Tag Archives | food

Toronto Vegetarian Food Fest 2014 Roundup!

Happy Sep­tem­ber all!

IMG_2110

The Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association’s Veg Food Fest is always a treat. This year was no dif­fer­ent. There were awe­some talks, tasty food demos, many new and cool ven­dors, and scan­dal! The scan­dal I’m refer­ring to is the Field Roast- Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment scan­dal. Please com­ment with your opin­ions and any news you’ve heard on that front. All I know is that Field Roast wasn’t allowed to bring their new prod­ucts over the boarder for the food fest this year. At their booth they left this sign:

IMG_2126

IMG_2127

 

Why isn’t Field Roast allowed to sell their prod­uct on the Cana­dian mar­ket? Are they a threat to the sausage indus­try in some way? In what way are reg­u­lar sausages health­ier than vegan ones? It’s all very scan­dalous if you ask me. So buy your Field Roast now because they may not be restocked in your local Cana­dian retailers.

Luck­ily, there were many high­lights at the Veg Food Fest this year– so many it was hard to nar­row them down!

Nev­er­the­less, here are Oy Vegan’s top five highlights:

5. I was thrilled to see Hot­beans and Through Being Cool Vegan Bak­ing Com­pany team up as a food ven­dor in the world café this year. I noshed on the vegan Mac n’ Cheese bur­rito with home­made potato chips. It was ridicu­lous (in a good way).

IMG_2111

4. The open­ing night panel ‘Nutri­tion Myths Debunked’ fea­tured Dr. David Jenk­ins, Ginny Messina RD, Dr. Tushar Mehta, and Marni Wasser­man mod­er­ated by Lisa Pit­man. It was highly infor­ma­tive as the pan­elists explained many of the mis­con­cep­tions about soy cit­ing many med­ical stud­ies and explain­ing them in depth. They also explored stud­ies about gluten intol­er­ance, how much B12 we need, and oth­ers. Dr. Jenk­ins gave every­one an inside look at what the peo­ple of Oki­nawa, who have the longest life expectancy in the world, eat. Many of my mis­con­cep­tions about soy were addressed. The bot­tom line? Eat­ing soy is good for you and has many health ben­e­fits! Woo hoo!

IMG_2113

 

3. The cin­na­mon babka from Sweets from the Earth. I have to admit…I have a soft spot for Sweets from the Earth. So much so that I had them do the desserts at my vegan wed­ding. Their treats are amaz­ing and they are very nice peo­ple. All their sweets are vegan and kosher cer­ti­fied. They also have a nut-free facil­ity and a gluten-free facil­ity so they have a num­ber of very tasty nut-free and gluten-free options to offer. If you haven’t tried their desserts, def­i­nitely check them out!

IMG_2139

 

2. New prod­ucts that I’m excited about! There are a bunch of new prod­ucts show­cased at the food fest this year. Here are the ones to watch!

- Buchie & Sash and their dairy-free cream cheese was extremely tasty. Their prod­ucts are cur­rently sold in west end health food stores and are hope­fully com­ing soon to the east end!

herbNGarlic

- The Hon­est Leaf and their line of teas for healthy liv­ing. I’ve been lov­ing the Detox tea, the Serene tea, and the Slim tea.

1854254542f1aee411307ccfc0c079a7

- Nongshim’s Soon Veg­gie Noo­dle Soup was giv­ing away free noo­dle soup and prizes at the food fest. I’m always a fan of a quick noo­dle soup. This one has a lot less of the crap you find in most brands and it’s vegan!

meal_noodle_20131216_7311600

- So Deli­cious and their line of coconut milks and coconut ice cream. I love the peanut but­ter swirl!

IMG_2085

- Yam­Chops coconut bacon. This stuff is hella good.

YamChops-window

 

 

1. Veg’to’pia. An exhibit that looked at the evo­lu­tion of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism through­out his­tory and Toronto’s role in the vegetarian/vegan com­mu­nity world-wide. Made me proud to be vegan and Torontonian!

IMG_2107

1.5. Spe­cial shout-out to the new doc­u­men­tary Cowspiracy. Check out the trailer below.

Oy Vegan!

 

Comments { 0 }

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival Top 5!

IMG_4321

Pic­tured above: Sport­ing the new Oy Vegan Tee at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Festival!

Arriv­ing at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val thrown by the won­der­ful peo­ple at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion is always a treat. Row after row of booths sell­ing vegan prod­ucts, food, and rais­ing aware­ness about issues of ani­mal wel­fare adorn Toronto’s Har­bourfront. That famous Christ­mas carol comes to mind ‘It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year!’ and despite some rain on Sat­ur­day, Oy Vegan attended everyday.

There were many high­lights for us here at Oy Vegan and it was hard… but some­how we man­aged to nar­row it down to a top 5.

Here goes!

5The food from Karma ChaMEA­Leon Food truck. This vegan food truck came all the way from Hamil­ton for the fes­ti­val. Would LOVE for them to come to Toronto per­ma­nently!! Just sayin’

IMG_4330

Pic­tured above: Jamaican Jerk Jack­fruit Tacos from Karma ChaMEALeon

4The panel of heroes that spoke about ani­mal activism and their fab­u­lous ani­mal sanc­tu­ar­ies in New York State. Check out Kathy Stevens’ Catskill Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, Jenny Brown’s Wood­stock Farm Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, and Gene Bauer’s Farm Sanc­tu­ary. I look for­ward to read­ing all of their books!!!

IMG_4326

Pic­tured above from L to R: Kathy Stevens, Gene Bauer, Sonia Faruqi, Jenny Brown, and Sayara Thurston.

3. Meet­ing Chef Roberto Mar­tin. Known for being Ellen Degeneres’ chef, Roberto Mar­tin made a super tasty ceviche out of hearts of palm. A very cool down-to-earth guy I must say.

IMG_4334

Pic­tured above: Roberto Mar­tin and I

2. I was also hon­oured to receive Chef Taymer Mason’s St. Maarten gift bag give­away fea­tur­ing a green sea­son­ing that she made in St. Maarten! She served up a super tasty lentil patty and an egg­plant and sea­weed accra that was mouthwatering.

IMG_4354

 

IMG_4353

Pic­tured above: Top– Taymer Mason and I, Bot­tom– Lentil Patty and Egg­plant and Sea­weed Accra

1. Strong­man Patrik Baboumian break­ing the Guin­ness World Record by lift­ing 1213 lbs (550 kilos)! This vegan hero was so pumped from his amaz­ing feat that he screamed vegan power with all his might after walk­ing over 10 metres with 1213 lbs on his back. An unbe­liev­able moment and an unbe­liev­able guy. The video I took is a lit­tle shakey but cap­tures his speech at the end which touched every­one in the crowd just as much as the actual feat of strength that he per­formed. An amaz­ing moment that will go down in food fest history!

vegan_strongman_hulks_out.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

IMG_4355

Pic­tured above from L to R: vegan ath­lete panel fea­tur­ing Patrik Baboumian,

UFC fighter James Wilks, Iron­man ath­lete Roch Roll,  and for­mer Hockey player Georges Laraque. 

I would also like to send a spe­cial shout-out to Sweets from the Earth for their Cin­na­mon Babka. It was unbe­liev­ably tasty!!!

As well, we want to shout-out Green Zebra Kitchen for their de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl. Yum!

IMG_4313

Pic­tured above: Green Zebra Kitchen’s de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl

I also want to com­mend the TVA for mak­ing this year’s event com­pletely vegan. It really made it acces­si­ble for every­one and I felt more com­fort­able and excited know­ing that I could eat any­thing I wanted! I hope this becomes the norm for the food fes­ti­val as it is a cel­e­bra­tion of a plant-based lifestyle after all!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 3 }

Wha me eat!

Big tune!

Lov­ing this video by British-born Reg­gae artist Macka B which answers the age-old ques­tion posed to many a vegan, “What do you eat?!?!”

Enjoy!

Wha Me Eat by Macka B

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

Green Cooking — Tu B’Shvat!

Come cel­e­brate and cook a scrump­tious vegan meal with me on Tues­day at 7pm! We’ll wine, dine, and cel­e­brate the new year of the trees! Lim­ited space avail­able. Sign up now!

Comments { 0 }

Highlights from the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

On the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 7th-9th, the 28th Annual Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val took place. Oy Vegan was there all three days hang­ing out and attend­ing var­i­ous events and sam­pling delec­table vegan food. Here are some of Jamie and Jared’s top picks!

Jamie:

1. Learn­ing how to make tomato olive sei­tan gyros with Terry Hope Romero. I tried mak­ing these at home after and they were amaz­ing! I have to say the coconut yoghurt dill Tzatziki sauce is super tasty.

