Monday, September 22, 2008

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Twinkies and What's In My Fridge

Autumn is among us, boys and girls. That delightful time of year when the leaves morph from laundry-fresh green to deep warm hues, and the crisp breeze in the air leaves your little cheeks redder than the pinches from your old Jewish Auntie. Or if you live in L.A. like I do, it's really just the time of year people get grumpy again, and you can buy mad cheap giant bags of holiday-themed candy at Vons. But I digress...
Growing up in Ohio, I was spoiled rotten with annual trips to White House Fruit Farms. I kick myself all the time over how much I took this place for granted. It's a gigantic fruit farm situated in the rural area just outside of Youngstown, and it's purely magical. Fresh picked apples and cider, pumpkin picking, hayrides and blueberry donuts that will make your teeth ache with their sugary goodness. If anyone knows of a place like White House within 4 hours of L.A., please let me know. Until then, the Vegan Pumpkin Spice Twinkies will just have to satisfy my nostalgic longing for the "Taste of Fall". And yes, Vegan Spotters. I'll be starting to sell my themed Twinkies at the restaurant soon :)

What's In My Fridge...

I've been meaning to share these with you for a while. I've been coming across more and more amazing vegan products lately, and the world should be in the know!

First up, Soy Bleu is AMAZING. We used to carry it at Jax, but up until two weeks ago, I'd never seen it in stores. Low and behold, when the new Venice Whole Foods opened a few weeks ago, there it was...gleaming in the fake cheese section like a beacon of faux magic. I bought one package, fully knowing I should have bought two. When I went back a few days later, they were out :( Lucky for me, one of the employees saw me staring sadly at the empty space on the shelf where it should be, and reserved a few packages for me from the next shipment. Thanks Whole Foods Lady!

Okay, the lighting in this photo is heinous, but I think the product speaks for itself. Vegan Snickerdoodle Ice Cream. Yes, that's right. Snickerdoodle. Now run, don't walk, to the nearest health food store and eat your PMS cares away. You heard me...skidaddle!

Delicious Fantastic Amazing. As Emiril would say, this beverage really helps my AM coffee "kick it up a notch", as well as my Chai Tea Lattes. It reminds me of a less concentrated, less sweet version of Coffee Mate Hazelnut Creamer. I believe there are other flavors of the Rice Dream Supreme line, but once I saw the Hazelnut, I had eyes for no other.

Thanks for reading ;) There will be a new recipe post either today or tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vegan Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

While I was perusing the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer's Market last week, I spotted a sign that read "Green Papayas for Sale". I rubbed my eyes really hard, trying to make sure the previous evening's libations weren't still effecting my vision. Nope! The sign was still there, clear as day. I was in a state of shock. I walked over, picked up one of the emerald gems and smiled wider than a kid let loose in a chocolate swimming pool.
You see, I have this obsession with Green Papaya Salad...known to it's native country of Thailand as Som Tum. It's flavor graces every one of the taste buds. It's savory, sweet, spicy and served chilled. The perfect dish on a summer evening. Green Papaya Salad is simply fantastic. God bless your little soul should you dine at a Thai restaurant with me and try to take a bite. Having a chopstick impale your hand is not a pleasant experience ;)
Anyway, the first time I tried to make it on my own, I wasn't as familiar with the ethnic markets in Los Angeles as I am today. I searched high and low, east side and west side, until I was finally able to locate one in the Valley. DEEP in the valley. Those of you that know Los Angeles probably understand why I wasn't itching to make it again. Clearly, my karma bank is in the positive right now and the universe decided to throw me some chips.
The authentic version calls for actual Fish Sauce, but if you can't find Vegetarian Fish Sauce, you can use soy sauce instead.