Part 1 – John Schlimm, The Tipsy Vegan
Just in time for the holidays, John Schlimm, a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the U.S., brings together the flavor of the kitchen and the fun of the bar in The Tipsy Vegan: 75 Boozy Recipes to Turn Every Bite Into Happy Hour. Showcasing plant-based recipes that feature everything from beer to brandy, he presents irresistibly tasty dishes that are easy to prepare and reveal the wilder side of everyday fruits and vegetables.
Part 2 – Terry Romero and Isa Moskowitz, Vegan Pie in the Sky
Holidays? Check. Birthdays? Check. Tuesdays? Check! Our research says life is 100% better any day pie is involved. There’s nothing like a rich, gooey slice of apple pie straight from the oven, baked in a perfectly flaky crust and topped with cinnamon-sugar. And now it can be yours, along with dozens more mouthwatering varieties, vegan at last and better than ever. Vegan Pie in the Sky is the latest force in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s baking revolution. You’ll find delicious and adorable pies, tarts, cobblers, cheesecakes and more—all made without dairy, eggs, or animal products. From fruity to chocolaty, nutty to creamy, Vegan Pie in the Sky has the classic flavors you crave. And the recipes are as easy as, well, you know.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I’m Caryn Hartglass and welcome to It’s All About Food! Thank you so much for tuning in and just a little bit of what we do here during this hour on It’s All About Food talking about my favorite subject, food. I’m Caryn Hartglass and I’m the founder of a nonprofit called Responsible Eating and Living and what I like to do is connect the dots and talk about how food affects environment, health, the treatment of animals, but most of all I love to show that we can change the world and we can have fun doing it. The food tastes great and its good force makes us feel great and there’s really no good reason not to eat this way healthy plant based, beautiful, colorful foods. This is ’tis the season to be jolly. This is holiday time and more and more we’re seeing cookbooks coming out, recipes coming out made with all beautiful plant based ingredients to show we can have our cake and eat it too, we can have it all. It’s gorgeous, it’s delicious, it’s fun. We’re just going to continue the party here, I’m going to pour myself a chilled virtual beer and introduce my first guest: John Schlimm, author of The Tipsy Vegan just in time for the holidays. John Schlimm, a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the United States, brings together the flavor of the kitchen and the fun of the bar. In The Tipsy Vegan 75 boozy recipes to turn every bite into happy hour showcasing plant based recipes that feature everything from beer to brandy. He presents irresistibly tasty dishes that are easy to prepare and reveal the wilder side of everyday fruits and vegetables. Welcome to It’s All About Food.
John Schlimm: Hey Caryn, I’m so excited to be with you and all your listeners, we’re going to have fun with this one for sure.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely, I love your book and I love the attitude and everything about it because, well, I kind of just said, there’s only joy in this food, there’s only fun and it’s about time we started changing the image of plant based food and vegan people.
John Schlimm: That’s right, when I set out, I really wanted to create a party in a book. I wanted you to check reality at page one and just let the party carry you away from there and really redefine what vegan food is. Like you said, that word vegan has become sort of scary and serious to a lot of people, especially those of us who aren’t vegan. I really wanted to sort of plough right on through all of those misconceptions and show that this really can be a very fun and healthy way of eating.
Caryn Hartglass: Ok, let me ask you, are you a vegan?
John Schlimm: Yes, yes, and in a small town, in a very small rural town…
Caryn Hartglass: In rural Pennsylvania.
John Schlimm: Yes, so that an interesting perspective you sort of bring to this. I’m surrounded by family and friends who are very ingrained in the hunting and meat eating culture here, so it’s an interesting journey.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, how do they handle you and how do you handle them?
John Schlimm: Well, I think it’s sort of a mutual respect of sorts, learning what makes each other tick, you know. I think for a long time I’ve been sort of a strange figure to these people here and they sort of watch what I do and you know rather than being preachy I sort of just lead by example and quietly and it’s been really interesting since The Tipsy Vegan came out and since I transitioned to this lifestyle a few years ago, I have so many people that come here, coming up to me saying, “You know, we don’t really eat that much meat anymore,” or “We don’t even really like the taste of meat anymore.” It’s almost like this book has helped them come out of the meat cooler as opposed to the closet. It’s sort of like they’re feeling a little more comfortable saying, “You know what, I don’t really want to eat that much meat anymore.” I think that’s fantastic.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s funny you mentioned people coming out about this. I lived in the south of France for four years in the 90s and I never met a vegetarian. Late in the 90s, somewhere in the early 2000s this veggie pride parade started in Paris and vegetarians were coming out of the closet literally. Now we have veggie pride parades here in New York City and in a variety of places, but there’s a lot of reason to have pride in this choice.
John Schlimm: Absolutely, I wanted to not only create the party in a book but a party that everyone would welcome that, whether you are a lifelong vegan, an occasional visitor, or maybe you’re just hungry. My door is open.
