Vegan Chews & Progressive News {10-17-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews) turns 20!!! (And only a month after my own 20th birthday.) Today’s roundup – as a testament to my beloved mother and the variety of soups she crafts on an almost daily basis during the winter – features two velvety, steaming purees of colorful root vegetables, along with another spoonable recipe of fruity succulence. For stories, an interview and a book provide meaningful models of transformative activism, while a podcast offers an eye-opening take on three otherwise familiar social issues. So, welcome!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Beet & Horseradish Soup with Thyme & Caraway Croutons
via The Circus Gardener

Photo via Steve Dent.

Photo via Steve Dent.

The first of two fall-centric soups of today’s roundup, this vibrant puree marries the sweet earthiness of beets with the clean sharpness of fresh horseradish. Lately I’ve found myself more enamored than usual of beets – chopping them raw into my daily lunch salads and baking them whole wrapped in aluminum foil – but have hesitated to implement them in a soupy application. This velvety looking recipe has convinced me, and I intend to throw some caraway seeds directly into the soup along with the thyme, rather than allowing the croutons to get all the caraway glory.

Sweet

Ginger Pear Butter
via Connoisseurus Veg

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

No soup, but still a smooth puree of yumminess. Quality ripe pears harbor a buttery quality all on their own, but I’m sure not going to argue with a recipe that capitalizes on this rich texture while adding a spicy zing of ginger. For an unrefined version of this delightfully copper-toned fruit spread, use a less processed type of sugar (such as date or coconut sugar) instead of the brown sugar.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Kabocha Squash, Fennel, & Ginger Soup with Spicy Coconut Cream
via Dolly and Oatmeal

Photo via Lindsey S. Love.

Photo via Lindsey S. Love.

While I don’t have a photo of my own to share with you, I do have deeply fond memories from earlier in the week of savoring spoonfuls of this succulent, complexly flavored soup (the second of the day!). Ya’ll. This soup stopped me in my hungry tracks, necessitating after my first bite that I pause to fully appreciate its silky texture and multilayered flavor profile. Providing an example of expert flavor-building, this recipe forms a base of delicate sweetness with caramelized leeks before adding fennel’s notes of mild licorice and finally the most decadent of squashes – kabocha – roasted to tender perfection. I already miss this soup, and I finished the final batch of leftovers two nights ago…back to the kitchen!

Must-Read News Story

Turning Fear into Power: An Interview with Unarmed Peacekeeper Linda Sartor
by Stephanie Van Hook at Waging Nonviolence

Linda Sartor standing on a Soviet tank outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. (WNV / Peggy Gish)

Linda Sartor standing on a Soviet tank outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. (WNV / Peggy Gish)

I find that looking to more experienced, thriving activists can provide an inspiring model for burgeoning changemakers (like myself, I hope!), especially in demonstrating how to maintain our work in the long-term. Though I hadn’t heard of Linda Sartor before this article from Waging Nonviolence landed in my inbox, I think she offers a great deal of insight into how to sustain oneself as an activist, even while engaging in serious forms of civil disobedience. Linda’s practice of asking “Where is that violence in me?” when she witnesses violence manifested in the world particularly sticks with me, as I see it as a reminder that transformative change begins in ourselves; how can we build a just world if we reenact oppressive structures in our daily lives? All of our activism must incorporate a reconceptualization of the self, an idea that I touched upon in my most recent blog post.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

On Privacy and Privilege
via Radio Dispatch

Logo via Radio Dispatch.

Logo via Radio Dispatch.

While the daily Radio Dispatch episodes never fail to bring contemplation and laughter to my morning, Thursday’s edition of the show framed three issues with which I’m fairly familiar in a completely new light. Discussing the privileges inherent in being able to say that you’re not personally fearful of government surveillance, the paralyzing effect of telling young Black men that they have a set of predetermined life outcomes from which to choose, and the positioning of the white supremacist criminal systems as public health epidemics, hosts John and Molly provided me with a more nuanced manner of understanding these pressing issues.

Book Recommendation

Transforming Feminist Practice: Non-Violence, Social Justice and the Possibilities of a Spiritualized Feminism
by Leela Fernandes

Photo via Aunt Lute Books.

Photo via Aunt Lute Books.

In her realistically hopeful book Transforming Feminist Practice, political scientist Leela Fernandes argues that we – people living in contemporary times – have learned to define ourselves against external entities, and that our doing so has limited us from imagining new worldly realities. Fernandes contends that our inability to see ourselves beyond the possibilities of pre-existing identities prevents us from rejecting the ego inherent in all forms of identity, and instead fostering in ourselves a “radical humility required to really manifest social justice in this world” (44). To cast off these static identities through which we currently constitute ourselves, Fernandes calls for an understanding of the self in “radical interconnection” with the world in its entirety (36). In this task, Fernandes does not mean for us to cease taking responsibility for the very real effects of our identity-based privileges, but rather encourages us to envision ourselves as comprised of so much more than these fixed identities, and asserts that this re-envisioning constitutes a necessary aspect of fostering a world in which the social structures that determine our privileges do not exist. Fernandes encapsulates this re-envisioning well in the following passage:

“A strategy for white students dealing with racial privilege would be to recognize and address the social and economic forms of power and privilege associated with whiteness in contemporary society in the United States while realizing that their own conceptions of their self do not need to rest on such hegemonic conceptions of ‘whiteness'” (33).

I love this book. I think I shall sleep with it underneath my pillow.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {10-10-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Wowza, it’s the 19th edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! This week’s recipes move into intensely autumnal fare, highlighting the hearty veggies that provide the substance to get us through the cold months to come. As for stories, I’m pointing you toward three articles that showcase grassroots resistance to the neoliberal powers that perpetuate the ever-growing wealth gap, both in the U.S. and internationally; an important reminder that the intellectual history of our nation did not consist solely of white people; and a book that envisions truly transformative justice more concretely than any text I’ve yet encountered. Happy Friday!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Kale and Roasted Red Kuri Squash Salad
via A House in the Hills

Photo by Sarah Yates.

Photo by Sarah Yates.

Vibrant and substantial, this epitome-0f-fall salad promises the creamy succulence of roasted squash, the chewy smokiness of sauteed kale, the crunchy richness of hazelnuts, the plump tanginess of dried cranberries, and the silky brightness of miso-tahini dressing. A prime example of transforming unpretentious ingredients into a dish that far surpasses the sum of its parts.

Sweet

Pumpkin Pie Popsicles
via Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Photo via Amy Lyons.

Photo by Amy Lyons.

Not even the cooling weather can dissuade me from enjoying my dessert of choice: creamy frozen treats (did I mention that I basically lived on vegan ice cream over the summer?). This iteration of such goodies employs a creamy base of bananas for the pumpkiny star of the popsicles, accentuated by warming spices and imbued with richness from nut butter (the recipe calls for pecan butter, but my goodness, how expensive does that sound? I trust that homemade almond butter or even tahini would quite suffice). Plus, look how gorgeously orange they are!

