Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: The Traveling Chamelion

My fabulous IRL friend, Lena, moved to Armenia and started a food blog! Welcome to the fold! :)

Her style is refreshing and she offers advice with simplicity and ease. She focuses on the important parts of a recipe but does so with humour. I love that she lets you know when you can use a short cut and/or skip a step. She is trained in nutrition and offers nutritional insight in a fun and interesting way. 

I'll be using her recipe for pretentious hmoz the next time my life requires it! 

Check out her blog: The Traveling Chamelion 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Round Up: Vegan Month of Food

This year's Vegan MoFo was switched from it's regular October to September this year. I enjoyed my theme this year, (You can check out all my September posts here: Kombucha) but I didn't really experience the community of MoFo that I've loved in years past. The main site seemed to be focused exclusively on the inner circle of Vegan MoFo elite. The lack of blogroll really affected people's ability to consistently visit blogs, therefore interfering with the formation of new blogger relationships. 

I will continue to participate in Vegan MoFo as I like the challenge of daily blogging as well as the extra motivation to create content for the blog. That said, here are some of my favourite posts from this year's Vegan MoFo particpants!

1. Kimchi. Kimchi has been on my culinary to-do list for years. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to make it happen in 2014. 
2. Sweet Tea Vodka. I obsessively collect recipes and concepts for infused vodkas and gins. I think the concept is delightfully DIY! 
3. A mini Nasturtium Zine. I tried to grow nasturtiums this year but my summer bike trip killed them off in the summer heat. I wanted to pickle the seed pods as they taste like capers (apparently). This mini zine is all about eating nasturtiums!
4. Instant Mashed Potato Gnocchi. Gnocchi is one of those things that I seem simply unable to cook. I've tried multiple times with multiple recipes. I plan on giving this recipe a go...  
5. Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies. I've been curious about the gluten free lifestyle for a while and have been doing some baking in this area. Mostly as a way to challenge myself and these cookies seem like a chocolatey gluten-free goodness.    

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Vegan Food Magazine

Move over Lucky Peach! There is a new Vegan Food Magazine in town! The new magazine is called... Vegan Food Magazine. It can't get any more obvious than that! The first issue is out now is 90 pages of digital glossy food porn. 

As a new publication I forgive their shallow, boring and pedantic interviews in the hopes that because interviewing is a delicate skill their writers will get better at this particular part of the magazine. A one page Q&A is followed by some 15 pages of recipes making the magazine extremely recipe heavy. This would be a welcome break except when you consider that most of the recipes are standard vegan fare (such as tacos and soup).

The magazine also covers several animal rights issues. Am I the lone veggie in the world that is tired of animal rights issues being covered in vegan publications, especially when most reporting does so in a trite manner? Animal rights are an important concern but there are other issues that require us to abstain from meat such. I, for one, am an environmental vegan. I'm tired of being bombarded with animal rights issues in publications that purport to be about food.

I did enjoy the travel section on being vegan in Paris.    

Overall, the food photos are beautiful and some of the recipes seem interesting. I will give Issue Two a glance or two as there are distinct possibilities with this magazine. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Bubble Tea with Strawesome Straw

I've had a reusable metal drinking straw for just over a year now. I love it and use it on a daily basis but I've had my eye on some fancy glass straws from Strawesome. I finally ordered a Bubble Tea straw as well as a short cocktail straw. Unfortunately I am disappointed with the product but most of all the customer service. 

The product came in a box that was much to large packed with Styrofoam packing peanuts. Styrofoam is not biodegradable and so is a poor choice for a company selling reusable straws! I emailed, tweeted, and facebook posted about my disappointment with this choice. They replied with this post that states that they get the packing peanuts from local companies, diverting them from landfills. This is a good choice but I believe that they could use less packaging when shipping the straws. In addition, their responses were rude and included phrases such as "Before you pass judgment please read the follow post where I've addressed this issue" and "I wrote this last fall about our packaging, I think you will relate to it!" and "We received your email, your tweet and this post." These responses did not leave me with postive feelings regarding this company.
  I was most excited about the Bubble Tea straw but unfortantly the boba get stuck in the straw (something I have never experienced with a plastic straw). Therefore, the product isn't ideal, the packing materials less than ideal, and the customer service downright negative. The interior diameter of the straw is 10mm while Glass Dharma's is 11mm. That one millimeter would make a huge difference! Honestly, I would return the Strawesome straw but I would have to pay shipping so it isn't worth it. I'll use it as a smoothie straw.

