Sunday, May 31, 2015

Touring as a Vegan - The Europe Chapter (Pt. 1)

It's been a couple years since I've done a blog post and many changes have come about since my last entry here - one being, I became a full-time vegan. I have been a vegetarian, who occasional ate fish, for over 18 years, but since embarking on my yoga teacher training journey, over four months ago, and completing an online nutrition course, I decided to challenge my diet and ethics by converting to a fully plant based diet. The transition was quite simple really. I was eating 80% vegan as it was, so basically I cut out eggs and butter, no more Bulletproof coffee or frittatas.

For the past few months I've mostly been eating raw before 4. My daily diet usually consists of a superfood smoothie for breakfast, a huge colorful and nutrient dense salad for lunch, and a cooked dinner - this was winter so I was making lots of curries, soup and stews, stir-fry, and experimenting with some raw entrees as well.

Fast-forward a few months to my first tour, lasting longer than a week, of 2015...and it's in Europe no less.
Before leaving for tour my health was stellar! I did the obligatory prep-shop by going to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to stock up on some essentials - granola, oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, avocados, hemp hearts, kale chips, etc...
Upon arriving in Brussels, I checked into the hotel, walked around the city(about 7 miles total), did a hot yoga class, at a delicious Buddha bowl, and went to bed early. The next day, and first show of the tour.....I got sick! No thanks, I'm sure, to the gentleman in the seat in front on me on the flight overseas, who coughed the entire flight. Over a week later, and I'm just getting over it. I always take the hard road, no drugs or antibiotics. Keep the gut healthy!!!!

As for food thus far on this tour...I've been eating a lot of fruit. A couple avocados a day, quite a bit of bananas, and some local berries, apples, oranges, or whatever else I can score backstage or at the local produce shop.
The UK was definitely a highlight for vegan cuisine-
- Brighton had a few proper vegan restaurants, shops, and a great co-op all within a few blocks
- I had a great curry (no fish sauce) in Bristol
- London was filled with delicious Ital (Jamaican vegan food) at BoxPark and I ate at Manna (Classic London vegan resto) for the first time.
- there was even veggie sausages at multiple hotel breakfasts.

Health is coming back to normal, energy levels are good, physical yoga practice has resumed, and I'm finally going to start running.
One more week to go as I head east into Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Romania....areas not particularly known to be the most vegan friendly, but I'm staying 'above the line' with optimism.

That's all for know.
See you at the show

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Zuppa di Zucca (Roasted Butternut Squash soup)

After visiting the farmers market last week, and accruing some beautiful varieties of squash (including an avocado squash), i started to brainstorm some recipes. The butternut squash i picked up was decent size and i immediately thought, soup. The weather was beginning to cool and i thought this would be a perfect time to whip up some homemade vegetable stock and get my Zuppa di Zucca on.
Here's how it all went down....


1 large butternut squash
1 quart of vegetable stock (save your trimmings and make you own, if possible)
2 small potatoes (rough dice)
2 carrots (small dice)
2 celery stalks (small dice)
1 small onion (small dice)
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of coconut cream (or coconut milk)
i medium apple (peeled, cored and diced)
4 T of butter or Smart Balance
1 T of olive oil
1 bay leaf

Roasting marinade:
3 T of butter
2 T of molasses
1 T sugar
1 T grated ginger
1 t cinnamon
salt and pepper

mascarpone cheese
temeph bacon
parsley sprig
cooked apple

preheat oven to 400 degrees.
peel and chop (scoop out the seeds) the squash into large chuncks.
melt 2 T of butter in a pan. once butter has foamed, turn off the heat and add molasses, sugar, ginger and cinnamon to the pan. mix the marinade with the squash in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.