Caryn Hartglass: Everyone’s always hungry.
John Schlimm: My door or book cover as it is is always open to everyone to come on in and just have fun.
Caryn Hartglass: Looking at some very interesting numbers and this should bode well for the sale of your book and that is Vegetarian Resource Group just came out with the results of the Harris Poll, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but apparently 3% of the men in the U.S. are vegan, 2% of women, and those are pretty big numbers for us. It’s definitely increasing and there are many people that are acknowledging they eat less meat, less chicken, less fish, and all of that is great. It’s great for our health, it’s great for the environment, it’s great for the animals, and it’s great for vegan cookbook sales.
John Schlimm: Absolutely, I think documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Vegucated they’ve helped so much, nationally as well as having people like Bill Clinton and Ozzy Osbourne for heaven’s sake come out and say that they’re transitioning to a plant based lifestyle. It’s just a wonderful time to be in this world.
Caryn Hartglass: Your bio says you’ve got a Masters at Harvard, what was it in?
John Schlimm: In education.
Caryn Hartglass: In education, very good, was that a while ago or recently?
John Schlimm: I graduated in 2002 so not too long ago.
Caryn Hartglass: Were you vegetarian, vegetarian-inclined, at all?
John Schlimm: I actually wasn’t but certainly I saw that influence around me there and I think it just sort of added to my own pathway to getting to this point which is great. I think we’re seeing that across college campuses everywhere and it’s so exciting to me that this option is now available to students.
Caryn Hartglass: Well your book kind of has a frat boy party flavor which is kind of fun. I was just wondering about that.
John Schlimm: I actually drank a lot when I was at Harvard, it was a huge party school.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s amazing we all graduate from college, or those that do, because there is so much partying going on. You mentioned in your acknowledgement the thing that turned you over to the big V side was page 266 of Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. I got that book and I’m open to the page and this is an amazing book. When people talk about John Robbins back in 1987 writing the groundbreaking best seller Diet for New America, I think Jonathan Safran Foer’s book is the next of the next groundbreaking book that ties it all together in a really beautiful, human way.
John Schlimm: I absolutely agree, I’m reading through the book and of course just growing more and more horrified, really educating me about that I did not know before and in a beautiful way and I hit page 266 where he’s talking about Thanksgiving turkeys and let’s just basically call it what it is: they’re unloved. That it was that word unloved, I immediately got a highlighter and highlighted it, got a pen and circled it.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m circling it right now.
John Schlimm: I never want to forget that because at its very core, these animals on these factory farms are unloved and that just breaks my heart every day.
Caryn Hartglass: The theme of Thanksgiving is giving and being thankful and feeling all this love and it’s just so much hypocrisy right on the table.
John Schlimm: That’s right and I thought no living being, human or animal should ever go through this life unloved. It was that one word that really just revolutionized my life and I’ll forever be grateful for it. You look at the dedication in The Tipsy Vegan I allude back to that.
Caryn Hartglass: Has anyone else in your family shifted and made this transition?
John Schlimm: Not shifted to a complete plant based diet but it began in a really interesting to see my closest friend who announced eating more veggie burgers instead of beef burgers, instead of chicken they’re devouring those meatless nuggets that you get in stores. They’re slowly getting there and that’s been really fantastic and now they’ll text me pictures of meals they’re making with the veggie burgers, tofu and it’s just an exciting time.
Caryn Hartglass: You grew up in a beer brewing environment which is really fascinating. I’m just curious about that, can you tell us a little bit about it?
John Schlimm: My family is one of the oldest brewing families in the U.S. like you said. Our Straub Brewery here in Pennsylvania was founded by my great great grandfather Peter Straub in the 1870s and so today, we are one of the few remaining breweries to still be owned and operated by the founding family. So the charities we take very seriously and for me it inspired me to write a couple beer cookbooks a few years ago. That was my first foray into boozy food if you will. It’s just been sort of a great and fun ride. I’m always active, I’d work at the brewery which I don’t. My cousins I think that if they put me on the assembly line it would turn into the thing from I Love Lucy with the chocolate factory and it would all go crazy so they’re very happy to send me off to do my book tours and all of that. I’m more than happy to go, but I also do a lot of charity work on behalf of the brewery and my family so we’ve all found our niche.
Caryn Hartglass: A couple of my college buddies, I have a masters in chemical engineering so we used to always talk about how things were done. We were always fascinated by beer foam. We would always get into lots of discussions about beer foam and there’s quite a lot of technology behind beer foam.
John Schlimm: Well the whole thing is such a chemistry and in fact just in the last few years the brewery has installed a lab to test the beer and everything and I just walked in there and it just blows me away how fantastic it is. My mind doesn’t work in that direction but I can certainly appreciate what goes into it.
Caryn Hartglass: Has anyone ever asked you, I’ve gotten this question a few times when I tell people I’m vegan, some people question they ask, “Is yeast vegan, can you eat yeast?”
