Garlic Scape Biscuits

This idea has been kicking around in our heads for weeks. We've seriously just been waiting for the scapes to show up. If you read yesterday's post, you already know that garlic scapes just touched down at the Saco Farmers' Market and we scooped up as many as we could. They keep forever and we intend to keep playing with them in the coming weeks. We consider garlic scapes a product worthy of far more acclaim in the produce world. From what we could tell, not too many people are adding the gentle greens of young garlic into a biscuit, so we thought we'd try.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. vegan margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic scapes
1/2 tbsp. egg replacer mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp. water for "egg" wash

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or dough cutter incorporate margarine with dry mix. Make sure you start with very cold vegan margarine and cut it into the dry mix until it appears course or resembles cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour and margarine mixture. Pour the soy milk into the well and mix it into the dry mix until it begins to come together. Add the garlic scapes and fold gently to distribute the scapes throughout. Be careful not to overwork as this encourages gluten development and could lead to a tougher texture. That's a big no-no in the biscuit game.

When the dough comes together turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute adding a little more flour if the dough sticks. Roll the dough out to about a half inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or drink glass push firmly down onto the dough to cut out your biscuits. Try not to twist as you push down as this could crimp the edges of the dough together and inhibit fluffiness. If scraps remain, gently fold the pieces back together rather than try to work them into a ball. Again, we're trying to avoid tough biscuits with this step. Roll and cut as necessary. Place on an ungreased sheet and brush with egg replacer mixture. Cook on center rack in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Enjoy while still warm. Makes a dozen biscuits.

A Market Morning

Every Saturday finds us at the Saco Farmers' Market without fail. Lately we've been chatting a lot with Dan Bedard from Seasonal Corner as featured in a previous post where he shared with us a recipe for Kale Chips. Today's visit with Dan brought news that a highfalutin NYC executive chef had gotten a hold of the recipe and went nuts for it. I don't doubt it. Don't sleep! Make yourselves some Kale Chips right now. Aside from kale, Dan had just what we've been anxiously awaiting for the last couple weeks. Garlic scapes were finally there this week! The idea is to hopefully work these into some biscuits so check back soon.

Not that Dan is the only farmer there. We're regulars to the Alewive's Brook Farm and, more and more now, Snell Family Farm's booths at the market. Today we picked up some gorgeous new potatoes and a hearty looking garlic stalk. It's our understanding that these are quite a lot more fibrous than young garlic greens and we're figuring they're prepared more as you would leeks. Do you, our readers, have any suggestions as to what you would like to see done with these ingredients? Toss your recipe requests our way, or share your own in the comments.

Today's haul:

  • garlic scapes, Seasonal Corner
  • swiss chard, Seasonal Corner
  • new potatoes, Snell Family Farm
  • garlic stalk, Snell Family Farm
See you all there next week!

A Non-Vegan Eating Vegan Meals

We've been looking for perspectives from others living in Maine and into local food. Being vegan wasn't a hard and fast prerequisite, just that those interested in submitting be open minded. It's important to understand that everyone started somewhere. It may be an ethical conflict that gets you started on the path to veganism. Maybe it's concern for the environment or personal well being. Veganism at it's roots is a rejection of violence. Violence to non-humans, the self, and the planet. I think our Twitter friend Marie from Freeport has been thinking about these things for a while. With that in mind, here's her guest submission.

A while back, I noticed some of the people in my Twitter stream talking about something called "Meatless Monday." I didn't know how it had started, but I thought, what a great idea! Pick one day a week and pledge to go meatless that day. I thought it was strictly for health reasons, but I figured, why not? Recently, I've done more and more reading about the campaign, and this is what I found out and how it's influenced me to eat less meat and animal products.

The Meatless Monday campaign has been around a while, apparently, but it's gotten much wider promotion due to Paul McCartney launching a Meat Free Monday campaign last year and getting his celebrity friends to join in. Here's an article with a short video, from June of 2009.

Before I realized exactly what Meatless Monday was all about, I had been eating vegetarian at least one day a week anyway. Growing up in a household where meat is the most important ingredient in any meal, even eating vegetarian a few days per week was a huge leap. Fortunately, my husband doesn't care what he eats, so there's none of the resistance people sometimes get from their spouses when they attempt to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Last week I made a potato curry dish, using a few cut-up potatoes boiled in water, and some sauteed garlic, onion and fresh ginger. When the potatoes got soft, I added a generous dollop of curry paste and some spinach. Served with a nice slice of crusty bread, it was a delicious meal, and I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. My husband enjoyed it and we felt a little healthier. I didn't miss the meat one bit!

