I have never been accused of bombarding people’s mailboxes with too many newsletters or blog posts. In this day and age when we are supposed to be digitally connected 24/7, I am a social media party pooper. It isn’t that I don’t love seeing what others do on Facebook – in fact, the connection it brings with people around the world is what I love most about it. But otherwise, I prefer tinkering in my kitchen, teaching, engaging with a live audience, or otherwise doing the real stuff my work involves, rather than reporting to the world about what I’m up to every ten minutes. On the home front, my kids have berated me over the years for not snapping photos at all the right moments and capturing them for digital eternity (I’m usually immersed in the moment, and not thinking about how to hold onto it forever). And unlike other bloggers, I’ve failed in the food porn department as well, since I prefer to serve or eat my food immediately instead of take photos of it. (I’m impatient; I just can’t wait to dig in.)
Let’s be honest. I’m a social media loser. It’s the truth. But I think I’m coming to terms with that fact, and it’s okay. I’ll probably never have a huge Twitter following, as I can’t navigate through bitly and all the hashtags. And my Instagram account? Truth be revealed: my daughter created and maintains it. But I feel that once in awhile, a little update is a good thing. And on this rare but leisurely Sunday, I’d like to share three things that I’ve been working on.
#1. I have a new book deal! Some of you who are Facebook friends may already have heard the news – I’m writing a new book for Ten Speed Press. I’m in the thick of it – creating, testing, and writing. What’s the topic? I think the working title says it all:
The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
Can you picture what the contents would be? I think you can, but let me help: vegan versions of the things you’d normally buy instead of make (like butter, mayo, crackers, ice cream, meat substitutes), as well as things that are hard even to find or buy (like fish sauce, condensed milk, egg whites for meringues, seafood stock). Then there are the things that can make your life easy, like your own cake, biscuit, and pancake mixes, or a fresh and tasty alternative to Campbell’s – your own concentrated soups.
With these recipes, you can stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer, making life easier and tastier. Don’t think it’ll make your life more complicated, because these are quick staples that will make a large enough quantity to keep around so that when you need something in a hurry, you can whip it up, no problem. And think of the environmental impact you’ll be having by reducing the amount of packaging that will end up in your trash or recycling. I’m really excited about this! When will it be released? Spring of 2015 – it feels so far away, but I know it’ll come fast!
#2. I just filmed Season 2 of Vegan Mashup! This was a ton of fun – Betsy Carson of Delicious TV came out to California for a week, and we shot 6 episodes plus a podcast. She had already filmed Toni Fiore and Terry Hope Romero’s segments, as well as some of the cool guests we’ll have this season, including Fran Costigan, who made her killer truffles, and Adam Sobel of New York’s famed Cinnamon Snail food truck. Season 1 aired on Create TV (through public television and PBS) in 288 million homes, and I know that some of you were among them! But if you haven’t seen it yet, you can see it right here.
What did I make? Somehow figs made their way into two of the episode, with seared tempeh with fig-rosemary sauce in one episode, and curried eggless salad with figs in another. I also had fun putting on a kimono and making Curry Udon, a favorite Japanese dish, only I made mine oil-free (the traditional version is made with a roux). In fact, I made most of my dishes oil-free, the way we should all eat most (if not all) of the time. Then there was a farro risotto with mushrooms, and a pea-mint-cilantro crostini that can get whipped up in practically seconds. With the fabulous roster of guests and the great things that always come from Toni and Terry, I know season 2 is going to be over the top!
#3. I’m starting a cheese company! Yes, you heard right. I’ve been selling cheese a little here and there, and it’s about time I take it to the world. I have a developed a number of cheeses that are far beyond the scope of my book, Artisan Vegan Cheese. Bloomy rind cheeses (think traditional camembert and brie, with that moldy white rind), hard, aged cheeses that you can grate using a Microplane, cheeses wrapped in fig and grape leaves, cheeses aged for many months to develop flavor and texture, and even washed-rind cheeses that are almost stinky. They are special, and I want to get them to you as soon as possible. I’ve been working with various people to get this up and running, and have found the perfect location to make them. I have some funding, but need more, so I’ve decided to apply for a $250,000 small business grant from Chase. I’m sure thousands of others are applying for it as well, so I don’t know what sort of chance I have, but it would certainly help me to get the ball rolling sooner! And I could use your help – to be in the running for this, I need 250 votes. Can you vote for me? It’ll just take a moment, and will bring all of us closer to vegan cheese! Here’s the link: https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/107914
And…that’s about it for now! Next weekend, I’ll be in LA, speaking at Healthy Taste of LA, and the following week, at San Diego VegFest. Then I need to buckle down and get this book finished and the cheeses launched! Now, I need to get myself to the kitchen to make dinner, so I’ll just leave you with some of my attempts at food porn.