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Za’atar Eggplant over Lemon-Tahini Greens
inspired by My New Roots

za'atar eggplant (2)

Certainly the least seasonal of the recipes highlighted today, this roasted whole eggplant still provides a warming dinner to enjoy on bracing nights. Adapting Sarah’s recipe, I sprinkled the eggplant halves with homemade za’atar seasoning, roasted them until tender, then set them atop a generous pile of mixed salad greens coated in an adaptation of Sarah’s Spicy Tahini Sauce. Filling and flavorful, this dish adequately showcases the smooth texture and buttery flavor of the mighty eggplant.

Must-Read News Stories

Because I’m perpetually interested in examining instances of community-based challenges to hegemonic power structures, I felt compelled to showcase today not one, but three articles that spotlight grassroots resistance to the various iterations of the neoliberal powers that perpetuate the ever-growing wealth gap, both in the U.S. and internationally. Each of these instances of resistance of course prove hugely valuable in and of themselves, but they also point to the infiltration of the neoliberal framework into all aspects of life, and the consequent need to challenge it in a multiplicity of locations.

World Versus Bank: The Return of the World Bank and the People’s Resistance
by Martin Kirk and Alnoor Ladha at Truthout

Homeless Bill of Rights aims to protect life-sustaining activities
by Renee Lewis at Al Jazeera America

Developers Aren’t Going to Solve the Housing Crisis in San Francisco
by Dyan Ruiz and Joseph Smooke at Truthout

Photo via Truthout.

Photo via Truthout.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Black Prophetic Fire: Cornel West on the Revolutionary Legacy of Leading African-American Voices
via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!.

Photo via Democracy Now!.

Despite what the vast majority of our history books taught us, the construction of this nation did not hinge upon white people alone. Indeed, our entire economy would not exist without the brutal enslavement of millions of African peoples, and African Americans as a population have inhabited U.S. land for longer than any other immigrant group. Yet, despite the fact that Black people played a vital role in building our society, the white supremacist powers that be have all but erased their contributions – economic, social, intellectual – and thereby upheld the myth of Black people as worthless and expendable to this day (as we can see with the mass incarceration of Black people. They’re useless, so let’s throw them in prison…or so the rhetoric goes).

On this segment of Democracy Now!, the inimitable Dr. Cornel West brings Black voices to the fore, reminding us of the astonishing, revolutionary individuals who devoted their lives to fighting for justice.

Book Recommendation

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
by Dean Spade

Photo via South End Press.

Photo via South End Press.

An example of a truly intersectional text, Dean Spade’s Normal Life lays out the three formulations of power – individual, disciplinary, and population-based – more clearly than any other work I’ve encountered. Though his book includes “critical trans politics” in its title, Spade makes clear that the power structures that compromise the life chances of trans people operate in the same way to wreak systemic violence upon all vulnerable populations (and to render them vulnerable in the first place). Spade fiercely challenges the “individual rights” framework of the legal system in which many social justice movements currently operate, specifically critiquing the mainstream lesbian and gay movement for centering their efforts on securing legal reform that will only benefit the most privileged in their community, and in doing so strengthening the very stratifying power structures that generate their subjection in the first place.

Not only does Spade offer this necessary critique, he also provides a framework for how to re-enact such social justice movements currently focused on reform rather than revolution, such that they can fulfill their transformative potentials. Read this and be inspired.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {10-3-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Get yer weekly dose of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (# NewsandChews) here on FMV! I’ve abbreviated my commentary on each featured recipe and story today, since I’ve got my hands full with a campus screening of Maximum Tolerated Dose, courtesy of the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC). But! The content this week essentially speaks for itself, whether it be a hearty and very green burger, a simple yet refined dinner plate, the harmful reality of the NYPD’s “broken windows” policing strategy, two lesser known yet fully phenomenal animal sanctuaries, progressive discourse on the links between climate and class, and a collection of powerful Palestinian short stories. Onward!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Broccoli Burgers
via Vegan Yumminess

Photo via Vegan Yumminess.

Photo via Vegan Yumminess.

Chock full of walnuts, brown rice, and enough wheat gluten to provide a satisfyingly dense texture, this burger is sure to nourish both tastebuds and body, especially when you throw in a generous helping of cruciferous goodness.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Steamed Squash and Baby Bok Choy with Ginger-Sesame Sauce
adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

squash & bok choy with ginger-sesame dressing

Who knew that the clean flavors of steamed butternut squash and baby bok choy drizzled with a ginger-sesame dressing could offer such a fulfilling meal? Served with some tofu-packed miso soup, this dish proves surprisingly comforting, especially on a cold, gloomy day.

Must-Read News Story

Policing for Wealth
via Aaron Cantú at Truthout

Photo via JR/TO.

Photo via JR/TO.

In case you didn’t harbor enough contempt for the NYPD, the truth behind broken windows policing arrives to remind us all of the criminal “justice” system’s close friendship with white supremacy.

Supporting Less Famous Animal Sanctuaries: A Spotlight On VINE And Peaceful Prairie
via Sarah E. Brown at Queer Vegan Food

Photo via Sarah E. Brown.

Photo via Sarah E. Brown.

While the NYPD certainly sucks the joy out of any occasion, the two sanctuaries that one of my favorite fellow animal activists Sarah E. Brown highlighted this week on her blog Queer Vegan Food never fail to reignite the hopeful fire inside my belly. VINE and Peaceful Prairie do incredible work, both for their non-human residents and for the larger animal rights movement. Get to know them and prepare to be amazed.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Belabored Podcast #61: When Climate and Labor Converge (Live!), with Nastaran Mohit and Lara Skinner
via Dissent Magazine

Photo via Dissent Magazine.

Photo via Dissent Magazine.

The two women who host the Belabored podcast – Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen – comprise powerful voices in the world of workers’ rights, labor equality, and economic justice. Here, they combine their insights on labor with the fight for climate justice by welcoming two activists and scholars onto their podcast.

Book Recommendation

Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories
by Ghassan Kanafani

Photo via Amazon.com.

Photo via Amazon.com.

For my Subaltern Politics course at Vassar, we’ve been reading this collection of beautifully haunting short stories from Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani not with the goal of analyzing the experiences of Kanafani’s Palestinian subjects, but in order to reflect upon our own relationships with marginalized peoples around the world in a greater effort to confront the hegemonic systems that shape our dominating views of The Other. Not easy work, let me tell you, but work that I believe to be absolutely necessary.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {9-12-14}

If you haven’t already, please be sure to enter my latest giveaway for my new favorite vegan ice cream from the admirable, socially conscious company Three Little Birds!