John Schlimm: I haven’t actually gotten that question. I pretty much get, “Well what can you eat?”
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a tiring question, but it just shows how our minds have been so programmed around animal foods that we can’t even imagine spaghetti with tomato sauce as vegan.
John Schlimm: It’s very simple and again, The Tipsy Vegan I hope will show people we indeed eat a lot and we indeed eat quite well.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk a little bit about this book. One thing I like about it is we need more guy-oriented books in the vegan world. There’s a few of them that have come out and I just love books that come out that appeal to different groups of people because I’m on the mission to get everybody loving plant foods and anyway we can do it is great and so there are different niches that appeal to different people. This would definitely appeal to a certain group of people, the fun ones.
John Schlimm: Yes, the party people as you call them.
Caryn Hartglass: People have been cooking with alcohol for a very long time and one of the things that I like about it, I don’t like to use oil very much when I’m sautéing and so alcohol, wine, is just a wonderful thing to add flavor to food and to sauté in.
John Schlimm: It absolutely is and especially this time of the year when all of us are getting tons of bottles of wine and everything else as gifts some of which you may not exactly want to drink is perfect for cooking. It doesn’t have to go to waste, you don’t need to regift it, you may not even want to regift it, you can use it to cook with. So it is fantastic for all those gifts that we’re going to be getting.
Caryn Hartglass: Were you always into cooking?
John Schlimm: I’ve always been into eating. I’m not a chef, I love to eat and I think it’s really from that perspective, the perspective of the eater and the perspective of the host or hostess that I write these books and have the most fun with them. I think that’s why they have the bent that they do. Both my parents are fantastic cooks so I grew up watching them and learning from them. Now I’ve just sort of put my own spin on it.
Caryn Hartglass: Certainly looks like you know what you’re doing, the pictures are beautiful and the recipes are pretty tasty.
John Schlimm: Of course, getting to the book, they have to be the best recipes of the lot because I really want people to enjoy them.
Caryn Hartglass: One of the ones that I’m looking at, you’ve got some really cute two little titles here, the hangover tofu omelet with sautéed chopped bell pepper filling. Omelets are something that we don’t see very much in the vegan world because it’s somewhat of a challenge but this looks like a pretty good recipe.
John Schlimm: There are only going to be two or three tofu recipes in the book because, again, I wanted this book to appeal to a really broad range and I think a lot of vegan cookbooks they rely so heavily on the standby tofu, tempeh, seitain, but at the same time for all those people who say, “Enough tofu! I don’t like that.” I wanted to show, this is the way you will definitely like it.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s funny, the first time I ever had tofu I was in college and this is a very long time ago, and I wanted to like it and it was all in my head, I made this dish and I mashed it until it was practically invisible but it was just something, this thing inside that went “ugh tofu.” It’s really rather childish the way we respond to food that we don’t know about.
John Schlimm: That’s true but you know I’ve loved tofu from the first time I’ve tried it. So I’m one of those rare creatures I think because you just don’t find too many people who have liked it from the start. They’ve either had to acquire the taste or find that one recipe that they love. My first foray into tofu occurred even before I transitioned to a plant based diet. There’s a favorite Chinese restaurant of mine here and I’ve always loved to eat the Hunan chicken. So I went in and said, “Could you put the tofu in instead of the chicken?” and they did it was the most amazing dish. Now even you asked about my friends and family, when my friends go with me, they order as well, so I said to the waitress, you really need to put this on your menu.
Caryn Hartglass: Well it’s an odd twist but the Chinese were originally cooking with more tofu than they were with flesh. Moving to the United States, everything has been so flesh oriented that they’ve adjusted many of their recipes that probably originally were with tofu. So there’s something that you have in here that I’m really nutty about and I’m looking for what you’ve called it, the fried avocado. What was that?
John Schlimm: The classic party starters?
Caryn Hartglass: It was like a breaded fried, here it is: the fried avocado came to town. This is a crazy, crazy recipe. I love cooked avocado. It has such an incredible flavor, it’s almost like crack to me. I don’t do it very often because it’s just too crazy but you don’t see cooked avocado very often.
John Schlimm: You don’t and it’s such a brilliant food and I think it’s another one that some people are just kind of afraid of. My solution was let’s add a little tequila and make it a little less frightening for people. That’s actually one of the recipes people on Twitter and Facebook are telling me they are really enjoying that recipe so that makes me feel good. Anytime tequila’s involved, it can’t be so bad.
Caryn Hartglass: Are you a big drinker? Just curious.
John Schlimm: I may have to plead the fifth on that one. When I go out, I do love to drink. I love extra dirty vodka martini. Of course I love beer, my family’s brewery does a dark beer which I’m just over the moon about. Really, when I go out, it’s dirty vodka martinis. In fact, I just spent the last weekend in New York which I think is where you are, you’re from New York, celebrating my birthday weekend and when I eat with friends and when I left I don’t think there was a drop of vodka left in the city. We had a good time.
Caryn Hartglass: This is the greatest city in the world and probably the greatest place to find all kinds of food including amazing vegan foods. Did you go to any of our wonderful restaurants?
John Schlimm: Yes, in fact my friend cooked me a, I hope I get the name correct, to a fantastic Indian restaurant called <a href=”http://www.tiffindelivery.us/” target=_blank”>Tiffin Wallah</a>? Or Wallah Tiffin, one or the other.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s so many of these here in New York.
John Schlimm: I can’t even tell you where it is because when I’m in New York I just follow my friends.
Caryn Hartglass: Is it vegetarian?
John Schlimm: Yes, the whole restaurant is vegetarian. I kept going down the menu and I kept asking the waiter, “now this doesn’t have any meat in it does it?” and my friends are like this is a vegetarian restaurant.
Caryn Hartglass: Sometimes we’re ingrained in that habit. When you’re in a place that’s all vegan it’s sometimes incomprehensible but it’s delightful.
John Schlimm: Especially coming from a small town where when I go to a restaurant here, even the salads are loaded with meat so they kind of look at me funny when I say, “Can you just not put the fish, or the steak, or the chicken on the salad and give me the green.” and they’re just like, “what?”
Caryn Hartglass: Slowly, slowly information’s getting out that we need to eat more vegetables and salad’s healthy but somehow salad isn’t healthy unless it has grilled chicken on it. I don’t know there that message came from but it’s very popular.
John Schlimm: Or overload it with French fries which are certainly vegan enough to eat that I’ve never ended up with French fries on top of salads.
Caryn Hartglass: Beware because French fries can have beef flavoring and all kinds of nasty things. I’m looking on the Barnivore site (www.barnivore.com) which you mention in your book as a place to discover which alcohol and beverages are vegan because not all alcohol is vegan, you talk about that in your book. I see Straub Beer on the vegan friendly list, was it always vegan friendly?
John Schlimm: It has been. It’s interesting, I hadn’t really even thought about and I don’t think a lot of people have, whether alcohol is vegan or not before I really got into writing this book. I just assumed what could be in vodka or wine or beer or whatever until I learned some beers and wines are processed using fish bladders and other nasty things. So not necessarily about what the ingredients are but how it’s actually made. Then I thought oh my gosh I hope our beer in the brewery is vegan. So I slowly typed in the name and it came up vegan friendly, oh thank goodness I would have had a serious talk with my cousins up there. I actually afterwards did call our new brew master and said I just want to confirm that this is correct and he’s like, “Yes, there are no animal products used,” and I’m like “thank goodness, that’s going to save us face.”
Caryn Hartglass: You bring up a very good point and something that I like to talk about a lot on this show: we really need to be mindful about so many things. There’s just so many things we take for granted. We don’t know what’s in our food, we don’t know how things are made and when that happens horrible things can happen. Using egg whites or fish bladders to make alcohol beverages when clay or other natural plant, not animal things can be used. How did we get there? Who thinks of these things?
John Schlimm: Well it just blows me away that specifically, with the alcohol, that there are still companies that would use animal products when there are so many others that don’t and it would seem to me it’s quite easy to not use animal products and I think it’s really to their detriment and they’re sort of cutting off what could be a huge chunk of their audience by doing that.
Caryn Hartglass: As the seven and a half million of us become more savvy about what’s in our alcohol, it’ll make a difference. I still think most people and most vegans probably don’t realize a lot of their wine and beer, or some of it isn’t.
John Schlimm: I agree, I don’t think they do and I think that in sort of a gentle way, The Tipsy Vegan will sort of start alerting people to pay more attention to the alcohol that they’re consuming and cooking with.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t want to be the vegan police, but I love people to enjoy themselves and not worry about it, but it’s really when we talk about the big pictures of what people want to eat plant based foods, I think this is a small piece of a bigger puzzle so I wouldn’t sweat over it if you’re having wine and you’re not sure whether it was distilled with egg whites or not. I don’t think that’s a big deal. But it’s certainly great that there’s a website you can go to: barnivore.com to check it out.
John Schlimm: I completely agree.
Caryn Hartglass: So where do you want The Tipsy Vegan to go?
John Schlimm: I want it to go to every party in the country because I want people to just have fun, fun, fun with it. Again on Twitter and Facebook, I hear from so many people that they’re using this book to set their menu themes for their holiday parties. I actually just did an exclusive holiday cocktail party for vegnews.com. I know a lot of your listeners listen so they can go to that they can see a special menu that’s not in the book on there. People are telling me that they’re using, since the book is a great little small book that fits in stockings and backpacks, they’re giving the book as a host and hostess gift this season.
Caryn Hartglass: Perfect size, perfect season, it’s really fun and it’s great because it’s not a scary book that non vegetarians would be scared about. It’s humorous and it’s all good, well done!
