Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Book Review: Veggie Burger Atelier by Nina Olsson

If you've been following me on Instagram, then you know I've developed quite the love affair with Veggie Burger Atelier by Nina Olsson.  It's only $8.14 on Amazon right now.  Talk about an underrated book!

Yes, it's a vegetarian cookbook, not vegan, but she provides plenty of vegan options.  The rest are things you can easily figure out substitutions yourself.  I do have four suggestions if you do go buy this, or take it out of your local library.

Image result for veggie burger atelier

The first is to ignore all of the panko breadcrumbs listed in the ingredient section.  It tends to be dry and not hold together that well when you use it.  Instead, use vital wheat gluten.  It gives it a much meatier feel and holds the burger together better.

Secondly, do everything by weight.  If you substitute panko for vital wheat gluten cup for cup, it'll be a disastor.  You have to do it by weight.  I feel like these recipes in general work better when you measure everything by weight.

Third, all the ones that say to bake them are too squishy when you eat them.  Add a little extra vital wheat gluten so it holds together better and then pan fry them.  The texture is better this way.  I always use my trusty cast iron pan, but that's up to you.

Lastly, these recipes make gigantic burgers. I cut them in half and make three more normal size burgers.  I think they cook better that way and are simply easier to eat.

Sage, Kale and Butternut Squash Burger.  This is the first burger I made.  Too squishy, but otherwise really good.  I'd definitely use vital wheat gluten next time.

Le Parisien.  So good!  Listen to her topping suggestions.  They sound crazy, but they're great with every burger.   I used Follow Your Heart Gouda in lieu of Gruyere cheese, Just Mayo, homemade peach jam and caramelized onions.  It was the perfect mix of salty, sweet and sour.

'Shroom and Egg Burger.  OMFG.  This was my favorite out of the book.  It would be a great brunch burger.  There are a million ways to make a vegan egg, use what you like.  There are great vegan yolk recipes, but you can just use The Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk.  Don't skip it, the yolk makes the burger.

The Lahmacun Burger topped with cashew toum (my daughter is obsessed with this and forgoes cream cheese for toum on her bagel), red onions, lettuce, and a dollop of harissa.

The Berlinger Burger served with homemade curry ketchup and homemade sauerkraut and potato wedges on the side.  I wasn't sure about the kraut, but it all really went together so well.

IS IT VEGAN-FRIENDLY?  Yes, most definitely.  There are some things she didn't provide a vegan option for like halloumi cheese, but can google "vegan...whatever" and I'm sure you can figure something out.  The bulk of the book is easily veganizable if it's not already vegan.

WOULD I BUY IT?  Yes, I did buy it!  I cannot believe the success I've had with Veggie Burger Atelier.  I can't believe how every recipe, including the condiment and side suggestions, have been so amazing!  Granted the panko was a mistake, but whatever.  Make a few tweeks and this book is well worth the money.  I love that I finally have some great options for veggie burgers that aren't the usual black bean or Beyond Burger.  I highly recommend you check out this book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Is Dr. Bronner's Vegan?

No.  Well, kind of.  Yes, their products are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. 

The no is if you are someone that cares about companies as a whole, then no, they're not.

I was shocked when I saw this article from "Dr. Bronner's Supports "Humane Washing" Enterprise from United Poultry Concerns

Many of us animal rights activists have used Dr. Bronner’s’ “Magic Soap” for years, confident that the company’s lofty rhetoric reflected the highest ethical standards toward animals and the planet as professed in their Cosmic Principles of guidance “in everything we do, from soapmaking to peacemaking.”

Imagine our surprise on learning that Dr. Bronner’s business, which espouses “Be kind to animals, earth and body,” is funneling profits to Farm Forward, an organization that promotes farmed animal production and consumption, including the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Kansas and the Good Shepherd Poultry Institute dedicated to preserving “heritage poultry breeds and helping rebuild an agricultural system that puts animals back in the center of farming.”

Um.  WTF?! Right.  Then there was this press release from Dr. Bronner's, that said in part:

Dr. Bronner's infographic showing support for Farm Forward
Support of Farm Forward and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals
This year the company is proud to continue to support Farm Forward, an organization that supports advocacy around the New York Times best-selling book Eating Animals, which has been adapted into a documentary produced by Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman and directed by Christopher Quinn, the award-winning director of God Grew Tired of Us. The film premiered at the Telluride film festival this past September. Farm Forward collaborated extensively with board member and author, Jonathan Safran Foer, for three years while he wrote Eating Animals and is planning to organize advocacy around the film. Just like Foer’s book, the documentary uses a combination of humor, adventure, muckraking, and memoir to explore the realities of contemporary animal agriculture alongside the complexities of food ethics.
“We’re incredibly grateful for Dr. Bronner’s generosity and commitment to an ethical, just, and sustainable food system,” said Aaron Gross, Founder and CEO of Farm Forward. “Eating Animals has galvanized resistance to factory farming like no other work. With the support of Dr. Bronner’s, Farm Forward and other animal advocates are able to leverage the book and ultimately the film in tremendous ways,” continued Gross.
When I tweeted them about it, this was their response:

Replying to  
Hey there! Our support for Farm Forward to date has been around their outreach related to “Eating Animals,” one of the most successful books of recent years addressing the problem of factory farming. -Stacey

Yay!  Supporting a book that promotes veganism!  Awesome.  Hey!  You know what else Farm Forward promotes? "Humane" animal agriculture.  Here's the mission statement from their site.

We pursue this work by:
  • Promoting agriculture that combines the best in traditional husbandry and animal welfare science by increasing the market share of more humane, sustainable family farms.
  • Eliminating the worst practices in factory farming.
  • Advocating an acute reduction in the consumption of factory-farmed meat, fish, eggs, and dairy by encouraging conscientious consumer and institutional decision making.
  • Supporting interdisciplinary research and undergraduate teaching about the cultural significance of animals and animal agriculture.
  • Stimulating the production of essays, books, films, and religious activities that raise awareness about the problems in animal agriculture and the deeper cultural issues behind them.

Let me say this.  I shop at stores that sell non-vegan products.  I bought a car that isn't vegan-friendly.  I have bought products from companies that sell vegan and non-vegan merchandise.  But here's the thing.  None of those companies are out there promoting themselves as a vegan-friendly company. 

For Dr. Bronner's to support an organization who is promoting the false idea of humane animal agriculture goes against everything they used to stand for.  And it makes their new campaign to "End Factory Farming" completely hypocritical in my opinion.

So you decide.  If they are supporting an organization like Farm Forward, are they really an company you still want to support?  Too bad really, I did like their products. 

What are you other options?  I like Mrs. Meyers.  Do you make your own with vinegar?  That's a bad idea, but I'll tell you why in another post.  Have a great holiday. 

All ideas in this post are my own opinions.  I have presented publicly available information and test directly from the groups involved.  I have a first amendment right to my opinions.  Just thought i'd add this in case Dr. Bronner's is the type to sue bloggers for pointing out what is going on.