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

On this pre-birthday edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (#NewsandChews) – can you say 20 years old on September 14, woot woot! – we’ve got the crispiest of potatoes, the most spectacular of cruciferi, an essential feminist critique of the animal rights movement, the practice of calling each other in, a pivotal court ruling in the battle against climate change, and what I consider one of the most important books in the world of veganism and animal rights to date. Allez-y!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Best-Ever Breakfast Potatoes
via Minimalist Baker

Photo via Minimalist Baker.

Photo via Minimalist Baker.

We eat a pretty hefty amount of potatoes in my on-campus 21-person vegan living cooperative (one of my housemates recently testified to eating at least 11 potatoes on a weekly basis), due to their price accessibility, nutritional value, and downright comforting tastiness. Though we enjoy a variety of potato-based dishes in our house dinners (salads, soups, mashes, etc.), we’ve all but officially voted on roasted potatoes as our preferred tuber preparation. Each time a housemate offers up roasted potatoes for a communal dinner, they enter an informal contest judging who can produce the crispiest potatoes. With this recipe from Dana at Minimalist Baker, I feel pretty confident in my abilities to trump the competition.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Cauliflower Steaks with Mushroom Gravy
adapted from Olives for Dinner

cauliflower steak with mushroom gravy

Though my good friend Kaden may resent me for saying so, I’ve come to the conclusion that cauliflower far surpasses broccoli in the battle for the title of Best Floret-Based Cruciferous Vegetable. While cauliflower’s versatility (creamy soups and sauces! raw and dipped in hummus! hidden in baked goods!) certainly plays a role in this thoroughly contemplated judgment, I believe that the superiority of cauliflower lies mainly in its roasting capabilities (can you tell that I’m really into roasting vegetables? Potatoes, cauliflower…you name it, I’ll roast it). In fact, in my humble opinion, cauliflower resides on the pedestal of Best Roasting Vegetables, along with brussels sprouts and squash (cauliflower holds a lot of titles, in my book). So when a recipe tells me to roast thick slices of cauliflower in sage leaves to yield hearty, tender bites with crispy edges and douse them in a mushroom-based gravy, how can I refuse?

Must-Read News Story

For the Animals, By the People…Not the Man: A Vegan Feminist Critique of Social Movement Hierarchy
by Corey Lee Wrenn at The Academic Abolitionist Vegan

Photo via TAVS.

Photo via TAVS.

Last summer, as an intern for Compassion Over Killing, I attended the 2013 national Animal Rights Conference in Alexandria, VA. As a main attraction, the event highlighted a debate on the most effective form of animal advocacy – welfarism or abolitionism – between Farm Sanctuary’s Bruce Friedrich (advocating for welfarism) and Gary Francione (the figurehead of the “abolitionist approach” to animal rights). In speaking to conference attendees, I found that many folks thought ill of this movement “in-fighting,” espousing a sentiment along the lines of, “why can’t we all just get along?” This sentiment in part inspired my recent blog post on the need for animal activists to critically engage with problematic practices of our movement, and I’m thrilled that the ever-insightful Corey Lee Wrenn has penned a clear and concise post informed by similar concerns. Not only does Corey Lee affirm that “factionalism is both normal and healthy for social movements, and is something to be expected,” she also does not shy away from speaking out against forms of human oppression within the animal rights movement; in this particular post, “a patriarchal social structure of command within our organizations.” I highly recommend that you subscribe to Corey Lee’s mailing list on her blog immediately.

Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable
via Ngoc Loan Tran at Black Girl Dangerous

Image via Black Girl Dangerous.

Image via Black Girl Dangerous.

In response to my aforementioned recent post on “The Importance of Calling Each Other Out,” fellow progressive vegan blogger Raechel of Rebel Grrl Living shared with me this post from the truly important blog Black Girl Dangerous (another one to which you must subscribe in the next twelve seconds). The piece advocates for social justice activists to cultivate a practice of calling in along with calling out, the distinction resting in a sense of compassion behind our reason for speaking to someone about an action of theirs we consider problematic. Author Ngoc Loan Tran explains in hopeful, profound terms what they see as the value behind calling in: “Because when I see problematic behavior from someone who is connected to me, who is committed to some of the things I am, I want to believe that it’s possible for us to move through and beyond whatever mistake was committed.” I’m definitely going to actively try to start practicing this more caring form of critical engagement. Thank you, Raechel, for sharing the post with me!

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Exclusive: DA Joins the Climate Activists He Declined to Prosecute, Citing Danger of Global Warming
via Democracy Now!

Untitled

Photo via Democracy Now!.

In a hopefully precedent-setting court ruling, Massachusetts’ Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter dropped criminal charges on two climate activists who blocked the shipment of 40,000 tons of coal to a local power plant with their lobster boat (of course, I find it rather ironic that two environmental activists employed a boat engaged in an industry tied to the wholesale destruction of our oceans…but that’s a topic for another post). Not only did Sutter take the very real and urgent concern of climate change into account when carrying out this ruling, he also plans to march with the two previously arrested activists – Ken Ward, Jr. and Jay O’Hara – in the upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City. I wholeheartedly appreciate Sutter’s consideration of social context in his ruling, rather than attempting to rule “objectively” as the judicial system strives to do (an impossible goal considering the fact that everyone – even supposedly objective actors like lawyers, judges, and scientists – carry personal prejudices, preferences, and subjective experiences with them).

I do, however, want to point out the whiteness of both of the activists as well as Sutter. Considering the U.S. criminal justice system’s disproportionate targeting of people of color, I can’t help but wondering whether the activists would have enjoyed dropped charges if they were not white. Additionally, I’d like to point out that the environmental movement and the media tend to highlight the activism of white folks despite the significant contributions that people of color have made to the struggle for the well-being of the planet, and this story – though indicative of an important social shift – plays into that tendency. Just as with the animal rights movement, we have to work to make the environmental movement a more inclusive one.

Book Recommendation

Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society
edited by A. Breeze Harper

sv_book

An anthology of perspectives on veganism from Black females, Sistah Vegan constitutes a phenomenally important work in that it gives voice to a group habitually silenced both within the animal rights movement and in a broader societal context. Combating the mainstream vegan culture dominated by wealthy white folks and that focuses on the proliferation of expensive novelty foods and capitalist-driven consumer choices, this anthology highlights the marginalized views of women of color who see veganism as a practice of holistic health and anti-colonialism. Thanks to the incredible work of A. Breeze Harper, Sistah Vegan has expanded from a book into a larger project, the details of which you can find at The Sistah Vegan Project. There, you can also read Harper’s introduction to the anthology, and I sincerely hope that you do.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {9-5-14}

In case you missed the edit to Monday’s post, please hop on over to the top of my “Saffron Cantaloupe Butter | The Importance of Calling Each Other Out” post and check out a very important retraction. Thank you!

