Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

Local news – new vegan deli

Ben and Esther’s vegan Jewish Deli just opened on Capitol Hill. Oh yes, oh yes! Finally a vegan Reuben sandwich (vegan corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut, Russian dressing ) on pumpernickel bread with real Kosher dill pickles. Try the bagel with vegan lox (smoked “salmon”), tomato, red onion, capers and dill with a schmear (a spread) of vegan cream cheese.

Look for the potato knishes (a round or square of dough stuffed with potato and baked or fried) and noodle kugel (a baked pudding). You can enjoy your meal with a babka (a loaf-shaped coffee cake made with sweet yeast dough to which raisins, chocolate, or nuts may be added). With the cold weather, warm up with some motzo (unleavened bread) ball soup. If you only want a couple of bites, you can nosh (snack) on a wide variety of menu items.

We’re happy to welcome a new vegan restaurant  to our area. The Seattle Ben and Esther’s is the fifth location in the Portland based “Vegan Jewish Deli” chain. There are two in Portland and one in Oceanside California and San Diego.

Ben and Esther’s hours are 7 AM to 3 PM daily.

907 East PIKE ST.  Seattle, WA 98122

OPEN 7-3 DAILY

Tofurky wins in court

Good news – more lawsuits are rolling back unconstitutional labelling bans on using meat-based terms. Last month, a federal court ruled that an Arkansas law that had banned makers of meat alternatives such as Tofurky from using commonly understood words to describe their products was unconstitutional. The law prohibited the labeling of any food product as ‘meat’ unless that food product was derived from livestock, and it banned such terms as ‘veggie sausage’ and ‘veggie burger’ from food labeling in Arkansas.

The Arkansas law, U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker explained in her ruling, unconstitutionally barred Tofurky from “convey[ing] meaningful, helpful information to consumers about the products they are purchasing, and Tofurky’s repeated indications that the food products contained in these packages contain no animal-based meat dispel consumer confusion.”  In other words, no one is confused about whether Tofurky is turkey!

We’ve seen the same kind of thing in other states and other products but the meat, dairy and egg alternatives seem to be prevailing.  Last year, a lawsuit filed by Upton’s Naturals forced Mississippi’s agriculture department, which had issued similar rules, to backtrack and amend the rules.

Is the meat industry getting nervous? They should be. The sales of meat and dairy substitutes have been soaring, hence the clamor to adopt rules against using some words to describe meat alternatives. Supporters of such laws typically claim they want to help consumers avoid confusion. However, research and commonsense suggest consumers aren’t confused by terms such as “veggie burger” or the like. Worse, linguistic bans generally prohibit accurate and honest labeling even if—as the federal court in Arkansas found was the case with Tofurky’s labeling—”the product [in question] also states on the label that it’s 100% vegan, plant-based or meatless.”

Vegan eggs – you have options

Eggs have often been considered one of the hardest animal products to replace, but increasingly there are some great alternatives available, both as commercial products and using basic ingredients.  There are plenty of recipes available online to help you use them.  Choosing what to use as an alternative depends on how you intend to use the egg – for a scramble, for an omelet, for pancakes, cookies, cakes or even meringue – it’s important to consider what you need the egg to do.

Commercial products currently available in the grocery store:

Just Egg – a liquid product that you can pour directly into the skillet to make yourself an omelet or scramble in just the same way as you would use fresh eggs.

Just Egg also make a Folded Plant Egg, which are pre-made patties that can be browned in the pan and served in sandwiches or on toast.

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg

This is a powdered egg replacement that comes in an egg carton-style package.  It is pre-seasoned, so there’s no need to add any salt.  Just add water and pour to make a great omelet.

Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk

Add water and oil then whisk together and let it stand for 3 minutes. This will give you a product very similar to the yolk of the egg.  It can be used in a scramble, on top of toast, or used in baking recipes.

Classic egg substitutions using basic ingredients

Mashed tofu

Recipes abound for the classic egg replacement of a tofu scramble. A tofu scramble can be made with cubed fried tofu, or by mashing a package of tofu, adding spices and vegetables.  Tofu Scramble Recipe

Silken tofu is also a great substitute for other dairy products, especially in desserts such as cheesecake. Baked Tofu Cheesecake recipe

Flaxseed or Chia seeds

For example, a standard substitute in recipes is a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, mixed into 3 tablespoons of water.  As the water absorbs into the ground flaxseed, the consistency becomes very similar to an egg, and this can be a great binding agent, in cookies for example.  Chia seeds also work in the same way, and give a gel like consistency when soaked. Added to your favorite baking recipes, this can work very well as a substitute for one egg, although it’s a good idea to find a recipe if you need more than one egg, since eggs also provide structure and lift when whipped and cooked.

Applesauce

Applesauce can help with replacing both eggs and oil, which is great if you’re trying to cut down on calories. For 1 egg, use ¼ cup of applesauce.  The pectin in the apples helps to bind ingredients together.  It does have a lot of moisture, so this works well for recipes that need a long baking time.

Mashed banana

Another ingredient which has a similar texture to egg is mashed banana.  This works great in pancakes or banana bread.   It is a great binder, but has a strong banana flavor. Pancake recipe

Pumpkin puree

Use ¼ cup of pumpkin puree for one egg in breads where the pumpkin will add moisture, sweetness and a rich color to your baking.

