Softly served enchilada bites

What ever happened to April? May is around the corner but she’s still here, but I’m still playing catch-up with the first half of the month. Worcester Veg Fest was great and it was great to contribute another seitan taco demonstration to their event that hauled in over 2,500 veggie hungry peeps.

My favorite vegan treat that day was a lunchtime brownie sundae (a limited edition treat, as the brownies were going fast) at Karen Krinksy’s vegan soft serve truck. Lucky you Rhode Island and Massachusetts, looks like you’re going to have one cool vegan summer.

And did you get a chance to watch this totally rockin’ cooking video with Allie and I over at Economy Bites TV? If you’ve been considering the potato chickpea enchiladas in tomatillo sauce from Viva Vegan! but haven’t made the plunge, well here we are holding your hand in the kitchen to make a hearty, tummy-pleasing vegan meal that will fill up your dinner plate tonight and lunch bucket tomorrow.

One adjustment I made for the show is substituting cashews for pine nuts in the crema topping. Pine nuts have never been the most economically-priced item on the old nut shelf, but I suspect lately their prices have continued climbing, so I considered a substitute. Enter the enigmatic raw cashew, which by now has gained top billing in vegan cookery for it’s ability to mimic that essential dairy creaminess post-plumping after a long soak in warm water. It was so good I found myself liking this new cashew-based cream better than the pine nut crema, so going forward I’d recommend saving those pine nuts to leave whole for cookies or sprinkled atop pizza.

It’s been far too long since I’ve post a recipe, so next up will be something savory since I’m currently awash in a sea of pie.

“the meat convention doesn’t have any lines”

A kimchi tofu taco, one of my many taco obsessions & maybe future demo food!

Epic lines, thousands of attendees wrapped around city blocks, 3 hour wait. Leaning over velvet ropes, beckoning to towering suit-clad bouncers for a chance of bypassing the masses to get in. Just another must-be-seen event in NYC? In this instance it was the very first New York City Vegetarian Food Festival, but in typical New Yorker fashion few were willing to give up their spot for a chance to see veggie city history in the making.

I’ve attended a lot of vegetarian food fairs and that’s brought me to the far reaches and closer corners of Paris, Toronto, rural Pennsylvania, Boston and this year Worcester, then Madison and who knows where next, and in  places visited I’ve been asked why not NYC? Well, I’ve dabbled in a little bit event organizing and suspect much of it had to do with typically New York problems of big costs, little space and sooo many people. But no longer! Our city’s festival was a smashing success if I ever saw one.

However I didn’t get much of a chance to get a sense of the bustling exhibition floor; I started the day with a seitan taco cooking demo, then after my performance as Terry the talking-dancing-cooking wonder I cleared away my mess (with a helping hand from a thoughtful attendee), ran downstairs to introduce a string of speakers including Dr. Neil Barnard and Victoria Moran, and afterwards wrapped up the day with by moderating a panel about transitioning to a healthy vegan diet with vegan chefs Amie Valpone, Yoli Ouiya, and Ayinde Howell. If there was a common thread to all of these packed events it’s that New Yorkers are hungry for vegan information, be it how to make quinoa or what to do when you love tempeh and she or he loves a T-bone steak.

Despite all the action going on inside the venue, one of my favorite moments of the day was when I stole outside for a few minutes to meet my husband. Standing across the street from the lines, watching crowds swarm alongside the Cinnamon Snail vegan snack truck (I still lament not hitting up my favorite New Jersey vegan food “destination”), a pair of bystanders asked us what was the big to-do with the endless line. We chimed in, “it’s a vegetarian food festival”, to which they gaped “really, people would get in line for that?”. They soon followed with “well I bet the meat convention doesn’t have any lines”. So true, you better believe that imaginary meat convention would be line-less; it ain’t got nothin’ on our city’s growing appetite for a veggie way of life .