In a soup pot, heat olive oil and 2 T of butter. Sauté mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery) for 15 min or till soft and slightly browned. add garlic and potato and cook another 5 min. add vegetable stock and bay leaf. bring to a boil and simmer till potato is fork tender...about 20 min.

in a small sauté pan, melt 2T of butter and cook diced apple till they start to caramelize. remove 2/3 of the apple from the pan and add tempeh bacon to cook an additional few minutes. removed from heat

remove cooked squash from oven and add to the pot along with the coconut cream and 2/3 of cooked apple. cook an additional 5-10 min on medium heat. remove bay leaf.

using an immersion blender or food processor (blended in batches). blend soup to a creamy and thick consistency. season with white (or black) pepper and coarse salt to taste.

ladle soup into a bowl and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone cheese in the center of the bowl. Sprinkle remaining apple and tempeh bacon throughout and a sprig of parsley for color.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On The Road Again

It's the day before Independence Day (US) 2012 and I officially started a "really long tour" a few days ago. I have goals, aspirations, and deadlines I've set for myself. I am treating this simple blog as a reminder to see what I have accomplished at the end of this "really long tour." I officially hit the road a couple of weeks ago prior to leaving for the west coast. The attached two snapshots show how things are starting off.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Vegetal Burgundy

A couple of blog entries ago i posted a recipe for Vegetarian Burgundy. Well, I decided i would make a follow up video on how to cook this dish - some people work better with visual explanation. This meal is definitely one of my ultimate goto's in comfort food. And, while it may take a bit of time to prepare, it is well worth the wait. **WARNING: while this may be a vegetarian dish, it is most assuredly not vegan - viva la beurre!!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hummus Harvest

On my fifth trip to Israel I made it my mission get my hummus on. I decided I would sample some of the hummus I've had on previous trips and indulge in a few least to me.
My journey began in Tel Aviv and upon arriving at the hotel, i was ready for action.

Hummus Mashawsha:

Only a ten minute walk from the hotel I arrived at Mashawsha. I ordered hummus ful straight up. Ten minutes later it arrived table side. It smelled delicious and looked good too. A simple presentation of beans (chickpea and fava), parsley puree with a golden rim of olive oil was perfect. The hummus was piping hot and perfectly balanced. It was exactly what I needed after traveling 14 hours and not eating a proper meal. I didn't want to do anything but take a nap after indulging.


I was taken to Ha-Suri by some local friends. We arrived with a large group and sat outside in the blazing heat while waited patiently for our hummus. I ordered a lemonade, the quintessential compliment (other might argue a bottle of Coke or beer), to a bowl of hummus. I had a great view of the man in action as he made my bowl of goodness. Assembling this concoction was like second nature for this gentleman as he began with a ladel of chickpeas, drizzle of tahini, dollop of broad beans, spalsh of lemon juice and olive oil, sliced egg, and finished with a dash of paprika. This hummus looked like a work of abstract expressionist art. The dish was surprisingly light and a perfect portion size for an afternoon snack.

Hummus Bethlehem:

Before heading over to the soundcheck, the promoters decided to take us out for a quick hummus. This was to be my first hummus masabacha experience. This was one well seasoned hummus....complete with healthy doses of paprika, cumin, black pepper, chopped parsley, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. The lemon juice was a really nice complement to all the spices. Topped off with a whole sliced egg and served along side whole jalapeños, onion wedges, and pickles, this meal was FILLING!

Abu Hassan:

Within 30 minutes of my first arrival in Tel Aviv, in 2004, Abu Hassan was the first Israeli hummus I'd ever consumed. I remembered it being quite an experience. Located in Jaffa, this place is slammed with locals, cab drivers, and a wait staff who scream orders at the top of their reminds me of NYC in some ways. While the decor has cleaned up a bit, I think there was some renovations, this place hasn't changed a bit. The hummus here is time-honored. What I really love about this place, aside from the atmosphere, is the accompanying garnish (a mix of lemon juice, garlic, and finely diced jalapeños). I must admit the hummus was a little under salted, but once i poured this simple garnish atop the mix of hummus ful and masabacha, it was perfect. Washed down with some lemonade....cue nostalgia.

