One of my favorite parts of attending a veg fest is hitting up at least one cooking demonstration. I’m really not much of a cook (thank goodness for Chris!), but I have to admit, I’m always surprised at how quick and easy it can be to make a vegan meal. Oh, and you get samples! The Twin Cities Veg Fest offered 4 cooking demos this year (which turned into 3 because, unfortunately, the first presenter was ill), and we checked out two of them.
We started with Betsy Born’s Stealthy & Healthy session. Betsy operates a wonderful small-scale vegan bakery that she calls Seymour Munchmore’s. She demonstrated a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie that only contains 4 (FOUR!) ingredients combined in a blender: bananas, soy milk, peanut butter, and cocoa powder. Sadly, we sat in a section that never received samples for this, but I do like that it’s so simple. And of course you could use any kind of non-dairy milk.
She also made a Pumpkin Mac & Cheese and Black Bean Brownies. The mac & cheese had nice texture & flavor, and the brownie wasn’t as weird as you might think when you see that it contains black beans. I’ve heard of recipes like this before but never tried it, and except for wanting slightly more of a chocolate flavor, I wouldn’t have known the difference. Like the smoothie, these are both simple recipes, and they’d be easy to modify to your own tastes. For instance, you could spice up the mac & cheese with a little cayenne, or add more chocolate to the brownies.
Saving the best for last, we ended our day at Twin Cities Veg Fest with Mistress Ginger’s Vegan Cookery Gone Wild. I saw her cooking demo last year and remembered: 1. that I giggled through most of it and 2. that the food was scrumptious! I even purchased Mistress Ginger Cooks: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone which has so many fantastic recipes, along with fun anecdotes that will put a smile on your face.
Mistress Ginger demonstrated her Tofu Gone Wild, Mistress Ginger Dressing, and Chakra Chip Cookies. The book includes a recipe for a Peanut Butter Pie that she presented last year and it’s seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Purchase the book for the pie recipe alone, trust me!
I really love the combination of seasonings used for the Tofu Gone Wild – the best thing about tofu is that aside from being nutritious, it takes on whatever flavor you add to it. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Mistress Ginger’s Chakra Chip Cookies on a few occasions, and they’re always perfect. Not too sweet, just moist enough… yummy! She’s a joy to watch because she’s silly and flirty and she’ll get you excited about making food.
Side note: If you’ve never seen Mistress Ginger perform in any capacity, I’d encourage you to head to Bryant Lake Bowl Nov 29 & 30 for Billie & Billy: Mistress Ginger Sings the Music of Billie Holiday and Billy Strayhorn. I’ve attended a couple of her cabaret shows and they do not disappoint.
The most important part of these cooking demos is that the presenters show you how easy it is to cook compassionately. There are so many wonderful non-animal products that work the same as what many of us are traditionally used to using, so why not use your money to support a product that doesn’t involve animal exploitation? You can always start small to ease yourself into it. Like purchase a non-dairy milk, or try Ener-G Egg Replacer to sub for eggs. Have you already tried any dairy substitutes? I’d love for you to share some of your favorite products in the comments!
If you’re interested in any of the recipes from the cooking demos, click here to find them on the TC Veg Fest website.
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