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Happy Friday and welcome to your weekly dose of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (#NewsandChews)Today’s recipes feature an original take on the classic kale chip, a delectable interpretation of a quintessential flavor pairing, and a vegan taco bar for a crowd. Turning to news, we’re looking at an enlightening perspective on women’s lack of advancement in the workplace, Hong Kong’s powerful Occupy Central movement, and a book that explores a myriad of problems within the U.S. food system through investigative journalism. Let’s get to it!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Baked Pesto Kale Chips
via Sweet Simple Vegan

Photo via Sweet Simple Vegan.

Photo via Sweet Simple Vegan.

I’ve crafted many a crispy leaf of smoky kale in my time, from rich savory treats coated in cheesy cashew sauce to simply roasted greens coated in coconut oil and smoked paprika. I’ve even coated to-roast kale in hummus, but never before encountering this recipe had I contemplated the same use for pesto. Bound to yield deeply yet brightly flavored kale chip fabulousness, this recipe will certainly enter my repertoire in the very near future.

Sweet

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Bars
via The Honour System

Photo via The Honour System.

Photo via The Honour System.

In my 21-person vegan living cooperative, we devour our fair share of chickpea-based desserts, thanks to our monthly supply of 25-pound sacks of dried chickpeas. Similarly, I’m fairly certain that we consume up to 41% of New York state’s peanut butter supply. This 8-ingredient treat, therefore, proves more than well-suited for the Ferry Haus kitchen and bellies, once again marrying those three letters made for each other: PB & J.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Ferry Taco Bar with Roasted Chickpeas, Dirty Rice, Crispy Cabbage Slaw, & Salsa
Original Recipe

tacos

Speaking of Ferry Haus, last week I packed up my Brooklyn apartment and completed the short journey to my on-campus cooperative in Poughkeepsie, where this Tuesday I began classes as a junior Geography major at Vassar College. With 21 creative minds – both culinary and otherwise – to fill the kitchen, our nightly communal dinners never fail to wow, surprise, and disappear within minutes. Inspired by the corn tortillas that turned up in our refrigerator, I felt compelled to prepare a summery taco bar for the Haus, complete with smoked paprika-roasted chickpeas, tomato-laden dirty rice with plenty of spices (cumin, oregano, cilantro, Spanish paprika, cayenne), a bright and crunchy cabbage-carrot slaw for contrast, and a canned tomato classic-style salsa with onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Who can argue with veggies, grains, and legumes rolled up in a soft tortilla? Almost as good as a sandwich. ;)

Must-Read News Article

Why Aren’t Women Advancing at Work? Ask a Transgender Person.
via Jessica Nordell at New Republic

Photo via New Republic.

Photo via New Republic.

This eye-opening article from New Republic explores the fact that women advance in the workplace at a much lower rate than men, specifically the notion that this happens because of personal choices or cognitive and emotional characteristics, whether innate or socialized. Through interviews with individuals of trans experience who have remained in the same careers/jobs after their transitions, author Jessica Nordell reveals that individuals experience starkly different treatment in the workplace depending on their gender, even though they’re essentially the exact same person.

To take an example from the article, when a man named Ben still presented as a woman and solved a difficult math problem, his biology professor insisted that “Your boyfriend must have solved it.” However, after Ben’s transition, that same professor – unaware of Ben’s transition – commended his work, commenting that Ben’s work was “so much better than his sister’s.”

A fascinating article that sheds light upon the clear anti-woman bias that still exists in our society of supposed gender equality.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Hong Kong ‘Occupy Central’ Protests Call for Political Freedom After China Rejects Open Elections
via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

In Hong Kong, an outpouring of protestors have united under the name of Occupy Central to oppose the Chinese government’s rejection of demands for Hong Kong to freely choose its next leader in 2017. The oldest global faction in the Occupy movement, Occupy Central has proven its determination through huge numbers of protestors and international recognition, and is currently threatening to blockade the city’s central business district.

I don’t highlight this story to bash the Chinese government, for I don’t feel that it’s my place to do so as a Westerner whose government has its fair share of problems with its democratic leadership. Instead, I seek to act in solidarity with the protestors, who have publicly requested that individuals in the Western world spread the word of their struggle. Additionally, I hope that seeing these powerful protests against an oppressive government will inspire U.S. actors to more actively speak out against our less obviously exploitative system of rule, especially in regards to its regards to its treatment of already marginalized peoples.

Book Recommendation

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table
by Tracie McMillan

Photo via American Way of Eating blog.

Photo via American Way of Eating blog.

In this acclaimed book uncovering a myriad of problems existing within the U.S. food system, award-winning and working-class journalist Tracie McMillan worked undercover in three jobs that feed America, living off of her wages in each. Reporting from California onion and grape fields, the produce aisle of a Walmart just outside of Detroit, and the kitchen of a NYC Applebee’s, McMillan investigates how most folks living in the U.S. eat, while a much smaller group happily spends $9 on organic heirloom tomatoes (guilty as charged). Most insightfully, McMillan explains the national policies (especially their racist dimensions) that lay the groundwork for this “American way of eating.” Though McMillan does not explore the problems within the U.S.’ system of animal agriculture, I think that it proves especially important for vegans to educate ourselves about the non-animal-related issues surrounding our nation’s food, so as not to ignore the plight of farm workers and other individuals exploited in various forms of food service.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-29-14}

A quick note before today’s #NewsandChews post: be sure to enter my current giveaway for your chance to win a copy of the cookbook Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery!

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the wellbeing of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Welcome to the last summer edition of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (#NewsandChews)! In honor of the final days of August, I’ve got a meal-sized salad recipe ideal for highlighting all of that late-summer produce calling your tastebuds, plus a sandwich that has inspired disappointment in every moment that I’ve not yet eaten it, and some finger food that provides a tasty way to use up those puzzling broccoli stems. For news, I’m pointing you toward an article that reminds us that poverty need not serve as a default mode in our society, a video that offers a striking and truly consciousness-raising alternative to the Ice Bucket Challenge, and a book that deeply explores the fact – recently erupting with the public outcry against the murder of Black teenager Michael Brown – that racism and white supremacy reign in the U.S.

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Smashed Potato Salad with Seed Pesto & Charred Sweet Corn
via Our Four Forks

Photo via Our Four Forks.

Photo via Our Four Forks.

Yesterday, I relocated from my summer apartment in Brooklyn to my vegan living cooperative on the Vassar College campus. While I’m thrilled to recommence my formal education (WRITING PAPERS!!! But actually, I live to write papers), it’s recipes like the one pictured above that cause my heart to pine for the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket that I’ve left behind. Currently bursting will all of the ripe summer produce featured in this meal-sized salad and beyond, the market provided me with vibrant, fragrant, and nourishing produce (and good conversation) each week from Greg at Willow Wisp Organic Farm, the heirloom tomato lady at Evolutionary Organics, the Divine Brine pickle folks, and more. Another aspect to love about the market concerns its EBT program, which allows low-income New Yorkers access to this top-notch produce. Comprising 25%-50% of many farmers’ total income, EBT sales clearly prove substantial, suggesting that the market welcomes a wide array of individuals, not just rich white locavore foodies. Anywho, this hearty salad – crispy, crunchy, sweet, nutty, herby, succulent – provides an ideal dish for featuring that summer produce that won’t hang around much longer.

