Monday, September 5, 2016

Potstickers, for science.

Hi everyone.

Over the past few weeks, I've pondered the age old question of, "can one eat 'too many' potstickers"? It's a blight on my conscience, and as I try to figure out the true meaning of this, for science, I took on the cause to investigate.

Thus far in my studies, I have found that, no, one can not eat 'too many' potstickers. The real conundrum lies in how the delicious dumplings are prepared. And to this I have crafted an answer.

I'm not a potsticker connoisseur, and mostly I can't eat the ones in restrauants, as they overwhelmingly have animal ingredients, but these Trader Joe's gyoza are delicious. WAY better ( and I can't stress the 'way' enough) than the ones at Whole Foods. Cheaper too, as this bag is about $3.79 (sometimes cheaper at other Trader Joe's).

I do the fry/water fry method which makes them crispy on the outside but warm on the inside. You can deep fry them, or microwave them as well, but I like the taste of the fry/water fry method.

This is what you need. I HIGHLY recommend coconut oil for the frying part. It makes them delicious. I mean the word delicious. Not over using it in this case. Delicious.

I use an iron skillet but I'm sure using anything you have on hand will suffice. I lay them in flat side down on a really low heat until I hear them sizzle. A couple minutes and when they are brown (I stepped away in these photos), I turn them over and then turn up the heat to a good med.

After the second browning, I use the veggie stock. Now, I've used water and it works fine, I just wanted to use up the veggie stock I already had open, so don't go out and buy it just for this unless you are hard core about your potstickers, and if that's the case, much respect to you.

Pour in enough to not even cover the bottom of the pan. Too much liquid and the potstickers will be doughy. Too little and they will still be frozen inside. The liquid should sizzle upon pour. Cover with a lid and let it steam a while, then flip them. At this point you may need to add more water/broth. 

The potstickers would look all glazed and be soft. I turn down the heat at this point and let them warm good and through. Then I transfer them to my dish, add dumpling sauce, and consume. 

That's it. I've damn near perfected it at this point, for science and all. Why not? Everyone needs a good amount of potstickers in their life.

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vegan Beer Fest: Eat Drink Vegan 2016 review

Me getting my supplies ready for the event.

Hi all. Sorry it took me so long to get this review up. Things have been crazy on my end and saying that seems to be my new normal. In any account, I had a blast at the Vegan Beer Fest this past month.

First things first, the event changed it's mane to Eat Drink Vegan. It seemed to be a sudden change, as many people were surprised by it, especially when their glasses had no commemorative date on them. Banners at the even were all Eat Drink Vegan, and only special purchasable $20 glasses had the old logo on it. I was tempted but didn't get one.

The event was held again at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Ca., but the adjacent gold course and it was a good choice.

I again had a VIP pass, which is the only way to go at these events. We got to go in an extra 2 hours early! So by the time the line really started, I was already buzzed.

My friend Liz grabbed a table really close to the stage. There was tons of room to lay blankets out beneath large trees and plenty of standing tables and just space in general. It was a very spacious set up this year.

I was really impressed with the charging station. There was a water station as well.

My goal this year wasn't so much the food, but I did grab a few tastes. This was the darling of the event, The Herbivorous Butcher, and I gotta say, it was really underwhelming. 

There was another 'chicken' sandwich that as AMAZING last year called The Thrillest by Garden Grill that was all the rage. This year, not so many people but it's way better.

In any account, after I ate (and what I didn't eat I packed in tupperware) I went looking for beers.

I took a photo of most of the 24+ beers I samples from sours (in the VIP section) to reds, to fruit beers, to ginger beer, to stouts to browns and everything in-between.

Some members of my Lady's beer drinking group.

I had a really good time! Lost of beer and food and meeting new people and just a lot of camaraderie among many fellow vegans.

Can't beat that. If you haven't been, this is really the best vegan event in the LA area, and there are many. I've gone to 3 of the 7 and this event just keeps getting better and better!

Nothing really bad to say, just more beer, more time and more more!
Okay lovely people I'll talk with you all soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Product Review: V-dog jumbo veggie chew

I love my dog. 

Everyone knows that. But, he isn't vegan. He eats more non animal products than I know your average dog eats, but he does eat salmon based foods about 90% of the time. I mix his foods with beans and chickpeas and veggies, and no beef or chicken. So I guess you could say my dog is pescetarian.

He is also a power chewer, and in the past I've tried everything I could to satiate his chewing. The Himalayan dog chew (milk based), deer antler (salvaged alter), kongs, bully sticks which were like crackers to him various puzzles and the like. None of them worked and a lot of them were insanely messy. It can be a nightmare when you have a power chewer.

The only thing that keeps him going is pressed rawhide which is the inner skin of cow. I don't like that this seems to be his only avenue,, and even though it is, I continue to look for alternatives.

When V-dog announced their vegan dog chew, I was over the moon. I waited a few months until I could find it readily available, and I ordered one from the UK.

I got the largest one they sold and total it was about $10 US, that's the price of a moderately priced rawhide bone, so that was good to me.

It smelled great and seemed dense. Its made of mint and rice and when I realized that I thought, great, this is gonna last all of 2 minutes.

