Category Archives: Info

What’s up with Spoonsense

As you may have noticed, Spoonsense has been lying low. Our kitchen renovation has been taking longer than anticipated. Only two hot plates in the living room for cooking and water only from the bathroom, there is plenty of reason to avoid cooking. With the slim veg’n choices of local Westchester restaurants, I cannot wait to get back to cooking.

Meanwhile I am reading another book on low inflammatory food. ‘Stop Pain’ by Vijay Vad, MD. Recommendations for inflammation lowering foods and supplements are listed here: List on recommended foods…

Sugar making means Spring!

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Spring is around the corner when sugar making starts. Maple syrup has gained importance as vegan sugar alternative. In early March, when snow is still on the ground, the sweet tree sap starts to flow, pushing the nourishing winter starch up before the tree chemistry changes, a perfect time for tapping and sugar making. Ups and downs around the freezing point determine the length of the sugaring season. NY State has a relatively short season to tap, Continue reading

Is my food safe from arsenic?

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Consumer Reports (CR) wants FDA to limit arsenic in food. Especially rice, apple products and beer have been tested for contamination in the last two years. Inorganic arsenic, the predominant form of arsenic in food, is ranked as Group 1 carcinogen. While there is no FDA standard for arsenic levels in our food, there are regulations on arsenic in water, max 10ppb per liter (NJ standard 5ppb). High levels of arsenic in public water are known to be linked to genetic damage, bladder, lung, and skin cancer in humans, among other suspected diseases, as seen in Chile and Argentina. Continue reading

Veg’n in Copenhagen – Cafe Kalaset, Vendersgade

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Another episode of the unprepared vegan traveler… After we did not have much luck with dinner, we changed our strategy and followed where some young and smart looking Danish people got their grubs.
Kalaset is something like an organic internet café in a basement, busy with “hipster” workers, and hipster atmosphere, old radios and magnétophones 
line the walls; a good menu, including coffee and beer and good food is available.
The place is so crowded at least around lunch time, that you actually cannot order without proving a seat at one of the quickly occupied tables. Get in line to order and have a partner securing a table.
Food is clean and delicious, with veg’n choices and significant Nordic influence. For Danish restaurants, I heard this place is nicely priced. For us, all Scandinavian food appears rather expensive, but I believe that Danish food is of better quality then the common fare in the US… 

Veg’n in Hamburg – Restaurant Leaf, Ottensen

LeafIMG_0790Abroad, vegans need a plan where to eat. And often we are not prepared. A family reservation in a vegan restaurant in Hamburg Germany, therefore was close to winning the lottery for us. Hamburg has indeed, some veg’n restaurants. We went to try the popular vegan Leaf  in HamburgWe checked the website in advance, where newcomers can get a first idea what to expect, with very nicely presented portions. The menu is also bi-lingual to welcome international guests. We loved our dinner, I just recommend bringing more time than your reserved time slot. As we had tickets afterwards, we had to eat in a terrible hurry as large groups had created a backlog, unfortunately, we had to pass up the desserts. Next time then… 

Eating with the Moose – Moosewood Restaurant Ithaca

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The Moose was always on my list. Everyone here of course knows the famous Moosewood restaurant, the cookbooks will find you early if you are veg. friendly. Mollie Katzen’s first books from her days in the cooperative, had made the place famous, beyond Ithaca.
For me directly from Europe, the early vegetarian cooking style felt a bit strange, as much as the rest of the local food in NY. Today, vegetarian and vegan cooking has moved on, from local and natural, to beauty oriented or raw–fancy, indulgent and gourmet showy. Not always with health in mind, just think ‘vegan cupcakes’. Continue reading

Toronto Food Festival: Largest Vegetarian event in North America

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Travelling in the Green Zone…  When we wanted to take the car for a first road trip, several coordinates were aligning for a visit in Toronto: The North American Vegetarian Festival, Toronto city that has been on our travel list, and a stopover in romantic Niagara Falls and Fingerlakes hikes. Continue reading

The sweet life

SugDSC_0000If sugar is bad for us, which sweetener is wiser to use?
Is Agave Syrup better than Maple Syrup or maybe Xylitol? Is zero calorie better than honey? Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame, is that good?
Many products claim to be better than sugar for different reasons, if you need sugar specific properties, it depends what you want to do with it, if you want to bake, or just want to sweeten your coffee. And of course it also depends what your diet is like.

In doubt use a mashed banana to make ice cream and cold desserts, even pancakes and baked banana bread, it is a superior sweetener without the need of other sweeteners.
Here is an Overview that compares recommendations for different diets. I have tested sweeteners for some time and will update on a regular basis. 

The plant based traveller

PierogDSC_3873Last week I was in Poland. With mom, aunt and sister, we went as far as Gdansk in search of our family roots. I must confess, I am a miserable ambassador for vegan food when abroad. I don’t have a vegan food guide or plan ahead for 100% acceptable food. And Poland surely can be a challenge with its hearty old world fare. Noticing a vegetarian chain restaurant on the way, I also liked to discover local possibilities – for example Pirogi. In a good restaurant, there was always a meat free Pirogi version on the menu (this one here for example is with mushrooms and sauerkraut, others come with chanterelles or potatoes). Aside from the accidental bacon bit decor, eat your pirogi, dig into the surowka (raw cabbage salad,) that is complimenting many hot dishes and you have an acceptable meal, wash down with a local Vodka, repeat. Pirogi even come as dessert pastry filled with fruit blends. Definitely worth an experiment at home.

Home Remedies

A friend asked me about German onion cough remedy. Apparently a Greek version has alcohol in it, but I know only family style ‘onion juice’. The recipe requires the onion to be cooked. With the hot version, you can also add herbs. However there are other recipes that are using the juice cold, which some people think is more potent. Both are supposed to help with cough and cold and flu symptoms, are tasty and safe to give even small children. The remedy lasts abt. 4 weeks in the refrigerator. See recipe here

Sugar and Spice…

Spice scents make Christmas memories. Pine scents, Mulling spices or Gingerbread blends immediately will evoke Christmas feelings. When I once sampled Indian Rogan Josh spice, it felt like Christmas to me. And indeed, many of the traditional Indian and oriental spices are used in today’s Gingerbread cookie blends as well. Special in Gingerbread is that it does not use yeast or sourdough as rising agents, instead recipes list potash and hartshorn.
For true German Peppercake or Gingerbread cookies, you will need a ‘Lebkuchen’ spice mix, which in Europe you can just buy ready made in a small sachets. Here, of course you can DIY your mix and learn about how to replace the raising agents. Please contact me for a blend info.

Tribal Running Foods

I just finished reading two books, both of them (‘The Jungle effect’ and ‘Born to run’) mention the food, of the Tarahumara Indians, known as the ‘running people’. For example chia seeds and limes, called ‘Chia fresca’ which promptly became a popular ‘energy’ drink in Wallstreet. See recipe
‘The Jungle Effect’ book by Daphne Miller has several chapters where each chapter focuses on one Western disease and travels to a part in the world where the disease is rare or unknown (Cold Spots). Continue reading

Milking the soy cow

Try milk making at home. As I started this blog with my home made foamy almond milk, quick ‘milk making’ became an easy habit.
Despite storing a package of dried beans at home, I have never tried making soy milk. I never use much anyway. Soy milk easily flocks in hot drinks and sensitive people find the taste green and bitter. I am not a big fan of tofu either and the process sounded more involved. Besides, don’t you need special equipment for it? Continue reading

Shroomsday

2012 is the year of the mushroom. The unusual wet Spring and early Summer supports my theory. While I always liked odd shaped fungi, edible mushrooms are my newest pastime. With this year’s 50th anniversary of NYMS, Eugenia Bone published her hunting experiences with ‘Mycophilia’. The easy ‘who is who’ in mushrooming all over the country, including descriptions of mushroom walks, culture and cultivation methods, including her own short experience in ‘home mushroom farming’. Continue reading

Finger food…

Summer… so many reasons to get together and share food.  After the rained out days in May, hopes are high to spent some time outside; I love finger food that is easy to make and share. This pepper onion tart – with thyme is so ‘French countryside’. (Hint, share!) Continue reading

Love thy enemies

Just eat them!  Reading the German Wiki for the common Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), I was surprised how different the view was from the American version a good idea to look over the fence sometimes. Here goutweed is shunned as an aggressive exotic invader, sprayed, banned and hated. Surely, the perennial, with pesky underground rhizomes, gave my family a share of cursing this weed. Little did we know that the plant is a reliable medicinal plant and vegetable that recently celebrated a comeback, at least in modern German cuisine. Continue reading

PLU’s and known GMOs

Consumer organizations demand the labeling of genetically modified food. In most cases we are safe with the purchase of organic food. Knowing PLU codes may help to avoid genetically altered items among fresh produce, nuts and dried fruits. The PLU – ‘Price Look-up Code’, Continue reading

Tapped

Food and drinking water on the go! Especially city people are used to everything on demand in an instant. Drinking bottled water is young, modern and casual just as smoking used to be… The 2009 movie ‘Tapped’, is a documentary about bottled water’s effect on people, on our health, on the environment. Continue reading

Functional Foods

Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman Triathlete from Vancouver, BC  is also vegan. His early research in the nutritional field has been circling around how to improve performance with nutrition, by minimizing the stress that ordinary and high acidic foods may cause to the body. Brazier moved to a diet that uses naturally ‘functional foods’. Continue reading

May this be a good year…

With the new year 2012, I am sending you my best wishes. May this be a good year of encouragement and improvement for all of us. Back at my desk, I am bubbling with ideas for new recipes and posts. I also plan to invest more time into fine tuning my page theme and WordPress design… Continue reading