Before you roll your eyes and start mumbling about the fixed gear trust fund hipsters with the big beards, hard parted hair and skinny jeans that frequent the local coffee shop…hear me out. The coffee producers are getting screwed. As I type this, the Coffee C market price(the price at which commodity coffee gets traded) is only $1.17 per pound in it’s green unroasted form. Sure, that might sound like great news for people on the consuming end. Let’s face it, most of us drink coffee every day, sometimes multiple cups a day and we all like to save money where we can, but that savings greatly affects the producers. When you get coffee at the gas station, bodega or brew from a big can at home, that is most likely commodity grade coffee. When you go to a local coffee shop that charges $2-$5 a cup, those places are paying a lot more for the coffee. It’s not that they are just trying to get more of your money to stuff in their pockets, they are also making sure the coffee farmers are making more of a living wage. Think about this: it takes approximately 40 coffee beans to make one cup of coffee. Those beans are picked by hand one at a time(except on large farms in Brazil where some are mechanically picked) since the pickers have to be sure to only pick only ripe coffee cherries and those without noticeable defects. Then they have to be transported in heavy bags on foot or sometimes bicycle to a station to be sorted, processed, dried and bagged for export. Now, if the coffee companies here are only paying $1.17 a pound, how much of that do you think gets back to farmer? Not only do they have to support families, they have to buy fertilizer for the farms, upkeep equipment and whatever else comes along in life. Fair Trade price is only $1.40($1.70 if organic), but models that are more of a direct trade are available that ensure the farmers can earn much more a pound and that’s what the better coffee companies are doing. So next time you go to buy a cup of coffee, consider going to a place that supports a more sustainable business model. If you don’t want to support sweatshop clothing or factory farmed food, why wouldn’t you include coffee in those decisions? Most places will be honest with you about their practices if they aren’t shady. This is why coffee should cost more. This is just a brief summery of what goes on and was something that was on my mind while I drink a mug of Colombian coffee that was more than double the C Market price.I’ve been a coffee roaster for about 7 years now and am always learning more about the politics of coffee. If you folks are interested in reading more about coffee, I’ll keep writing about it.
I figured I should post this while we still have some Summer weather, since so many of us like cold coffee on a hot day, but don’t want to pay ridiculous amounts of cash to do it. You’re probably thinking that it’s as simple as brewing coffee and dropping ice cubes in it. You can do that, but you risk creating a diluted bitter drink. If you want a heavier bodied, sweet cold coffee, try this:
Take a 32oz mason jar and add very coarsely ground coffee half way between the 200-400ml lines. Add cold water almost to the top and give it a vigorous stir, then top it off. Put it aside for roughly 12 hours. At this point, scoop what you can off the top and pour the rest through a filter. The remaining liquid is a cold coffee concentrate that just saved you a bunch of cash and a trip into public.
Dawn and I recently had a craving for baba ganouj and looked through almost every cookbook on our shelf until we came across our very reliable and underrated copy of The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook. Though it says vegetarian, every recipe is vegan doesn’t rely on meat and cheese substitutes. Anyway, here’s our modified version of their recipe:
1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise 1/2″ thick
olive oil for brushing
3 TBSP tahini
3 TBSP lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F
Brush eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, sprinkle with a little salt and place flat on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Place in food processor and blend until smooth. Use as a dip, spread on sandwiches or just eat wit a spoon if no one is looking.
I know I haven’t posted much lately. Sorry. The East Coast is cold and shitty and we don’t have much in the way of fresh produce right now. I don’t like to post recipes with processed foods, but I might once in a while. Not too much, though. So, many of us like pickles and, unless we drink the leftover pickle juice, it goes down the drain. It can be used in a martini of sorts(if you’re of age), but my favorite use is slaw. Shred two carrots, thinly slice a cup or so of red cabbage and thinly slice one medium onion and place all of it in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of sea salt or pink salt and cover in the leftover juice from your last jar of pickles. Place a plate over top and put a weight on top to keep everything under the juice. Let sit for a day or longer and add slaw to sandwiches or just eat on it’s own!
