If marinading for more than 2 hours, keep in fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  6. On a large, prepared baking sheet (parchment paper or very lightly oiled), place all of the sprouts, cut side down.
  7. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the tops show a nice amount of caramelization.  The cut sides should be super golden brown.

Virtual Vegan Potluck Awards!! Yay Beets!

I was SO INCREDIBLY surprised and happy to see that my Festive Root Veggie Hash won an award from VVP for use of the featured ingredient:  beets.  Thanks, again, to Annie from An Unrefined Vegan, who began and organized all of the VVP, created this great movie of the winners (see below), and encouraged me to enter, even though I felt like such a novice in the company of the other potluckers.  Also, I want to show out to the main dish mentor, Barb from That Was Vegan?, who kept us on task and was available for any and all questions.

Congratulations to all of the winners!  It was really an incredible bounty of vegan cooking mastery!

If you have not yet checked out the recipes at the Virtual Vegan Potluck, please do!  It is an incredible array of recipes that should last you through the winter (at least).