Tag Archives: vegan treats

Veg Fest & Feast

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekend Hodgepodge, this Saturday was spent enjoying vegetables, plain and simple. I am an omnivore, and a locavore, no longer vegan or vegetarian, but I love vegetables and was happy to be able to see them in the spotlight this weekend.

Jaime K

Jaime K of Save the Kales!

First of all, let me say that Bethlehem Vegfest was a knock-out success and I hope to see it continue for years to come. Many thanks to the Downtown Bethlehem Association,  Jaime K of Save the Kales! and everyone else who contributed for bringing this sort of festival to Bethlehem. I heard rumor that 10,000 people attended the fair, which stretched for several blocks down South Bethlehem’s Greenway. I arrived at 12:10, just ten minutes after the festival began, and a large crowd had already amassed. I had never actually visited the Greenway before and was quite happy to see such a well maintained rail-trail through the heart of the city! I had heard of the trail before, but tended to stay away from the area due to its previous reputation as a skeevy part of town before the tracks were paved.

Vegfest Entrance

The start of Vegfest

Emeril's Booth

A chef from the local Emeril's restaurant serves samples.

The festival grounds were divided into several themed areas (think platzes from Musikfest, but without the sausages and obnoxious people) housing about 200 vendors. There was a pet area, a farmers’ market, a food court, a sustainable energy area, a lecture tent, cooking demo area, and music stage, among others. Vendors peddled goods, services and wares while entertainers put children inside huge bubbles, and vegetarians could eat free samples without having to ask “Is there meat in that?”

Local Dub

This band, Local Dub, played some chill reggae music, and even used the word "irie" in their PR for the gig! Irie is our cat's name, meaning the ultimate positive, powerful, pleasing, all encompassing quality. I've never heard anyone else use it.

Cooking Demo

While catching a few minutes of this cooking demo, I got to taste grilled watermelon. Mmm! Definitely keeping that in mind!

Smart Juice

Bethlehem-based Smart Juice company

I was on a pretty tight budget since Vegfest fell between paydays, but I did indulge in a bottle of yummy organic no-sugar added peach-apricot juice from Smart Juice, a Bethlehem-based company that I first encountered when they donated juice for the Iftar dinner I attended (read about that here). This juice made me feel like I was James in a giant peach, that’s how real it was.

I also found a book that I must purchase, From Asparagus to Zucchini. It is a comprehensive guide to produce, listing nutritional information, storage and cooking techniques and recipes. One of the best parts, though, is in the back, where it lists recipes using seasonal ingredient combinations. SO, when you get your CSA share and wonder what to do with a bunch of eggplants, a tomato, and several ears of corn or something, you can just check the book! Wishing there was a book fairy right now …

Vegan Treats Display

My sister-in-law works the Vegan Treats table.

Vegfest didn’t carry any hints of the pompous attitude vegetarians are sometimes unfairly labeled with. Instead, it exuded a warm community vibe, inviting people of all sorts to take a look and try something new.

Later that evening, my in-laws came over for a very belated Christmas gift of a dinner & game night at our house. My mother-in-law recently began moving in the vegan direction, so I wanted to prepare a meal that honored that decision. However, my husband and I are fairly opposed to many of the “fake meat” and “dairy” products on the market. A lot of those products are so highly processed and full of genetically modified or laboratory-created ingredients that I cannot justify eating them. So, I made a meal highlighting vegetables, with no meat, dairy or egg substitutes. It’s also very important to me to use local ingredients, so everything in this meal is from this area with the exception of cooking oil, salt, pepper, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and polenta. Nothing on this menu will require a trip to the health food store or a large amount of money.

Normally, I leave the vegan meals up to Save the Kales!, but I will share this one with you.

A Vegan Feast:

Vegan Meal

An all-local vegan meal, with no "fake meat": salad, roasted tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tri-color potatoes & beets, polenta & beet green stuffed zucchini, and pear crisp.

In the interest of avoiding carpal tunnel, I am going to list the vendors I purchased ingredients from once, here, instead of immediately following the ingredient: Heritage Farms CSA, Apple Ridge Farm, Bechdolt’s Orchard, Jett’s Natural Produce, Cardamom & Curry, and Jumbars.

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic & Herbs

Roasted Tomatoes

The contrast between the slow-roasted flavor of the tomatoes & garlic and the freshness of the herbs balances wonderfully.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 6 or so basil leaves
  • a few sprigs oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut tomatoes into 6-8 wedges each and place in glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Chop garlic cloves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  4. Remove thyme leaves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and begin to turn golden.
  7. Chop basil and oregano and mix with tomatoes before serving.

