Please welcome Christie and Brent who are a vegan couple with a lovely personality and a knowledge to share. Here they are in their own words, “Turning Veganese is written by Brent, Christie and Melissa. Melissa, the creator of the blog, invited Brent and Christie to participate when she felt the urge to do more for her health, the environment and animals by going vegan. Posts in the blog are submitted by varying combinations of the three authors, each bringing their own taste and style to the table. This particular post is brought to you by Brent and Christie. Brent hails from Washington state and spent 6 years in Portland, Oregon working as an engineer for Xerox and playing drums for the rock band Of Former Fame before moving to Miami to join long time love Christie. Christie’s early experience in genetics at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hosptal inspired her to continue her work as a biochemist and molecular biologist first at Cornell University and now at Jackson Memorial Hospital for the University of Miami. Brent and Christie are both avid mountain climbers, Brazilian jiu jitsu enthusiasts and lovers of all things SciFi. When asked “why vegan?”, Brent says: “Vegan is a choice that leads to knowledge, which encourages enlightenment. It challenges virtually every Western convention and results in empowerment. Consumption over preservation, slaughter and exploitation over sustainability, toxicity over longevity. These messages have been ground into me as an American since birth, and continued to be my lifestyle up until challenging myself to be vegan. Now I have a better understanding of my effect on the planet, the impact I have on my community, and the control I have over my own health. Vegan is positive change.” When asked “why vegan?”, Christie says: “Vegan isn’t a sales pitch or a diet plan, its a philosophy grounded in the idea that animals aren’t here for humans to exploit. A healthier body and a cleaner environment is merely good karma for treating our neighbors well.” You can find us on FaceBook, Twitter and we’d love to hear from you EMAIL US if you’ve got any questions, We’d also like to thank Vegan Bloggers Unite! for creating a forum for vegans to collaborate and find one another in this carnist world!” Aww, thanks for the shout out. Welcome Christie and Brent!
The man and I are always trying to reproduce take-out favorites at home. A few weeks ago I became obsessed with creating a truly vegan, gluten-free version of veggies makhani which we periodically order from a beloved Indian restaurant. “Makhani” means butter in Hindustani and though a lot of restaurants make it with olive oil as a cheap alternative to ghee, I still worry my special request for olive oil won’t be met. This version isn’t stereotypical Indian food but rather an Americanized version of the Indian classics but that shouldn’t stop you from giving this a try. We made ours with traditional herbs and spices, peas and tofu instead of paneer. Paneer is a traditional home-made Indian cheese often used in this dish. Tofu is a great vegan substitute. Other veggies that would be appropriate include bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes.
I started with the following:
1 carton of firm Chinese style water packed tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb bag of frozen peas
Before you do anything, set these aside to drain and thaw
respectively. I like to marinade my tofu in lemon juice for 30 minutes
or so with a dash of ground coriander. I finish it by heating the tofu
lightly in the pan I’ll eventually add my sauce to and pouring off any
1 tsp oil
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional, but recommended)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced (more if you like spice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 pinkie sized piece of turmeric, sliced OR 1/2 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp syrup (any kind will do)
2 cups vegetable stock (use water if you need more)
1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked is good)
1 tbsp vegan “butter”
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and chili paste to taste
Fresh green coriander/cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, and when they sputter add the cinnamon. Add the ginger and turmeric and stir for a minute or so over medium-high heat. Add the onions, “butter” and a little salt and saute until the onions start to brown, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, cashew nuts and chilli powder. Saute the mixture until the tomatoes soften. If the mixture starts to get too dry before the tomatoes are done, add some water or vegetable stock and continue cooking. Once the tomatoes are really soft, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Pour into a blender along with the lemon, syrup, and tomato paste, using some broth to get all the
paste out of the can. An extra tablespoon of cashew butter won’t hurt but we’re trying to keep this light. Blend to a smooth paste adding veggie stock, syrup, salt, and chili paste as necessary.
I don’t recommend blending the mixture while it’s still hot because it can be dangerous. If you have a hand blender, this is the time to use it. Pour the blended paste back into the saucepan with your tofu, turn on the heat, add the remaining vegetable stock if the mixture is particularly thick. Now add the peas and any other veggies you like and stir them in. Let the mixture heat until it’s steamy. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot with some rice, or a suitable substitute.
We used quinoa that we prepared by microwaving at 2 minute intervals. We also added some cardamom pods because they bring out the nutty smells and flavors in quinoa with their lemony aroma.
I just wish I could take a picture of the flavor for you: this is comfort food, pure and simple. I hope you get to enjoy some!
This is Christie and Brent, signing off!