Announcing the Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale #3 – Saturday, May 14, 2011 at Urban Ecology Center!

HEY, MILWAUKEE (and the rest of the world)!

Apologies for the months-long absence! How ’bout that snowpocalypse, huh? Milwaukee winters are none too kind to my ambition, sanity, or pen-pal skills. Mostly, I sleep away the dark afternoons and only rouse from my hibernating state to eat a lot of hot artichoke dip (and even more cashew-nooch parmesan), see Dismemberment Plan play some reunion shows, eat more artichoke dip, cuddle with my dog, buy two new car windows because my car got broken into twice in a month, etc. Pictures of all of that fun stuff (minus the car break-ins) are coming down the pike. A preview…

crispy soy protein nuggets and plum sauce at Wild Ginger, Brooklyn
vegan Salisbury steak hazelnut cutlet with porcini mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and beer-braised Brussels sprouts at Comet Cafe, Milwaukee
chicken-fried tofu with a red wine-shiitake mushroom sauce, roasted broccoli, and roasted Russet potatoes

For now, an announcement: It’s that time again. Time for a vegan bake sale, that is!
The next Milwaukee vegan bake sale will be at Urban Ecology Center (just like the last one) on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Hours will probably be 10 AM – 5 PM. Proceeds will be split between UEC and a local non-profit organization TBD.

To expand on what I am desperately praying will be a mild, unseasonably warm spring, I will also be offering homegrown, ready-to-plant fruit and vegetable seedlings… but I’m only one woman, so I can’t do this all by myself!
As such, it would be awesome if you could bake, grow, and/or stop on by to donate a few bucks toward our causes. I have a great seed-starting light and heat mat setup in my attic (photos and essays about “growing your own” forthcoming), so if you need me to pick up your wee plantlets after you’ve gotten a good start on them and keep them at mine until the sale, I can totally do that.

Is there a particular local non-profit organization for whom we should fundraise?
Do you like baking cookies or growing plants?
Would you like to bake cookies, grow plants, and do a spot of good for your community at the same time?
Do you need seeds to grow at home? (I have tons of extras.)
E-mail me here, or sign up to bake/grow/volunteer here!

Thanks so much, Milwaukee vegans, and I’ll see you in May!


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Carolina BBQ sandwich, buffalo chik’n wings, and vegan mac & cheese from Ste Martaen vegan food truck

Ste Martaen vegan food truck, from the back
Ste Martaen vegan food truck, inside
Carolina BBQ sandwich, buffalo chik'n wings, and vegan mac & cheese from Ste Martaen vegan food truck
Carolina BBQ sandwich, buffalo chik'n wings, and vegan mac & cheese from Ste Martaen vegan food truck
Carolina BBQ sandwich, buffalo chik'n wings, and vegan mac & cheese from Ste Martaen vegan food truck
Thanks for coming to town, Ste Martaen!

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the Ste Martaen vegan food truck is coming to Milwaukee!

Big news, Milwaukee vegans!
The Ste Martaen vegan food truck is making a special trip from Chicago to Milwaukee just to feed us this Saturday, December 18! They will be here between 1 and 3 PM, and you can check Ste Martaen’s Twitter or Facebook to find out exactly where they’ll be.

Location updates!
1:00 PM – East Side, corner of Prospect Ave. & North Ave.
1:55 PM – East Side, Brady St. & Farwell Ave.
2:30 PM – Bay View, corner of Kinnickinnic Ave. & Potter Ave.

Today’s menu!
Carolina BBQ
Vegan p*rk BBQ topped with Smoked Gouda and slaw; served on a whole wheat bun.
Olive Focaccia Sandwich
Marinated and baked tofu, sliced Ste Martaen cheese, grilled red peppers and onions; served on fresh baked Olive Focaccia bread.

Buffalo Chik’n Wings
Vegan chik’n on sugarcane “bone” smothered in fresh made buffalo sauce; served with celery, carrot and a cooling cucumber dill dressing.
Maple BBQ Chik’n Wings
Vegan chik’n on sugarcane “bone” covered with a maple BBQ glaze; served with Chicago’s best Southern style biscuit.
The Bernstein Shebazzle (formerly the “Breakfast Burrito”)
Scrambled tofu, veggie sausage, jalapeno cheese, and spinach wrapped in a grilled burrito.
Soul Vegetarian Mac & Cheese, Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Pie, and Chocolate Mousse Pie
No Ste Martaen vegan cheeses will be available from the truck today. Sad face!