Glass Dharma's Bubble Tea straw is on my Christmas wish list for this year!            

Friday, November 8, 2013

Biking and Food

With the colder weather setting in, I've been dreaming about hot summer days and breezy summer nights biking through the Canadian Prairies this past summer. We took our beloved Via train from Toronto to Saskatoon packed up our loaded touring bikes and headed out on flat prairie roads. Like years past there were some setbacks including broken bike brakes, and an illness that required not one but two rescue calls to friends. Great novels were read. Good food consumed by flickering camp fire light. Roadside ducks identified during snack breaks. Memories were made. 

An important part of bike touring is, of course, the meals. 

(My new touring bike - still without a name on a weight test ride)

My luxury item this year was a cast iron waffle maker. At 904 grams this luxury item is definitely a touch on the heavy side for bike touring but the removable handles made it easy to pack. I used a just-add-water purchased muffin mix as waffle batter. It was widely available to purchase on the road as they are sold in practically every gas station in the country! The next time I take this item on the road I will be using a home made waffle recipe. It was a fun luxury item as hot waffles on lazy mornings made for an extremely satisfying breakfast. These camp fire waffles were extremely satisfactory desserts as well. 

While far from your typical 'drunk campers' we do enjoy a night liqueur or nip of whiskey after a long ride. This year we stopped at LB Distillers for a tour and a bottle of liqueur for the road. They were extremely friendly and make some decent products. I recommend checking them out if you ever find yourself in Saskatoon with a few hours and brain cells to kill! 

Interested in food accessible by bike? Check these links out! 

1. Check out these 10 reasons for combining food and bikes. That post is an excerpt from The Culinary Cyclist which I reviewed here

2. The Hungry Cyclist seems to have all things food and biking covered. 

(A little Saskatchewan foreshadowing before leaving Toronto) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Get Jiro!

The violence in this comic is immediate and unsuspected as chef warlords fight over the restaurant market of the future. The universal importance of food is so extreme that a random gang beating ceases when the victim gets a reservation at an exclusive restaurant and when war breaks out the cops simply discuss their desire for a good steak. 

Both Bob (representing corporate greed) and Rose (representing moral greed) want Jiro to work for them. Jiro accepts both offers with the intention of starting a war. The result of the war Jiro manages to start is that the restaurant scene returns to one of liberty, with individuals being free to open their own restaurants. It's not utopia though, as customers at Jiro's sushi restaurant still ask for California rolls.

I enjoyed this comic. It was the right balance of interesting food jokes/references, food violence, and actual statements on the nature of the food industry. It would be usual for the protagonist to be the vegan moral crusader but by making Rose greedy, exploitative, and economically motivated the comic manages to discuss real issues within the food industry.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Sack Lunch

This series of mini-comics manages to explore some of the most tragic themes of humanity through the medium of lunch. The foolishness of romantic love, the honesty and bravery of brotherly love, and the loneliness of peer rejection are explored in comedic, unexpected, and insightful ways.

These three comics, written by pranas t. naujokaitis, can be purchased here arrive in a thematically correct brown paper bag complete with a love note from mom!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Eating the Web: Favorite Fall Drinks

1. I missed this great Toronto event that paired beer with bugs (that reminds me of a high school science fair project of mine where I made Cricket Chocolate Chip Cookies). 
2. Roasted Squash Cocktail. Seems perfect for fall and a perfect way to use up some of the abundance of fall squashes. 
3. Autumn from Alphabet Soup Podcast has been posting some amazing fall drinks on Series Eats. Check out her Pumpkin Cocktails. Want something more adventurous - how about some Beet Cocktails
4. Glogg has been on my holiday to-do list for many years. Last year I managed to make a mulled beer using the same basic technique. 
5. I've been enjoying chia seed kombucha lately. Learn how to brew your own kombucha with my online course. Click here for free access