Happy National Eat Outside Day!

Having a meal "al fresco" is a great way to wrap up August!  Stop by Sake Cafe on Magazine, Mona's on Banks, Surrey's by Napoleon, Juan's on Carrollton, or any one of the many other Nola restaurants with veg options and outdoor seating, and enjoy a meal in the warm evening breeze.  Or stop by Hollygrove and throw some vegetables on the grill!

Tofu Bun and Bahn Mi, a lovely outdoor meal at Magasin

Also, please join me throughout the month of September for VeganMoFo!!


Happy National Toasted Marshmallow Day!!

Mmmmm, toasted marshmallows.  Lately I've been poking local stores (as you should) to carry Sweet & Sara gourmet marshmallows - they are divine.  But for plain old marshmallow toasting on a open flame - or, say, after grilling out - Dandies from Whole Foods will do just fine!


Remembering Katrina: the Eighth Anniversary.

After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
There are no "national days" on August 29th, which is just as well.  We need a day to remember Katrina.

I of course remember it all the time.  But the memories are distant now, faded.  I am fortunate in that respect. For many on the Gulf coast, the storm is an everyday reality - an event from which their lives have never returned to normal.

Sometimes I think, "but by the grace of God...", and yet, not being a religious person, it doesn't feel right.  And so it becomes, "but by the grace of the universe."  Doesn't have the same poetic ring though.  By any name, I know how fortunate I have been, and that for everything I lost - and there was plenty - I could have lost so much more.
Water line at Brocato's

So let today be a day to be thankful, to be wary, to mourn our own losses but also to know that those around us lost more than we could imagine.  And then to do something about it.

The following organizations work to improve and restore our city every day, and they need your support.  Donate your money, donate your time, do whatever you can to make your community better.  Today.  Every day.
Photo of lighthouse, 2008

Common Ground Relief

Latino Farmers Cooperative

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Juvenile Justice Project
Painting of lighthouse, 2009

Dogs of the 9th Ward

Jazz and Heritage Foundation

Resurrection after Exoneration

Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition

Families Helping Families

Lighthouse Today
Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children

Voice of the Ex Offender (VOTE)

Hollygrove Market and Farm

Sankofa Market

Second Harvest Food Bank

Bridge House

Ozanam Inn

Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center


Happy National Cherry Turnover Day!

Much like apple turnovers, the cherry turnovers you find in the bakery section of the grocery are often vegan.  Far from health food, and not an everyday item... but they make for a great Sunday morning treat once in a while!


Happy Banana Lovers' Day!

I do!  I love bananas!  There are so many great ways to eat them!  You can fry them, slice them up in your morning cereal, put ice cream on top of them, bake them into bread... or just eat them straight out the peel!  But, as with so many joyous things (chocolate, coffee, diamonds, flowers...), there is a serious side to all of this banana loving.

So today, on this very special episode of New Orleans in Green, I want to talk about banana production.  Some of us around Nola are lucky enough to have banana trees producing fruit in our own yards!... but not most.  So I want to make sure you know that those big brands, Dole and Chiquita namely, are evil devil companies - the DeBeerses of the banana world.  Please do not buy their bananas!  Please instead search out fair trade  or Rainforest Alliance labeled products whenever you get the chance.  And check out this book if you want to know more about the more sinister side of banana production.

In conclusion: Boo for abuse and poisons.  Hooray for fair and healthy bananas!

I'm Dole Banana and I'm here to say... have some poison in your food today!


Happy National Waffle Day!

I dunno about you, but I absolutely love me some waffles.  Jonathan makes great vegan waffles at home... or he did, until we broke the waffle iron.  Lucky for us, the lovely Sid and Dom of Sid & Dom's Vegan Delites served brunch right up the street for a while, and these delicious waffles were often the final course!

Now they've moved to Blackstar Books & Caffee in Old Algiers, for what I believe to be the first vegan brunch on the Westbank.  Check out their Facebook page, and then head across the river beginning September 1st to support this awesome vegan venture!


Happy National Spumoni Day!

