Blogs > the jb show.

lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't call it a comeback.

In a seminar about blogging today, so it is as good a time as any to get back to this damned blog.

Just found out that Beyond Meat is now available in Connecticut! (and if anyone reads this blog regularly, I moved to CT for a new job in the same company, so still with DFM, parent company of The Times Herald)

So some time soon I'll be rolling in to a Whole Foods to try these bad boys out.

Will also be talking about finding the best vegetarian/vegan meals in northwest CT. If anyone has some suggestions, please let me know.

Monday, June 4, 2012

More camping fun

The Lazy Herbivore has been silent for a while, but i guess it's about time to say hi again.
Recently I went camping with some vegan friends. Easy campfire cooking is one of the best parts of camping. That smell of burning wood mixing in with your fresh veggie-dogs from the fire... delicious.
A while back, I bought a pie iron from a company that makes campfire-cooking devices. This has worked very well for camping excursions, you throw any bread in there, any filling that would be good hot and melty (peanut butter and banana turns out amazingly well), throw it into the hot coals of your campfire, let it sit for a few minutes, and you're set.
With one of my camping co-horts realizing he has a gluten allergy, we've had to make some tweaks on our camping menu. We brought some corn tortillas, stuffed them with Daiya vegan cheese, some veggie pepperoni, and closed up the pie iron. What came out really tasted like nachos and was enhanced by a little Sriracha. Because the pie iron is smaller than the tortillas, the edges of the tortilla caught fire and burned away as the sandwich inside melted into all it's unhealthy vegan glory.
Some nicely seared edges, including still glowing embers on some parts, meant let it cool a bit before devouring, but once it was cool enough to eat, this sandwich was fantastic.
Kayli, one of the cows living at the Woodstock Farm  Animal Sanctuary.
This camping excursion was for a visit to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone who loves animals and wants to interact with them directly. You'll have a chance to get close to all manor of farm animals, including hugging a pig, hand feeding a cow, petting some turkeys, and getting kicked by one impatient sheep while you feed others. Okay, that last one might just be me.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Being a vegetarian and going out to eat gets easier all the time.
Vegan and vegetarian options are way more abundant now than they used to be.
Restaurants that are entirely veg are also way more common.
A new one that has recently popped up in the Philadelphia vegetarian scene is Hip City Veg.
With it's lineage stemming from arguably one of the best vegan joints in Philly area history, Horizons, the expectations were high.
This place sadly falls short in some respects, but hits the mark in others.
The positive side:
Fast-food options are few and far between for vegans, so this place fills that void nicely. You get typical burger-slinging fare in an environmentally friendly establishment, and all vegan.
Good variety on the menu and the chick'n ranch sandwich was really tasty.
Also, a friendly staff that gets your food to you quickly.
The negative side:
The veggie burger tasted like a Boca patty, while that's fine from your neighborhood diner, I expect way better from an all vegetarian eatery.
Not much seating. I get that it is geared to be mostly a take-out restaurant, but with hours from 10-10, it seems like they'd want a more welcoming place to sit down and eat.

Overall, for a quick and convenient meal, it's a good place to stop. The food is a bit disappointing and kind of over-priced.
I'm stoked that there is another all-veg eatery in the city, but I'll probably be sticking to the old favorites for now.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Getting protein

That myth of how vegetarians can't get protein is nicely addressed here in a post from Mind Body Green and ultra-marathoner and vegan, Rich Roll.
Quinoa, tempeh, seitan, beans, and lentils are some of my favorite foods, but Roll's post makes me want to get in on that spirulina game.

I'll never be anywhere near the shape that this dude is in, but i do try to eat as health-consciously as i can (in between trips to gorge myself on sandwiches from Blackbird Pizzeria, which have a nice amount of protein-rich seitan).

My experience with non-vegetarians questioning my health always cracks me up, but the most frequent questions are about protein for some reason.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vegan Cookie Bars

The best thing about making cookies is that there is really no wrong combination of ingredients.
You think of a few things that might taste good together, chances are they probably will in cookie form.
Cookie bars have that same advantage.
These particular cookie bars are simple and turn out great with very little effort.
Start by putting the dry ingredients in a large bowl and sifting them together.
Add the margarine, apple sauce and peanut butter. While mixing these in, add the vanilla extract and molasses.
The applesauce is the egg substitute and will give moisture to the dough, adding a little extra apple sauce will make them softer.
Mix all of these ingredients together until they are a soft dough and the ingredients are fully blended.
Stir in the granola, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
You can use rolled oats instead of the granola.
To make this vegan, simply choose a brand of semi-sweet chocolate that has no milk.
Press the dough into a lightly greased 13 X 9 baking pan. Spread all the way to the edges of the pan and bake at 350 for 18 minutes.
If the edges are brown and the inside is still slightly soft, they are done. The inside will solidify as they cool.
Let them cool some before cutting so that they don’t crumble as easily.
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup granola (or rolled oats)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Making jelly becomes a hobby