This is how I arrived at my decision to eat less meat. One day, a couple of months ago, I was eating a piece of chicken and I started thinking, "what am I doing? I'm eating another animal." It's easy to forget the live bird when you buy it neatly packaged in the store; but, for instance, when you drive by someone's yard here in Freeport and see the gorgeous chickens walking around, it's harder to ignore the fact that one of these creatures was slaughtered, often brutally, to end up cooked on my plate. I love wildlife, and I wouldn't dream of killing one of the wild turkeys that appear in my back yard sometimes, so how can I justify eating a chicken?

A few months ago, I joined the Paul McCartney website forum, after buying one of his albums for my iPod. I began reading the posts, and in particular, the posts about vegetarianism and the environment. What I like about Paul McCartney's approach to encouraging vegetarianism is that he says, "this is what I do, and this is why." Regardless of how you feel about the morality of eating meat or using animals products, he makes a strong case for going meatless to support the environment.

To make matters worse, even without anyone eating a cow, farmers can cause damage to the environment just by using cow manure on their fields, something I read about often in the papers when I lived in the Midwest. My grand daughter lives in Wisconsin and she has a low immune system due to being born premature four years ago. I can't imagine her swimming in a lake contaminated with manure runoff, can you? Yet it's not against the law, it's entirely voluntary on the farmers' part.

So while I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, I am tossing all of these issues around in my mind on an ongoing basis, and going more and more meat free, not just one day a week, but several. I think everyone has their own motivations for not eating meat, and you can't force people into a certain lifestyle by preaching, as food is such a primal element in people's lives. People associate food with their mothers, and nurturing, and I still remember my mother making raspberry pie from the fresh raspberries we kids picked at our house in Winthrop. If someone came up to me and told me I wasn't allowed to eat raspberries anymore, I'd laugh in their face.

Since moving back to Maine almost four years ago, I've seen many wonderful examples of people living lifestyles that truly support and sustain our environment. I'd never thought of Maine as a state with lots of vegetarians and vegans. My experiences growing up in Maine as a child were limited to a few small towns, where most people ate meat as a matter of course. I find myself buying local more and more, thinking about the environment, and yes, going meat free. Like Paul McCartney, you provide a great example with a caring and non-judgmental attitude. I thank you, and I'm sure the chickens down the road thank you too.


Once oatmeal porridge or gruel, the word now means any of several stews, usually thick. Thus the word makes a happy substitute for the overworked pea-soup fog: "It fogged in thick as burgoo!"

Gould, John. MAINE LINGO: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats. Camden, Maine: Down East Magazine, 1975

Seasonal Corner

We love linking up with farmers at the local markets and farm stands and what we're pleased that what we're doing is being received quite favorably. These guys and gals just love talking about their work with consumers who are excited about local agriculture. We're about a month in at the Saco Farmers' Market and things are really starting to pick up. We stopped in last weekend to pick up some produce and baked goods for the kids. While the sky threatened to open up I chatted with Dan Bedard of Seasonal Corner.

Seasonal Corner is a MOFGA certified farm in Biddeford that sells at the Saco Farmers' Market and produces fresh vegetables, herbs and berries. They've also got this great line of low temperature dried herbs and vegetables. This process ensures the highest quality in taste and nutrition. I didn't even mention the lettuces yet. We've been enjoying the most massive salads around here for the last couple of days

The quality of the food is of course first and foremost, but I thought maybe the coolest thing I learned in chatting with Dan was that he maintains the farm's Facebook page. He updates religiously each week before and after the market, telling what is going to be available that week, and another post in summary of the week's business at the market and offering thanks to the customers. The community is responsive and friendly and that's a community we want to be part of.

While I was at it I thought I would press Dan for a recipe. He was more than happy to oblige, and the ingredient highlighted is especially appropriate as Seasonal Corner was offering kale that week at the market. We'd love to claim that as insider information, but it's right there on the Facebook page for all to see. Go sign up. Now try Dan's recipe for Kale Chips.

