Saturday, May 5, 2012

Introducing "The Vegg", A Vegan Egg Yolk

I have noticed Facebook buzzing about a new product called The Vegg. The website touts itself as the "the world's first vegan fried egg." Upon first glance at this product I was fascinated. I have tried many substitutes for egg and they have all worked well, but none of them allowed for the substitute to stand alone as an egg yolk. Since going vegan, I have not ever really craved an egg, but after seeing this it made me think of the possibilities. 

One such item that came to mind, although not a stand alone egg, is vegan gluten free french toast. This might seem mundane for many of you, but to someone who lives their life as a vegan gluten freer, this is something that I have longed to enjoy. With the current egg substitutes available, the breakfast dish did not seem appealing. After hearing about The Vegg, I began to dream of a meal of french toast, sprinkled with powdered sugar, served with fresh berries. 

Since the product is not yet sold locally, I had the option of buying it online. A friend had recently tried the product and had positive reviews. As I was contemplating placing an order, I saw a Facebook status from The Vegg calling for bloggers to review the product. Within seconds, I sent an email and received a response that the product would be sent to me.

I received the product this past week and was delighted to see that the labeling stated that it is gluten free. Now, it was time for my desired meal. I decided that we would have french toast for dinner with fresh strawberries from our CSA followed by a salad, also using ingredients from our CSA. I have been dreaming of french toast ever since I heard of this product. As a gluten freer, this is not something I get to have often. In fact, I have never had french toast gluten free. Luckily for me, I would finally get to satisfy a craving. And, let me say this certainly lived up to my craving expectations! Gluten free bread is not the tastiest, but the soaking of the bread in The Vegg mixture did wonders for it! It was how I remembered french toast from my childhood. The product offered an egg-like flavor that was subtle and not too overwhelming. 

We have only tried this product once, but it was enough to get my creative juices flowing for other ideas. I imagine this will be something will always have on hand. I am hoping that it will become easy for us to have on hand by being sold in a store in Durham or Raleigh soon.

Vegan Gluten Free French Toast
  • 6 slices of gluten free, vegan bread (I used a Rice Pecan bread) 
  • 3 tsp The Vegg powder 
  • 1 1/4 c soy, almond, or coconut milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • Olive oil or canola oil spray
  • strawberries (optional for garnish)
  • powdered sugar (optional for garnish)
In a blender, or using a hand blender, blend The Vegg powder and 1/2 c of the non-dairy milk. Make sure to scrape down the sides to get the mixture to blend well. Add in the cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, remaining milk, and agave nectar and blend again. Place the mixture in a shallow bowl or pan, with enough room for two pieces of bread.

Place a skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil or canola oil spray. While the skillet is heating, place two slices of bread into The Vegg mixture and let it soak for about 5 minutes. When the pan is heated, place two pieces of bread in the skillet. Place two more pieces of bread into the mixture to soak. Turn the french toast in about 3 minutes when it is slightly browned. Cook until it brown on the other side. Serve with sprinkled powdered sugar and sliced strawberries.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maple Spring Garden CSA

For years John and I have been talking about joining a CSA. For those of you that are not familiar with the term, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We go to the Durham farmers market each Saturday to buy produce, but sometimes we (and by we, I mean John) have a hard time getting up on Saturday morning to get to the market before all the good produce is sold. We sometimes find ourselves busy on a Saturday morning and cannot make it to the market and a CSA gives us an option for fresh, local produce even no matter our Saturday plans. We will continue to make regular trips to the market to support our  favorite farmers like Piedmont Biofarm, Maple Spring Garden Gardens, Tiny Farm, Four Leaf Farm, and Wild Scallions.  

CSA's and the Durham farmers market appealing to us because all of the farms that sell must have their farm within 75 miles of the market. Therefore, truly selling local food. For the past six years, we have made it a point to purchase as much produce as we can locally. We want to support the local economy, reduce our impact on the environment, know where our food comes, and to be part of our local community. We only purchase from farmers that refrain from selling meat and engage in farming practices that are healthful to the environment (for example, none of the farmers we buy from use pesticides). 

After the advice from friends, we decided to go with Maple Spring Garden CSA. They run a traditional CSA where you can purchase a small or large share and you pick up your order at a specified location each week. We decided to go with a CSA that picked the produce for us. We are not picky when it comes to produce, so we appreciate the surprise each week. It has now been four weeks and we have been impressed with our boxes. We have received broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, turnips, Bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, spring mix, leeks, and onions. All of which we have used throughout the week in our meals. 
Our box this week: spring mix, red leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, strawberries, and broccoli
 You don't have to be vegan to enjoy a CSA, it is for anyone. No matter who you are, I recommend you check out a local CSA. Beware though, there are companies that say that they are CSA's, but they provide produce from far away. Stick with those that provide only local produce, preferably from their own farm. I like to know where my produce is coming from and with Maple Spring Garden, I know that they follow organic practices, even though they are not certified as organic. 

Our box last week: turnips, Bibb lettuce, spring mix, arugula, and strawberries

Enjoy your fruits and vegetables! Happy Spring!