2. Bump­ing into veJEW­tar­ian friends wan­der­ing about the booths.

Shimmy, Jan­ice, and Jamie 

3. Eat­ing the pizza with sun­dried tomato, cashew cheese, and kale from Green Zebra Kitchen! I was hon­estly blown away by how great this pizza was. Best vegan pizza I’ve ever tried!

4. Vis­it­ing the awe­some peo­ple at Toronto Pig Save. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Anita Kra­jnc for win­ning the Com­pas­sion for Ani­mals Award!

Jared, Danielle, Jamie

5. See­ing Vegan Meal­time on the Red­path Stage. These guys were full of energy and totally hilar­i­ous! Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips!

Jared:

1. Hear­ing Dr. Michael Gre­gor’s two part lec­ture on the lead­ing causes of death in Canada. Check out his web­site nutritionfacts.org where he posts daily videos on all the lat­est studies!

2. Learn­ing how to cook Caribbean style with Taymer Mason and win­ning her Bajan/ Jerk wet spice mix hand­made straight from St. Maarten. Awesome!

3. Hear­ing Ultra­man Ath­lete Rich Roll speak about chang­ing his life with a plant based diet!

4. Eat­ing the sticky mush­room rice wrapped in a banana leaf from King’s Café for break­fast. Yum!

5. Try­ing Doug McNish’s new chewy gluten free choco­late coconut almond cookie for Sweets from the Earth and try­ing to name it.

 All in all, the TVA did an amaz­ing job this year and the fes­ti­val was a ton of fun. Despite the rain on Sat­ur­day, it was packed with peo­ple! There are many other high­lights that we are leav­ing out and we encour­age every­one to check out the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion and all the cool events they hold in the city.

Here’s to a healthy fall!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 1 }

Non-Vegan Banana Rant

What is going on peo­ple? Why can’t we eat bananas when they are ready to be eaten? Must we arti­fi­cially extend their shelf-life using ani­mal prod­ucts? Now, a fruit that we’ve already genet­i­cally mod­i­fied beyond belief is going to be the cause of yet another severe allergy. What are we doing to our food?!?! Why are we deplet­ing our oceans? Have we all gone bananas?

That’s my banana rant.

To read more about the impend­ing non-vegan banana, check out  Shape Magazine’s arti­cle or one green planet’s arti­cle on this issue.

Oy vegan!

Comments { 1 }

Sexy Summer Salads!!!

Sum­mer is com­ing and if you’re like me, you don’t want to eat really heavy lunches and din­ners. Here are some sexy sum­mer salad recipes that are nutri­tious, deli­cious, and per­fect as we greet the warm weather!

This Viet­namese Salad from chef Lan Cao from Viet Café in NYC is sim­ple and super tasty!

Chef Alan Roet­tinger, author of Speed Vegan, shows us how to make the per­fect Bal­samic Vinaigrette!

This Spicy Peanut Gin­ger Kale salad from Kathy Patalsky’s Healthy. Happy. Life blog is seri­ously out of this world! And her idea for sal­ads in a jar, pure genius!

 

Vegan Yum Yum has a num­ber of gor­geous look­ing salad recipes. Check out Lolo’s Potato Salad Two Ways and her BLT salad which uses smoky tem­peh strips and kale in a healthy, mouth water­ing vegan ver­sion of this classic.

 

As for me, I love a good salad. My secret ingre­di­ent to freshen up any salad? Cilantro!

Add some chopped cilantro to any salad to give it oomph. I’ve included a recipe below that I make all the time. The quinoa gives you a com­plete pro­tein, while the pump­kin seeds pro­vide you with iron which the bell pepper’s vit­a­min C helps you absorb.

Oy Vegan Sum­mer Salad

Ingre­di­ents:

• Let­tuce and baby spinach mixed

• One bell pep­per chopped

• 6 or 7 white but­ton mush­rooms chopped

• A few stalks of cel­ery chopped

• half of a cucum­ber sliced

• one avo­cado chopped

• a hand­ful of cilantro roughly chopped

• a half a cup of cooked quinoa

• Pump­kin seeds

Dress­ing: (Whisk the fol­low­ing ingre­di­ents together until combined)

  • 1–2 cloves gar­lic, minced
  • 1–2 table­spoons minced fresh gin­ger root
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 table­spoons Agave
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 table­spoons of fresh lime juice

 

Com­bine all the salad ingre­di­ents in a bowl, toss, and enjoy!

 

Oy Vegan!

 

 

Comments { 0 }

A falafel a day keeps the doctor away…

Eat­ing Vegan in Israel was not as chal­leng­ing as I might have thought. Blog­ging while lead­ing a Birthright trip was what proved to be impossible!

Apolo­gies for the multi-week hia­tus but I was incred­i­bly busy bus­ing around Israel, rid­ing camels, sleep­ing 3 hours a night, and eat­ing my fair share of hummus.

Shirel and I on a camel in the Negev. Photo cour­tesy of Jaclyn Adler

What a trip! Eat­ing vegan in Israel is totally doable. In the morn­ings, I usu­ally ate veg­gies and toast. For lunch, I usu­ally ate falafel. If you want the best falafel ever, you have to come to Israel! The falafel is always fresh and well sea­soned. The top­pings are also fresh and flavour­ful and the pita is light and fluffy. Best of all, it’s totally vegan. Falafel is a way of life in the holy land. Peo­ple eat it all the time, so there are places that only sell falafel.

Falafel in Zichron Ya’akov

On occa­sion, for lunch, I would spring for pasta with veg­gies or pizza with­out cheese. They’ll make it for you at Big Apple Pizza in Jerusalem if you order at least 2 slices. Din­ners usu­ally con­sisted of salad and some sort of veg­e­tar­ian main. Because I was with my birthright trip we always ate kosher. So when it was kosher meat — I didn’t have to worry about dairy in the veg dish. (Kosher law pro­hibits the mix­ing of meat and dairy.)

A few nights I had cous­cous with a veg­gie stew on top. The veg­eta­bles in Israel are super fresh and flavour­ful so it was a real treat. The only thing to watch for is egg because even though Kosher Parve excludes dairy, egg doesn’t fall under the dairy category.

What is Parve you might ask?

Def­i­n­i­tion: Parve is a Hebrew term (pareve is the Yid­dish term) that describes food with­out any meat or dairy ingre­di­ents. Jew­ish dietary laws con­sid­ers pareve food to be neu­tral; Pareve food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes. Fish, eggs, fruits and veg­eta­bles are parve. Source

The good news is, you can find a lot of tasty ice cream and desserts that are parve! One of my favourites were the water­melon popsicles.

Eat­ing Parve Ice Cream in Tzfat

Eat­ing a water­melon pop­si­cle in the old city, Jerusalem

Luck­ily, after those beau­ti­ful 10 days of birthright fun, I was able to hang out in Israel for a few more days on my own. Dur­ing that time,  I vis­ited a few of the country’s veg­gie estab­lish­ments. One notable one was Vil­lage Green Veg­e­tar­ian Restau­rant in Jerusalem on Jaffa Road.

I came here with an old friend who I vol­un­teered with in Eilat in 2007 to grab some veg food and catch up on the past 5 years of our lives.

The food was great. They had a huge selec­tion of sal­ads, both hot and cold, which you could mix and match and pay for accord­ing to the weight of your plate.

They had a fab­u­lous baked tofu salad that was delight­ful as well as home­made sei­tan that was seri­ously tasty.

I really loaded up my plate with sal­ads at Vil­lage Green. Pic­tured here is brown rice with peanut gin­ger sauce, baked tofu, sei­tan salad, cucum­bers, roasted pota­toes, pasta, lentil salad, and more!

I was also excited to find out that there is a whole plethora of veg­gie restau­rants in Israel. Espe­cially in Tel Aviv. Unfor­tu­nately, the days I had to myself in Israel fell over Shab­bat and Shavu­out, so most places were closed. But I am def­i­nitely going to explore these restau­rants and vegan cul­ture when I return.

I had my eye on Bud­dha Burg­ers and Taam Hachaim in Tel Aviv. I actu­ally went to Bud­dha Burg­ers one day and they were closed because of Shavuot.

So, all in all, Israel is vegan friendly. You just have to know how to ask about your food. I look for­ward to try­ing out more of Israel’s vegan and veg­gie restau­rants when I return. Until then, I’m going to work on per­fect­ing my own home­made falafel. Wish me luck!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Oy Vegan!
Comments { 0 }

Chefs for Peace!