I had really been craving a melt lately and figured I’d throw one together. Not only is this sandwich easy to make but it turned out SO GOOD! This will cure your cravings and definitely leave you satisfied.
– Vegan Bacon
– Tofurkey deli slices
– Thousand island dressing
- Prepare preferred vegan bacon on skillet.
- As the “bacon” is cooking, prepare the sandwich. Butter outsides of bread then cut slices in half; add the Tofurkey, tomato, Thousand Island dressing, and finally the bacon once it’s done cooking.
- Put the sandwich in the skillet and flip once bread is golden brown. Repeat this step with the other side of the sandwich.
I used Tofurkey’s hickory smoked deli slices (brown box), Lightlife Smart Bacon and a multigrain bread for the melt in the picture. Add more veggies to the sandwich or a vegan cheese if you’d like.
In our house we have a tendency to make more food than we are going to use for that meal so that we always have leftovers for lunch, dinner or to take to work and that means we have to get creative sometimes to avoid eating the same thing day after day. This time we had leftover mashed potatoes, so I did this:
- Approx 2 cups mashed potatoes
- 2 cups flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- Half a red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Approx 1 cup almond(or other non-dairy milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together dry ingredients, then blend in mashed potatoes, onion and jalapeno. Add wet ingredients and mix together until you get a thick gooey paste. In a wel greased small muffin tin, scoop in mixture filling to about 3/4 full. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with gravy, hot sauce, vegenaise or vegan margarine. For another option, use an ice-cream scooper to scoop into an oiled skillet on medium heat, press flat and fry like pancakes. Super yummy!
After an amazing crop of sunchokes in our garden this year, we are still exploring new ways to use them. Hopefully we find a few we like, because I planted twice as many at the end of the season! Here’s my latest experiment.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together 2 cups flour, 1 TBSP baking powder and 1.5 tsp sea salt. Add 1 cup boiled and mashed sunchokes, 1 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP non dairy milk. Mix until dough forms, shape into biscuits and bake for 20 minutes. There you have it. The chokes give the bread an interesting flavor and a potato bread like texture.
1 C earth balance
2T egg replacer
1/2 C water
2 C brown sugar
3 1/8C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
5 tsp finely ground espresso
1 bag dairy free chocolate chips
Pre heat oven to 350F. Let the margarine sit out and get a little soft. While that is going on, mix the egg replacer and water together and let sit for about 10 minutes to get nice and thick. Cream together margarine, sugar, egg replacer and vanilla. Add salt and baking soda and espresso and mix thoroughly. Mix in flour. Start with ha little less flour and feel it out. Some flour is tougher to work than others, so you may not need all of it. If you haven’t snacked on all the chips, mix those in. Shape into 2″ balls and flatten out to about half an inch thick and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how well your oven works. When they come out, give the pan a good smack on the counter. Trust me, it’s good for the texture.
Winter Tagine with Fenugreek and rose: a Moroccan twist on roasted root vegetables. I don’t have a “tagine”, the pot the dish is named after, but I do have a cast iron and you probably do too. The most important part are the spices (“ras el hanout”… google it, for chrissakes).
With a mortar and pestle or another grinder, blend:
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tbs dried rosepetals
various other mix of spices, such as turmeric, coriander, cinnamon (go easy on this) black pepper, nutmeg, chili peppers, anything you might put in an indian curry. you can even use a masala curry powder if you are a cop out. i made this one nutmeggy.
toast in your cast iron skillet on LOW for 5 minutes or until fragrant. add to the pan:
1 block frozen, thawed and drained tofu
1 medium onion
5 garlic cloves, in skin, sliced in half
1/2 cup black or green olives
1 small lemon, sliced, rind and all
assorted root vegetables. whatever fits in the pan and looks good from the dumpster or farmer’s market
as much olive oil as you and comfortable with
Mix together, bake at 350 for about an hour or until everything is cooked and browned! Traditional tagines are a little more stew like but who cares, it’s your world.