Ste Martaen (pronounced sahn mar-tahn) started out as a small business venture by a vegan family. First up, they created an assortment of gourmet vegan cheese alternatives — all of which are gluten- and soy-free — carefully crafted from a blend of organic cashews, nooch, lemon juice, tahini, and other goodies. These aren’t your standard melty Daiya/Teese/FYH pizza or macaroni toppers, but rather solid artisan cheeses meant to be enjoyed with crackers or wine.
They offer five vegan cheese flavors, available to order online or at various brick and mortar stores in Chicago, including two branches of Whole Foods: Colby, Smoked Gouda, Pepper Jack, Muenster, and Olive! Each cheese is $5.95 per half-pound.

Here’s a photo of the goods, from the Ste Martaen website:

Ste Martaen vegan artisan cheeses

Next, Ste Martaen started their vegan food truck, and Monday through Saturday, the truck delivers a revolving variety of 100% vegan goodies like breakfast burritos, BBQ sliders, tacos, chik’n wings, sandwiches, and more to Chicago and its suburbs. They’ve also formed a partnership with Soul Vegetarian East, so a selection of SV dishes is usually available in addition to the standard menu. Ste Martaen’s menu changes daily, but it’s always up-to-date on their website. You can also purchase Ste Martaen’s vegan cheese right at the truck.

Payment can only be made with cash, so make sure you hit up an ATM!
The truck will be rolling into Milwaukee around 1 PM and staying until 3 PM, but specific locations have yet to be announced. Visit the Ste Martaen food truck website for more details on how to request a stop (via phone, Google Talk, Twitter, or Facebook).
For the latest vegan food truck details, including locations and times, check out these links!
» @veganmilwaukee [Twitter]
» @stemartaen [Twitter]
» Vegan Milwaukee [Facebook]
» Ste Martaen [Facebook]

If all that wasn’t enough to motivate you, check out these delicious dishes, all from Ste Martaen’s Flickr:

vegan foccacia sandwich from Chicago's Ste Martaen food truck

vegan breakfast burrito from Chicago's Ste Martaen food truck

vegan shredded chik'n tacos with pico de gallo, from Chicago's Ste Martaen food truck

Italian faux-beef sandwich from Chicago's Ste Martaen food truck

In other local vegan news, Chicago Soydairy‘s brand-new frozen breaded Teese mozzerella sticks are now available through Wisconsin’s own Vegan Essentials! You can get 15% off of your order today by using the coupon code savebig when you check out. Click here to buy some, and I’ll see you at the food truck on Saturday! I’m looking forward to ordering one of everything.

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Israeli couscous-stuffed squash with toasted cashews

dry Israeli couscous with bay leaves and a cinnamon stick

Israeli couscous, also known as ptitim, pearl couscous, or Ben Gurion‘s rice, is probably my favorite pasta. To prepare, it is usually simmered with stock or water, and fresh ingredients like parsley and lemon zest are often added at the end of the cooking time to brighten up the flavor. Toasting the couscous with a cinnamon stick and bay leaves brings out an array of wonderful aromas, and cashews provide a nice texture element as well as a complement to the ptitim’s natural nuttiness.
I’m not a huge fan of using fruit in savory dishes, but you can add some diced apples or raisins to the couscous before baking it for a sweet touch. For even more sweetness, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the inside of the squash before baking.

Israeli couscous-stuffed carnival squash with toasted cashews

» 1/2 carnival or acorn squash, seeded & de-stringed
» 1/2 c raw cashew pieces
» 2 tbsp Earth Balance or olive oil
» 2 cloves garlic, minced
» 1 1/2 c Israeli couscous
» 2 bay leaves
» 1 cinnamon stick
» 1 3/4 c vegetable or faux chicken broth
» 1/4 tsp salt
» 2 tsp lemon juice
» optional toppings: chopped parsley, lemon zest, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apples, ground cinnamon, roasted squash seeds

Preheat oven to 350F.
Brush squash interior with olive oil or Earth Balance, place face down on a cooking sheet or baking dish, and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until barely fork tender.
While squash is baking, toast cashews in a dry, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until cashews are fragrant and slightly golden. Set aside.
Heat Earth Balance or olive oil in saucepan over medium heat.
Add garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring and scraping to prevent burning.
Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves and toast until couscous is browned.
Add broth and salt, bring to a boil, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all broth is absorbed.
When all of the broth has been absorbed into the couscous, remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick, add toasted cashews and lemon juice, and fluff with a fork.
Add optional toppings, if desired, and scoop a scant 3/4 cup of cooked couscous into the baked squash.
Put the squash back into the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes.

Israeli couscous-stuffed carnival squash with toasted cashews, steamed broccoli, and grilled balsamic tofu

Protein: tofu! Simple Soyman plain tofu, pressed and marinated in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, white wine, soy sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, and minced fresh rosemary for about an hour, then grilled for about 5 minutes per side.
On the side, I had steamed broccoli tossed with a few drops of soy sauce and a few drops of lemon juice.

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