John Schlimm: There’s nothing scary about me, I just want to have fun and party.
Caryn Hartglass: We love VegNews, we were selected as one of the ten nonprofits you need to know about this year in the best of 2011 so I like to share that and spread that around and repeat it over and over. Well John, thanks. This is great and it’s great talking to you, perhaps one day we can share a vegan beer.
John Schlimm: Oh I’ll bring some of my family’s that we can share. I wish you and your listeners a happy holidays and I hope that they’re also quite buzzworthy.
Caryn Hartglass: But don’t be a tipsy vegan and drive.
John Schlimm: No, no! Be a responsible tipsy vegan. Stay over wherever you are, then you can imbibe even more.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I don’t think people can get too sloshed on any of these recipes there’s really just small amounts and they just make it fun and flavorful.
John Schlimm: That’s right, absolutely. Of course every chapter starts with a cocktail but that’s where you have to watch.
Caryn Hartglass: Well very, very happy holidays to you. Is there a website people can go to for this book and others?
John Schlimm: Absolutely, they can go to johnschlimm.com and there they can [interact with me] also with Twitter and Facebook.
Caryn Hartglass: Ok, have a very, very, tipsy, happy holiday! Thanks John!
John Schlimm: You too, Caryn, thank you so much.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food, we’re going to take a little break and then we’ll be back with Terry Hope Romeo and Isa Chandra Moskowitz talking about Vegan Pie In the Sky.
Transcribed by Meichin, 7/27/2013
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I am Caryn Hartglass and your listening to Its All About Food and the party today continues. We’re going to talk next about pie. Why not? I’m feeling a little light headed after talking to the tipsy vegan. But, I think I can manage. We’re going to be talking to Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero on Vegan Pie In The Sky. Holidays check, Birthdays check, Tuesdays check, our research shows life is a 100% better any day pie is involved. There’s nothing like a rich gooey slice of apple pie straight from the oven, baked in a perfectly flaky crust and topped with cinnamon sugar. And that can be yours along with dozen more mouth watering varies vegan at last and better than ever, Vegan Pie In The Sky is the latest force in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero baking revolution. You will find delicious and adorable pies, tarts, cobblers, cheesecakes and more all made without dairy, eggs, or animal products from fruity to chocolatey to nutty to creamy Vegan Pie In The Sky has the classic flavors you create and the recipes are as easy as well you know. (Laugh). Welcome to Its All About Food.
Isa : Hi, Thanks for having us.
Caryn: Hi, that’s Terry.
Isa: No, this is Isa.
Caryn: That’s Isa, that’s Terry.
Terry: This is Terry.
Isa: We’re kinda a hive mind so it’s okay.
Caryn: Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. You both are really changing the world and it’s a great thing. And it’s always great to see one of your new books come out.
Isa: Thank you.
Caryn: Your welcome, so everyone loves pie.
Isa: I hope so.
Caryn: Yeah. I don’t know. Do you know the history behind pie?
Isa: I don’t really know what the history is.
Caryn : It’s really bleak and (laugh) and so I’m so glad that pie has evolved to the delightful cozy, comforting, loving, delicious place that it is today especially when it’s vegan. But reading about it like in the 14th, 16th century or so, somewhere around there, people used to make these horrible crusts and they called them coffins.
Caryn: And they would use them instead of dishes or packaging to hold their meat and sauces and things like that.
Isa: They used to use a lot of things for packaging like stomachs of animals and things like that.
Caryn: There you go.
Terry: You weren’t supposed to eat those they were actually thrown out.
Caryn: Right, they weren’t eating them. Yeah and so that’s what I’m joyful about today because when you think about all the things that are wrong with the world you kinda think about all the things that are right. We have come along way just in the pie department.
Isa : So if all else fails we got pie.
Caryn: It’s what?
Ida: Oh, I just said so if all else fails we have pie, I kinda have an echo so I’m sorry if I am hard to understand.
Caryn: Well, if you want we can get you back on without an echo.
Isa: That would be great.
Caryn : Okay, So this is Terry or Isa?
Caryn : Okay, so I’m going to have you hang up and my engineer will take care of you. Okay, well Terry lets just continue until we have Isa back on.
Terry : All right.
Caryn: Okay, so why pie? In your series of food books that you have been making.
Terry: Well, we thought it was time, I think we have been thinking of a pie book for awhile in our sort of dessert quest, our list – our plan of vegan dessert conquests. We have done cupcakes and after that we did cookies, and it just seemed like now is the time for pie. You now see vegan cupcakes everywhere.
Caryn: That’s right.
Terry: You can go into even your typical vegan bakery and or not even vegan bakery just any regular bakery you might even find a vegan cupcake, that’s exciting.
Caryn: Do you think that Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World was responsible for this incredible movement behind cupcakes.
Terry: Their pretty much responsible for everything (laugh), every good thing that is going on in the world since 2006.
