Chef Fran Costigan

2Forks Plant-Based Events

2Forks Weekenders

The Family Esselstyn (there are more family members than those pictured here!) care deeply about your health, and they work to make it possible for anyone wanting information to get it, whether it be online, in their books and workshops and at their plant-based events and premiere retreats! Left to right: author Jane Esselstyn from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Women conferences; The Engine 2 Diet author and Engine 2 founder, Rip Esselstyn; matriarch Ann who co-wrote The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook with Jane; and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

Being asked to make Rip and his wife Jill’s wedding cakes was a thrill for me (and it demonstrates that everyone needs a cake sometime). I finished the no oil version of my Chocolate Torte to Live For (one for each table and one for the couple to cut) at the Esselstyn house in the Hudson Valley, NY, and found myself and my assistant invited to the wedding. These are the kind of people who love family and friends, and they just want everyone to be healthy!!

2Forks Weekenders

2Forks Plant-Based Retreats

Dallas
September 30th – October 2nd 2016

Cleveland
October 28th – October 30th 2016

Pasadena
March 24th –March 26th 2017

The premier 2-day experience to help you kick-off or re-embrace a plant-strong lifestyle. Every Weekender is packed with all of the knowledge, inspiration, and tools you need to make plant-based eating both accessible and a priority. Hear from the insiders of the movement on the why and how of changing the way you eat for the better.

Get $50 Off Full Weekend Pass using code: FRANVIP50

 

2Forks Immersion – Seven Day Retreat

2Forks Immersion – Seven Day Retreat    Mago Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona

Mago Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona

October 3rd-9th 2016

Not only will we provide incredible plant-based meals to fuel you, but you’ll also experience a full menu of activities: hands-on cooking demos, yoga, hiking on one of the country’s “Top 10 Most Scenic Trails,” a stargazing party, bonfires, live music, plus a few other surprises.

And, $150 Off Immersion using code: FRANVIP150

 

Visit 2ForksEvents.com to register today!

A So Delicious Vegan Dinner at Avant Garden

Summer Kick Off MenuI changed my name to “Happy”  when I got the invitation from So Delicious to their summer kick off 7-course dinner at Avant Garden in New York City. I use So Delicious products regularly for many reasons: their products are Non-GMO Project Verified, certified vegan and gluten-free, and carrageenan-free, and the packaging is BPA free. They are much more than vegan ice cream and coconut milk beverage!

As for Avant Garden, I have eaten there a half dozen times, and this teeny place on New York’s lower east side has remained a top choice for me. Make a reservation – you will thank me!

Some of my favorite dishes, like the toasts, salt-baked sweet potatoes, and maitake mushrooms were on this night’s menu, but they were changed up some as the chefs used So Delicious products in the dishes. It was a marriage made in heaven.

At the dinner were bloggers, food writers, and recipe developers, including back-in-Brooklyn Isa Chandra Moscowitz, who, by the way, is inteviewing chefs for her Modern Love Brooklyn restaurant. I was seated near Marisa Wolfson of Vegucated, Rebecca of Well And Good, Dianne Wenz from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen, and Main Street Vegan’s Victoria Moran, who was with her daughter Adair.

 

Toast Hors D'OeuvresThe Famous Avant Garden Toasts: (left to right) Carrot Romesco, Crimini Onion Marmalade, Fennel Hummus, and Sunchoke Quince.

 

Beet TartarBeet Tartare with Horseradish Vegan Yogurt

 

White Almond GazpachoI ate the whole bowl of White Almond Gazpacho almondmilk based soup.

 

Salt Baked Sweet PotatoesThe Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes were meltingly tender. I couldn’t get enough of the cilantro sauce. (As Marisa will attest!)

 

Maitake MushroomsLook at this Maitake Mushroom dish! It was made using So Delicious cashewmilk.

 

Roasted CauliflowerAnd this spiced-just-right, Roasted Cauliflower with Vadouvan Spinach was incredible. (“Vadouvan” had us all Googling!) So Delicious culinary coconut milk was used in this dish.

Not shown but definitely enjoyed – dessert!! Ice cream cookie sandwiches with a kick and Avant Garden’s rice pudding with berry puree. I was glad to have a walk to the subway with Victoria and Adair, and then walk home.

 

Photos courtesy of Dianne Wenz.

Vegan Chocolate at the Albany VegFest

SpeakersI was in Albany June 3rd and 4th for the Albany VegFest, a project of the Albany Vegan Network. Every one of the organizers are wonderful, selfless people and I was very happy to be invited. This year’s VegFest saw record setting attendance, and the day was filled with excellent information, delicious food and drink, and vegan vendors.

My planning for VegFests includes demo materials, recipes, ingredients for demo and samples, lists and more lists. I consider travel too, and when it is feasible, I carry my own food. It might be just nuts, seeds, fruit and some dark chocolate,  but when I take a train, as I did to this time, I figured overnight oat and chia pudding would be a perfect breakfast to bring.  I added blackberries and  turmeric and cinnamon to the basic pudding, and enjoyed a nourishing and delicious meal on the train.

Overnight Oats Chia Pudding

 

A sold out speaker’s dinner took place the night before the VegFest. The vegan dinner, made by the chefs in the non-vegan restuarant, was tasty. After dinner, noted  television journalist and author, Jane Velez-Mitchell, delivered the keynote presentation. You can see her presentation at the dinner and the fest on her website Jane UnChained. Jane speaks with passion and humor. This talk was particularly energized and hopeful.  I follow her and suggest you do too!

Jane Velez Mitchell

 

I was excited to be reunited with Chris from The Vegan Zombie. I got to know Chris last year on the Vegan Cruise to Alaska, and we’ve had dinner since in NYC. We are looking forward to this years Vegan Cruise to Panama. His arms are so long, even selfies look good.

Fran with Chris from The Vegan Zombie

 

In the photo with Chris, I am holding a nearly empty glass of green drink. It was just what I needed after prepping 125 samples for my demo. Pastry chefs need greens you know!

Making Juice

 

You may know the @FoodDuo and #VeganFoodChat. I was happy to see Carlo at the VegFest with their VMarkstheShop.

Carlo

 

From the time the door opened until the end of the day, the line at the Vegan Treats table was long! No surpise here. Their treats are gorgeous and — worthy of waiting.

Vegan Treats Table

 

My lunch– a YeahDawg.  It tasted better than the photo would indicate.

Yeah Dawg

 

Thank you to Wholesome! for donating sweeteners for my desserts at this Veg Fest.

Wholesome Sweeteners

 

And thank you So Delicious for the coconut milk beverages I used to make the tastings and the demo desserts.

So Delicous Coconut Milk

 

My menu for the VegFest included this made-in-advance Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache. Here I was demonstrating how to liquify a made-in-advance ganche.

Melting Chocolate

 

I made another full recipe of ganache at the demo, and used it to glaze a gluten free version of this cake: the Bittersweet Ganache Glazed Chocolate Torte to Live For.

Fran Costigans Ganache Glazed Chocolate Torte to Live For

Attendees also tasted Ganache Glazed GlutenFree Brownie Bites, New York Eggless Cream with Ganache Glaze as the syrup, Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles, and Chocolate Crostini. My assistant  got to eat the chocolate ice cream sundae I made with Ben and Jerry’s Vegan Ice Cream and yep- vegan chocolate. A very good time was had by all. Jane Velez Mitchell actually made a video of my demo for her series #LunchBreakLive. You can see it here.

Anyone care to guess the amount of vegan chocolate I used to make the tastings and the demo items?
Til next time,
Fran

 

 

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