EPISODE 3: Vegetarian Summerfest, Graphic Design, Sandwiches and Raw Pie

I hope you enjoy Episode 3 of Save the Kales!

Just a heads up! These sandwiches have a lot of components – you can make most of them the day before, then simply assemble and broil when you are ready to eat. Once you know how to make the different elements, you can use them in other recipes, of course.

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In this episode, view the “kale cam” video diary from my attendance at Vegetarian Summerfest 2012, including clips from some of the most inspirational authors, speakers, and activists in the plant-based movement.

Back at the kitchen, we make one heck of a sandwich: tempeh bacon, caramelized onion, roasted pears and a walnut-carrot spread topped with melted vegan cheese and broiled to a gooey perfection. Follow up this sweet and savory dish with a healthy, ripe raw berry pie using three kinds of fresh berries and an almond-coconut crust.

Finally, meet Save the Kales! graphic designer (among other things!) Christian Weber as he shows off the Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 posters.

Note: I will be posting longer clips from some of the talks/speakers very soon, as well as a full Summerfest wrap-up. Stay tuned!

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Tempeh Bacon

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce or Bragg’s)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Cut tempeh into very thin strips (use the whole block). Put the strips in a container with a lid. Use remaining ingredients to mix marinade in a bowl, then pour over tempeh. Put the lid on the container and led it marinate in the fridge, turning the container every few hours or overnight. When you are ready to make tempeh bacon, spray some cooking spray in a pan and add the bacon so it’s not overlapping (may not be able to do it all at once) so the bottom will brown and crisp, then flip over so the other side side gets brown.
Carrot Walnut + Cinnamon Spread
  •  1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Put carrots in the oven at 350 until they are soft, about 25 mins. Set aside to cool. Add all ingredients to a food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides, and blend until a thick spread is made. (Add a little water if you need to move things along in the processor.)

Caramelized Onions

  • large white onion (you can use red!)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt

Cut onion in half, then thinly slice into half-moons. Toss in a pan with olive oil. Put on the stove on a high heat until just starting to brown, then bring the heat low. (You want them to brown, not burn.) Stir in the pan every few minutes to slowly caramelize. Add the salt at 10 minutes of cooking. At about 30-40 minutes, a minute before you take the onions off the stove,  add the brown sugar to help caramelize and flavor onions. Take onions off the stove and set aside.

Browned Pears

  • 1 bosc pear, thinly sliced (remove seeds)
  • 1 tsp vegan butter

Put pears with butter on the stove on a medium heat until pears start to brown and get soft.


  • nice bakery rolls (no eggs/milk!), sliced in half
  • Daiya mozzarella piled high on top of everything else!

Turn on the broiler. Put the bottoms of the rolls on a sheet pan and start building the sandwiches using all of the above components, topping with vegan shredded cheese. Put a nice smear of the sandwich spread on the top half of the rolls, and put those on the pan.  Put in the broiler for 3-4 minutes until cheese gets melty. Don’t burn the bread!

Tempeh bacon, caramelized onion and pear sandwich.

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  • 2 cups soaked raw almonds (almonds soaked in water overnight)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add everything to a food processor and blend until crumbly and sticky. (You can use a little spray oil on your pie pan to help cut the slices out easier.) Push the crust into the pan, working it against the sides and bottom evenly.
  • 2 cups berries of choice (mixed, all one kind, whatever! I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 Tbsp. agave or maple syrup
Put about 1 cup of berries aside so you can use them to top the pie! (Or omit this step.) Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Pour into the pie crust, and put into the fridge for a minimum of two hours (a few more is better). This will allow the berries to naturally gel together.
When you are ready to eat, toss the saved berries in a bowl with 1 tsp liquid sweetner and 1 tsp water to make a simple glaze to make them shiny, then top the pie with them before serving!

Raw triple berry pie with coconut almond crust.

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Bethlehem Vegfest will be held on Sept. 8th, 2012 from 11am-6pm on Bethlehem’s southside greenway! This is a FREE event with cooking demos, food, speakers, animal adoption groups, live music, a kid’s corner, vendors, and so much more.
Last year was the first event with over 10,000 (ten thousand!) attendees.  Stay updated by following the FACEBOOK PAGE and I’ll be sure to give more updates as it gets closer.

Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 poster by Christian Weber.

Taking Time to Digest

Ladies I look up to. Vegetarian Summerfest 2012.

… A different kind of digestion. (Even though, after last week, I could tell you an awful lot about the internal, biological kind.)

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the lessons that I took home with me from this wonderful festival, in the truest sense of the word. A celebration, a family, hugging strangers first and learning their names second.

This photo was so meaningful to me. A bunch of incredible women who have been long involved in the Vegan Community, doing wonderfully inspiring work, were posing for a photo on the last night there. While I was grabbing my bag to step out of the way, Allison said, “Jaime, get over here!”, and everyone shuffled around so I could step in.

And this sounds really sappy and sentimental (hey, it’s what I do best sometimes, corny as it may be) but it was a great symbolization of the best lesson I took away this week: That I am finding my place in this community, there is room for me here and I need to fill it and own it, and it can be shoulder to shoulder with those I most look up to.

We cannot be afraid of putting our hearts, efforts, and creativity into the world.

Because there are those with more experience, notoriety, money, books or videos/shows does not mean we should stand in the shadows because we don’t have “as much”. We would never tell a musician they should not play because there are other musicians; we would never tell a writer not to write because there are other writers.

Do not be afraid to make your mark. Find and value your voice and your place. You can stand on the shoulders of giants.

EDIT: Soon after making this post, Lisa replied with the comment:

“The best leaders don’t inspire because they’re somehow extraordinary – they inspire because they have the same gifts as everyone else but find extraordinary ways to share them.”

Thank you.

Pictured: Allison Samson of Allison’s Gourmet and “Veganize It!” VegNews columnist, Lisa Pittman of Vegan Culinary Crusade, Fran Constigan vegan pastry chef, Jill Nussinow the Veggie Queen, and me!

Summerfestivus for the Rest of Us

It’s 11pm and I’m typing this from a picnic table surrounded by quiet trees on a University campus in a small town at the other side of Pennsylvania.

This afternoon, after some traffic and one too many rest stops, I made it to Vegetarian Summerfest (ahem, Vegan Summer Camp) and within 5 minutes of walking around I was hugged four times.

That’s one huge every minute and fifteen seconds.

My first class was a focus on interconnectedness, a discussion that explores the notion that, elementally, we (all of us) are the same as all nature and “things” (everything), vibrational energies buzzing and humming, made up of the stuff of stars, one in an infinite sky but no less brilliant or worthy of light.

Sound like a feel-good family comedy? It is, I suppose, almost exactly like that. Which is precisely what makes being here so special.



AVOCADO COCONUT CUCUMBER SOUP: Chilled and Creamy, Strange and Delicious

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of having some dental work done, so I stocked up on soft, slurpable foods. Although I spent the majority of the day sleeping, there was a brief afternoon glimmer of kitchen creativity as I searched for something I could physically eat but that contained more nutrition and satiety than, say, organic applesauce.

(Bonus: I ‘ve been reading up on alkaline/ph diets and just learned that an avocado has more usable, absorbable protein than an 8 oz. steak. I love facts like this, especially when they come from doctors or resources that aren’t vegetarian, thus having no “agenda”.  Good to know!)

I came up with this recipe on the spot by throwing a bunch of things into a blender and hoping for the best. Root canals make the hefty impulse purchase of a Vita-Mix last summer totally worth it.


  • flesh of 1 avocado
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) cucumber, peeled
  • 1-2 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1/2 SMALL garlic clove
  • touch of salt
  • coconut milk until creamy consistency, about 1/2 cup
  • *add a little water if you’d like to thin the soup
  • lime zest and unsweetened dried coconut flakes for garnish

Chilled avocado soup ingredients

Start with the first four ingredients and add them to a high-powered blender. Add the coconut milk. Taste. At this point you could take it a number of directions by adding different flavors, or continue on…

Coconut milk makes everything, anything extra tasty

Add the remaining ingredients and plate in a bowl that contrasts the pretty green color. Garnish with some lime zest and dried coconut.

Avocado Coconut Cucumber soup

Vegan chilled summer avocado soup

It has the familiarity of guacamole, but “fluffier” and sweetened from the coconut. The three main ingredients – avocado, coconut and cucumber – each come through distinctly for a somewhat tropical and very refreshing taste.

I imagine if you take out the garlic and add in a sweetner, it would make a delicious dip for fruit. Some big ol’ chunks of pineapple topped with this on a July afternoon? Yes, please.

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My mouth hurts and pain meds make me feel like life is an out of body experience. But this morning I got to sit in the yard in pajamas, drink tea from my eggplant mug (a lovely handcrafted pottery set gifted to us from Ryan’s Aunt and Uncle), eat soy yogurt and read my official letter of reservation for my place at Vegetarian Summerfest 2012!

And I read this, and I quite liked it:

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson