Monday, July 13, 2009

Organic Vegan Wine

Jenni found some vegan wines that we've been enjoying, the Frey Winery. The wines are organic and vegan friendly, sulfite and gluten free too. The winery uses no animal based fining agents to help clarify their wine. We've worked our way through a few bottles already; they make a good bottle of wine. Here's a bit of the faq from their website:

Frey Organic Wines are Vegan and Gluten Free: No Animal or Gluten-Based Fining Agents Used

At Frey Vineyards we have made a commitment to formulate all of our Organic wines without using any animal byproducts in the winemaking process.

Since ancient times, fining agents have been added to a barrel or tank of wine to help clarify and stabilize the wine. They drift through the wine, pick up solid matter, and eventually sink to the bottom of the container. Common fining agents include hydrolyzed wheat gluten isolate, pea protein isolate, casein (milk protein), gelatin, egg whites, fish glue, and natural bentonite clay. Once the fining agent settles at the bottom, the clarified wine is siphoned off the top, leaving behind the residue, which is discarded. Although no trace of these products is found in the bottled wine, some consumers may object to their use. At Frey Vineyards we use only bentonite, a natural earth clay, as the fining agent for our white wines. (Frey red wines are not fined).

Allergy Concerns

We make no health claims regarding our wines, however, bentonite clay fining should pose no problem for people with wheat or gluten allergies, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or for people who have chosen vegan lifestyles.

Biodynamic and Vegans

Biodynamic farms view animals as an essential component of farm ecology and nutrient cycling. We make all of our own Biodynamic preparations for our farm, in accordance with Biodynamic standards, from plants and animals we raise. This has allowed us to reduce the need for off-farm inputs and to create what we believe to be a more balanced ecology on our land, and a higher level of self-sufficiency and sustainability. Due to the very dilute concentration of the preparations applied to the vineyards, no residues of animal products or allergens are detectable on the fruit at any time. However, for vegans who are concerned with the use of animal products in general, we honor your choice and continue to produce our full line of Organic wines made from grapes sourced from our neighboring farmers’ certified organic vineyards. Both our Organic and Biodynamic wines are produced without the use of any chemicals, preservatives or animal based fining agents.

Our promise to our customers is to continue to produce completely organic wines, made from carefully tended grapes and free from any additives. Our winemaker Paul Frey is vegetarian, as well as other family members.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jamaican Jerk Skewered Vegetables

This is an old Vegetarian Times recipe. It's one of the first things I remember serving to my non-veg friends. It was a big hit. Skewers always are. You can serve these as an appetizer or on a bed of basmati rice.

Cherry tomatoes
1 red or green pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
Button mushrooms
Broccoli florets
1 red onion cut into wedges

6 to 8 scallions (green and white parts) diced
1 red or yellow onion
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of allspice or ground cinnamon

Thread the vegetables onto 4 skewers, alternating cherry tomato, pepper, mushroom, brocolli, and onion. Place the skewers in a casserole dish. If you don't have something big enough for your skewers place all the vegetables in a big bowl. It's just as good.

Process your marinade in a food processor to mix well. A blender would work just as well. Pour the marinade over the skewers or vegetables to coat. Refrigerate for 3 or 4 hours, marinating them periodically.

Grill the vegetables until they are cooked but not burned. This recipe can be done in the oven as well if you don't have a grill and aren't inclined to appropriate one. :)

Pasta with Asparagus and Strawberries

I made this the other night for the boys. It's not as vegan as Jenni would like, but it's a good way to get the kids to eat their asparagus. It's super quick too.

2 cups asparagus tips
1/4 cup water
6 oz bow tie pasta
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon mashed avocado
2 tablespoons of neufchatel cheese or mascarpone
1/4 cup of other white cheese (if desired) Monterey Jack, Parmesan, etc
1 cup of sliced strawberries

Cook asparagus tips in salted water until it's bright green and just tender. Set aside to drain.

Prepare the pasta according to directions in salted water.

In a large bowl mash the avocado, add the neufchatel or mascarpone, lemon juice and other cheeses. Add a couple tablespoons or a 1/4 cup of your cooking water and whisk until you have a quick sauce. Add your cooked pasta to the bowl and stir to coat. Toss in the asparagus and strawberries and serve.