Sweet

Grilled Almond Butter Mango Sandwich
via Connoisseurs Veg

Photo via Connoisseurs Veg.

Photo via Connoisseurs Veg.

There exist few food types that satisfy me more than sandwiches, especially when those toasty, bready slabs of scrumptiousness involve nut butters and the fruit of culinary royalty (aka mango). Though I choose to avoid purchasing tropical fruit on a regular basis since I don’t think that the working conditions and monoculture rates in their countries of origin warrant my support (especially when those issues arise primarily from Western demand), sometimes I’ll treat myself to a mango if I can find a fair-trade and organic one (and OH, what a treat it is). My next mango will certainly contribute to the recreation of this sumptuous sandwich.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Broccoli Stem Fries with Spicy Sunflower-Pumpkin Seed Dipping Sauce
adapted from What’s Cooking Good Looking

broccoli fries 3

Impressed by the ingenuity and no-waste mentality represented by this use for broccoli stems, I experimented with Jodi’s original recipe, coating the green batons in coconut oil, corn flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and black sesame seeds. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these fun finger foods married well with a simple “peanut” sauce made with homemade sunflower-pumpkin seed butter, brown rice syrup, tamari, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and sriracha.

Must-Read News Article

Poverty is Not Inevitable: What We Can Do to Turn Things Around
via Dean Paton at Yes! Magazine

Photo via Yes! Magazine.

Photo via Yes! Magazine.

I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of reminding folks that the status quo need not serve as the default – need not exist at all, even. For example, though most individuals cannot (or do not wish to) envision an alternative to our current dominant economic mode of neoliberal patriarchal imperial capitalism, the industrial-based capitalist system originated pretty darn recently in relative terms, around 1750 according to Marks in The Origins of the Modern World. Before that, non-Western civilizations thrived on trade-based, non-war-inducing economies of subsistence rather than of accumulation. This article from Yes! Magazine follows the same path of debunking what we’ve been conditioned to believe must exist – in this case, poverty – and suggests a number of  potential solutions. It’s stories like these that give me hope.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

The Rubble Bucket Challenge
via Ayman al Aloul at AlterNet

Photo via Ayman al Aloul.

Photo via Ayman al Aloul.

In the midst of the sweeping popularity of the multiply problematic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, many folks have found alternative, more productive methods of consciousness-raising around social issues. For example, a number of my friends within the animal rights movement have taken on the #HydrateDonate challenge launched by Vegan Outreach Executive Vice President Jon Camp, in which one drinks a glass of ice water and donates to a number of organizations of their choice (learn why the Ice Bucket Challenge proves greatly harmful to non-human animals and humans who use drugs tested on animals here). The alternative challenge presented by Gaza-based journalist Ayman al Aloul in this video strikes me as especially profound, employing the rubble pervasive in an Israeli-ravaged Palestine instead of the area’s scarce water to encourage folks to speak out against Israel’s devastating bombardment and occupation of Palestine.

Book Recommendation

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

Photo via NewJimCrow.com.

Photo via NewJimCrow.com.

I’ve found myself seeking out a ton of critical race theory for reading material this summer, which seems fitting amidst the murder of Black teenager Michael Brown by white cop Darren Wilson. Of course, since racism and white supremacy run rampant in the U.S., this reading material would prove relevant even if Michael Brown’s murder had not sparked such public outcry. Indeed, Michelle Alexander illustrates this point well with her argument that the War on Drugs – launched under Reagan but still thriving – has sparked the rebirth of a racial caste system that treats Black people as second-class citizens by throwing them behind bars for the most minor of offenses. Targeting young Black individuals for drug-related arrest even though statistics show that white people tend to use drugs at rates equal to or above the drug use of Black people, today’s criminal justice system functions as clear evidence that the racial biases so obvious in the civil rights era run rampant even in the age of our first Black president, only now they prove more difficult to identify. The hidden nature of this discrimination demands systemic change, and Alexander’s book provides a thorough, compelling analysis of where we should focus such changemaking efforts.

In solidarity, Ali.

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Review, Recipe, & GIVEAWAY!

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

Before getting into today’s giveaway, I’d like to point you all toward Episode 241 of the Our Hen House podcast, on which I provide a review of my three favorite vegan mayonnaise brands. Also check out this post for a backstory of how my passion for vegan mayo began. 

Another week, another giveaway here on Farmers Market Vegan. As I prepare to journey from Brooklyn to Poughkeepsie to begin my junior year of undergrad, I’d encourage you, dear readers, to prepare your cookbook senses for a tingling and your allergy-free treat desires for a sparking.

With the recently increasing incidence of food allergies, celiac disease, and diabetes in children and adults alike – as well as an allergy-heavy son herself – Debbie Adler felt called to create wholesome, nourishing baked goods free of dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and refined sugars. And create she did, launching a Los Angeles-based vegan and allergy-free bakery known as Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes that specializes in gourmet baked goods including cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and muffins.

Debbie Adler.

Debbie Adler.

Though Debbie ships her creative and allergy-friendly treats nationwide, seven years after opening her bakery she sought to spread her culinary love even further and published her cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery. Chosen as a “Best Gluten-free Cookbook of 2013″ by Delicious Living Magazine, a “Best Vegan Cookbook of 2013″ by Green Vegan Living and a “Favorite Book” by Living Without Magazine, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats features over 50 recipes for truly unique muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, energy bars, donut holes, and breads.

sweet debbie's (2)

Guiding you through such mouthwatering recipes as Salted Caramel Apple Muffins, Quinoa Cranberry Cookies, Coconut Crunch Donut Holes, and Krispy Kale ‘n Cheese Soft Pretzel Rods, Debbie provides fun, upbeat, and snarky commentary on every page to inform readers about particular ingredients and the story behind the treat (including a very harried excursion to a neighborhood pumpkin patch).

sweet debbie's (4)

Though some of the ingredients Debbie recommends – like coconut nectar, certain gluten-free flours, and powdered erythriol – cost a bit more than is accessible for many of us not beholden to food allergies, substitutions for these ingredients abound, and I can vouch for the fact that smart, budget-friendly ingredient subs still yield delectable goodies.

sweet debbie's (5)

The first of  the Sweet Debbie’s recipes with which I experimented caught my attention with its promise of summery, refreshing flavors. The Basil-Lemonade Cookies feature a moist crumb and chewy texture to provide the dessert version of a cooling waterside beverage, complete with a sticky glaze that abounds with citrus flavor. Clearly, Debbie sees the powerful wisdom in accentuating sweet treats with herbs (Rosemary-Plum Ice Cream, anyone?).