The kale chips are very simple to cook. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Select baby kale leaves with small stems. Leaves should be no larger than 8 inches. Wash and pat dry. Lightly coat with first cold press olive oil and lightly season with sea salt. Cook coated kale until crispy. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. It will reduce almost 75%. What a treat.

Traditional Pesto with Gnocchi

We were a little hesitant to post a recipe for pesto. It's really rather simplistic to make so why bother? We decided though, that it's the quality of the individual ingredients you select that's most important, and there's no shortage of those here in Maine for us to highlight.

The seeds for this idea were planted when Missus Gray brought home a bunch of fresh basil from Olivia's Garden in New Gloucester. Really that's not that out of the ordinary. It's on our shopping list every week anyway. Primarily because we've found that Olivia's consistently offers some of the highest quality tomatoes and basil around. If we're not buying farmers' market tomatoes, they're Olivia's. Olivia's Garden is also associated with Maine-ly Hydroponics and their greenhouses are close to Pineland at 163 Valley Farm Road, New Gloucester. Their fine 'maters often find their way to the Saco Farmers' Market as well.

Another face that's consistently at the Saco Farmers' Market is Lakonía Greek Products. It's their olive oil that we've decided to use as the other showcase flavor in our pesto. Lakonía is a family business with roots on the Peloponnese peninsula, in the company's namesake region. When founder Daphne Contraros Rioux rediscovered her homeland in 1990 she also discovered the fine quality unfiltered olive oils and after a while started shipping it back to the states, more specifically Saco, and selling it at the Farmer's Market. We love the stuff. Try the early harvest oils which are spicy, brash, and green in all the good ways. The late harvest is mellow and smooth with, as the website says, hints of almonds and sea spray. Sounds luscious! Try either here in the pesto depending upon your preference.

One last plug. Even though they're not in Maine, we think Rising Moon Organics products are swell. We coated their Garlic & Basil Gnocchi with our pesto and were real happy with the results. Many of their products are certified vegan and all of them are organic. Try the ravioli too.

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves removed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

In food processor combine garlic, walnuts, and kosher salt. Process to a fine grind. Add basil leaves and process again until the basil is minced. With processor running, slowly add olive oil followed by lemon juice. We gobbled ours right up but it will definitely store for a couple of weeks if properly refrigerated. Cover surface of pesto with a layer of olive oil to prevent discoloration. Makes 1 1/2 cups.


Potato, as nearly as type can approximate the Aroostook County pronunciation.
(In Maine French, pomme de terre will be readily understood,
but patate is more likely. French fries are patates

Gould, John. MAINE LINGO: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats. Camden, Maine: Down East Magazine, 1975

Vegan Bloggers and Traveling in Maine

We've made some great friends through Twitter recently. It fun to touch bases with other vegan bloggers who are doing similar work examining their own regions and writing about the unique experience of being vegan in that area. There are a couple of other vegan Maine blogs of note. Mitten Machen has a Bangor and Belfast focus along with being gluten-free, and Portland has Girl Gone Raw hosted by East End artist Elizabeth Fraser. Both are fantastic resources and bring something truly excellent to the table. We're happy to have them.

And that's just in Maine! There are vegan bloggers everywhere. We were excited to hear that there were vegan bloggers from neighboring regions both planning trips to/through Maine at around the same time. We enjoy hearing about others' experiences while visiting our state so we had to go over to the blogs of Cook. Vegan. Lover. and My Face is on Fire to catch up on how their trips went.

Mylène Ouellet has been on our radar for a while. As author of My Face is on Fire she focuses on abolitionist theory and the ethics of the consumer. When she posts, our ears perk up. That's why we were excited to hear she would be coming through Maine, stopping in Searsport, on her way to Pennsylvania. She writes,

Elm Cottage's website described it as being a vegan / vegetarian B & B, so
although I rolled my eyes a little at the mix of vegan and non-vegan
complementary toiletries that had been left for us in the bathroom, I shrugged
it off in anticipation of the plant-based breakfast we'd been promised. When we
saw the spread laid out for us, we were both wide-eyed in amazement. There was
toast, homemade pumpkin muffins, margarine, apricot "butter" and preserves,
green tea and coffee with soy milk, orange juice, granola and fresh
strawberries. Janet also brought out a couple of small casserole dishes, each
filled with a savoury mushroom-and-something stuffed tomato, which although not
exactly breakfast-y, were quite delicious.
The place sounds gorgeous. Mylène mentions beautiful gardens and an abundance of rescued non-human residents about. The visit to the Belfast area was rounded out by a visit to the Belfast Co-op which has a inclusive menu. It sounds as though, despite one understandably off-putting incident involving non-vegan yogurt, Mylène and friend enjoyed their trip through Maine's Mid-coast.

The other blog of note to have visited Maine recently is Cook. Vegan. Lover. The husband and wife behind the blog celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary by visiting Portland. They're report is great fun to read. They jammed so much Southern Maine fun into one weekend that they had to divide their Portland experience into 3 parts! They visited LLBean, Soakology, Portland's Whole Foods, Stonewall Kitchen, Novare Res, Boda, and the Fore River Sanctuary. So much to do in Portland as a vegan! They say of Boda,

Our last yummy dish was Tofu Shrimp with glass noodles: Traditionally
cooked in a rustic earthenware pot with pork belly tempeh bacon, ginger,
celery, scallion, cilantro, and soy sauce. Served with jasmine steamed rice.
This is a silken dish, simple yet very pleasing. It is one of the few occasions
when noodles may be eaten with rice. Available vegetarian with organic tofu,
shiitake and tempeh bacon.

Had to admit, even though were here at So.ME.Vegans are Portland area foodies, Lindsay scooped us on Boda. Their visit included a multitude of hidden gems and it sounds like they had a hell of a time. Thanks for visiting our area and taking advantage of all we have to offer. See their reports, parts 1, 2, and 3 at Cook.Vegan. Lover.

Roasted Beet and Israeli Couscous Salad

Summer is quickly approaching and grills everywhere are being uncovered. It's time for picnics
and barbecues with all the trimmings. We're big fans of pasta salads and maybe even bigger fans of beets. Truth told, Missus Gray led a fairly sheltered life not having had beets until she was about a quarter century old. Now she can't get enough of them. We spotted some great looking beets being offered by Alewive's Brook Farm at last weekend's Saco Farmers Market.We saw this as the perfect opportunity to try to nail down a recipe that had been stewing in our minds for a while. Should be great as the weather gets warmer. Bring it to your next vegan barbecue!

3/4 pound beets (approx. 6)
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 package (8.8 oz.) Israeli couscous, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel beets and cut into matchstick sized pieces and place in a roasting pan. Do the same with the onions. Toss with kosher salt, black pepper, and 2 tsp. olive oil. Cover the dish and cook for 40 minutes or until beets are fork tender. Allow the beet and onion mixture to cool.

When cool add beet mixture to bowl with cooked Israeli couscous. Add vinegar and olive oil to roasting pan and use whisk to incorporate vinegar and oil with any remaining liquids from the beets. This stuff tastes great and we wouldn't want to leave it behind. It has great flavor and will add color to our salad. We've essentially made a pan vinaigrette.

Add pan dressing to couscous and beets and toss thoroughly to combine, adding walnuts as well. The color of the beets and vinaigrette will stain the Israeli couscous a deep pink and create the most eye-poppingest salad you've ever seen. Serves 8-10 depending on how much you dig beets. Dig. Beets. Yeah? Never mind.

Boiled Owls, Vegan Style

One of the most distinguishing differences between Mainahs and those "from-away" becomes evident when we open our mouths. It's not just the accents that give us away, it's the colloquial expressions as well. Both of us here at So.ME.Vegans have been witness to the unique vernacular having grown up here and have mentally filed away endless phrases that sound like complete gibberish anywhere else.

So we were especially intrigued when, on a recent visit to family in Hancock County, we stumbled upon a book published by Maine institution Down East Magazine in 1975. John Gould's MAINE LINGO is a treasure trove of such expressions. The phrases examined are rich in topic and varied in origin. We've got eats on the brain, so we naturally sort of gravitated to the expressions pertaining to food. Periodically we'll offer a phrase that especially tickled us and speaks to where we come from in the way that only true Maine dialect can. We thought this one seasonally quite fitting.

Well, whaddyaknow? It's rhubarb time right now! This also gets us thinking of a TVP version of a mincemeat pie. Stay tuned.

Gould, John. MAINE LINGO: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats. Camden, Maine: Down East Magazine, 1975.