First and foremost, of course, is the fact that everything I teach is vegan, but after that, a world of possibilities awaits! I’m inspired by different cuisines and cultures, spices and flavors, textures and techniques, but mostly what I desire is to inspire someone to get into the kitchen to create food that will nurture, nourish, and delight.
Engaging the Senses
Cooking is a sensual experience in that all of our senses are engaged, and our experience of eating begins long before we start chewing — what a dish looks like, what the kitchen smells like, what a recipe is called, what a food sounds like during preparation or cooking, and what it feels like to touch it with our hands, our teeth, and our tongue. What memories are evoked.
I consider all of these factors when developing my recipes and crafting my classes, and the greatest gift for me is to know that one — even just one — of my recipes may become part of someone’s repertoire. That they will follow instructions I’ve carefully considered. That they will make culinary tweaks and tickles to adjust it to their liking. That they will enjoy the process as much as the result.
Join a Class in 2023
The first half of 2023 is scheduled out, and I hope you can join me. Click on each to book your spot, and enjoy a discount when you book more than one class. 𝐅𝐄𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐀𝐑𝐘: Cozy Colorful Soups (Purple Kale and White Bean Soup, Six Shades of Red Soup, Brazilian Black Bean Stew)
𝐉𝐔𝐍𝐄: Plant-based Food and Wine Pairings (Join me and my partner-in-wine (i.e. my husband) for this special class in which we provide a comprehensive lesson for the best red, white, and rose wines and the plant-based foods they pair with.) If you can’t decide, remember 𝐆𝐈𝐅𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐃𝐒 are also available!
The classes are fun, interactive, and live in real-time! This means, I see you, you see all the other participants, and you see me cooking in my Oakland kitchen and answering your questions. What’s more: you receive all the recipes in advance of the class and a video recording of the class after it’s over.
What type of cooking classes or recipes are you looking for? Comment down below.
Sometimes you want a delicious loaf of bread last-minute, and you don’t have time to let the dough rise. Or you don’t have live yeast. Or you’ve never made yeasted bread before! (Sometimes you’re just looking for St. Patrick’s Day recipes!) The solution: traditional Irish soda bread!
Soda Bread History
Enter soda bread, a type of quick bread that dates to approximately 1840, when bicarbonate of soda was introduced to Ireland and replaced yeast as the leavening agent. It eventually became a staple of the Irish diet and is still used as an accompaniment to a meal.
There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil, but it is more likely that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread or to serve as a guideline for even slices.
Soda Bread Recipe
One of the things I love about traditional recipes such as this Irish soda bread (featured in The Joy of Vegan Baking among 150 others), is that they rarely need to be “veganized,” because they just happen to be vegan already. The lactic acid in buttermilk is what activates the carbon dioxide, but adding vinegar, which is acidic, to our nondairy milk creates the same effect.
Irish soda bread is a perfect, delicious bread that anyone can make, regardless of your skill level — and whether or not it’s St. Patrick’s Day! Pair it with a hearty stew, and you’re all set! (For a St. Patrick’s Day Menu of Potato Pancakes, Vegan Irish Stew, and Apple Whisky Crumble, click here!)
2 cups nondairy milk
2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar
4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil or melted nondairy butter
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lightly grease a round 9- or 10-inch cake pan.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Essentially, by adding an acidic agent, you just created “buttermilk.”
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk and vinegar mixture, plus the oil or butter, and combine until you have a sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for about 10 to 12 strokes.
Place the dough in the prepared pan, and cut a cross on the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bottom has a hollow sound when thumped. Cool slightly before serving.
Soda bread can dry out quickly and is typically good for two to three days; it is best served warm or toasted with nondairy butter.
The Seder dinner, the Passover holiday, and the six symbolic foods on the Seder plate all combine to commemorate the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and convey the powerful message of Passover: that freedom is possible, that slavery can end, and that the future can be better than the past.
Join me in today’s episode as we discuss:
the significance of the symbolic foods of Passover
the acceptable alternatives to the shankbone and egg on a vegan seder plate
how a plant-based Passover authentically reflects the principles of this holiday
After canceling all of our 2020 trips, I am very grateful to have renewed our Joyful Vegan Trips — taking all the precautions necessary (and required) for traveling during a pandemic (now endemic) and doing everything we can to neither spread nor contract Covid-19.
In June 2023, we will be running our third trip to Tuscany, which has a few spots left, and our second to Northern Italy. The latter is called Mountains and Lakes and Canals, because, well…Dolomites (Italian Alps), Lake Garda, and Venice!
Welcome to the first Food for Thought episode of 2023 — the 17th year of this podcast! Let’s kick this new year off with recommendations of the best films and books enjoyed this past year. You can refer to the blog post for the list of movies. Grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy!
Depending on what you focus on, you can find reasons for despair or reasons for hope, and this episode is all about giving you reason for some optimism. Listen to the episode Good News for Animals: 10 Reasons for Hope, and for a full account of these 10 good-news stories, along with links and photos, visit the blog post called Good News for Animals and Nature (2022).
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀🇮🇪 Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the rich culinary heritage of Ireland, celebrating the delicious traditional foods that have been passed down for generations and making a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu.
You heard that right.
Traditions are meant to be adapted. Traditions are meant to reflect our values. So, let’s get to it.
Irish cuisine is hearty and comforting — thick soups, chunky stews, creamy sides, and warming drinks. This is the food I grew up on in my Irish-American family. My name IS, after all, Colleen Patrick — Colleen meaning “girl” and Patrick referring to the patron saint of this holiday. (The “Goudreau” part of my last name comes from my husband.)
Officially, I’m 75% Irish and 25% Italian, my ancestors having immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. And I’m 100% vegan. So, that makes a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu right up my alley! 😇
St. Patrick’s Day History
The history of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the 17th century, when it was first observed as a religious feast day by the Catholic Church in Ireland. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was a fifth-century Christian missionary who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
He is also known for using the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.
Over time, St. Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in Ireland, and it was celebrated with religious ceremonies and feasts. It was also a day when people would wear green, which is now a symbol of Ireland and a nod to the country’s lush green landscape.
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day became popular among Irish immigrants in the late 19th century. These immigrants organized parades and other celebrations to celebrate their heritage and culture. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and is celebrated around the world.
Irish Main Dishes and Sides
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE (AMERICAN): One of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day food traditions is corned beef and cabbage, and I have memories of my mother cooking this in the slow cooker every March. However, this dish is not actually a traditional Irish meal. It is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-19th century, when Irish immigrants substituted corned beef for bacon, which was more expensive in America.
HEARTY STEW (IRISH): In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is more commonly celebrated with a traditional Irish meal of a thick, hearty stew with potatoes, carrots, and onions. For my vegan version, I use plant-based meat, though you can just leave that out and just feature root vegetables. You can use store-bought seitan, sausage, or any favorite vegan meat. To avoid extra packaging and cost, I make my own seitan, which is much more economical and ecological. You can find my recipe in the on-demand class library, or just click on the button below:
COLCANNON (IRISH): Another traditional Irish dish is colcannon, a delicious and creamy mixture of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. This simple yet satisfying dish would be served with a dollop of (nondairy) butter, and it’s a great accompaniment to any main dish. It is also a perfect way to get some St. Patrick’s Day GREEN in your menu — using healthy, delicious greens. You can take that further by making a side of
sauteed collard greens
spinach or arugula salad
BOXTY (IRISH): An alternative to colcannon is boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake. There are different regional variations of boxty throughout Ireland, with some recipes including other ingredients like onions, garlic, or herbs. Boxty has been a staple of Irish cuisine for centuries and is still popular today, particularly in rural areas of the country.
SODA BREAD (IRISH): Another traditional item for this holiday is soda bread, which has been a staple in Irish cuisine for many years, and it’s still enjoyed today for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is that it’s a simple bread to make using basic ingredients that were readily available to the Irish people throughout history, including flour, salt, baking soda, and soured milk (or buttermilk).
Using plant-based milk instead of animal milk is an easy vegan switcheroo for a bread that is otherwise vegan. Enjoy my recipe for Irish Soda Bread here.
Irish Dessert and Drinks
For dessert, Irish people often enjoy traditional dishes like apple cake, bread pudding, or trifle. They may also indulge in Guinness beer (now vegan!), Bailey’s Irish Cream (a vegan version now available!), or Irish whiskey (always been vegan, thank goodness!). 😇 These iconic Irish beverages have been enjoyed for centuries, and their rich flavors are the perfect complement to any traditional Irish meal.
You can enjoy my Whisky Apple Cake recipe as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu. And if you have my book, Color Me Vegan, you will find a beautiful Green Matcha Cupcake, which is a fun way to feature some of the Irish green!
Green Recipe Inspiration!
Here are some more ideas for green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day:
Green smoothie bowl: Blend spinach, banana, kiwi, and coconut milk to make a creamy and nutritious green smoothie. Top with sliced fruit, granola, and nuts for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
Irish soda bread with green herbs: Add chopped green herbs like parsley, chives, or basil to your Irish soda bread dough to give it a fresh and savory twist.
Shamrock avocado toast: Spread mashed avocado onto toasted bread and use a cookie cutter to cut the shape of a shamrock. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, green onions, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Green hummus: Blend chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add a handful of fresh parsley, cilantro, or spinach and blend until the mixture turns bright green. Serve with pita chips or crudites.
Matcha latte: Whisk together matcha powder, agave, and warm plant-based milk to make a frothy and invigorating green tea latte.
Pistachio “nice” cream: Make a homemade pistachio nice cream by blending pistachios into your frozen bananas. Blend the mixture in a blender until it’s thick and creamy.
Shamrock sugar cookies: Make sugar cookie dough and add green food coloring to the mix. Cut out shamrock shapes with cookie cutters, bake, and decorate with green icing and sprinkles.
So let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Irish style with delicious, nutritious, compassionate vegan recipes! You can find my video, recipes, and menu of TRADITIONAL IRISH STEW, POTATO PANCAKES (BOXTY), AND APPLE CRUMBLE by clicking on the button below.
In conversation with Brighde Reed of World Vegan Travel, the two of us share all the reasons why Alsace France is a magical place to visit anytime of year, but especially at Christmastime:
Quaint medieval villages
Festive Christmas markets
Bear and wolf sanctuary in the Black Forest
…and glorious French food, made plant-based and delicious!
We’re going back again and taking folks with us, but whether or not you join us on our Joyful Vegan Trip to Alsace or plan on traveling there on your own, this episode will make you want to curl up with some hot cocoa (or mulled wine) in front of a warming fire.
If you listened to the podcast episode Christmas Feasting, you’ll know that these wonderful enriched buns are a staple during the holidays, especially on December 13th in honor of St. Lucy’s Day. Also called Lussekatter (meaning St. Lucia’s cats), this is a Swedish favorite at Christmas. S-shaped and saffron-infused, they are slightly sweet, wonderfully buttery, and a vibrant yellow from the saffron-infused dough. I can’t wait to hear what you think — and see your photos!
NOTE: Plan ahead a little when making these, was the dough will need to rise twice.
3/4 cup nondairy butter
2 cups nondairy milk (+ extra for brushing)
1 teaspoon of saffron threads
¼ cup dry yeast
3-½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raisins / sultanas
In a small pot, heat the butter, milk, and saffron together until the milk is steamy and finger-warm. Do not boil! Let cool until it’s warm to the touch, but not hot.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm saffron-infused milk, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it starts to foam.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together 3-1/2 cups of the flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, and salt. (You can do this by hand, as well; it’s just easier with a stand mixer.)
Make a well in the center, and add the milk / butter / saffron / yeast mixture, and mix until it is well incorporated.
Knead by hand, or switch to the dough hook of your mixer, and knead on low speed. Add additional flour if necessary, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Continue until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl.
Cover with a towel, and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. (At least an hour.)
Once your dough has risen, place it on a floured counter. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide. Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long.
Next, curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end (or the shape of your choice.) Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
Brush with plant-based milk, and gently push a raisin/sultana in each swirl on the buns.
Bake each tray in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Let cool for a few minutes, but they’re absolutely delicious eaten warm with butter (non-dairy, of course).
In today’s episode, I argue that feasting and festivities are a lot more meaningful when they follow a period of deprivation.
12 Days of (Vegan) Christmas Recipe Bundle
WHAT’S MORE: Inspired by the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a brand-new recipe bundle that features recipes that can be served at a single holiday party OR as inspiration for each day of the holiday season. 🎵 On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…🎵