sweet debbie's (7)

Eager to try out Debbie’s baked version of fried dough balls, I grabbed the saffron gifted to me by my aunt who recently traveled to Morocco and recreated a batch of Saffron and Cardamom Donut Holes. With the sophisticated flavor of saffron infused into both the dough and the glaze, these donut holes boast a gorgeously pink hue. Of course, considering saffron’s exorbitantly high price point, I certainly wouldn’t have made this recipe without my aunt’s herby gift, and I’m confident that the donut holes would taste just as complexly spiced with only the cardamom. Cakey and dense, these bite-sized donut holes provide a fun dessert or snack easy for popping right into one’s mouth.

sweet debbie's (12)

An avowed chocolate fanatic, Debbie also includes plenty of cocoa-filled recipes in her cookbook, and she’s graciously agreed to share one such recipe here on Farmers Market Vegan! Debbie’s Caramel-Glazed Fakin’ Bacon Brownies offer an animal-friendly way to participate in the recent bacon-chocolate phenomenon, employing the versatile shiitake mushroom for a vegan meaty topping. Given the rampant worker exploitation in the chocolate industry, I would highly recommend using either carob powder or a cacao powder approved by the Food Empowerment Project in the recipe, which you can find at the bottom of this post.

Photo via "Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats."

Photo via “Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats.”

I’m sure that many of you are eager to enter today’s giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, so don’t wait any longer and click the links at the top and bottom of this post! Also don’t forget to connect with Debbie and her bakery on Facebook and Twitter.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 31, and I will announce the winner on the following day.

Caramel-Glazed Fakin’ Bacon Brownies

Makes 16 brownies.

Must Have (Faux Bacon):

15 x 10-inch sheet of parchment paper
1 cup 1/4-inch-thick sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Must Have (Caramel Sauce):

1/2 cup coconut nectar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Must Have (Brownies):

Grapeseed oil, for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup cacao or carob powder (make sure to use Food Empowerment Project-approved chocolate if using cacao)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp guar gum
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/8 tsp stevia powder
10 tbsp warm water

Must Do

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.

To make the faux bacon, spread the shiitakes on the prepared pan. Drizzle the grapeseed oil on the mushrooms, toss them gently with your hand to coat, and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the mushrooms are slightly crisp. Set aside.

Reduce the heat of he oven to 325°F.

To make the caramel sauce, mix together the coconut nectar, sunflower seed butter, and salt in a small bowl until well-combined.

To make the brownies, grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with grapeseed oil.

Whisk together the flour, cacao or carob powder, baking soda, guar gum, salt, and cayenne (if using) in a large bowl.

Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla, and stevia and stir to combine. Next add the warm water and stir until it is absorbed and the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth down with a wet baking spatula or the back of a wet spoon, and drizzle with caramel sauce. With a swirling motion, run a pointy knife in and out of the caramel sauce so some of it seeps into the brownie. Top evenly with the “bacon” bits.

Bake the brownies for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the batter starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Rotate the pan from front to back after 9 minutes of baking.

Transfer the pan from the oven to a wire rack and let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting the brownies into 16 squares. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

I was not paid to run this giveaway, though I was provided with a free copy of the cookbook. All opinions are completely my own.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-22-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the wellbeing of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Welcome to the 12th installment of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (#NewsandChews)! Coconut milk abounds in today’s featured recipes, as well as a culinary gift from the Mediterranean. For stories, we’re touching on global hunger, Ferguson and the murder of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson, and the U.S. surveillance state. Let’s get to it!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Zucchini Mac & Cheese
via VeganSandra

Photo via VeganSandra.

Photo via VeganSandra.

Contrary to popular belief, vegans can with relative ease enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac & cheese, all without directly exploiting mother cows or the babies dragged away from them at birth. Animal-free mac & cheese recipes abound on the blogosphere, but this particular one caught my eye due to its use of succulent and summery zucchini, its kick of richness from coconut cream, and its photos of ooey-gooey caramelized yumminess. An easy, frugal, and spectacular entree.

Sweet

Thai Peanut Popsicles
via Dula Notes

Photo via Dula Notes.

Photo via Dula Notes.

If you haven’t gathered from the multiple ice cream giveaways I’ve recently hosted on my blog, vegan ice cream has comprised the bulk of my diet this summe(not complaining). Okay, I exaggerate a teeny bit, but my deep fondness for frozen non-dairy treats has certainly intensified over the past three months. As a shift away from enjoying spoonfuls straight from the pint, these popsicles look like they’d provide ideal scrumptious diversity to my ice cream-eating routine. An enormous fan of employing herbs in sweet applications, I’m really cheering on the cilantro in this recipe, which surely would provide a fresh contrast to the peanut butter’s richness. If you, like me, don’t own the single-utility gadget of a popsicle mold, I bet an ice cube tray would play the part.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Socca with Za’atar, Caramelized Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers
Adapted from My Name is Yeh

socca w za'atar

Oh my. I know I featured a za’atar-y recipe on a past #NewsandChews post, but this dish truly deserves a mention…or a billboard…or its own podcast. Few culinary creations can match the creamy-on-the-inside-crispy-on-the-outside perfection of socca (what the French call it) or cecina (what the Italians call it), a traditional, naturally vegan Mediterranean chickpea flour pancake that practically begs for succulent toppings. In this case, those toppings involve the inimitable simplicity and full-bodied flavor of caramelized onions and roasted red peppers, brightened with a generous sprinkling of lemon-thymey za’atar seasoning. Chickpea flour does come with a relatively high price tag, and while you can certainly try making your own, I’ve experimented with using all sorts of less expensive whole-grain flours – from buckwheat to brown rice to spelt – in socca recipes and experienced tasty (if inauthentic) results each time.

Must-Read News Article

Is Producing More Food to Feed the World Beside the Point?
by Nathanael Johnson at Grist

Image via Shutterstock.

Image via Shutterstock.

In this insightful article, Nathanael Johnson asks the question, “We currently have plenty of food, and yet we still have hunger, even in the U.S. So how will increasing yields further help?” An important inquiry, especially considering that, according to author Gordon Conway, “If we were to add up all of the world’s production of food and then divide it equally among the world’s population, each man, woman, and child would receive a daily average of over 2,800 calories — enough for a healthy lifestyle.” Like so many other social issues, hunger stems from a lack of access – to food, in this case – caused by government policies that embolden white supremacy, favor the rich, and repress dissent. Thus, instead of delegating the reformation of agriculture to attempts of alliances between transnational agribusiness and government to increase crop yields, we – the people “from below” – must organize for a more egalitarian society.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Coverage of Ferguson
via Democracy Now!

Photo via DemocracyNow.com.

Photo via DemocracyNow.com.

The murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri and the events that subsequently ensued will undoubtedly go down in history (as it rightly should), at least if the amount of media coverage it’s received provides any indication. Predictably, though, mainstream coverage has all but completely obscured what matters most in Ferguson – the killing of yet another unarmed black teenager – by focusing on the “riots” and looting that occurred in the days following Michael Brown’s killing (and jeez, who are these privileged white journalists who have probably never dealt with racist police brutality to tell the citizens of Ferguson how to assert their humanity?).

Thankfully, media outlets like Democracy Now! exist to provide independent, accurate, and fair coverage of current events in a manner that doesn’t victim-blame and allows the people involved in struggle to make their voices heard. As I’m not a resident of Ferguson and therefore cannot speak for the folks valiantly demanding some sort of justice in a supremely unjust societal structure, I think that Democracy Now! has done a great job of maintaining focus on Michael Brown’s murder and the systemic racism responsible for it. Check out episodes from August 18, August 19, and August 20 for progressive coverage of Ferguson.

Book Recommendation

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
by Glenn Greenwald

Photo via GlennGreenwald.net.

Photo via GlennGreenwald.net.

Recounting his experiences being contacted by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, providing adversarial reporting on Snowden’s leaked documents, and finding himself as the target of intense backlash from the government and corporate media, journalist Glenn Greenwald ingeniously employs his own story to demonstrate just how much of a surveillance state that silences even socially sanctioned forms of dissent (i.e., journalism) the U.S. has become. This book is a page-turner unlike any other social critique I’ve read in recent memory, reading almost like a novel in its first chapter, and took me all of three days to read in its entirety. If you’re interested in the full story behind the Snowden revelations, as well as much of what they illuminate, I’d highly recommend rushing to your local library and picking up Mr. Greenwald’s latest work.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-15-14}

Before launching into today’s post, I’d like to point you toward the giveaway I’m currently running for a free pack of savory, vegan, gluten-free snack bars from Slow Food for Fast Lives, as well as toward my recent review of the eBook series entitled “Socialists and Animal Rights” on Our Hen House

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the wellbeing of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Welcome to the 11th installment of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (#NewsandChews)! This one’s recipes feature two items of summer produce that I hold near and dear to my heart, as well as the non-dairy cheese that occupies an equally cherished place…in my stomach. As for news, we’ve got gender norms, the denial of racism, non-military solutions to the situation in Iraq, corporate efforts to privatize education, and the government’s labeling of activists as terrorists. Fun stuff today, folks!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory
via Veggie Belly
Photo via Veggie Belly.

Photo via Veggie Belly.

 When summer rolls around, one vegetable that I can’t seem to put into my mouth fast enough is sweet corn. Growing up the in Midwest, I devoured the juicy corn-on-the-cob my mother would boil every week during the warm months, smearing corn bits all over my adolescent face. Naturally, I’ve held the majestic sweet corn dear into adulthood, now chopping it into salads, roasting it in the husk, and pureeing it into soups, but always appreciating its familiarity as a childhood family favorite. This recipe for Masala-Coated Corn, however, introduces a completely new application for my longtime summer veggie pal, coating it in a succulent Indian-spiced tomato sauce. Yes. Yes, please.
Sweet
via My Whole Food Life
Blueberry-Bliss-Bars-My-Whole-Food-Life

I don’t know how the folks at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket grow their blueberries, but whatever they’re doing comprises the work of a genius. I honestly cannot remember ever experiencing plumper, sweeter, and more flavorful blueberries than during my time in Brooklyn this summer. With a mere four ingredients –one of which is the true delicacy of coconut cream –the fudgy bars pictured above would surely showcase the perfection of my Brooklyn blueberries (how’s that for alliteration?).

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Broccoli Quesadilla with Avocado, Garlic, and Dill
Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

broccoli-avocado quesadilla (2)

During my daily perusing of the latest recipes published in the foodie blogosphere, I tend to bypass those that contain animal flesh and secretions rather than seeking to veganize them. With such a plethora of creative, masterful vegan recipes out there that replicate and far exceed the non-vegan online fare, I see no reason to bookmark the recipes that imply animal exploitation. There exist exceptions to every rule, however, and this verdant quesadilla recipe represents one such exception. Boasting a saute of crisp-tender broccoli and sharp garlic contrasted with the refreshing smoothness of avocado and the slightly sweet note of one of my favorite herbs, the original quesadilla recipe required only a substitute of the king of all non-dairy cheeses on the market (aka, Daiya shredsto provide a veggie-loaded and ooey-gooey vegan entree.

Must-Read News Article

Today I’d like to highlight a pair of articles that touch upon two forms of hegemonic oppression that profoundly affect all of us, though about which most of us remain either unconscious or in denial: gender conformity and white supremacy.

Forcing Kids to Stick to Gender Roles Can Actually Be Harmful to Their Health
by Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress

Photo via Shutterstock.

Photo via Shutterstock.

It should come as no surprise that forcing children to conform to an identity with which they don’t actually, well, identify would cause them severe stress and mental anxiety. Indeed, a recent study has confirmed just this intuition, suggesting that the pervasive societal assumption of gender as biological (aka, “natural”) leads to insecurity and low self-esteem in children, who feel the need to exert constant effort to perform in line with established gender norms. Unlike many articles concerning entrenched social issues, though, this one concludes on a hopeful bent, noting that young folks are far less indoctrinated into society’s notions of gender than are older individuals.

We’re Not a Post-Racial Society: We’re an Innocent-Until-Proven-Racist Society
by Danielle Henderson at AlterNet

Photo via AlterNet.

Photo via AlterNet.

Turning to a second hegemony of white supremacy, this article points out with specific examples the general resistance to labeling clearly racist incidents as “racist” (kind of like how only recently did the New York Times promise to start calling torture “torture”). The author astutely attributes this problematic phenomenon to the the promotion in the 1990s of colorblindness, which encouraged whites to pretend not to “see” race, and therefore to deny the existence of racism while at the same time perpetuating it (in the words of Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”). Indeed, if we pretend that racism does not exist, we can not as white folks start to cultivate the anti-racist consciousness necessary in fostering a just society for all.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Two multimedia segments for you today, as well! One on the U.S. intervention in Iraq, the other on the corporatization of the educational system.

As U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Begin, Will Military Intervention Escalate Growing Crisis?
via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

On last Friday’s episode of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who has written extensively on Middle East-U.S. relations and actively opposes the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Recently, Bennis published an insightful piece entitled “Don’t Go Back to Iraq!: Five Steps the U.S. Can Take in Iraq without Going Back to War.” Emphasizing an end to military “solutions” and a collaboration with other nations, Bennis’ piece counters the U.S.’ patriarchal discourse of war as the answer to all of our problems. Bennis discusses the details of her piece and more on this episode of Democracy Now!.

