Three January vegan soups in the mid-Hudson Valley

Mid-Hudson Valley restaurants have been serving some great vegan soups. In this post, I feature three, with pictures of varying quality (I apologize for this and for not comprehensively covering offerings everywhere. This is by no means a top three list!)

  • Chili (V), one of the soup specials a few days back from the veg-friendly Sissy’s Restaurant on Wall St. in Kingston (dish pictured below). The soup was obviously chunky and colorful with a variety of ingredients.

  • Borscht at Kingston’s vegetarian Outdated: An Antique Café, also on Wall St. (Parts of the area’s Catskill Mountains were once known as the “Borscht Belt,” an allusion to this dish of Eastern European origins.) The soup is pictured with a side salad, ordered from the regular menu.

 

  • Jamaican Jerk Red Bean and Rice soup from the (more or less strictly) vegan Garden Café Woodstock, another special. Soups of this type occasionally appear on the restaurant’s menu board, and this one was served just last night.

All savory and delicious!

In other news, as of yesterday, this site has moved permanently to a domain of its own–the former redirect URL healthyveganhudsonvalley.com.  Readers may want to bookmark or otherwise take note of our new address.

Breakfast cereal, vegan-nutritarian style

A vegan version of a vegetarian buckwheat granola special, made on request by Outdated café on Wall St. in Kingston. The cereal is sweetened with spirulina, a nutritious and fancy vegan ingredient made from algae, and has been sold from time to time at the cafe. The special comes with dairy products and a fruit compote. I ordered the cereal made with water and found the kitchen had served the dish with fresh fruit on top, resulting in something closer to a vegan nutritarian equivalent–not a stripped down item at the same price!

The picture at the top shows how the dish was served. After eating the fruit, I found that the cafe has left it to me to add water from their self-serve dispenser.

I repeatedly added water and let it absorb into the cereal, resulting in a thick but fluid water-granola mix. Here is what the moist and crunchy cereal looked like:

Note the blue-green color, suggestive of the sweetener’s native surroundings, in the sea. The combination of the sweetener and the hearty whole-grain buckwheat made for a remarkable nutritarian-vegan breakfast-brunch Hudson Valley dining experience.

 

 

Hot and sometimes bitter Hudson Valley vegan food in late fall

Just days ago, T, The New York Times Style Magazine, noted a recent fashion for bitter foods—a seemingly odd preference for bad-tasting food. I have always enjoyed many bitter flavors, such as dark-roasted coffees that are relatively bitter, rather than smooth-drinking, and in fact my mother has a remarkable (to some) liking for marinated foods, including tomatoes dressed with vinegar. I do also, though to a lesser degree. Of course, perhaps this accounts for the fact that I have never been to Lagusta’s Luscious Commissary and neglected them in a regrettably half-baked discussion of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in this area in this post. It offers sweets and tea, along with light food all day, according to an entry in the happycow.org site.

An example of popular bitterness cited in the article is the popularity of molé sauces in Mexican food eaten in the U.S. Dr. Joel Furhman’s ultra-healthy website store offers a sauce for bean dishes it calls an Olé sauce. The directions advise the home chef to water-sauté vegetables, then add sauce and beans and simmer. Hudson’s omnivorous Mexican Radio has long offered a molé sauce along with two other vegan sauces for its enchiladas. The magazine article offers an interesting appreciation.

I have also not mentioned Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, which is fund raising to pay for hay during the winter with its Hay Every Day drive.  Donors who help feed the animals every day can watch their hay being eaten in videos provided by the shelter.  I should mention their snack bar as another place regrettably omitted , though the Sanctuary is closed for the season and does not reopen until spring.

Aba’s Falafel draws raves from friends who enjoy their offerings at the Rhinebeck outdoor farmers’ market during the warmer months. Its new storefront operation is located at 54 E. Market in the same village.

Outdated: An Antique Café in Kingston (vegetarian but not vegan and with many interesting foods) has recently been open Friday and Saturday nights until 9 pm, rather than its usual 4 pm. It has retro chic and is housed in a place with interesting nooks and crannies. I might mention it features some Lagusta’s Luscious candy in the case at the front counter. It will be open Christmas Eve until 4 pm, according to a sign on the door.

Then there is www.meatfreezone.org, another worldwide web presence, a project of Woodstock Animal Rights Movement (WARM), an organization with headquarters in the Catskill Mountains village of Woodstock. The operation once boasted a bricks-and-mortar store in the village.  The website’s store sells pro-vegan merchandise bearing the slogan “meat free zone” which was developed as part of a campaign to create meat-free zones much like nonsmoking areas in buildings.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice and Beans and other post-industrial adaptations

Plant-food-oriented nutritional expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman recently posted a “Mexican cauliflower rice and beans” recipe to the Dr. Fuhrman website. The cauliflower in the dish is used as a substitute for the grain, in a way that is reminiscent of pasta made from squash and other vegetables in season this year.

As this site mentioned in this previous post, problems have been reported with arsenic in some rice and rice products, a byproduct of an industrialized world.  Dr. Fuhrman’s page for the recipe emphasizes the higher nutrient density afforded by the use of cauliflower instead of a grain, which is always an advantage of such substitutions. (The recipes on Fuhrman’s site are behind a pay wall; this page of consumer advice mentioned last time is not paywalled.)

I have been trying some vegan alternatives to rice-containing Mexican dishes at local restaurants. Various taco dishes that appear from  time to time on the specials board at Outdated: An Antique Cafe include crispy and delicious homemade Mexican corn tortillas rather than rice, while people wanting to try avoiding rice at the moment can order the vegan soup or various á la carte items–among other vegan non-rice-containing offerings–at the nonvegetarian Bubby’s Kitchen in Red Hook. (Some other Spanish-speaking countries also have a famous dish called a tortilla.)

Adaptations continue to an evolving situation.

Treenut cheese question answered; vegan school lunches!

Treeline Herb Garlic Soft Cheese - Diary Free Cashew Cheese

In yesterday’s post, I featured a picture of a salad containing dollops of vegan cheese. I had ordered the salad at the cafe Outdated: An Antique Cafe in Kingston, New York.  I speculated that the cafe had an artisanal approach that usually means less processing and fewer, more simple ingredients. I pointed out that the nutritional implications were probably favorable. I had forgotten that the café uses cheeses from Treeline in its vegan dishes and in fact that information about the product involved is online. Here is a link to the company’s ingredient page, which confirms that the soft cheeses shown in the picture are made with a handful of ingredients. The image above depicts one of a number of varieties of soft cheese offered by the firm, which also makes a firmer, aged cheese on sale around the country at thousands of stores.

Many will know that Treeline manufactures its cheese here in the Hudson Valley. It boasts an artisanal (crafted) approach.  It’s cheeses tend to be served as appetizers at the Thanksgiving event held each year by the Hudson Valley Vegans and fast approaching. One can join the organization online at meetup.com. Alternative means are available; see the organization’s website.

Last year, an article in the food issue of the magazine The New Yorker noted that artisan food was one of a number of “small food” trends that are ongoing following the Obama administration’s–and Michelle Obama’s–mixed success with various food policy initiatives. The article’s author, Michael Pollan, reports that the artisanal sector is small but rapidly growing.

Also, less than 100 miles away, the New York City school system will now offer a vegan lunch entrée option at all of its schools, according to a VegNews article. Most schools will apparently serve hummus to students choosing this option. Here is Moozine’s link to the article, which reports signs of a positive early reception.

Moozine is an e-newsletter from the Happy Cow review website.