Caryn : (laugh)
Terry: I think so.
Isa: Money and flowers and everything.
Terry: Yeah, happiness in general thru vegan cupcakes
Caryn: Okay, some people are nervous about making pie because they think it’s hard. And I know it’s not, I make all different kinds of pie. You talk in the book to kind of get over the fear of pie making.
Isa: Yeah, I think it is hard, once you start doing it though it becomes easier and easier and we talk a lot about how to make it easier in the book and kinda walk you thru it step by step. And it’s worth while, it’s a worth while skill to have. So I mean most things in life that are worth while might be a little challenging at first.
Caryn: I like that. You know we live in a society where people want it now, they want it quick gratification and as a result I think a lot of us are depressed and it takes time, it takes investment to get a skill and to appreciate it.
Terry: Yeah, definitely. Yeah we talk about how the pie or making pie crust is definitely the opposite of fast food. Everyone talks about slow food this and that. There’s really something to be said about making your own pie crust and not even a lot of crazy ingredients, it’s pretty straight forward. It’s something that gets better the second or third time or fourth time you make it. You see a big difference, your applied effort really pays off.
Caryn: The ideal pie crust of course, is the one that you make the dough it gets all nice and smooth and pliable and you can roll it out and it rolls nicely and doesn’t stick to anything and you pick it up and goes into pan and you can trim the edges and all beautiful and easy. But often when people aren’t familiar with how to do that, their dough may be too moist, too dry, and it sticks to everything and it crumbles and they get upset.
Isa: There are so many variables when working on pie so even the temperature of your kitchen, the temperature of your hands, the temperature of your ingredients. So the more you get a feel for it the more you know what you might have to adjust.
Caryn: But, I think the thing with dough that I want to share with everyone is even if you can’t roll you can always press it into a crust and no one will ever know.
Isa: Yeah, definitely in the book there are crusts that aren’t pastry crust that are more crumb crusts that you press in. I think we have a roll out crust that you press in as well.
Caryn: I like in the beginning of the book, you talk about a number of things. And I want to talk about them. One is each of you have different preferences for rolling pins. I was amused by that because I have used a wine bottle so many times when I have been in a kitchen, and want to make a pie and who doesn’t have a rolling pin? So many people.
Isa: It’s true, we did give DIY options for almost anything you need so we did include (a) wine bottle.
Caryn: No. Yeah, I did love, I wasn’t really grading myself but, (I am) more of the do it yourself kind for most of your categories. I don’t know if that is by choice or it’s just my nature but I always just wing it a lot of times. One thing I was surprised about was what alcohol will do to a pie crust.
Terry: Yeah, everyone asks me about that, it’s pretty funny about the vodka. About the vodka pie crust.
Caryn: I was just talking to John Schlimm, The Tipsy Vegan and he (was) adding alcohol in everything and (I) read there is more alcohol in here. It makes the crust flakier.
Terry: Yeah, it’s pretty cool, what it does. And it doesn’t leave the pie crust tasting like vodka or anything.
Caryn: Well, vodka doesn’t have much of a flavor.
Terry: Yeah, I think so people read that and think am I going to get drunk, no (laugh) it just adds a little extra flakiness.
Caryn: There’s this vegan gelatin called agar or agar agar.
Isa: So nice they had to name it twice (laugh)
Caryn: (laugh) and I love this stuff you mention in the book and I find it very frustrating that the stuff they sell in the health food stores is the wrong kind.
Caryn: Flakes not powder, and powder is easier to use. Why is this?
Isa: I have no idea why. That is a good question, we just kinda went with it and never thought to ask why but that brand, the flakes, Eden Foods, I guess it is harder for other companies to get distribution or something. But we order agar powder either online at www.veganessentials.com or Asian grocery stores (this) is really the best route to go because you get a lot for a lot less and it’s basically a seaweed that acts like gelatin, it’s awesome.
Caryn: What was the second place you mentioned after vegan essentials?
Isa: Asian groceries.
Isa: There a brand called telephone brand and Terry how much does that cost because I stole yours?
Caryn: I have noticed a wide range of price for agar per pound it can go from like $25 -$70 a pound and I am not sure what the difference is.
Isa: Yeah, as far as the actual ingredient I don’t think there is a quality difference, you use them interchangeably.
Caryn: Yeah, right it is magical, agar is magical and you use it in a number of difference recipes, for a number of different things.
Isa: Yes, we use it for custards and for like jelly toppings like on the lemon, lemon pies to make it -it’s a upside down lemon meringue. The inside of the pie is creamy and meringuie. And the top is jelly. Yeah, we basically use it as a stabilizer for creams and mousses things like that.
Caryn: Of course, the conventional thing to use is gelatin which is not vegan and made from all sorts of delectible things (laugh) like horse cartilage.
Caryn: It’s really lovely.
Terry: I’m back.
Isa: Oh good, you were gone, I was talking to you about agar agar.
