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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marinated vegan shrimp tacos & salsa fresca slaw

Companion veggie prawn

Love it or hate it, embrace it or decry it, faux meat is here to stay. In general, I come down firmly on the pro-faux meat side, if only because fast and easy processed foods like faux meat make transitioning into a vegetarian diet a lot easier for people who hate vegetables. Until omnivores start tearing chunks of unadulterated dead flesh directly off of the corpses they’re eating, I’m not going to take any of this But why do vegans eat veggie burgers? I bet it’s just because you miss real burg– Ahhhh! [gurgle] Why did you just stab me in the throat with your pen?! garbage. For example, despite its birth as a way to describe a sandwich using a patty of minced meat, the word “burger” now simply brings to mind a circular piece of (usually indiscernibly sourced) protein; its round shape and presentation inside of a bun are no longer exclusive to ground-up and irradiated animal flesh. Long story short, faux meat is great in a pinch, when you’re too lazy to press tofu, soak beans, or whip up a batch of seitan.

On our first trip to Pacific Produce, I was surrounded by a whirlwind of faux meats. In the freezer section, I spied a small row of Companion brand frozen vegetarian delicacies. Of the delicacies that were offered, only the veggie prawn were vegan — everything else contained the dreaded whey or casein. (Indeed, none of Companion’s frozen vegetarian entrees are vegan except the veggie prawn and veggie chicken drumsticks.)

For our first foray into the oddity that is veggie prawn, we went the shrimp taco route. You could obviously use this marinade on tofu rather than veggie prawn — add some crumbled nori or kelp granules for oceanic savoriness.

marinated vegan shrimp tacos with salsa fresca slaw

» 6 vegan shrimp, thawed (8.8-oz. package)
» 2 tbsp olive oil
» juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
» 1 clove garlic, minced
» 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
» 1 tbsp cilantro, minced
» 1 tbsp white wine (optional)
» 1 tsp white vinegar
» 1/4 tsp ground cumin
» kosher salt & cracked black pepper, to taste

Blend all marinade ingredients — everything except the “shrimp” — in a food processor or with a whisk.
Place shrimp in a Ziploc bag, add marinade, seal the bag, and toss to coat.
Marinate for at least 1 hour.
Pan fry shrimp in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes, or grill in a grill pan for 2-3 minutes per side.

salsa fresca slaw

» 1 c green cabbage, chopped
» 1 large tomato, cored, seeded & diced
» 1 white onion, minced
» 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
» 1 clove garlic, minced
» 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
» juice of 1-2 limes (2-4 tbsp)
» 1 tbsp olive oil
» 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
» 1/4 tsp ground cumin
» salt, to taste
» cayenne, to taste (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Omni boyfriend swore up and down that the veggie prawn taste eerily similar to real shrimp. I never ate real shrimp because the idea of purposely consuming the carcass of a filter-feeding ocean creature was inherently off-putting to me, so I have no idea whether or not these stay true to the Original Sea Insect FlavorTM.
B. has never hesitated to tell me when he thinks a faux product tastes gross, so I just have to trust him on this one. Neither of us were terribly fond of the texture, which was a bit too much like a veggie hot dog to be particularly convincing.

We served the marinated veggie prawn and salsa fresca slaw with VegWeb’s failsafe authentic Mexican rice.

Silk Nog topped with freshly ground nutmeg, plus a double chocolate vegan brownie

For dessert: Silk Nog with freshly ground nutmeg and a double chocolate brownie from HoverCraft! Bless the woman who had an entire stand of vegan baked goods. I bought one of everything.

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