Happy National Spumoni Day!!  If you're not from New Orleans you may be thinking, "what the heck is spumoni?"  I've never seen it anywhere but Nola.  In fact, I've never seen it anywhere but Angelo Brocato's. 

So what is it?  Another ice cream treat for the month of August, it is a wedge of the following ice cream flavors, unevenly layered: pistachio, tutti frutti, and lemon "with a whipped cream center" - though the whipped cream is frozen and comes off very much like ice cream.

THE CHALLENGE, should you accept it: create a vegan spumoni!  You will likely need to make your own ice creams, as I'm not aware of any of these flavors being available in vegan forms.  Report back!  Tell us how it goes!  Share your vegan spumoni travails and triumphs with one and all!!!


Happy National Lemonade Day!

Happy National Lemonade Day!  If you think about it, it's kind of weird for lemonade to be a summer beverage when lemons aren't in season until the winter.  But then, no one wants to drink an icy cold beverage in the winter... and hot lemonade sounds just awful.  Iced lemonade in the summertime it is!

So here's my personal recipe for delicious lemonade... which I'm sure is not terribly different from thousands of others.  But it's solid and I think you'll enjoy it.

Mel's Fresh Lemonade
*makes 2 quarts
  • in a 2-quart pitcher, combine 1/2 cup sugar and at least one cup of hot water - hot enough to melt the sugar.  stir until sugar is totally melted.
  • add ice to the pitcher so that the ice melts and your sugar-water mixture is cold, with just a few ice cube bits floating in there.
  • squeeze the juice from three medium-sized lemons; remove any seeds from the juice.
  • add the lemon juice to your pitcher and stir.
  • fill the pitcher up the rest of the way with cold filtered water.
  • enjoy!


Happy National Soft Ice Cream Day, Part Two...

It's as if they knew that it was National Soft Ice Cream Day.  As you may have already heard, TCBY recently rolled out a partnership with Silk, through which it is offering a vegan product.  That vegan product is an almond-based chocolate soft-serv.  And, surprisingly, the TCBY location on Metairie Road is already offering it!

And now for more good news: White Wave, maker of Silk Soymilk, is no longer owned by Dean Foods (aka the largest milk producer in the world).  Which means, I think, that I can stop boycotting them!  Which means, I think, that I can support this new vegan option at chains nationwide wholeheartedly.  WOO!!

And now for the really important question: how does it taste?  I'll let you be the judge, but I think it's pretty alright.

Happy National Soft Ice Cream Day!

Ahh, softserve.  Delicious, and possibly one of the least healthy foods ever created.  This is probably why frozen yogurt chains have been popping up across the country - an attempt to make a junk food slightly less junky.  One such chain, called Tutti Frutti, has opened several stores in the New Orleans area.  And guess what?  They have vegan products!

Most of the area locations offer a sorbet flavor every day (the watermelon is sweet like candy, but the mango is pretty good).  And occasionally they offer a soy-based cream flavor!  The only one I've had the privilege of trying is the peanut butter - good stuff if you can get it.  Stop in and see what they've got - and remember, the more we ask for it, the more often soy options will be available!


Happy National Ice Cream Pie Day!

So here's the thing: I don't really know what "ice cream pie" is supposed to be.  The internet has a wide range of opinions.  But given the ambiguity, I went with my gut and did the simplest thing possible.  That is, I put ice cream in a pie crust.

To be specific, I put layers of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla Almond Dream (procured at the Uptown Whole Foods) into a home-made graham cracker crust, and topped it with some frozen berries for prettiness.  Here are the results - my Neapolitan Ice Cream Pie!

Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  Do you have a favorite ice cream pie?


Happy... Preservation Jazz Hall Day!

I have no vanilla custard for you.  Vanilla custard day is for suckers.  I do have this though: Too cool.  LOTS of references in there for the locals...

Thanks to WWOZ for sharing.


Happy National Bratwurst Day!

Bratwurst is of course a sausage, typically made of the oh-so-nasty stuff that sausage is typically made of.  Don't think about it - it will make you sad.

But this will make you happy: you can make them vegan!