Caryn: We were talking about agar powder.
Caryn: Yes, it’s magic and why the health food stores sell flakes and not powder which isn’t as magical.
Isa: I was just going to ask you Terry how much that Telephone brand agar powder is?
Terry: Oh, it’s like, a packet it’s the cheapest thing ever.
Isa: And it lasts 20 million years.
Caryn: I was just saying the range of prices per pound at some of these places, and it went from like $25-$70 dollars a pound.
Caryn: Yeah, and I didn’t know the what the difference was.
Terry: But, that’s a pound, who can use a pound of agar ever.
Isa: Each recipe calls for like a half teaspoon of agar.
Caryn: But, I like it.
Terry: But, well that Telephone brand is a Thai brand so if you are looking for it go to a Thai grocery store or a large pan-Asian grocery store and you should be able to find it.
Caryn: I will definitely do that the other ingredient that I think is magical in my life is tapioca, and again like agar the texture is important, so most people are familiar with pearls but the tapioca powder is the one that is really magical.
Isa: Right that is more widely available though I mean any health food store and even normal groceries sell it. It is always called something different, tapioca starch, tapioca flour, tapioca powder, it’s all the same thing.
Caryn: It’s all the same.
Terry: You should be able to find it now because it is used in a lot of gluten-free baking.
So it’s gotten sort of an increased popularity due to that.
Caryn: I have been using it a lot in gluten-free baking it’s magical, it’s just crazy what it does.
Isa: Yeah, we tried to have our, we weren’t sticking so much with “oh we’re using ingredients that’s everyone has.” This book honestly is more about experimenting with flavors and texture, I mean experimenting a lot with texture, and you just can’t if you are going to use all purpose flour and everything. These ingredients that were using, they are not expensive there pretty affordable and once you get them it’s not like you have to buy them often. Really honestly one thing of agar powder would probably last you your whole life. It’s just a fun way to explore different textures.
Caryn: Well, I think we’re in a time where were evolving in the culinary world in so many different ways. Unfortunately, some people have Celiac’s Disease so the gluten free world is expanding because of that, but also because of the vegan world there’s a lot of products getting a lot more exposure and it’s important, it’s good and you should have these things in the book and people need to learn about them and try them and get them.
Isa: Yeah, it’s not going to be for everyone of course but yeah, totally if you love food and love cooking why not broaden your horizons a bit. It’s not just – there’s also a Molecular Gastronomy (cookbook) is getting, not saying everyone has the Molecular Gastronomy cookbook in their house but it’s getting pretty popular, so they use a lot of these ingredients, to different kinds of gels. A lot of the ingredients are vegan so that’s been kinda fun to watch.
Caryn: Right now I wanted to talk next about these silicon baking things, sil-pads and things. Do you use them? Do you like them?
Terry: Not really (laugh) definitely not for pies. I don’t even know if they make a silicon pie plate. I would say run away from it.
Isa: Although (laugh) their crust protector is the one silicon thing that I actually love. The silicone crust protector was pretty much a lifesaver. Yes, those work great and actually when I make like any kind of candy nut or caramel thing that needs to be cooled. I might have a small sil-pad that I spread it out on but in general I am not a fan of a baked thing silicon container.
Isa: The texture for me, they don’t bake correctly,
Terry: Yeah, I don’t think they brown very well and they tend to be on the damp side at least for vegan things so maybe the work wonders for others.
Isa: It’s true maybe they do work better for other things but especially when we were doing cupcakes, we tried a million times to have cupcakes come out decent in silicon and it just didn’t.
Terry: We really tried we did.
Caryn: (laugh) You really tried.
Isa: We did our due diligence.
Caryn : I kinda like the concept of it. I bought one little mini cupcake silicon thing and I always found it had a funny flavor that it put into my cupcakes.
Isa: Yeah, not a fan.
Caryn: Yeah and environmentally.
Terry: Or the molds.
Caryn: Seems like a great concept. But something’s that work for me is parchment paper. Yes, this is a brilliant thing.
Terry: Yes indispensable, but for pies you don’t really need much really the only two baking things that are really indispensable are like a nice big ceramic dish, like a 10 inch one and people told me that they have one they got from their grandmother that has been passed down thru the family. Those are fantastic for big bubbly fruit pies, they are just the best.
Caryn: Definitely the best.
Terry: Finding the right pie dish is pretty important.
Isa: I definitely went with thrift store for most of my pie dishes I don’t think they make them like that anymore.
Caryn: Yeah, well my rolling pin is several generations, when not using a wine bottle I am using a very old wooden rolling pin and I love it.
Isa: For equipment it’s actually one of the least fussy kinds of pastries you can make in terms of equipment you really don’t need much.
Caryn: Now all of your pies in this book are sweet.
Caryn: You didn’t make any savory pies.
Caryn: Was there a reason for that or there was just to many sweet pies to make.
