Aug 7, 2012

bryanna's palm-oil free vegan buttah

Palm oil production has skyrocketed in the recent times. Unfortunately, most of that production is taking place in third world countries where there is a dismal lack of oversight for the welfare of the natives, workers, animals and environment. Most of the palm oil plantations are centered in Peninsular Malaysia, where orangutans reside. They and three other native mammals are expected to be extinct by the end of the century, due to habitat loss and the outright killing of these animals, as production invades their habitat and palm oil plantations are encroaching into their environment.

As vegans, vegetarians and just plain caring folks, we are indirectly contributing to this problem. If you grab your Earth Balance spread, the best vegan butter substitute until now, you will note that palm oil is an ingredient. As of yet Earth Balance has not responded to the information of habitat loss of orangutans since they are still using palm oil after National Geographic reported on this in November of 2008. What is a vegan to do with a ready to spread toast or a warm fluffy pancake? 

Bryanna Grogan Clark, food scientist extraordinaire, has once again come to the rescue by creating the Buttah. I cannot give you the recipe, but she has it for free here via

Once you mosey over there and read the recipe, or if even just the thought of making your own butter is giving you heart palpitations, hold on. While I cannot give you the recipe, I can make you a How To Breakdown for making the Buttah. 

The process is more intimidating than difficult; in fact, the whole thing, including prepping, took about thirty minutes, minus the cooling of the prepared Buttah. 

Procure the weird and wacky ingredients: xantham gum (or guar gum), liquid lecithin, cocoa butter (fair trade and deodorized - not as bad as it sounds!), a digital scale, and get blending! 

And don't forget to enter the cookbook giveaway  for Tami Noyes' and Celine Steen's Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. Drawing will be at the end of the week.

UPDATE: Earth Balance's response to the palm oil crisis:

Click Here

Aug 1, 2012

"vegan sandwiches save the day!" + giveaway

Happy August, everyone! 

Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day is in my hands and I am ready to pass it on to one lucky winner! Tami Noyes and Celine Steen are the authors of this can't-do-without cookbook of over 100 to-die-for sandwiches. I know. I tested for them last summer - "the super summer of sandwiches." 

To start the Fall off with a bang (I know, it isn't fall, yet, but ever since we had a cool day here in Chicago my youngest has been on the Halloween kick and I am feeling a little autumn-y even if the weather is not.) By Fall I mean, it is time to blog again. What better way to begin the blogging new year than with a free, brand spanking new cookbook, hot off the presses? Tami and Celine are sending me a cookbook for being a tester and I am getting my own from Amazon (via so I have a copy up for grabs. The only restriction is that I can only ship in the US. 

Since I received the book, the family has been wanting me to actually use it - so, very carefully, I looked at the recipe, from far away in the living room so as not to get it dirty, and made Kate's favorite: Pittsburgh Steak Sandwich. This one is made with a garlicky spread, avocado and Tami's and Celine's Moo-Free Seitan. Cute name, huh? The seitan is robust, the bread is crunchy, being served on a ciabatta bread, and the avocado gives it a deliciously creamy element. We all love this sandwich!

The second sandwich I made last night was an homage to Ray Bradbury. The author of Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes (as well as many, many other works) died last month on June 5, just shy of his 92nd birthday. He was raised here in Chicagoland, in Waukegan, and I still drive by his childhood home, my kids play in the ravine that he made so famous in Dandelion Wine and we are constantly reminded of his legacy. Tami and Celine must have seen it coming since one of their sandwiches is Something Blackened This Way Comes. Great sandwich in honor of a fantastic writer. If you haven't read Dandelion Wine or Something Wicked, you should. His writing is lyrical, poetic and just such a pleasure to read. I sometimes read him just to hear the rhythmic flow of his writing. It is just simply pure. 

This sandwich would have made him happy, I think. The delightful spiciness of the No Cluck Cutlets and the cooling relish with the creamy spread is perfectly wicked. 

I made a little side dish for these wonderful sandwiches, Crispy Kale and Patty Pan Squash.  I used the leftover blackened seasoning mix from the sandwich above as a tie-in, but that is a bonus which I cannot give away. It is in the book, though! Or, you can head over to Tami's and Celine's websites (links above) to get some free recipes, from this very book. Or better yet, get yourself a copy! 

If you want to try to win my copy, please leave a comment and I will let pick the winner.