Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Feast Day, Vegans! + a vegan birthday dinner + bodacious birthday apple cobbler: Vegan MoFo #3

Belated Happy World Animal Day, guys!

Hey vegans, it’s our Feast Day too! Yesterday was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), the Patron Saint of animals and the environment. Since becoming vegetarian, St. Francis has become my favorite saint; so favorite, I named my third cat after him.

Bear with me for a few paragraphs! I’m lifting this straight from the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. Francis. He truly was an amazing person. Omnivores and vegetarians alike could all learn a thing or two from this man:

‘The very animals found in Francis a tender friend and protector; thus we find him pleading with the people of Gubbio to feed the fierce wolf that had ravished their flocks, because through hunger "Brother Wolf" had done this wrong.

‘And the early legends have left us many an idyllic picture of how beasts and birds alike susceptible to the charm of Francis's gentle ways, entered into loving companionship with him; how the hunted leveret sought to attract his notice; how the half-frozen bees crawled towards him in the winter to be fed; how the wild falcon fluttered around him; how the nightingale sang with him in sweetest content in the ilex grove at the Carceri, and how his "little brethren the birds" listened so devoutly to his sermon by the roadside near Bevagna that Francis chided himself for not having thought of preaching to them before [as pictured up there].

‘Francis's love of nature also stands out in bold relief in the world he moved in. He delighted to commune with the wild flowers, the crystal spring, and the friendly fire, and to greet the sun as it rose upon the fair Umbrian vale. In this respect, indeed, St. Francis's "gift of sympathy" seems to have been wider even than St. Paul's, for we find no evidence in the great Apostle of a love for nature or for animals.’

According to legend, on his deathbed St. Francis thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life and his donkey wept (okay I got this from Wikipedia).


Anyway, on to MoFo’ing. My birthday comes right after St. Francis’s feast day, I don’t know why I wasn’t named Francesca, or Frances, or Francine, or whatever derivative you can think of. I am not so big on naming my future children after Saints, but Francis I wouldn’t mind :)

I was so set on blogging about the completely vegan dinner I had last night with family in Corner Tree Café (same guys who buy my cupcakes; a vegan-friendly, vegetarian restaurant) but man, I gotta be quick on my toes with the photographing. For appetizers, we had:

This awesome starter plate of fresh vegetable sticks (cucumber, jicama, carrots) “on the rocks”, chunks of crusty wholewheat bread, white bean hummus, olive oil, and dukka – an Egyptian sesame-seed-and-spice blend.

Wholewheat breadsticks with marinated herbed olives. Not a huge olive fan, my family seemed to like it, but I thought it was way overpriced. They gave us only 2 breadsticks.

And an organic green salad with carrots, beets, and walnuts in a lemon-mustard dressing.

I’m not a big fan of sugary drinks (I wouldn’t mind fresh buko juice or calamansi juice) but I ordered this lemongrass iced tea. It was different, a good kind! Lemongrass-y and gingery.

This is where I stopped taking photos because my 18-month old nephew got hold of my camera. We were also pretty much starving and dug in right away when the servers brought out the food.

We also had the tomato and bread soup, which was nice and chunky.

Our entrees include:
  1. North African vegetable stew with couscous. Flavorful, almost curry-like without the coconut milk but not heavy on the tummy at all. Corner Tree used “gentler”, less heavy spices.
  2. Vegetable koftas in tomato sauce. Just like Italian meatballs except the koftas were a bit more tender.
  3. Tofu-walnut burgers topped with crispy onions with a side of gravy. This was a winner for Michael, my vegan brother. Last time I was here I ordered mine in a whole-wheat bun, this time this was served platter-style, with a side of red rice.
  4. Spaghettini with broccoli, pine nuts, and lemon. This dish was flavorful thanks to the lemony goodness.
  5. Kare-kare na gulay. A Filipino peanut stew of vegetables (leafy greens and mushrooms). Omnivores usually eat this with bagoong or fermented shrimp paste. This was served with vegetarian bagoong made from tausi, aka fermented black beans (a typical Chinese condiment). I didn’t get to taste this dish but my dad said it was good.
Corner Tree Cafe (Vegetarian Food)
Francesca Mabanta
150 Jupiter Street Bel-Air, Makati, Metro Manila
(632) 897-0295

NB: They are closed on Mondays.


So this was the second time in a row that I had to make my own birthday dessert, but I didn’t mind! I made a super quickie, seriously thrown-together apple cobbler from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I swear, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is my hero! I love her piecrust-making methods, I’ll never make pies a different way again.

From start to finish including baking, it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to make this cobbler – but I had help with the peeling and coring of apples. I was set on making a strawberry cobbler with frozen strawberries but I couldn’t find the right recipe (most needed fresh berries). Luckily I had some Fuji apples so I made an apple cobbler instead.

Er, apologies for the crap photo… someone’s little hands smudged up the camera.

Fruit-based desserts are definitely tastier than any other kind, in my book. I don’t want to brag (well it wasn’t my recipe to begin with) but everyone loved it :) Will definitely make this again, especially since it was a no-brainer. Seriously, please make this.

Colleen’s recipe is super easy to follow, it’s like the apple pie for lazy people or for people who are still iffy in the piecrust-making department. Some notes on apple cobbler-making:
  1. The recipe called for an 8- or 9-inch baking pan but I chose to use an 8x10 glass pan because the cobbler had to serve 14 people.
  2. If you’re doing the 8x10 glass pan, I highly recommend adding an additional half recipe of the cobbler dough just so you get enough spread on top.
  3. The recipe called for 5 cups of tart apples, I used 5 sweet Fuji apples. I’m not a fan of tart fruity desserts, sorry. The apples amounted to more than 5 cups = no problem. No need to adjust the sugar mixture you combine with it.
  4. I’m not a fan of white sugar either. Definitely substitute washed / raw sugar. If you don’t have that on hand, then use a 50-50 mixture of white and brown to ease up on the empty calories.
  5. No margarine? No problem. Use unbleached coconut oil. Coconut oil smells amazing and lends a good round “fatty flavor” to the dough. I can’t explain it better, just that coconut oil is awesome. I bought mine from Tindahang Sakto .
  6. I brought the cobbler from the oven to the restaurant. If you’re transporting a dish that came straight from the oven, I highly recommend you cover the dish with foil and place it on a wooden tray with a thick layer of newspaper for protection. Don’t use a plastic tray! I even added a dish towel between the dish and the newspaper.
Not a bad birthday so far.

1 comment:

Carlota said...

In portuguese we call him São Francisco de Assis. Since my lovely bunny came to my live, he has also became my favorite saint.
All those food look pretty good!

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