I’d say that was a perfect way to kick off my veggie convention season; next week I’ll be heading up north to Massachusetts to deliver a double whammy of Terry at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Saturday April 16th at 3pm, then Sunday I’ll be presenting at The Worcester VegFest at Worcester State University. I don’t know what time yet, but it’ll be an encore presentation of my famous taco demo. And last but never the least, I’m officially in for the Mad City Vegan Fest in Madison, WI in June! Tacos again? Perhaps! Who knows, if you catch me at all of these places then perhaps someday you can tell your children’s children about seeing Terry sling the seeds of seitan tacos to a vegan taco hungry land.

Spring has sprung: Vegan empanada class, New York Vegetarian Festival


Last night’s northeast snow and hail be damned, it’s finally spring and I know you’re feeling it too! Time to get out of the house, or maybe not head home after work right away and do something. And that something could be making vegan empandas with me next Thursday March 31st at the Brooklyn Kitchen!

Spaces are still available, and if you mention “Terry’s Discount” in the notes section of online registration you’ll get a $10 store credit good for good towards any of the fantastic cooking wares, books, aprons, canning and brewing items and other goodies that the fabulous Brooklyn Kitchen has to offer.

Also, for some really exciting news; did you know that New York is going to have it’s very own premier, kick-ass, large-scale vegetarian food festival next month? Join me and loads veggie-hungry New Yorkers on Sunday, April 3rd for first ever NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. A boatload of veggie food vendors; two stages of speakers, events, cooking demonstrations (including one from yours truly); and a few other surprises are waiting for you April 3rd at the perfect price of FREE for general admission.

And now a question: what should I make for my demonstration? Sarah from Rescue Chocolate has requested something “meaty” and I’m suspecting seitan tacos will fit the fast and furious bill just fine. But what other sort of edible, veganlicious treat do you think would celebrate this great vegan-friendly city?

Me, you, tamales and the Boston Vegetarian Festival this Saturday

Tamale making elves...I mean students, at work

Tamales tamales tamalesthe cry of the street tamale vendor sometime heard in Queens reminds me that it’s time to get cracking making tamales. In the spirit of the fall tamale making season (tamales are year round eating, but I love the smell of steaming masa in cool weather) I’m going to be presenting a vegan tamale-making demonstration this Saturday morning 10:45 at the 2010 Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. These tamales will be stuffed with of chipotle-seasoned beans and roasted sweet potatoes, a damned fine combination for fall-inspired eating.

If you can’t make it to Boston I still hope you’ll have tamales on the brain as much as I do right now. Here’s a snippet of how I put together a tamale assembly line, essential for mastering batch after batch for your next tamale party explosion.

For assembly I like to set up my workspace as follows:

1)  Soak the dried corn husks. Make sure to soak an additional 4 for tearing into strips and 6 or more for lining steamer basket

2)    Prepare filling and let cool enough to handle.

3)    Set up the tamale assembly space such as a large clean cutting board and large plates for stacking finished tamales. Set up steaming basket and fill steaming pot with 3 to 4 inches of water. Line basket with soaked corn husks. Have a small bowl of cool water handy for moistening hands, useful for patting sticky tamale dough.

5)    Make the tamale dough. I like to make it right before I’m ready to start filling and use it while still warm.

6)    Assemble the tamales by spreading the dough onto soaked husks, filling, wrapping and tying. About half way through making the batch of tamales I like to put a lid on the steaming pot, turn the heat on high and try to time getting the water boiling by the time I finish the last tamale.

7)    Place tamales into steamer basket. The easiest way to do this is by leaning tamales against the sides of the basket, overlapping tamales slightly in a spiraling pattern. If you have too much space in the center (enough that tamales tend to fall over), fill the space with a crumpled ball of foil. Don’t pack tamales too snug; leave a little room to allow tamales to expand while cooking. Place basket into preheated pot, cover and steam tamales for at least 50 minutes, up to 1 hour.

8)    Test cooked tamales by using tongs to removing a single tamale, let cool for a minute and peel back the wrapper from one end. Tamales are done when the husk wrapper pulls away easily from the tamale. Cooked masa feels solid and has a somewhat firm yet tender texture. Maybe you could say it’s like firm, sliced polenta, but way better. Sometimes cooked tamales may still be a little sticky. Slightly sticky tamales sometimes just need a little more cooling, about 20 minutes, to firm up and be no longer tacky.