Zucchini Bread

It might have come from the bank, or church, or fire department, but one thing is certain; you'll find one in every small town Maine kitchen. It's a cookbook with recipes submitted by your friends and neighbors. We think these self-published cookbooks from our civic institutions are the most authentic representations of community available to us. In that vein, we've set to scouring our mothers' shelves looking up recipes for classic Maine dishes with an eye toward modernizing them and making them vegan. This one is a bit of a vamp on a recipe taken from a collection from the Lincoln County 911 Dispatchers' Favorite Recipes cookbook.

There has been an abundance of great local zucchini about and this tasty bread instantly popped into mind. We got our zucchini from Dan at Seasonal Corner in Biddeford. We love pretty much all he's had to offer and we're super excited to hear that he's planning on going to full time next year when he'll have retail on site at the farm and will be turning out on Wednesdays at the Saco Farmers' Market. We can't wait.

We also recommend using another local vegan product in the baking of your zucchini bread. Pastor Chuck's Organic Applesauce is the way to go to add moistness to the bread without any of the cholesterol or guilty conscience of using eggs. They're based out of Portland and there's even a handy list of retailers on their website where you can pick up the goods.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups peeled, grated zucchini
2 cups organic sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 cup corn oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended. Grease and flour two bread loaf pans. Divide evenly. Bakes up yummy in 35-40 minutes. Your mileage may vary depending upon your oven's temperament.

Helping Local Farmers and Neighbors

That's exactly what was on the agenda this past weekend from Animal Rights Maine when the organization set up for the first time at the Deering Oaks Farmers' Market, taking donations to benefit Preble Street. We've been keeping tabs on this group through their ever expanding Facebook page. This event was constructed to utilize food that may have otherwise gone to waste, promote consciousness of animal rights, and help the many who rely on the services of food banks and shelters. We here at So.ME.Vegans greatly appreciate the emphasis that organizer Melissa Gates put on the message that animal rights and humanitarian causes are not mutually exclusive, but one in the same issue. In a recent interview Gates states

"... animal rights is about more than advocating for animals; it is about a way of life that encompasses compassion for all. I want to negate the idea that AR activists are a bunch of people-hating wackos, as that is simply, by and
large, not true."

It's an idea that's long past due and ARM is presenting a positive and inclusive message that the greater community is picking up on. The story got local coverage from WCSH6, The West End News, and The Portland Press Herald. People came out in droves contributing approximately 600 pounds of produce for the cause. The collected food will go to Preble Street Resource Center, where over 6,000 meals are served to the hungry each week, free of charge. We see this as a glorious and beautiful effort and hopefully people learned a little something about animal rights, and those who fight for the rights of non-humans, in the process.

Volunteers are still needed for upcoming food drives. If you're thinking about assisting in future efforts here's what you need to know. Volunteers are needed to:

  • Walk through the park, alerting shoppers to the opportunity to donate fresh veggies to the food drive by purchasing from the farm stands and leaving donations in the bins ARM has provided.
  • Collect donation bins from farmers as needed and at the end of the market, loading the food into a truck (or cars).
  • Bring all donations and produce bins to Preble Street at the end of the market.

Folks with a truck or a van are especially needed to help store food and transport it to local pantries at the end of the market! To sign up please contact animalrightsmaine@yahoo.com. We hope you do!

I Love Vegan Cheezy Almonds!

It might be a little unfair to play favorites and ascribe more adoration to one of Maine's specialty food products than another. In that regard, Living Nutz is giving us a little bit of internal conflict. Seriously though it's been a long time since a local vegan product we've tried made our jaws drop or eyes light up as I Love Vegan Cheezy Almonds! did.

We're not really raw devotees, but know we have a few raw followers in Portland. It's hard to ignore the health benefits of eating raw. Cooking food destroys nutrients and kills enzymes that aid in digestion, so the ingredients in Vegan Cheezy Almonds are processed minimally. The almonds are unpasturized and allowed to germinate. This is followed by marination and finally dehydration at low temperatures. Doing it this way encourages enzyme production increasing the health benefits and developing some great flavors.

So where did that great 'cheezy' flavor come from? Our guess is that it's actually the process of live culture development that takes the combined flavors of almonds, pumpkin seeds, nama shoyu, and lemon juice and transforms the snack into a 'cheezy' treat. We were impressed that the flavors struck a fine balance with no one flavor sticking it's neck out too far. They have lots of flavors that look amazing, but take note that some contain honey.

The Living Nutz Company was started in 2002 by Seth Leaf and Davy (The Almond Brothers) and are based in Bowdoinham. Heck they're even endorsed by fellow LLBean employee and Everest summiteer Bill Yeo. Please try to get your hands on some. We got ours at Royal River Natural Foods in Freeport. Support your vegan friendly grocers, not just the producers.