Last Wednes­day evening I joined a packed room in Uni­ver­sity of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Cen­tre for a night of cook­ing and con­ver­sa­tion. Cook­ing and demon­strat­ing for us were two top chefs from Israel– one Mus­lim and one Jew­ish. Ibrahim Abu Seir is the head pas­try chef at Jerusalem’s 5 star David Citadel Hotel and Joseph Elad is the owner of Menahe Yehuda Resu­tau­rant.

The room was filled with Mus­lims, Chris­tians and Jews at every table. The pur­pose of the evening was to bring all three faiths together in a pos­i­tive way– through food. While we helped the chefs pre­pare our din­ner, we were also encour­aged to dis­cuss whether or not we thought peace could be achieved in Israel. The dis­cus­sion was very inter­est­ing and for the most part quite pos­i­tive. When one stu­dent started to bring up cer­tain anti-Israeli sen­ti­ments she had wit­nessed on U of T cam­pus, founder and dis­cus­sion facil­i­ta­tor, Kevork Aleimian, was quick to get the con­ver­sa­tion back on track. Aleimian is Armen­ian and also from Israel.

Founded in 2001, Chefs for Peace is com­prised of chefs from all over the world…

Aleimian explained Chefs for Peace is a not-for-profit with a dream of peace. Founded in 2001, it is com­prised of chefs from all over the world from dif­fer­ent reli­gious back­grounds and its goal to is to encour­age peace­ful coex­is­tence. He explained that it’s easy to focus on who did what to who and dwell in the past, but the only way to bring about peace is by work­ing together to focus on it.

The meal we were served was deli­cious. An Israeli cucum­ber tomato salad, a beau­ti­fully spiced rice and veg­etable dish and a dessert of fresh figs in coconut milk with a berry coulis on top. All veg­e­tar­ian, all kosher, and all halal.

I had a really inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion about the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences between what makes some­thing kosher and what makes some­thing halal with a girl of Mus­lim faith at my table. I think that every­one who attended learned a lot about each other in a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment. If only there were more pro­grams like this, the world would be a more peace­ful place.

For more infor­ma­tion visit chefsforpeace.com.

Spe­cial shout out to Emily Berg, the Wol­fond Cen­tre Hil­lel team and all the other orga­ni­za­tions that brought Chefs for Peace to Toronto for a week of amaz­ing events!

Oy vegan!

Comments { 0 }

Hamantaschen for Purim!

As many of you may know, last Thurs­day was Purim. My madrachim group for Cana­dian Israel Expe­ri­ence threw an awe­some car­ni­val for kids at the Lipa Green Cen­tre in Toronto which was a blast. Check out pics from Purim Fun 2012 here!

Even though Purim has passed, I thought I would share my vegan recipe for Haman­taschen! These are super delicious.

For more infor­ma­tion on the story behind Purim and what peo­ple do at this time of year, click here.

Enjoy!

Vegan Haman­taschen

Ingre­di­ents:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tea­spoons bak­ing powder
  • 1/8 tea­spoon salt
  • 1/2 cup veg­etable short­en­ing (I use Earth Bal­ance vegan shortening)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Vegan egg replacer (equiv­a­lent of 1 large egg)
  • 3 table­spoon fresh orange juice
  • 2/3 cup fill­ing such as apri­cot or cherry jam.
Preper­a­tion:

Into a bowl sift together flour, bak­ing pow­der, and salt. In another bowl beat short­en­ing, sugar, and egg replacer until light and fluffy. Add juice and beat until incor­po­rated. Add flour mix­ture, stir­ring, until a smooth dough is formed. Gather dough into a ball and flat­ten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plas­tic wrap, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Pre­heat oven to 375° F.

On a lightly floured sur­face roll out half of dough (keep­ing other half wrapped and chilled) 1/4 inch thick. With a 3-inch cut­ter cut out as many rounds as pos­si­ble. Trans­fer rounds with a metal spat­ula to a large bak­ing sheet, arrang­ing about 1/2 inch apart. Reroll scraps and cut out more rounds. Put 1 tea­spoon fill­ing in cen­ter of each round and fold up edges to form tri­an­gu­lar cook­ies resem­bling a tri­cornered hat, pinch­ing cor­ners together and leav­ing fill­ing exposed.

Bake haman­taschen in mid­dle of oven 15–20 min­utes, or until pale golden. Cool haman­taschen on bak­ing sheet 5 min­utes and trans­fer to racks to cool com­pletely. Repeat with remain­ing dough. Keep Haman­taschen in an air­tight con­tainer at room tem­per­a­ture for up to 5 days.

(Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com)

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }