Last weekend some of my fellow AVODAH alumns hosted an afternoon of bartering. Everyone brought home made products, ranging from hummus to fresh juice to calligraphy to mix CD’s. It was super satisfying because although I arrived having put minimal effort into making a few things, I left with a bounty: pickled okra, a beautiful necklace, bright purple ABC juice (apples/beets/carrots), fig preserves and soft pretzels for my non VGF sweetheart.
My offering to the bartering table was pickled carrots (I pretty much just made up the recipe as I went along) and raw vegan cherry chocolate cupcakes. These were inspired by this wonderful recipe from For the Love of Food. I followed the recipe to a T, using macademia nuts and cashews for the allotted amount of nuts, and the addition of some dried cherries. I found that this made them very oily, but still delicious and extremely rich.
I incorporated the fig preserves into an original ice cream recipe that I really should feature in a future post: vanilla fig cardamom custard. The base was a cashew cream, which made the whole things more rich and creamy than any vegan ice cream I have ever made at home. Yum!
So apprently Portland, ME is a very VGFriendly place. I had the pleasure of visiting Maine for a week this summer with three of my favorite people in the world and I quickly discovered that although the state is known for it’s seafood, there are abundant options for gluten-free vegans. From a shop-off at Trader Joe’s (oh Trader Joe’s!) to a repeat trip to Silly’s, a quirky diner that highlights vegan and gluten free options on its extensive menu, I found myself eating around the clock.
One of our more hilarious dining experiences occurred when we stopped by a spot called Kama Souptra at the Public Market in downtown Portland. This little soup shop has an array of vegan options, kindly marked on their menu, and a really cool program for regulars: you can buy your own bowl! For $30 you get your own beautiful hand-made bowl and $1 off every bowl of soup you order for the next year. Considering how good their soup was, this seems like quite a good deal. I went with the Bouktouf, a chilled zucchini soup, with a side of gluten free bread which I was assured was also vegan. As I sat with my friends devouring the soup, we all remarked that this was the most fluffy, crusty gluten-free bread imaginable…or was it?! Ten minutes later the cashier from Kama Souptra came over to our table. “You wanted gluten-free bread, didn’t you?” he asked. When I confirmed his suspicion he apologized profusely for giving us glutinous bread. Greatly relieved to hear that I am not serious allergic to gluten, he gave us a free gluten free roll and said that if I came back on another day and said I was “Miss New Orleans” I could get a free bowl of soup!
I was stoked! That’s when my friends informed me that Mr. Souptra had clearly been hitting on me. I guess my straight-dar is a little out of order. I was promptly re-named Miss New Orleans as we headed out into the rainy August afternoon with full bellies and a few belly laughs.
For a simple Bouktouf recipe visit The Splendid Table. I pretty much followed this recipe except I left out the cilantro and used tomato sauce in a jar instead of tomato paste because I am avoiding cans. Unfortunately I realized too late that Whole Foods store brand tomato sauce has Parmesan in it, so by all means use a different kind of tomato sauce!