Terry: It’s a dessert book! It’s dessert.
Isa: It’s fits in with the cookie and cupcake books sort of our big epic trilogy of desserts.
Caryn: Right so one of the really great things, the great ending of this book are the toppers. The whips, the creams because a lot of people when they go vegan, there are a handful of things that have not been perfected. But were getting there, like with cheeses is a big complaint and moving better in the cheese department, then whipped cream.
Isa: Right there are actually a few yummy ones on the market that we used to top our pies with. We came up with is rad whip which is like cool whip but is vegan, some of our magical ingredients like the agar, cashews, coconut oil is another ingredient that we utilize a lot.
Terry: Yeah, definitely coconut oil.
Caryn: Yeah, it’s great because it is somewhat solid at room temperature so it gives you that good texture for whipping. Okay, so you guys have some plans for what your doing next, restaurants and all kinds of things happening?
Isa: Terry, what are you doing?
Terry: As we were, right before you called me. I am working on my international cookbook. It’s got everything. Lots of different kinds from Asia to Africa to Mediterranean. It’s sort of like my next big solo book project and I’m really in the thick of it right now practically covered in beer batter it’s that crazy.
Caryn: (laugh) Do you get to do any traveling for this book or is it all virtual traveling?
Terry: I have done a lot of traveling in the past already, right now I am sort of in lock down mode but also living in New York City it’s sort of like you have the world right here within mile or two away.
Caryn: Absolutely, I love going into different neighborhoods I really feel like I am in another country.
Terry: Especially living in queens it is sort of like its own little planet. Pretty wild here.
Caryn: I agree, I live here too. And Isa?
Isa: I’m not really working on a book right now. So I am just trying to figure out another outlet for food. I’m doing a lot of benefit dinners, bake sales, and things like that. I’m looking into opening a place here in Omaha so we will see how that goes.
Caryn: Yeah, I have never been to Nebraska, have no idea what it’s like but I would imagine they could use a few good veg places.
Isa: Yeah, there’s some stuff happening here. I think it’s getting more and more vegan friendly all the time. Actually, there was a vegan restaurant and it closed but it was pretty yummy and it was well received. So but yeah, everyone could always use more vegan restaurants more places to eat, just more restaurants that are supporting the local agriculture when possible.
Caryn: I just read something that you are going to be in an interview with Mark Bittman later this week.
Isa: I think that is Terry.
Caryn: Yes, Terry.
Terry: Yes, this is sort of a crash the prize that I’m going to be part of a vegan panel on Pacific Radio.
Terry: Yes, I’m still getting the details but I believe it’s going 4pm our time in New York this coming Friday.
Isa: When is that?
Terry: This coming Friday.
Caryn: Do you know who else is going to be on it?
Terry: I believe Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Mark Bittman.
Caryn: I’m excited about this. Mark Bittman is such an enigma to me, as is Michael Pollan where they know too much about factory farming and sustainable agriculture and yet they are not vegan.
Caryn: And I just don’t get it.
Isa: Hey, did you film that already, did you record it already?
Terry: No, that’s coming this Friday.
Isa: But, you didn’t record it yet.
Caryn: Do you know the format yet, is someone going to be interviewing each you or discussion back and forth or you don’t know?
Terry: I don’t know, all will be revealed to me very soon.
Caryn: Okay, that’s very very very exciting. If you have the chance ask Mark for me why he isn’t vegan.
Isa; I’m sure he doesn’t like talking about it, I thinks it’s just not what he wants to do.
Caryn: Yeah, it’s just sometimes he comes out with this really phenomenal articles and then these really crazy recipes with lobster or something (laugh).
Isa: Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t know, a mystery.
Caryn: Okay, that all sounds really really good.Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. Thanks for all that you do and all of these sweet delicious recipes that you come up with that make the planet just a better delicious place to be.
Isa/Terry: Thank you, thank you so much.
Caryn: Any websites you can share with us before we go?
Caryn: ppk as in post punk kitchen?
Caryn: Great and there are recipes and all kinds of fun things up there. Okay, Thank you both so much for joining me and have a very happy holiday.
Isa: Thanks, you too.
Caryn: Thank you, okay so we just have a few minutes left I’m Caryn Hartglass and you been listening to It’s All About Food.
Caryn: Am I still here? I want to end with a little song when I was little my mom would sing to me. And I’m going to sing it for you now. Can we turn my ending music off? So I can sing it. Great.
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
Makes your eyes light up
Your tummy say “Howdy.”
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
Makes the sun come out
When Heavens are cloudy
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
Mama! When you bake
Mama! I don’t want cake
Mama! For my sake
Go to the oven and make some ever lovin’
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
Makes your eyes light up
Your tummy say “Howdy.”
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
Thanks for listening I am Caryn Hartglass on Its All About Food have a delicious week and eat some pie. Good bye!
Transcribed 12/21/2013 by Donielle Zufelt