Hummus Lena:

After wondering around the narrow market streets of the old city in Jerusalem, I finally found Hummus Lena (a humble establishment with four or so tables). This was my first hummus in Jerusalem. After waiting patiently, with a good view of the hummus being assembled, I was ready to indulge. The serving size was smaller than most that i've had. The looked was nicely layered with an aura of golden hue. A mixture of pureed chickpeas, crushed whole beans (chickpea and fava), a heavy pour of oil, and a light drizzle of lemon tasted AMAZING. this was some of the best olive oil i'd ever had...seriously unctuous stuff.

Other hummus joints, worth checking out, that i've indulged at on previous trips to Israel are:

Abu Adham
Abu Ghosh
Hummus Raquel

bon appetit.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Gift of Song

Handcrafted and heartfelt gifts feel good, right? Something that someone actually put their own personal touch on. Every now and then someone important to me has a celebratory occasion (usually a birthday or wedding) coming up and, if I have the time, I try to whip up a song for them. This usually involves my wife and I signing (with the help of Autotune) a song, to the point of parody, in a specific style (so far we've hit country, dance, hiphop, power ballad, metal, pop and experimental). I try to be overly specific in terms of timbre, instrumentation, and song writing technique. These "little ditty's" are usually done over the course of a couple days and serve as a micro lesson in recording, mixing, and creativity at my humble home studio. Here are a few that i've done in the past. hope you get a laugh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Végetal Burgundy Baby

So, I just had a baby!!! And during prenatal times i refrained from opening too many bottles of wine to drink with dinner at home. moreover, i refrained from cooking with too much wine, as not to "contaminate" my food for the unborn baby in my wife's belly. Well, now Violet is over a week old, it's cold outside, and i decided to treat ourselves to some hearty Vegetarian Bourguignon. Yes, i know, traditional Beef Bourguignon is made with bacon, chunks of beef, and beef broth, and how will i ever get all those flavors inside my stew? Well, i'm here to tell you you can get some serious depth of flavor simply by marinating, reducing, and seasoning your Bourguignon properly. Here is how:

1 package of tempeh
3 tablespoon of olive oil
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 lb of cremini mushrooms (roughly chunked)
3 carrots (diced)
1 celery rib (diced)
1 medium yellow onion (diced)
5 cloves of chopped garlic
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf, 12 black peppercorns tied up in cheesecloth)
1 T of flour
2 T of tomato paste
3 cups of vegetable stock
3/4 bottle of BURGUNDY wine (French pinot noir)
egg noodles cooked al dente

1 1/2 cup of BURGUNDY wine
1 T of white wine vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove
roughly chopped onion
4 sprigs of thyme
coarsely chopped parsley
a dash of sugar, salt and pepper

chop tempeh into 1/2 in chunks and allow to marinate overnight.

sautee carrot, celery, and onion in 2 T of olive oil and 1 T of butter. once mirepoix begins to lightly brown add garlic. cook an additional minute.

add wine, tempeh (reserve 2 T of marinade), and tomato paste. allow to boil, reduce to simmer and reduce.

in a seperate pan heat 1 T of olive oil and 2 T of butter on medium high heat and brown mushrooms. after mushrooms have browned, deglaze the pan by pouring 2 T of the tempeh marinade into the pan and add to the pot along with the bouquet garni and vegetable stock.

in the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms in add 1 T of butter and 1 T of flour to create a roux. cook roux to a deep brown color (DO NOT BURN IT).
add roux to the pot and allow your bourguignon to continue to reduce (add a bit of water if needed). cook the stew to a thick and delicious consistency (about 1 hour), add the last T of butter and salt and pepper to taste before serving

serve the végetal bourguignon over the cooked egg noodles. garnish with parsley and sour cream. pour yourself a glass of BURGUNDY and bon appetit.