Vegan Eats (aka Food) is my weekly (sometimes more) forays into what us vegans eat. And we do eat. All sorts of stuff, really. This includes dessert, of which we are particularly fond. -Marji Beach, Education Manager
First, a photo of what you folks should be making now.
It’s strudel, which means whirlpool due to the fact that phyllo dough surrounds with its swirling madness some really tasty stuff. Like cherries.
I made this with my mother, so you should probably prepare this food in pairs or groups. I do not do cooking of this magnitude solo.
You should also know phyllo has a delicate nature that you must respect. By that, I mean don’t be manhandling this stuff. When you are brushing the phyllo with vegan margarine, don’t go at it like an angry painter person. Make sure that you take aslightlydamp towel and cover the remaining phyllo with it. Don’t make the towel too damp, otherwise the phyllo will become one with the towel. Not cool.
Here’s the recipe, yo:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs 1/2 cup ground almonds 1/2cup sugar 3 cups pitted fresh sour cherries or 2 15-oz. cans water-packed tart cherries, drained 1/4 tsp. almond extract, optional 6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed 6 Tbs. vegan margarine, melted
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. 2 Stir together breadcrumbs, almonds, and sugar in bowl. Combine 3/4 cup breadcrumb mixture and cherries in separate bowl. Add almond extract (if using}. 3 Unroll phyllo, and keep under damp towel to retain moisture. Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface, brush with margarine, and sprinkle with 2 Tbs. dry breadcrumb mixture. Top with second phyllo sheet. Repeat layering with remaining margarine, dry breadcrumb mixture, and phyllo sheets, leaving last phyllo sheet bare. 4 Brush 1-inch border of margarine around edges of phyllo stack. Spread cherry mixture in center of phyllo stack inside margarine borders, using hands to pack filling into smooth cylinder. Fold short edges of phyllo stack over filling, Carefully roll phyllo around Filling burrito-style into large log. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Brush strudel all over with melted margarine, and sprinkle top with remaining dry breadcrumb mixture. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until strudel is golden-brown, Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Nervous and sad, I watched Sebastian. He lay, unable to get up and walk, on shavings at UC Davis. His kidneys had failed him and were irreparably damaged. Unbeknownst to us, cancer weaved malignantly inside him.
True to his personality, despite the discomfort, Sebastian chewed his cud. Nothing could stop him from enjoying food.
A decision was made. The kind of heartbreaking choice we make for others in the hopes, unfair and desperate as they are, that we will be alleviating ceaseless suffering.
Three of us had made the 1.5 hour drive from Grass Valley to be with Sebastian in his final moments. We surrounded him with our bodies and love.
Sebastian exhaled softly, never to inhale again. He passed swiftly and peacefully. Just as quickly, everything that made him him was gone, including the heat of his body, the blood stilling and cooling in minutes.
Vegan Eats is my weekly installment of showing you vegans actually eat food. Haha. In a gross generalization, vegans love food more than a gastronomy expert (they exist). -Marji Beach, Education Manager
Okay, so I learned tostada just means toasted, so I’m probably committing some sort of cultural faux-pas by associating “tostada” with “taco shell shaped like a bowl”. Please do not hate me too much for this.
I buy bowl-shaped toasted things at my grocery store, but you can get flat ones too. Or make your own (and mail them to me).
My tostada is filled with the following goodness: pinto beans, romaine lettuce hearts chopped, chopped tomatoes, diced white onion, cubed avocado, Follow Your Heart moz cheeze cubed, drizzled with vegan ranch-style dressing I bought at the store as well. Also, jalapenos. Sometimes, guac.
You may make a variation on the theme and bam! perfectness.
Editors note: This is a blog entry written by our newest team member, Molly Jordan. She has a rich background in coordinating and running internship and volunteer programs at other organizations. She is our Intern and Outreach Coordinator.
A long time ago I started volunteering for a companion animal shelter in Houston, where I quickly became a full-time adoption and volunteer coordinator. One of the many duties I had in my new life was finding new volunteers to help with our small, grass-roots organization. Since I love being around people, recruiting volunteers came naturally…especially finding those who enjoy working with and for the animals. Fast forward to my current adventure running Animal Place’s internship program. I have the great pleasure of working with rescued farm animals, and recruiting interns who share my passion for taking care of these amazing creatures! When you see the word lucky in the dictionary, you may find a little photograph of me with bovines and interns… two of my favorite beings in this world.
