A lot of my friends live in what they refer to as “the city”, meaning New York, one of nearly 300 major cities in the US, but according to them might as well be the only one. When visiting, I still stumble over where Queens and the Bronx are in relation to dreary old Manhattan. In fact, a while back I drew a map for my buddy of how I thought the boroughs were arranged. He found it so hysterical that he showed it to other city dwellers so they could have a laugh. I’m okay with this. Actually, in a strange way I’m delighted to not know much about the city because everyone else claims the exact opposite. What I do know is that it has insanely good vegan restaurants ,and for that reason alone, I remain a frequent visitor.
On that note, Tom and I recently visited Clementine Bakery in Clinton Hill (yes, I just googled “Brooklyn neighborhoods”). We go to Clementine a lot because of its proximity to my brother-in-law’s place and for its insanely delicious tempeh reuben. Loaded with homemade apple sauerkraut, marinated tempeh, Daiya mozzarella cheese, and vegan thousand island dressing inside of freshly baked sourdough bread, you cannot go wrong with this sandwich. Yes, it’s full of Daiya cheese which I’m normally not the biggest fan of, but there is a time and place for processed vegan cheese, and this is most definitely one of them. The vibe inside is cute retro hipster, with tattooed, cat-loving-girls-only bakers and Beyonce blasting in the morning. The service is slow, but it’s okay because I like being there and everything is made fresh. Enjoy your reuben outside with a local coffee and the alley cat regulars who attack unsuspecting dogs passing by. Leave your unicorn friend at home so he doesn’t scare the cats away, but make sure you buy him a reuben to go.
So this is my first year as a CSA member. Now before you get excited and envision me as a flight attendant for Czech Airlines or a product tester for Canadian Standards Association, let me explain what I mean. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is a locally based food distribution service that connects farmers to consumers without a giant supermarket in the way. Yes, food comes from farms, not florescent lit refrigerated cement boxes with aisles and aisles of food! See my thoughts on grocery stores here.
CSA’s are a fantastic way to support your local farmers while reaping the benefits of eating insanely delicious food that was grown less than an hour away. And the fun part is, you never know what you’re going to get! Each week I arrive at the farm, drooling over baskets of kale, arugula, beets, basil, and tomatoes, and dreaming of the cooking adventures I will embark on with my newly hatched sun-kissed bag of goodies.
If you’re interested in learning more about CSA’s or where to find one, check out Local Harvest. Also check out my sweet CSA provider, Seraphina Says Farm. Tara is a raw vegan farmer with a cat named Seraphina and a passion for holistic, plant based nutrition. How could anyone not get excited about that combination!
Now that you’ve got a canvas bag full of farm fresh goodness and you feel like singing “The Sound of Music” to everyone in your town, why not whip up a batch miso creamy basil pesto! Between my CSA and garden, I am practically swimming in a sea of basil goodness. I’ve even started adding it to vases as decoration. If this is happening to you too, make pesto.
P.S. The Nutmeg Cookery (that’s me and the unicorns) are going to be the guest chef at the Max Restaurant Group’s farm-to-table dinner on September 27th! If you’re a local nutmegger, come join me under the stars at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury for a five course gourmet vegan meal! For more information, click here.
2 cups packed fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, smashed or grated
1 lemon, zested & juiced
1 heaping tablespoon of miso
In a food processor, add all ingredients except oil. Pulse it down a few times, then slowly stream in the olive oil while processor is running. Blend until you have a loose, green paste. Makes 1 1/2 cups or enough to feed 2-3 unicorn farmers who’ve been digging in the earth all day. Toss with brown rice pasta and sauteed onions and peppers, or use as a spread inside of sandwiches or collard wraps with loads of veggies!
It’s official…I have completed my certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell! What does this mean? Basically that I can continue to rant about how bad sugar, dairy and meat are for you, but now when you ask for my credentials I can flash my medieval-lettered certification letter in the air with a cheshire cat grin. I am still in no way a nutritionist, which would have been a much longer road and one that I never want to take. Translation: 2+ years of cinderblock classrooms with stale pencil air and a whole lot of chemistry. I guess I’m more of a learn-online-in-the-privacy-of-my-own-faery-garden kind of girl.
So to mark this milestone, I’m going to talk about my favorite controversial nutrient. The elephant in the room of vegan nutrition, and the go-to deficiency question (after where do you get you protein…see my answer here) of omnivores everywhere. B12 isn’t a classroom, it’s a nutrient manufactured by microorganisms that dwell in the intestines of animals and in the soil. It is an essential nutrient, which means that we cannot produce it ourselves and therefore must ingest it dietarily. In our pre-industrial past, this wasn’t an issue. Translation: we used to eat dirty vegetables…now we have veggie wash and hand sanitizer. We are so damn sanitary that we can no longer supply our bodies with the minute amount of B12 we need. Unfortunately, the anti vegans of the world jump around and excitedly point their chubby fingers at our need for supplementation of B12 as the proof that veganism isn’t “natural” because how could a perfect diet need supplementation? To them I say, what exactly equates a “natural” diet? If natural means raising sentient beings in a torture chamber with a diet of fish meal, corn and soy, then mercilessly slaughtering them, and stuffing their remains in styrofoam and plastic wrap and selling them to the masses for dinner, then yes–vegans are wholly unnatural.
The issue is not that the vegan diet is unnatural, it’s that our world is changing. Due to our increased fear of germs and the continuing deluge of pesticides on our crops, we cannot find the B12 we need. It’s similar to the epidemic of the Vitamin D deficiency. Our diets haven’t changed that much, we just don’t go outside anymore!
Solution? Eat dirty veggies and run naked with the unicorns in the sunshine.
P.S. this is the B12 supplement that I take.
P.P.S. this is a picture of some of my buddies.
Image found here