You can also head down to Dreamy Weenies and have a vegan sausage like andouille, Italian, kielbasa, and more with a huge variety of vegan toppings and sides!  Freakin amazing.  (If you happen to be kosher or halal, they've got you covered there too!)

Ah, and don't forget to take your picture with the mascot.


Happy National Creamsicle Day!

Looking for a frozen treat on a ridiculously hot Nola August day?  If you happen to be in the French Quarter, stop by Meltdown, the artisanal popsicle shop!  They may or may not have a creamsicle for you... maybe try peach orange blossom instead?


Happy International Okra Day!

Confession: I invented this day.  There is no Okra Day, which I personally feel is a travesty.  So now there is!

Henceforth, August 13 will be known around the world as International Okra Day!!! 
I declare it!

Eat it fried, stewed, or in gumbo; in Southern or Indian cuisine; on its own or with tomatoes.  Use fresh or frozen or pickled.  Just don't try to eat it raw as that won't work out at all!

Happy okra eating!!


Happy National S'mores Day!

What do you do when you want vegan s'mores? Why, go to the eponymous web site, that's what!  At vegan-smores.com, you will find step by step instructions on how to make your very own vegan s'mores.  You could also order some online from the lovely Sara of Sweet & Sara... which by the way we should start asking the New Orleans Food Co-Op, our local Whole Foods stores, and other groceries to carry.  She's shipping all over the country these days!

And if you happen to be following along from NYC, stop by the V-Spot on Monday to throw a little support at Sea Shepherd and their event, S'more Protection for the Oceans!


Happy National Zucchini Day!

Must say, I am a big, big fan of summer squash.  You can grill it, saute it, bake it, eat it raw, make it into a sweet moist bread... so versatile and always delicious.  Zucchini is in season, so stop by the farmer's market and pick some up!


Happy National Rootbeer Float Day!

When I was a kid, you couldn't get Barq's anywhere but the gulf south.  So it was an extra-special treat when we were "home" visiting the family in New Orleans, on par with Roman candy and po boys.  It came in glass bottles with a diamond imprint, had blue (or sometimes red) logo, and may as well have been made of magic.

Barq's isn't the same as it was when I was a kid - what is? - but it's still the best dang rootbeer on the market.  Go pick you up one, pour it over two scoops of vanilla Almond Dream, and reflect fondly on your own childhood.  ;)


Happy National Oyster Day!

Around here, oysters are a really big deal.  They are an important part of the gulf south's ecosystems and economies, and are even critical to maintaining the structure of the coast.  During my summer of marine biology schooling, I was cut to bits more than once by the impressive reefs they build.

So today is National Oyster Day.  Clearly this can't be a day to celebrate eating oysters, as everyone knows they're only safe to eat during months that have R's in them - September, for instance.  And of course in my particular corner of the world we just think they're nifty and not to be eaten.  So today I offer you this poem, shared previously with me by Starr of Starrlight Jewelry and Sanctuary.

Do oysters sneeze beneath the seas,
or wiggle to and fro,
or sulk, or smile, or dance awhile...
how can we ever know?

Do oysters yawn when roused at dawn,
and do they ever weep,
and can we tell, when, in its shell,
an oyster is asleep?

by Jack Prelutsky


Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

As we all know, the very best way to eat chocolate chips is to bake them into cookies.  So go pick yourself up some vegan, fair trade chocolate chips and make them from scratch... or just pick up some dough!  Isn't it wonderful to have choices?

Pick this dough up at the Co-Op!


Happy National Watermelon Day!

If you happen to cruise through Mississippi in the summer (or if you plant some...), you might be lucky enough to come across some yellow watermelon.  Otherwise you'll have to "settle" for the more common red - which is of course completely delicious this time of year!


Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

I loooooove me some ice cream sandwiches.  If you wanna be all fancy about it you can make some chocolate chip cookies and some ice cream and create your own.  You could also just go buy some!  Whole Foods has several varieties of So Delicious - if you want Tofutti (my particular fave) you'll need to head over to the Co-Op!