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Archive for December, 2008

Vegan Lies in Paris

If you’re a vegan you might recognize this routine. You ask if something is vegan. You ask another guy at the store if it’s vegan. You go away and you come back another day and you double check. You maybe even get invited into the kitchen. You discuss eggs. You discuss milk. You bring up cheese, fish juice, the whole 9 yards. Finally you are convinced it is vegan. You relax and enjoy it.

Then about a year later – for some reason you don’t really understand  – you ask again. And they say… No! It’s totally full of eggs and sheep brains… who told you it wasn’t? Me??? No! My cousin!

Anyway, had a couple of disappointing revelations last week to share.

1- The bitterest of all. I scoured the Marais when I arrived here looking for the elusive chocolate filled vegan croissants promised by this joker here: guess what… I didn’t find them… or any chocolate filled vegan unicorns either. But I did find these almond croissants at the lovely Murciano Bakery on Rue des Rosiers, which were actually more like crescent-shaped marzipan pastry rather than the flaky “French Croissant.” Then last week, I just had to ask one more time in front of my out-of-town vegan friend and… guess what? Full of eggs. Barf me out …

murciano

2-Amorino. The widespread chain of Italian glaces artisanales. There’s one very close to my place,  and I have been guaranteed repeatedly that the sorbets I get there are just fruit, sugar, water. Ingredient lists were checked. What could possibly go wrong?

Then the other day, I don’t know why, I had to check again and right there with my kids already holding their cups she tells me “Why no… it has milk protein in it.” Don’t think switching to their chocolate soy ice-cream is going to save you because it is full of eggs.

I hope that I don’t need to update this post with more horrors… but I will if I have to, dear vegan readers!

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My sister introduced me to this very quick, easy and yummy hummus recipe. And it’s raw! 

I use the organic frozen peas from Picard or Naturalia. Peas are generally frozen shortly after picking (but some brands may be blanched prior to freezing.) Frozen products are still considered raw: although a small amount of enzymes are lost in the process, it’s much less than when compared to heating. Perl Amande‘s tahini is a great raw choice.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove

Preparation
If using frozen peas, thaw at room temperature. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl or plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with crudités and crackers. Flax crackers are my fave: recipe for them coming soon!

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La Victoire Suprême du Coeur has gone vegan!  This is a big deal for Paris… now we have two vegan restaurants!

You used to have to request vegan versions of their dishes, but they have recently had an image makeover, new decor and a whole new menu that they call vege chic.

The new menu is a bit more chic: they have added tofoie gras to their repertoire for example. I hear they force feed a soy bean for weeks to make that: I will be avoiding it…

I had Transcouscous Goa (Tandoori seitan, tofu and couscous) : it was nice, but less filling than the main courses form the previous menu. I was also impressed by their Ravioles de légumes verts: the ravioli pasta had a real home-made look and taste. 

I have also recently visited their Sunday brunch buffet. Since it was a buffet, I checked in with the waiter to see if everything was vegan. He said yes. I asked “Even that big plate of croissants?” He said “Ah, la seule exception!” [they are brought in from a bakery.] After further discussion I learned that the kitchen is now totally animal-product-free [except honey that's in one of the drinks on the menu.]

The buffet is about 20€, and had a tasty lasagne, plenty of salad and tapenades, soups, a mushroom loaf, a sliced raw vegetables dish, tofu, carrots, lentils etc. And a big table dedicated just to desserts. In fact, the buffet is probably 50% desserts: the chocolate tart is particularly worth trying.

 Dessert Buffet

La Victoire Suprême du Coeur

27-31, rue du Bourg-Tibourg 75004

Métro: Hôtel-de-Ville

01 40 41 95 03

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My Vegan Christmas in Paris

I always like to find out what other vegans make for their holiday meals so I can get inspiration. Donc, here’s what we had this joyous Noël:

Noël

  • Polenta crusted tempeh
  • Orange-ginger sauce
  • Olive-oil roasted potatoes
  • Emily’s Mâche Salad
  • Sauteed leeks with lemon 
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic & Rosemary
  • Mushy Peas courtesy of my English mother-in-law
  • Fruit salad with lots of pomegranate
  • Crudités with creamy, nutty dips

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bio-moi

I was walking up Rue Debelleyme from Rose Bakery when I looked up and saw this big sign.

bio-moi

I thought to myself “What could this be? I need to find out right away!” My heart started beating faster like a true grocery store addict and I decided to go in and check it out.

Well, it turns out that bio-moi is a supermarché not unlike Naturalia but with some distinctive touches of character. Firstly, I was greeted very warmly and even offered a cup of rooibos tea, which I, of course, accepted. It is impeccably laid out and not cluttered up with crates everywhere. It was really well staffed, and the staff actually asked me if I needed any help, which is not something I’ve come across here in the capital before.

All the bio-marchés have a little something they carry that the others don’t…  what caught my eye here were the goji berry cereals and organic hearts of palm.

35 rue Debelleyme
75003 Paris
01 42 78 03 26
Métro: Filles du Calvaire

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Buckwheat Crêpes

Oh, it must be so easy to be a vegetarian, wandering around town eating eggy crêpes dripping with cheese or Nutella hot off the steamy grill whenever the fancy takes you.

Of course, a vegan can always make her own crêpes, but when you crave a bit more convenience I really recommend the ready-made organic Galettes de Sarrasin carried by Naturalia.

Don’t be fooled by the name: in Bretagne, buckwheat crêpes often go by the name of galettes. Also don’t be misled by the serving suggestions that talk about putting an egg in the pan: these galettes have just three ingredients — water, buckwheat flour and Guèrande salt.

I like to fill them with something sweet like maple syrup or vegan chocolate hazelnut spread, but they are also great with a savory filling.

Be warned, the buckwheat crêpes you sometimes find at the market usually have ‘just a little’ egg in them. Thankfully, these particular galettes prove that vegan crêpes are délicieuses.

Galletes

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Vegan Soaps and Creams

When you eat vegan, you also start thinking about what you’re putting on the outside of your body. After all, your skin is your largest organ. So I am a bit particular about the soap I use.

I had heard a lot of good things about the company Lush. It’s absolutely great that they are vegan and environmentally minded, but there is something about the vivid, radioactive colors of their products that sets off my alarms.

lush

It turns out that in addition to lots of synthetic coloring, they include many questionable ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and parabens. Parabens in particular are something that I have concerns about due to the connections to cancer that a lot of researchers have found.

Here in Paris, I like to take a back-to-basics approach and go with Savon D’Alep. This is the original way soap was made, dating from Antiquity where it was created in Syria with olive oil and bay leaf oil. You’ll find this soap at any natural foods store in town.

savon_alep_royal

It’s a very natural-feeling soap, but sometimes, when you want something that is more scented and fun I love Raw Gaia. Not only are they 100% Vegan and organic but their products are raw, which like with food means it’s not heated to more than 40ºC, and therefore maintains its antioxidant properties. They have really nice smelling creams too and everything they make is very pure and simple.

hemp

Raw Gaia is based in England, so now that the pound is slumping it’s the perfect time to exploit your powerful Euro by buying from their web site!

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