For me, volunteering is about giving back to a community you care about. It’s about offering your hard work, commitment to a cause, skill, voice, and most of all, love. I believe in the power of volunteering to change the world, but also to heal your soul. I started volunteering because I felt a void in my life after being laid off from a position that I really enjoyed. Donating my time provided me the opportunity to become involved with something I was passionate about and gave my life meaning. If you had told me ten years ago when I first began volunteering that I would be here in my office at Animal Place, writing to you today about the loveliness of interns and volunteers, I would have laughed at you!! Seriously! This city girl had zero plans to live anywhere but the concrete jungle! But today, as I sit and reflect, I realize that one small gesture of giving back changed my life profoundly. And as I laugh through my tears at the simplicity of it, I assure you, all great things have come to my life because of volunteering.
A&L Poultry is a name I will never forget. I imagine it’s a name etched in the minds of those who helped rescue 4,460 hens from the 50,000 “egg-laying” hen operation in February of this year.
A&L Poultry abandoned their egg farm, leaving the hens to slowly starve. Already the life of a hen on an egg farm is so miserable. She lives in a cage. Her beak has been mutilated so she cannot peck her cagemates. She cannot escape. No one is held culpable for denying hens the basic right tospread her wings.
Which is why today is a good day. Today, we - along with two other sanctuaries - filed suit against A&L Poultry in Stanislaus County, California. We are demanding justice for the hens we took in and the ones who were not so lucky.
Animal Place took in 4,100 of the 4,460 hens. For the past 2.5 months, we have been caring for these bedraggled hens as they recover. Many have found permanent homes, leaving more than a 1,000 left. This rescue has been costly, as the hens arrived severely ill and malnourished.
Today’s lawsuit seeks to place responsibility on the guilty parties who caused the suffering of 50,000 helpless hens.
Vegan Eats (aka Food) = once a week efforts on my part to not embarrass myself with crappy stuff I cook. -Marji Beach, Education Manager
Guys, I love appetizers. They are often easy to make and I find them difficult to screw-up.
Take, guacamole. This stuff is so easy to make fresh, and I’ll put it on just about anything, because that is how much I love guac.
The ingredients I like to use are as follows: Yellow onion + avocado + tomato + lemon juice + cilantro + garlic + jalapenos + salt. That’s it, really. All this stuff gets chopped up and mushed about until it is the lumpy consistency that makes guac perfect. I adjust ingredients based on taste.
In this picture, Elsa is 17.5 years-old. She is the oldest cow in the herd, and she has only been with us since 2009.
For fifteen years, Elsa lived on a small dairy farm. The view at this farm is the kind seen on those inaccurate, though wildly popular, California “Happy” Cow commercials. Rolling hills, green grass, beautiful brown bovines dotting the pasture.
Elsa has the same name she had at the farm. All the cows had names. They were socialized and handled by humans, including a lot of children.
Because of the constant stream of children, it was too dangerous to place a potentially aggressive bull in with the cows. So the cows were artificially inseminated, a common practice on many dairy farms. Elsa was impregnated every year.
And despite the fact she had room to roam. Despite the affection shown to her by people. Despite all of the fresh grass, every time she gave birth, her baby was taken away. And when she stopped giving birth at age 15 she was no longer a “contributing member” of the herd and was slated for slaughter.
Fifteen years - that’s around 9 calves who were stolen from her and sent to auction and slaughter.
Elsa lives in the geriatric herd at the sanctuary, with Sadie and Howie. She has lived with us since 2009 and will turn 18 in November. Small breeds of bovines, like Elsa, can live into their 20s. She deserved that chance and we are honored to give it to her.
But we should not have to. Her milk was meant for her calves. We can do right by the cows and calves of this world by simply not consuming their milk or flesh. None of us need it to survive.
Virginia is one of the few rescued animals who arrived pregnant. After her wool production declined, Virginia was sent to a horrific place - a live-auction slaughterhouse. Buyers would pick out an animal to be butchered on site. Investigators found that animals were being killed without proper stunning, their throats cut while fully conscious.
In 2008 a Santa Cruz County animal control officer discovered a cow with a broken horn, blood spurting out of her head. He investigated further and discovered a barren lot housing hundreds of animals with only bread for food.
Around two dozen animals were confiscated, including six goats and two sheep who arrived to Animal Place.
Virginia was so emaciated, veterinarians never thought she would be pregnant. They estimated her age between 8-10. Imagine our surprise when one morning, caregivers found an extra sheep in the pasture nursing off of Virginia! We do not permit breeding here* so she must have arrived pregnant.
Lenny learned much from his mother. He learned to respect the other sheep and be afraid of humans. His mother never recovered from the lack of socialization and compassion from humans. Lenny learned exactly what was appropriate to eat and what wasn’t. He learned the best grazing spots and that, when he was afraid, he could always run to his protector and friend, Virginia.
Sheep farms may allow ewes and lambs to remain together, but it is a terrible time when lambs are stripped away at 6-mos-old to be shipped off for slaughter. There is nothing natural or compassionate about those final, heart-wrenching moments.
For the past four years, Virginia and Lenny grew old with each other. Last month, we discovered Virginia had died in her sleep. One of her dear friends, Samantha, stood by her body, keeping her company. Lenny was petrified, hiding in a corner.
The whole day, this big, gorgeous sheep mourned. He slept in the pasture, his soft white nose pointed toward the barn where his mother last lay. Ignoring the other sheep, he gazed intently at the big red building that had been his and his mother’s home for years.
The following day, the only human who has ever gained his trust came to visit. Even she sometimes has difficulty getting close to Lenny. That day, though, Lenny laid down beside her for a brushing. He shared his grief with her, letting her comfort him as Virginia would have - with gentle strokes and a deep, unwavering love.
Lenny has a long life ahead of him, and we have Virginia to extend our gratitude to for that simple gift. She kept a watchful gaze over him as went from gangly lamb to one of the most beautiful sheep I have ever met. In him, I see her touch, her lessons and her legacy. What a rare gift, indeed.
-Marji Beach, Education Manager
*Not because we believe the natural act of reproduction is offensive or wrong, only that we would be unable to fulfill our mission of saving as many lives as possible through rescue and sanctuary. With 10 billion land animals suffering in this world, it would not be in their best interest if sanctuaries permitted rescued animals to breed.
The dairy industry is based on an ugly truth - in order to produce milk, a cow must be impregnated, give birth,and her baby must be taken from her. There is no happy pasture with adorable calves frolicking amongst their watchful mothers.
Male calves have no commercial value to dairy farmers, as they do not produce milk nor do they grow quickly like breeds used for meat production.
At the sanctuary, six of the twelve bovines are The Orphans of the dairy industry - the unwanted male calves.
Linus is one of five calves an individual bought at auction for $5 per calf. He planned on raising the calves for backyard slaughter. A neighbor complained when she noticed the calves losing weight and living in a tiny, dirt lot. Santa Cruz County Animal Services confiscated all five calves - all went to Animal Place where Linus and his “brother” Douglas remained, and the remaining three went to another sanctuary.
The coat color of Linus has changed since he was rescued in July of 2011! I’ve loved watching the transformation.
Linus at the young age of 1-mos-old.
Linus at 6-mos-old, starting to darken a little:
And Linus last week, at 10-mos-old - we love the dark heart framing his face!
As Mother’s Day approaches I am filled with incredible gratitude for my own mom and a deep sorrow for millions of nonhuman mothers.
My first experience with maternal deprivation occurred as a college student. A cow on the school’s dairy farm was having difficulties birthing. I helped pull the calf out. It was a surreal moment for me. For the actual participants, it was ugly.
Dairy farms do not care that a cow’s milk is meant for a calf. We have an almost insatiable desire to consume products obtained from the breast milk of an entirely different species. Most dairy farms steal calves from their moms within 24 hours of birth.
At this farm, they remove calves immediately after birth. I watched with a growing sense of horror as veterinary students hoisted the male calf up and dragged him out of the paddock. The mother knew. She struggled to stand. Her voice followed, a bellow that vibrated through my bones. I watched as she sought, with avid desperation, to fill the space between her and her child, her calf.
I had not eaten a cow in ten years. At that moment I knew what I had been consuming for the past decade - this misery, this brutal separation of mother from her own flesh-and-blood. Did I need her calf’s milk to survive? More than that, could I continue putting my palate, my habits, before her suffering?
I could not. A nameless cow and calf -both of whom were slaughtered years ago - changed the course of my life. I will forever spend my life trying to make up for standing still.
For the next week, I want to introduce you to the orphans and mothers. To the lucky few who have birthed their own offspring and raised them with integrity. To the majority who have had zero control over their own bodies, who have never known what it means to mother or be mothered.
My hope is that human women - those who are mothers and those who choose not to be - see in these stories the struggle human women have been fighting against for centuries. That when we allow the oppression of others, we enable the abusers. That all of us can make better, kinder choices. We owe it to them to move.
Vegan Eats is my weekly homage to vegan stuff I deem fit for human and canine consumption (because my dogs are my poison testers).
True story: When I saw the VEGAN HARVEST label as I passed by the natural foods freezer section, I backpedaled right into the person traveling too close behind me. She was annoyed by this behavior, but I proudly proclaimed, “It says vegan!” This only works with other vegans who will gladly share in your joy.