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar

When you need lift in your baked goods, the combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar produces bubbles that give a light and fluffy texture.  It may take some experimenting, but try ¼ tsp baking soda for every 1 Tbsp vinegar as a substitute for an egg.

Aquafaba (Chickpea liquid)

When you drain a can of garbanzo beans, or cook your own from dried chickpeas, save the liquid.  It is similar to using whipped egg whites, so can be used for making a vegan meringue.

The best bet when using any of these substitutes in baking is to let someone else do the experimenting for you, and follow a recipe!

Nutritious quinoa recipes

Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain, native to the Andes mountains.  It was the food that fueled the Inca civilization.  Today it is known as the grain with the best amino acid profile for humans to eat.  In other words, it is high in protein, as well as iron and B vitamins.  The grains hold their shape well in cooking, have a sweet taste and are easy to digest.  They look just like couscous.

To prepare quinoa, it should first be rinsed well by holding it in a sieve under a running faucet, as it has a somewhat soapy residue which is best removed.  It is cooked just like rice, with about 1.5 times the amount of water to grain. After about 8 minutes, check to see if the grains are translucent and little white curls have appeared.  This indicates when it is cooked.  Drain if necessary.

Quinoa can be used in place of rice as a base for many different meals. It can be added to soups and stews, or be the foundation of a salad or grain based dish.

Recipes:

Quinoa Paella

Quinoa Millet Salad

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

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The future of plant-based bacon

Can plant-based bacon taste like the real thing? Americans love their bacon, and it’s going to take a lot to get them to switch to plant-based versions. Vegan bacon brands have been around for years, and many of them are delicious.  They’re made from a variety of products, such as soy, mushrooms, and wheat-gluten, with flavorings such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, herbs and liquid smoke to give that authentic smoky flavor.  Many brands are readily available in grocery stores, giving us lots of choices, but none taste exactly like animal-based bacon.

A French company, La Vie, seems to have cracked the problem.  French farmers are so worried about La Vie’s plant-based bacon that the French Pork Lobby have accused La Vie of unfair competition.  The Pork Lobby claims that La Vie’s plant-based lardons are so similar to conventional pork alternatives that they must have copied the original flavor.  La Vie is flattered by the comparison and thanked the pork lobby for the “nicest compliment”.  Taking out a full back page advert in Le Parisien, a French daily newspaper, the bacon innovator directly addresses consumers first. “The pork lobby is attacking us because our veggie lardons are indistinguishable from pork lardons.” 

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Local News – Kati Vegan Thai opens in Totem Lake

Tofu Satay from Kati Vegan Thai

Kati Vegan Thai has long been a favorite vegan restaurant in South Lake Union area of Seattle. With a clean, modern decor, and core values that focus on fresh, local, organic ingredients wherever possible, with no artificial flavors, the restaurant attracts those who want an upscale sustainable vegan meal without outrageous prices.

They recently opened a new restaurant in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland, just near the cinema, with the same decor and values, giving those that love vegan food a wonderful new dining option. We’re excited to give it a try!

The latest product – 3-D printed plant-based salmon

Printing 3D salmon

Revo Foods has created a 3D-printed salmon made from plants that is expected to reach the US market in 2023. The company, an Austrian plant-based food tech startup, currently sells packets of smoked “salmon” made from pea protein, algae extract and plant oils to mimic the taste and texture of real fish without the environmental impact. This new creation enables them to offer salmon fillets that can be cooked and served just like the fish version.

The new product is made with pea protein but is also also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to ensure it’s nutritionally comparable with regular salmon, but without any cholesterol or toxins. The newly developed 3D printing production process will help improve the texture, so consumers are able to cook the whole-cut, plant-based salmon in various ways without compromising texture or flavor. The company’s website said this new process produces up to 86% less emissions than conventional salmon and uses 95% less freshwater. Of course, it also saves a lot of salmon lives.

Revo Foods Products

The company’s goal is to produce vegan seafood to lessen human impact on the oceans and avoid consumption of seafood containing toxins and heavy metals, such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They are expanding their product line to include salmon and tuna spreads and salmon and tuna sashimi in the future.  We look forward to giving all their products a try.

Biggest beef co. launches plant-based bacon

Progress! The largest beef company in the world, JBS Foods, is launching plant-based bacon through its Colorado-based Planterra Foods brand. Even the meat industry realizes that plant-based foods are the future. The vegan bacon selection will roll out under the company’s Ozo brand. Soon, American customers will have access to juicy, crispy plant-based bacon with the True Bite Plant-Based Bacon, featuring Cracked Black Pepper, Spicy Jalapeno, and Applewood Smoke flavors.

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Protein from air and leaves!

Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, there’s a company making meat substitutes from the air! Talk about low cost ingredients! Elements of the air are whisked together with biological cultures until they produce protein within a matter of hours. According to Air Protein, the company pioneering this new technology, “ We believe climate change and food scarcity can be reduced by reimagining food creation. Our groundbreaking process is carbon negative, massively scalable, and can happen virtually anywhere.”

Air fermentation begins with the same building blocks that all plant life needs and renewable energy. The protein that the cultures produce is harvested and purified, then dried to remove water. The result is a super-clean, protein-packed flour—nutritious, versatile, and ready to be turned into any meat substitute. Finally, in a process much like the way you might turn flour into pasta, they apply culinary techniques to Air Protein flour to create textures and flavors that give air meat the same taste and texture as traditional chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.

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