September 28th, 2015 by NashVeggie
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Anyone who knows me knows my love for barbecue. As a vegan I still love barbecue. You don’t have to use pork, beef or chicken to get the smoky goodness of barbecue. As a matter of fact, for me it is all about the sauce. I just need a form of transport for the sauce and sometimes that’s a simple as a spoon. However, being the barbecue lover as I am I was excited to try Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit. I had tried a barbecue jackfruit sandwich once before at Native Foods and we seriously underwhelmed but I believe it had more to do with the fact I had paid $10 for a sandwich that had 2 small pieces of jackfruit and was nearly flavorless.
Jackfruit has recently elevated itself as the new vegan meat replacement of choice among the vegans who like meat replacements. It has a chewy texture and a stringy form when unripe that much resembles pulled pork or beef. Add that to barbecue sauce and you have what could be a nice sandwich for some.
Upton’s Naturals is a Chicago based natural food producer. Their products consist of seitan and now they have added jackfruit to their line. The jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals is available in Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas. I tried both.
I prepared the Bar-B-Que jackfruit on stovetop. I heated it slowly in a pan, covered and served it on a freshly baked bun with sweet pickles. On the first bite I felt something was off. The flavor was very vinegary. There was no smokiness or sweetness to the sauce. The flavor of the jackfruit was there in a fruity way but the sweetness of the barbecue sauce which should always be noticeable in a good barbecue sauce was completely missing. I trudged through the rest of the sandwich but was left very underwhelmed. I think this product could benefit from a reworking of the sauce that it is served with.
Upton’s Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich. Served with sweet pickles on a fresh baked bun.
The Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit is similar in form to the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. I prepared it the same as the Bar-B-Que and serve it with black beans and rice. Upon the first bite I noticed the same acidity present in the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. There was no lime flavor at all. There was no spice or flavoring to the sauce or jackfruit other than the acidic sauce. There was a distinct fruit flavor to the jackfruit that was entirely out of place as though the jackfruit had been overripe. I had beans and rice for dinner this night and the jackfruit went uneaten.
Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit served over rice.
If you are a jackfruit fan these two products may be for you. I am not certain of whether these are not good products or I’m just not a fan of jackfruit but I honestly think the issue lies in the sauce and spices used with the jackfruit.
If you’re up for trying your own and forming an opinion for yourself both varieties of jackfruit as well as seitan from Upton’s Naturals is available from Vegan Essentials and other locations. At the time of this article, Whole Foods in the Nashville area does not stock the jackfruit.
August 9th, 2015 by NashVeggie
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There was a time not so long ago that if you wanted to find something vegan in a Nashville restaurant you were limited to a frozen veggie burger or a burrito joint. These days many new places have opened their doors in Nashville to vegans and some old places have expanded their menus to accommodate a vegan diet.
With the influx of new places to dine for a vegan one thing seems to remain constant when I ask people their favorite place to go: There’s no one place people pick over another. Many still choose a burrito place as their go-to and some swear by the upscale restaurants. So, what’s your favorite? Do you like to eat around or do you have a single place that you set your sights on anytime you have a chance to go to a restaurant? Bonus points for your favorite order at the restaurant.
May 15th, 2015 by NashVeggie
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I drink coffee. Lots of coffee. 4 cups in the morning and another 2-3 cups in the afternoon. Sometimes more. I keep it convenient and with cold brew coffee it’s almost too convenient. With the summer quickly approaching I’ll be swigging the cold brew coffee almost constantly. Over the past 3 years I have made cold brew coffee a part of my warm season life. I’ve also perfected the brew.
For those who do not know, cold brew coffee is nothing more than a coffee concentrate brewed slowly at room temperature. The long extraction at a lower temperature will bring out the flavors of the coffee without the bitterness that hot brewing typically does. Best of all, you can make your own cold brew coffee a home with minimal equipment.
Making cold brew coffee requires very little in the way of equipment and you likely already have everything you need around your kitchen. A gallon jar, a scale for measuring your coffee and a french press for straining the brew. If you don’t have a coffee grinder you can grind your beans when you buy although freshly ground beans are always best.
- A one gallon jar or other brewing vessel of the same capacity
- A pitcher or sealable container for storing your cold brew coffee. You’ll end up with about 2 1/2 liters of coffee from this process.
- 14 ounces (about 400 grams) of coffee. Whole beans best if you have a grinder. You’ll want your coffee to be coarsely ground. Set your grinder for french press or the coarsest grind it will provide Also, medium to dark roasts lend a better flavor for cold brewing.
- a small scale for weighing your coffee.
Once you have your coffee ground and measured the rest of the initial work is nothing more than putting the coffee into your brewing jar and filling it the top with about 3 liters of cold water. It’s going to seem like you’re adding a very large amount of coffee to a not so great amount of water and that is exactly what you’re doing. Once the jar is filled to the top give it all a good stir so the coffee grounds are soaked well. If your jar has a lid screw it on or other wise cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and put it aside. The entire brewing process will take 24 hours. After 6 hours stir the mixture again so the grounds will settle to the bottom. Stir the mixture once again about 12 hours into the brew.
After 24 hours you are ready to strain the concentrate. I use a french press and find this the easiest way to do so. If you don’t have a french press you can use a screen mesh colander but you will get more grounds in your concentrate. Cheesecloth can also be used but the straining will be a much slower process. After straining the concentrate pour it into a sealable pitcher or container and place in your refrigerator. You can keep it refrigerated up to 2 weeks but a batch seldom lasts more than 4-5 days at my house. You can serve it however you desire but a general rule is 1 part concentrate to 2 parts milk or water. I prefer soymilk, a little brown sugar, vanilla and ice. You can also use the same ratio of concentrate to hot water for a quick cup of the smoothest tasting hot coffee you can make.
A perfect coffee drink for hot weather. Cold brew coffee, soymilk, a little brown sugar and vanilla over ice.
April 6th, 2015 by NashVeggie
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There are more places to pick when looking to eat vegan in Nashville now there was ten years ago even five years ago. Locally owned and operated eateries are mingled in with chain restaurants and many of those chains are shunned. I eat at local places as much as possible but I refuse to support a local place if their food is poor just like I refuse to spend money on bad food at a chain. I have recently noticed a lot of backlash for chains even though the food may be good and clear vegan choices are available. I’m not referring to TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, Olive Garden or Ruby Tuesday as those restaurants have little to nothing to offer a vegan let alone a vegetarian. My question is do you avoid all chain restaurants and go local only even if the local option offers a subpar meal? How important is it to you?
March 16th, 2015 by NashVeggie
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It is the time of year to play in the dirt. I’m presently in the process of getting my square foot tower garden ready for another year of allowing me to skip the produce aisle at the grocery store. Recoupoerating the garden form last year with some peat moss and compost and it will be ready to plant spinach, lettuce, carrots and possibly kale. Do you garden? What do you plant?