Tri-Color Potatoes & Beets

Rustic & colorful

Rustic & colorful

Ingredients:

  • 5 potatoes of different colors (I used purple, red and white)
  • 10 small beets (or 3-4 large ones)
  • 1 red onion
  • few sprigs thyme
  • few sprigs rosemary
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into 1″ chunks.
  3. Peel and trim beets, reserving greens for zucchini recipe or to sauté on the side. Cut into 1″ chunks.
  4. Cut onion into thick slices.
  5. Combine potatoes, beets and onion in 9×13″ baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, rosemary, salt & pepper.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Polenta & Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

Polenta and Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

A hearty vegan entrée

Ingredients:

  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 1/2 c. coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1.5 c water
  • 10 small beets’ worth of beet greens (or 3-4 large beets’ worth)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut a v-shaped opening, going the long way, into each zucchini, removing in one piece and setting top aside. Scoop out insides, discarding large seeds but reserving pulp. Scrape pulp from removed top, too.
  3. Salt hollowed zucchinis and tops and place, cut side down, in greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring water to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Slowly add cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Stir until thickened and creamy looking.
  6. Add thyme leaves to polenta and stir.
  7. Dice onion and garlic. Sautée in olive oil over medium heat until tender.
  8. Chop zucchini pulp and add to onion and garlic mixture. Cook for 4 minutes.
  9. Chop beet greens, removing tough stems, and add to zucchini mixture. Cook until greens are wilted.
  10. Remove zucchini from oven and spoon thyme polenta into zucchini boats.
  11. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over polenta.
  12. Place cut out tops of zucchini over filling.
  13. Bake 20 more minutes, or until zucchini are tender.
  14. Let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Pear-Granola Crisp

Pear-Granola Crisp

You can make this dessert ahead and serve at room temperature or pop it in the oven when guests arrive and serve warm.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium pears
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (I ended up using some turmeric tea (with ginger in it) from Cardamom & Curry that I had already steeped a few times instead. It’s a great way to get the most of your tea—Use the leaves to make 2-3 cups of tea, then add them to a dish you are cooking—They still have flavor!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. granola (double check that it is vegan)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar, divided
  • 5 T. canola oil (walnut or coconut oil would be even better)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel and slice pears. Place in deep, square baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle pears with 1/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (or tea leaves!).
  4. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 c. sugar. Stir until evenly mixed.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, remaining 1/4 c. sugar, and granola.
  6. Add oil and stir until mixture is wet.
  7. Spread topping evenly over pears in baking dish.
  8. Bake 40 minutes or until top is golden.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Weekend Hodgepodge

Ah, a long weekend—One of the greatest things about holiday weekends like this one is that singular moment when you realize that there’s one more day. For me, that moment happened after a cookout with my in-laws, while my husband and I were hunched around the computer, drinking wine and pinpointing geocaches to find on our upcoming roadtrip to Maine. My mind started wandering towards what I had to accomplish in the upcoming week, which lunches I should pack for work, what clothing needed washing … and then the sweet realization hit me that the weekend wasn’t over. It’s the greatest feeling. I think I still savor those moments a little more than some people do because it has only been a year since I’ve had a job that affords me paid holidays—Truly something to be grateful for!

So, this weekend was full of lazy, food-fueled moments spent with family and enjoying the simple pleasure of not working—Especially valuable for my husband, who works manual labor 6 long days a week.

Joe's Pizza

Friday started off with an unhealthy but oh-so-good celebration of my quit smoking anniversary. Joe's Pizza in Trexlertown truly has the best cheesesteaks in the valley. Pair it with fried cauliflower for me and cheese fries (enormous!) for Kevin, and there's a serious food coma on the way. (Don't worry, this provided us with several days worth of lunch.) FYI- They offer whole wheat and gluten free pizza crusts, as well as many veg-friendly options.

Vegan Treats dessert

The ending to our smoke-free celebration—Vegan Treats Peanut Butter Candy Cake and soy-cream. Still working our way through both. 🙂

Neighborhood Walk

After all that decadence Friday night, my daily walk had to be extra long on Saturday. Keep your eyes open for a new post category this week called "Neighborhood Walk," where you'll see the litte details that make this a nice place to be.

Marblehead Salmon

Saturday evening, we met my parents for dinner at the Marblehead Grill & Chowderhouse for a farewell dinner before they leave for their annual couple of months in Maine. Still full from last night, I opted for grilled salmon with tomato-basil sauce and CRAB PIEROGIES (which I couldn't finish). Marblehead prepares great meals and uses sustainably sourced seafood.

Embers

My husband's aunt, uncle and grammy came for a visit, so we joined his family for a relaxing backyard campfire the night they arrived. The embers looked exceptionally pretty that night.

Hammock

We also joined my in-laws for an afternoon cookout (eaten indoors for fear of rain). A great time with family we don't get to see all that often!

Columcille Megalith Park

Finally, we got to see Columcille Megalith Park in Bangor! I heard about this place last fall but hadn't the chance to see it. All I can say is WOW. It's a 17-acre park/woodland atmosphere filled with shrines, monolith stones and Celtic spiritual sacred spaces. Look for a complete post about Columcille next Tuesday. Amazing, strange, and mystical.


The Stale Baked Good Predicament

My sister in-law works at a scrumdiddlyumptious vegan bakery, Vegan Treats, right down the road from our apartment. Occasionally, she will deliver some day old baked goods to us instead of throwing them away. Vegan Treats are so freaking yummy and ridiculously rich. The last batch we received was just too much to eat! I took some to work the next morning, my husband and I snarfed some down at home, but I still had a ton of donuts and a bun left over! Before we could eat them all or give them away, the tasty confections were stale. As I mentioned in the peach bourbon tea pops post, frugality is a way of life in this PA Dutch region. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the goodies. So, recipe creation and baking ensued. I do feel awkward about adding eggs, milk & butter to vegan baked goods, but I am not vegan and I didn’t have the proper substitutes at the time. Sorry to the hardcore folks out there! I am sure they’d be tasty animal-product free, too!

Stale Baked Good Treat #1: Donut Bread Pudding
*For a vegan bread pudding recipe, click here. Just sub donuts for the bread!

Ingredients:

Donut Bread Pudding Ingredients

Add some less than fresh donuts, and you've got dessert to feed a crowd!

• 12 or so stale donuts (Any flavor will work. Mine were a mix of glazed, sugar, jelly, & chocolate cream)
• 3 cups whole milk (I used raw milk from Klein Farms)
• 2 eggs
• 2 egg yolks (Save the whites for a tasty lunch scramble while this bakes!)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• dash salt
• cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the donuts into approximately 1-inch cubes and place in 9×13″ baking pan (grease if not non-stick).
  2. Whisk together milk, eggs, and egg yolks.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla, salt & cinnamon. Stir.
  4. Pour milk & egg mixture evenly over donut cubes in pan.
  5. Let sit for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Bake bread pudding for 60-70 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or cold. Store leftovers in fridge.
    Donut Bread Pudding

    Rich & Delicious!

     

Stale Baked Good Treat #2: Fruity Bun Pie
*To make these vegan in keeping with the vegan bun, just sub margarine for the butter!

Ingredients:

Fruity Bun Pie Ingredients

These ingredients (plus butter, a bit of sugar & cinnamon) are really flexible ... Use what you've got!

• 1 large less-than-fresh bun (this is a coconut bun, cinammon would work, too)
• 2 peaches (mine were a bit hard from being put in the fridge, no problem! I got mine at Bechdolt’s Orchard)
• 2 small plums (mine were a little over-ripe, again, no problem! From Pappy’s Orchard)
• 1 apple (mine is not local … leftover from road trip lunch at Panera)
• 2 T. butter
• sugar, to taste
• cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Slice the bun hamburger-style so you have two rounds.
  3. Spread 1/2 T. of butter on each round and toast, cut side down, on a griddle or skillet until golden. Transfer to cookie sheet, cut side up.
  4. Thinly slice the fruit (use a mandolin if you have it).
  5. Arrange fruit slices on bun halves. (I also sprinkled some coconut that fell out of the bun on top)
  6. Dot 1/2 T. of butter on top of each bun pie.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until fruit is soft.
  9. Serve warm.
Fruity Bun Pie

Warm, fruity, buttery, delicious!


Weekend Hodgepodge

In my life, weekends are generally a hodgepodge of seemingly random activities around the Lehigh Valley. My husband works on Saturdays, so overnight getaways are rare. Instead, I take the opportunity to make Saturday mornings my own, then try to spend the rest of the weekend with him. Sometimes our activities are high adventure, sometimes rather mundane. But, we try to make them fun and use them to explore the area we live in. So, expect to see a collection of photos each week on Sunday or Monday, highlighting some particularly exceptional parts of the weekend!

Nawab Indian Restaurant

Friday night dinner at Nawab for my mother-in-law's birthday. DELICIOUS. Look for a post dedicated to Nawab in the near future!

Coffee & Cake

Vegan Treats Strawberry Amaretto Cake and coffee for the birthday celebration.

Yard Sale Loot

Saturday morning held a trip to Jaime K's (of Save the Kales) vintage yardsale. All of this loot for $20!!!

Picnic Basket

My favorite yard sale find—a picnic basket! I am dreaming of all the fun places this basket will go, full of delicious sandwiches & wine, and it only cost $3!

Jim Thorpe

Saturday afternoon, I headed a little out of the valley to visit a friend in Jim Thorpe. On the drive up, I was reminded of PA's less than stellar environmental practices with mining (barren land everywhere), but there are still many of pockets of beauty.

Downtown Jim Thorpe

Downtown Jim Thorpe reminds me of a European village. I didn't spend any time wandering around the shops on this trip, but look for that as a future post!

Westgate Pizza

Saturday night culminated with some take out from Westgate Pizza. I grew up on this place, but hadn't been there in at least 10 years. In my mind, there are 3 kinds of pizza, each one valuable for a different frame of mind: greasy pizzeria, chain pizza, artisan pizza. This fulfills the craving for greasy, salty, gooey pizza for sure! Someday I'll do a full post on the goodness.

Sunday was spent vegged out watching Next Food Network Star and preparing one of my favorite dishes EVER, both with my husband. The next post will be a guessing game to see what dish it was!


%d bloggers like this: