Vance Lehmkuhl is the vegan columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, covering the city’s plant-based food scene in his print column “V for Veg” and the philly.com blog “V for Vegan.”
He is also the founder of the eco-pop band Green Beings, whose song “Leftovers,” listing the varieties of food besides meat and dairy, has made multiple appearances on the Dr. Demento Show.
Vance served as political cartoonist for Philadelphia City Paper for 12 years, often writing feature stories as well. For many years he drew the editorial cartoon “Edgy Veggies” for VegNews Magazine, which he named after the caption to a cartoon in his first book The Joy of Soy (Laugh Lines Press).
Vance’s new book, is a must read for vegheads and vegcurious. V for Veg is a collection of Vance’s vegan food columns written for the Philadelphia Daily News. Filled with his trademark wit, humor, and good information about the vegan/vegetarian/plant-based community in Philadelphia, the book covers many of the events, personalities, restaurants, and industries that have grown up in and around Philadelphia.
The book is divided into categories. The easy stories – that is columns – are short and snappy, making this small paperback perfect to carry and read on the bus, train, or in between appointments. Written in Vance’s trademark snappy style, you will actually learn quite a lot about many topics from the origins of the award winning Vedge restaurant, to how Senator Cory Booker got a to-go vegan Philly Cheesesteak, and if you don’t know jack about jackfruit, you will learn. There are no photos or recipes, but the book is a feast of information served in Vance’s signature snappy style.
With stories about healthful information offered up in engaging style, V for Veg will delight the veg-conscious and may spur many a meat eater to explore the animal-free options now available for feeding all aspects of our lives.
From Vance’s book, here is my recipe for Vegan Twinkies as mentioned in the column on “Recipe Remakes for Vegan Junk Food Junkies.”
I am committed to making desserts that taste utterly delicious using organic, wholesome ingredients. The recipe for my Twinkie is adapted from The Vanilla Cupcake recipe in my book More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. If you can’t find a Twinkie kit, use the more readily available cream canoe cake kits. Watch me making Vegan Twinkies in this video from Better TV: http://www.francostigan.com/video.html
The Game Plan:
- Make the cream and let it chill for a few hours.
- Make the cakes, cool and chill.
- Fill the cakes.
Yield: 16 Twinkies (2 pans.) Halve the recipe if you have just 1 pan.
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup organic vegetable oil, sunflower, safflower, organic canola
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B dark amber
- ¾ cup any plant milk
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray the pan with canola or other nonstick spray very well.
- Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, AP flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the strainer. Stir to sift the dry ingredients into the bowl. Whisk to distribute the ingredients.
- Whisk the oil, maple syrup, plant milk, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Fill each cup about 1/3 full (about 3 tablespoons of batter each). Bake for 16 to 17 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cakes and the inside of the cup and lift each onto the rack to cool completely. Chill before filling.
The Cream Filling:
Yield: 1 ½ cups
- 7 ounces firm tofu, drained (simmer in water for 5 minutes first)
- 4 teaspoons natural vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup,
- 3 tablespoons raw light agave syrup
- 6 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon very finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 1/2 ounces of vegan white chocolate melted
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot dissolved in 6 tablespoons soy creamer
You will need a food processor. Remember this tip: Tofu based creams must be pureed until absolutely smooth and creamy. If properly made, there will be absolutely no taste of tofu.
- Crumble the tofu into a food processor and process for 1 minute. Add the oil and process 1 minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the arrowroot, and process 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Stop the processor a few times and clean the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Taste and add more sugar for a sweeter whip. Stir the dissolved arrowroot to release any starch that has settled to the bottom.
- Pour into a small saucepan and cook, whisking frequently over medium heat until the mixture reaches a full boil. It will be very thick and gummy. Immediately remove the saucepan from the stove. Add to the cream and pulse to incorporate.
- Process until the cream is smooth. Spoon the cream into a container. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer to allow the flavors to blend. The cream will thicken slightly as it chills but it is not a stiff cream.
Assemble the Cakes:
- Use a pastry tip, large straw, or chopstick to poke 3 holes into the bottom of each cake. Remove a plug of cake, but don’t go all the way through the cake.
- Fit a12-inch pastry bag with a star or round (¼ inch opening) tip and fill with cream. Slowly squeeze about one tablespoon into each hole. The cakes will seem to expand. Don’t worry if the other side of the cake cracks a little. Refrigerate the filled cakes in a covered container.
- Serve at room temperature.
I have a copy of V for Veg for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on August 23rd. Good luck!