Debunking Ed Reform
via Radio Dispatch

Photo via The Colbert Report.

Photo via The Colbert Report.

Moving to another war – this time the war on public education by conservative self-titled “ed reformers” – John and Molly of Radio Dispatch debunk in detail claims that we must abolish teacher tenure in an effort to improve the performance of schoolchildren. John and Molly explain that standardized testing does not necessarily adequately reflect a student’s capabilities, and that the low-income students performing the worst based upon this standardized testing is largely the result of their poverty, not their teacher’s presumed incompetence. For more on this important discussion, watch the Colbert Report episode with ed reform advocate Campbell Brown that John and Molly reference on the show, as well as a Washington Post article entitled “Fact-Checking Campbell Brown: What She Said, What Research Really Shows.”

Book Recommendation

The Terrorization of Dissent: Corporate Repression, Legal Corruption, and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
by Jason del Gandio and Anthony J. Nocella II

Photo via Amazon.com.

Photo via Amazon.com.

I’ll finish today by recommending a book that brings together the government repression of activists (particularly animal and environmental), the privileging of corporate interests, and the shoddy U.S. legal system. Edited by powerful intersectional activists and scholars Jason del Gandio and Anthony J. Nocella II, this anthology contains important essays by intellectuals and prosecuted activists alike that concern the government’s labeling of animal and environmental activists as terrorists (even though these groups have never caused bodily harm to anyone, while white supremacist hate groups run free), the free speech-chilling Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) of 2006, and recent “ag-gag” laws. This November, the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) (for which I’m honored and humbled to serve a second year as co-president) plans on hosting a campus event week focusing on the topics explored in this book, featuring three of the anthology’s contributors and finishing on Saturday with a discussion that includes numerous activist groups on campus. An important topic for activists of all stripes to explore.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-8-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the wellbeing of all creatures (not just the rich or the human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Happy 10th anniversary of Vegan Chews and Progressive News (#NewsandChews)! Exciting, no? Throw some aluminum foil at me! Right? 10th anniversary is aluminum? Anyway… Your jaw will hang wide open at the lavender-spiked grilled cheese sandwich, the creamy green dessert, and the simple yet complexly flavored side dish featured on today’s post. Then, you’ll get your Friday fix of feminism, anti-racism, anti-militarism, and current events. Let’s dive in!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory
Photo via Keepin' it Kind.

Photo via Keepin’ it Kind.

Okay, so this sandwich isn’t necessarily a savory recipe, but that fact certainly does not detract from its ability to make my mouth water after one glimpse of its photo. A huge fan of toasted sandwiches and creamy nut cheeses, this recipe combines two of my gastronomic propensities with my flower of choice: lavender. My past housemate and I share an obsession of sorts with the scent and taste of lavender, though his passion proves so intense that I could smell him walking down the hallway even if the door to my room was closed. Gabe, I would share this sandwich first with you. Though blackberries don’t seem to be in season right now (at least not in Brooklyn), I’m certain that this sandwich would taste just as lovely with raspberries or blueberries.
Sweet
Ethereal Pistachio Mousse
via Clean Wellness
Photo via Clean Wellness.

Photo via Clean Wellness.

I’ve found myself on a rather unstoppable ice cream kick this summer and, judging by my excitement for this recipe, this kick apparently extends to all desserts of the creamy, dreamy, smooth, decadent, delicious, oh my goodness gracious I love ice cream….ahem, persuasion. Anywho, this dessert combines the impeccable texture of creamy desserts with a little green nut that holds a special place in my heart, reminding me of the pistachio gelato over which I swoon whenever I’m lucky enough to return to Italy.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Roasted Scallions, Okra, and Green Beans with Za’atar and Olives
Adapted from Gourmandelle

za'atar veggies with olives

A simple recipe, yet one with enormous flavor. After discovering sumac at the Brooklyn Whole Foods – for which I had been on a quest since last December – I eagerly compiled all of the recipes on my “Recipes to Try” document that featured the brightly flavored seasoning, ubiquitous in Middle Eastern cuisine, known as za’atar (of which sumac is an integral ingredient). The first za’atar-y recipe with which I experimented, this multidimensional side dish pairs the fresh lemon-thyminess of za’atar (homemade with this recipewith the charred succulence of roasted scallions. Since the green beans and okra at my Brooklyn farmers’ market are at peak season right now, I threw a handful of each veggie in with the scallions, yielding fabulous results.

Must-Read News Article

The Problem with Men Explaining Things
by Rebecca Solnit at Mother Jones

Photo via Hypestock/Shutterstock.

Photo via Hypestock/Shutterstock.

I’ve long found myself feeling unimportant, questioning my intelligence and worth, during conversations with many of the men in my life, including those about whom I care very deeply. Feminist scholars like Rebecca Solnit (author of Men Explain Things to Me, which I’d highly recommend) have helped me to realize, name, and understand the origins of this feeling of disenfranchisement that I’ve experienced since childhood when interacting with most men. These feelings arise when, after nearly every mild assertion I make, the man with whom I’m speaking questions it, corrects it, or otherwise explains the correctness of a contrary point. An exhausting feeling to host on a daily basis, I’ve definitely internalized a sense of inferiority when in speaking situations with a male presence. This article by Rebecca Solnit at Mother Jones does a fantastic job of demonstrating the male tendency to explain things (EVERYTHING) to women, and has helped me to start combating that sense of inferiority.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Brennan lies, NYPD misdemeanor arrests are up” and “We tortured some folks
via The Radio Dispatch

John & Molly, hosts. (Photo via The Radio Dispatch.)

John & Molly, hosts. (Photo via The Radio Dispatch.)

John and Molly Knefel, the hosts of The Radio Dispatch podcast, have produced especially tremendous episodes all this week, discussing in an accessible, thoughtful, and entertaining manner the urgent social issues of the moment, such as CIA Director John Brennan lies about his group’s spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the perpetual fucked-up-ness of the NYPD, the casual nature of Obama’s admission that the U.S. “tortured some folks,” and, of course, Gaza. These are the podcast episodes in which to immerse yourself on your next run, cooking bout, or evening unwinding time.

Book Recommendation

We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America
Edited by Elizabeth “Betita” Martínez, Mandy Carter, and Matt Meyer

Photo via Amazon.

Photo via Amazon.

This summer, I’ve found myself devouring all the literature on social organizing and feminist/anti-racist/anti-capitalist theory that I can possibly consume. As a burgeoning activist, I see the immense importance of understanding the histories of the movements and issues to which I want to commit myself, as well as their contemporary state and significance. This anthology of essays by prominent anti-racist and anti-war activists writing at various points in the 21st century has greatly contributed to just such an understanding, featuring pieces by late revolutionary organizers and activists at the forefront of today’s struggles alike. An important book for engaging in the important work of linking racism, militarism, and other forms of oppression.

In solidarity, Ali.