So Cal Vegfest!
Hooray! I finally made it to So Cal Vegfest! I first learned about Vegfest about a year ago or so, but for different reasons, I kept missing them when they were local or nearby. So, nothing was going to stop me from getting there this year. And I am so glad I went!
Upon walking into the venue, I swear, there was a cool vibe in the air. Maybe it was just me? But I sure felt the electricity and the sheer excitement of being with so many other plant pushers!
For my first stop I wanted something healthy with some raw elements. Reading a lot of different menus of the vendors, I chose Lydia's Kind Food. I ordered the small salad trio, which included creamy kale, purple goddess cabbage, and raw coconut curry salad. It was amazing! The kale was super creamy, most likely a cashew cream base, the curry was savory and the coconut was the perfect texture, and the purple goddess tasted like it was fermented, but not too strong in flavor.
My next stop was to the main stage, where Gene Bauer from Farm Sanctuary in New York state was speaking. You could tell just how passionate an animal advocate he is! I can't imagine what those animals would do if it weren't for him, and other people like him, who really make a difference in changing the way the world thinks about animals, especially, eating them. He has been demonstrating kindness and compassion for animals for 30 years!
My next stop was Sage Bistro. Mmmm, I love Sage! Sage has two restaurants, one in Echo Park and one in Culver City, but I first learned about them when I attended the Desert Trip festival a couple weeks ago. I was so happy when I found out about this awesome vegan option, and then I fell in love, hard, with the Buffalo cauliflower wings! So I couldn't resist ordering them again. And they didn't disappoint. Growing up for a few years in the Buffalo NY area, it seems that nobody in So Cal can get the sauce right. But Sage Bistro does, and with a little crunch to the cauliflower, I swear, I could eat these every. single. day. Ah well, it's probably a good thing that both restaurants are an hour away!
After browsing around the different booths, and buying a new t-shirt, I then realized that Jason Wrobel was giving a cooking demonstration. If you've never heard of Jason, he's been on the forefront of making plant based food accessible and delicious. I've been following him on Instagram for a while now, and he is definitely one of my inspirations. So, to see him in person was quite a thrill! He was demonstration how to make a brunch dish that's kind of an asparagus benedict, with a hollandaise sauce made from a cashew based cream. The recipe is in his newest cookbook, called Eaternity. I didn't get to try it, but I took some mental notes so I could try to duplicate it at home.
Here's the recipe I came up with. It's slightly different than his, but it's going to be a keeper. I'm already excited about my next Vegfest!
Asparagus with Hollandaise and Fake Bacon
- 1 Bunch of asparagus
- 3/4 Cup of raw cashews, soaked
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 Whole lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/2 tsp Tumeric powder
- 1 tsp Nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp Kombucha or apple cider vinegar
- 1 Dash of black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 Cup of water
- Cut off the woody stems of the asparagus.
- Marinate the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Soak cashews for 15 minutes, or longer, up to 1 day ahead.
- Strain cashews and discard water.
- Place all the ingredients from cashews down into a high speed blender, and blend until very smooth.
- Depending on consistency desired, add more water a teaspoon at a time. I thinned some out for drizzling over the top, but then left some thick for dipping.
- Broil, or grill asparagus until soft, but with a crunch. About 10 minutes.
- Pour some sauce over the top, and add crumbled fake bacon.
- 1 sheet of rice paper that's used in spring rolls or large wontons
- 1 TBS BBQ sauce
- 1 tsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp Vegan worcestershire sauce
- Mix BBQ sauce, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce together on a plate.
- Marinate rice paper on both sides
- Place on oiled pan and place in broiler. I actually used my outdoor grill on the upper level to prevent burning
- Keep lifting the sides, preventing rice paper from sticking
- This cooks quickly, so don't take your eyes off!
- When there's a good sizzle going, and rice paper seems to be getting crisp, remove from heat
- Remove from the pan and place on cutting board
- After letting it cool, cut into shards and sprinkle on top of asparagus with hollandaise