I support American Flatbread’s vegan pizza because, according to their ingredients, they use “good mountain water”. I don’t want any of that crappy water stuff.
At the store I shop, the pizza sells for $8.00. That is pretty expensive, considering the pizza feeds one person (if you are me and cool). My boss told me she got it for $4.00 at another natural food store, which was just depressing for my wallet.
In any event, the pros: PIZZA! VEGAN! Cheese melts. You can add whatever you want to it. Cooks quickly (except when your oven takes a half-century to pre-heat).
The cons? EXPENSIVE! FEEDS ONLY ONE! A bit salty, but this is only a con if you are a weirdo who hates salt. I am totally normal and will eat salt straight out of a salt shaker.
If you can afford to do so, I say, in this case, support the non-vegan company venturing forth into the fine and amazing world of vegan products. Especially when they put vegan in green bold-faced font on their packaging.
A few disgruntled Californian chefs want to force the rest of us to endorse wholesale animal cruelty for a product few consume.
Foie gras. It sells for $45-55/lb. A tube is violently shoved down the throat of ducks (and geese) and 1-2 pounds of corn-fat mash is funneled into the duck. As they lack a natural gag reflex, the duck has no ability to regurgitate the excessive feed.
Like veal, the flesh of a crated-male dairy calf, most consumers avoid foie gras. Not only because it is extraordinarily expensive, but because of the inherent cruelty necessary to produce it.
In 2004, California’s state legislature enacted a law that gave foie gras producers more than 7 years to find a “nice” way to unnaturally engorge the liver of a confined duck. Otherwise, foie gras (from forced-fed ducks) would be banned from the California marketplace.
The only foie gras producer in California was unable to do so.
"We documented horrific conditions: ducks that could not get up, ducks that had difficulty standing, walking and breathing. They were all panting, which is a sign of extreme stress. They were covered in their own waste, blood and regurgitated food. There were dead ducks inside the pens and ducks that were on the verge of death. We saw trashcans filled with dead ducks. Our footage can be found at www.stopforcefeeding.com.”
To be clear, Animal Place opposes the raising of animals for their flesh, dairy products and eggs. This includes slaughtering ducks for engorged livers or their flesh.
Californians, please use our form to contact your state Senator and Representative, encouraging them to oppose all efforts to overturn this progressive piece of animal legislation.
Editor’s note: Bonus, with new roasted potatoes (because it wouldn’t really fit nicely in the title)!
Rhubarb is in season in Northern California! I know what you’re thinking…strawberry-rhubarb cobbler! We’re growing strawbs at the Animal Place vegan micro-farm, but, alas, they won’t be ready for harvest until summertime. Till then, why not enjoy that rhubarb tang in a savory split-pea soup? Perfect for a cool spring day.
Soup Ingredients: 2 cups green split peas 4 cups (or 6 cups) vegetable stock ¾ cups amaranth grains 2 bay leaves 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 stalks rhubarb, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped (or 1 stalk of celery, chopped) ½ teaspoon red bell pepper powder or paprika ½ lemon, juiced salt and pepper to taste additional water to desired thickness
Soup base: in a pressure cooker:
Add split peas, 4 cups vegetable stock, amaranth and bay leaves to cooker. After pressure rises, lower heat to maintain high pressure for an additional 12 minutes. I find that by slightly over-cooking the peas, it eliminates the need to blend the soup. Remove from heat and remove pressure immediately with cold water. Check for desired consistency, remove bay leaves and stir.
Soup base: without a pressure cooker: Add split peas, 6 cups vegetable stock, amaranth and bay leaves to pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over very low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until peas are soft and disintegrate when stirred. Remove bay leaves.
Veggies: cooked separately to maintain some texture…and vitamins! While soup is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. When oil is hot, add onion and continuously stir until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, broccoli, rhubarb and roasted red pepper powder. Stir occasionally, cooking another 10-15 minutes or to desired tenderness.
Roasted Potatoes: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 ½ lbs red new potatoes, quartered ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange cut side down on a cookie sheet. Roast until crispy, about 20 minutes. Serve on top of soup as a garnish.
Put it all together: Add cooked veggies to pot of soup, stirring in lemon juice. Add additional water to desired consistency, along with salt and pepper to taste. Top with roasted potatoes and enjoy!
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes with a pressure cooker, 2 hours with a regular pot Servings: 4
Stephanie Dohar was IT Director for a San Francisco nonprofit before moving to Grass Valley in March to take up veganic farming. She’s volunteered the rest of this year to expanding the 2.8-acre garden at the sanctuary into a model micro-farm for growing food kindly.