I gave it to Brian, my 100 pound bullmastiff, and at first he didn't know what to make of it. Then he LOVED it, like carried it around the yard in delight loved it.

That thrilled me! Next was his test, how ling would it last. Let's say it had a good 10 minute run. When it got soft, it was over. The rice casing just softened too much and he inhaled it.

Bone coma. 

Another failure, partly. He did love the flavor, it's ethical, it just didn't last long, and I think that's the downfall for power chewers, especially the small demo of vegan alternatives for them.

In the end, I'd get 20 if they lasted even a couple hours, but at $10 each, to last 10 minutes is just too much. If you have a moderate chewer dog, those are fantastic and I believe they could last quite a while.

Perhaps I'll get more for an occasional treat for him, but this dog needs to chew and I reluctantly have to go back to the pressed rawhide.

But I will stay on the lookout for more vegan dog products.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Vegan Street Fair: Review

Hi everyone. 
Today I'm going to talk about this past Sunday's Vegan Street Fair that was hosted in North Hollywood (Burbank).

This was the second year for this street festival that brought together many vegan street vendors and tons of delicious vegan eateries and merch from all over. The first year was met with much, and frankly justified, criticism, with its ticket system, tiny space, extreme over crowding, and just lack of overall planning for the crowds, if you were looking at it from a customer's point of view. This past Sunday was try #2, and for the most part, it was a stellar improvement.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream review conclusion.

Hi everyone!
I'm back with my final thoughts on the remaining flavors of Ben & Jerry's new Frozen Dessert  flavors.

In my previous post, I did a review of their chocolate fudge flavor. This review will be a run down of their other three flavors.

Let's start with the flavor that I liked the most.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Food Review: Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge vegan 'Frozen Dessert"

Not ice cream, but "frozen dessert" because you can't call it ice cream without milk. It's like the whole thing Hampton Creek went through with Just Mayo. But I digress.

I have never really had Ben and Jerry's ever. Even before I gave up dairy, I really was never a fan of too much stuff in my ice cream. I was a purist, and like my vanilla clean and sweet and my chocolate rich and heavy.

This was years ago, and I've opened myself up to the many types of yummies out there in all flavors from folded ice cream where you add your own goodies and its mashed in for you right there, to  whatever else adds not only flavor, but also some sweetness.

When I was at Union Station in Los Angeles, commuting for work, I was pleased to find out that they has all four flavors in stock!

I went on and picked up all four, though I really only wanted three, but I figured I'd get all four and write reviews on them anyway.

This review is only for The Chocolate Fudge Brownie, as I just cant eat that much ice cream, er frozen dessert in one sitting, so Ill space them out as time goes on.

The four new vegan flavors are Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Coffee Caramel Fudge, Chunky Monkey (kudos for them for making a vegan version of one of their most popular non vegan flavors) and P.B. & Cookies.

The total for all 4 pints (473 ml or 14.77 oz so not really a pint, it's an ounce and a quarter short) were $28. So that's $7 for a pint-ish of frozen dessert. That's expensive. You are supposed to get 4 servings per pint...yeah, sure.

I opened the fudge brownie and it was pretty smooth. I let it sit for about 10 minutes until it was scoopable.

After some time, I found that when it was soft, it scooped nicely, like we are used to seeing in those photo ads. So, sexy. I had a spoon, and though look is nice, taste was key.

I should take the time to say, I really haven't found much chocolate ice cream that I've been impressed with. I honestly don't think chocolate lends itself well to ice cream/frozen desserts unless it's got additional chocolate melted over it, or fudge chocolate melted in it.  Frozen tends to make the chocolate taste grainy.

The base of this is almond milk, and you taste it. First. It's a different taste than say soy or coconut, which are just creamier. First you taste almond, for a moment, then the fat immediately after, then you taste at the finish the chocolate. I felt the whole ice cream was missing a middle note so it felt hollow. I nice vanilla would have been good to carry the middle and the end, but as it is now its kind of bland.

The texture of the ice cream itself is grainy. I think its both the use of almond milk and the chocolate. There is not much "creaminess" to it. That was disappointing. The brownie was these little generic chunks added in. They didn't add too much to the experience.

Some good parts are it's not overpoweringly sweet, which I appreciate. The fat makes the ice cream really rich, so the pint can last. I DO taste chocolate, but, as always, I wish I tasted more.

Eating this by itself will probably disappoint. Eating it ala mode on a warm chocolate fudge brownie would be enjoyable.

Ratings Good 10 to bad 1:
  • Criteria: 
  • Taste, the flavor of the snack.
  • Health, how bad is it for you.
  • Price, paying for its value.
  • Ingredients, is it made of good or bad stuff.
  • Expectation, my overall take on this snack. Was it worth buying it?

  • Taste: 4
  • Health: 2
  • Price: 2
  • Ingredients: 5
  • Expectation: 3

This flavor I wouldn't buy again. I really think they need to rework this formula. Hey, never said my reviews were gonna be nice.

I'll have reviews on the other flavors so (may do them all together) so check back. And if you like, I'm on Facebook where I post articles and other goodies, so follow.

Alright. Eat fun, eat affordable, eat well. Stay vegan.