So my obsession with jelly and jam making is becoming more and more, well, obsessive.
I’m starting this journey now and will be experimenting throughout the winter so that I will actually be good at the art of preserves by the time the fruit seasons are in their prime.
If anyone knows of good places for picking fresh fruit, send me an email and I’ll file that knowledge away for when it’s time.
A few weeks ago I tried an apple jelly that I was quite pleased with, so this past weekend I spent too much money and time on fruits and jars and got to work.
My grand experiment was to try a handful of different recipes from a website I found from the Nation Center for Home Food Preparation,, that has dozens of recipes and instructions for home canning and preserving. I can’t confirm or deny the notion that I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time on that site lately.
Part of my experiment was to substitute coconut sugar for regular sugar in one of the jams to see how much of a difference that makes.
Not the best idea I’ve had.
Pineapple jam calls for:
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
3 tbsps. lemon juice
3 1/4 cups sugar
1 pouch of liquid pectin.
Combine the pineapple, lemon juice and sugar in a large pot and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir constantly. Once it reaches a boil, let it boil hard for one minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the pectin.
I made this with the coconut sugar first. The sugar tastes good, would probably be great in baked goods or coffee, but turned my pineapple jam a rough looking dark brown color.
Not the most appetizing color for jam.
Also smelled a little like it was burnt, so I’m calling that an all around failure.
Same recipe made with regular sugar turned out great.
Their grape jelly recipe was really simple as well.
6 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
2 pouches liquid pectin
18 oz. frozen grape juice concentrate.
Combine the sugar and water stirring constantly over high heat. Bring this mixture to a rolling boil, then allow to boil for one minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in the liquid pectin. Once that’s stirred in fully, add the thawed grape juice concentrate and stir.
By far, my favorite was a strawberry-kiwi jam. The only one of these to call for fresh fruits and the most complicated as well, but definitely tastes great.
For this one you’ll need:
3 cups crushed strawberries
3 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced crystallized ginger
1 package powdered pectin
5 cups sugar
I just cut the stems off of the strawberries and tossed them in the food processor. Diced the kiwi the same way, but not for as long in the food processor to allow them to be a slightly larger size.
Toss both of those in a large pot with the lemon juice, pectin and ginger and bring that to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and stir well.
Once boiling again, let it roll for about a minute, continuing to stir.
With all of the jams and jellies, skim any foam from the top and ladle into jars.
You can get detailed instructions on the jarring process online and in many books, but the basics are, clean the rims, place the sterilized lids on the jars, submerge in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. The next day, if the center of the lids are popped up, open, clean, put new lids on and boil again.
One really helpful tip I got before starting to make jams was to put a tablespoon of butter into the pot with the fruit to reduce the foam that needs to be skimmed. Using Earth Balance margarine does the trick, but keeps the jams vegan.

Crusted Tofu

Tofu is a staple in every vegetarian diet and is often the dealbreaker when cooking for onmivores.
If you’re cooking a vegetarian meal for a mixed crowd, as soon as meat eaters hear the word tofu, they are done.
Preparing the tofu right can help make it tolerable for them, because we know you’ll never win over the tofu haters completely.
Pan fried with a cornmeal crust is one way to do that.
I always press the water out of the tofu with paper towels and a couple of plates. Pressing tofu and getting excess water out of it helps with the texture.
There are devices out there that do this task for you, but the cheaper way is to put a layer of paper towels above and below a brick of tofu on a plate. Put another plate on top and put a few pounds of weight on top of the plates. It should be enough pressure to slowly squeeze out the water, but not enough to crush the tofu.
Next create the liquid mixture, mix the soymilk with cornstarch to make it thicker, totally disolving the corn starch.
In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients well.
After about 20 minutes of pressing the tofu, slice the tofu and then cut into triangles.
Dip in the liquid, then coat with the cornmeal mixture.
Fry in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil, allowing each side to brown, then drain before serving.
1 pound of tofu
1 cup soymilk
2 tbsps. cornstarch
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsps. cajun seasoning
1 tsp. cumin
Oil for frying