DessertFest Ottawa 2017

Just a little compilation of photos from the event. Check out the photo’s of our Competition Special – 3 Sherbert Belgian Waffle Sandwich, plated to perfection. An ice cream dream:)

 

 

 

Beaver Butts and Other Natural Flavours

 

In searching for ingredients for Sweetteeth products, I was schooled by a food distributor rep the other day.

I saw ‘natural vanilla flavor’ in an ingredient list for a confection, and thought I wanted to find some.

In conversation with the food rep, I mentioned this, and he said ‘Didn’t you know. “Natural blank flavor” is code’.

I asked him what he meant, as simple-minded me, I thought “natural flavours” would be, uhm, natural.

He said “Look it up on the Internet”. So I looked:)

“Natural vanilla flavor” may be contain secretions from beaver anuses! Startled?

More likely, it is chemically manufactured from lignen, a byproduct of the pulp and paper industry. I’m not sure I envisioned wood residue in my plant based diet.

How is this not ‘artificial’?

According to the FDA, who came up with this silly idea, a ‘natural flavor’ is anything that has been derived from plants, animals, birds, fish, shellfish, etc. Essentially, anything but minerals! Hey, how about ‘natural feather flavoring’ in your next dish? ‘Goose gonad soufle’?

Castoreum, which is extracted from beaver back ends and processed into something that remarkably tastes like vanilla, can be listed as “natural vanilla flavor”. Legal as taxes.

Now, this perversion of the word ‘natural’ is in contrast to the word ‘artificial’. An artificial flavor is chemically created from, potentially, non formerly living materials. Like coal. Or petroleum.

Wait, aren’t those created from formerly living things (like wood, shellfish, algae, etc.)?

In fact, artificial vanilla (vanillin), is just a chemical synthesized to be identical to the chemical in vanilla, that tastes like, you know, vanilla:)

So, artificial vanilla, from a petro chemical factory, or ‘natural vanilla flavor’, from various more recently dead things (that I wouldn’t generally consider ‘food’). Tough decision.

Eye opening. I am going to watch out for ‘natural blank flavors’ on ingredient lists from now on!

And put ‘natural blank flavours’ on the TBA list. (To Be Avoided:)

Fantastic Opening Day at Hamilton Vegiefest

Amazing opening day yesterday at Hamilton Veggiefest.

Held in the middle of a flooding Southern Ontario spring, on high ground, at Ancaster Fairgrounds.

Great organization, great event. Beautiful facility! The amazing community in Hamilton came, people ate their heads off. Crafts were sold, information exchanged. A big thank you to the organizers for making this happen, and inviting us:)

The new Sweetteeth menu was a hit!

Vegan milkshakes, craft brewed local root beer (floats!), fantasi candi cane sundaes, and 4 kinds of 100% vegan and organic ice cream, despite rain, wind and risk of frostbite , made it a sweet day.

One thing we failed to do, is take enough pictures. So, I am announcing Sweetteeth Photo Submissions. Post your comments and photos on our Facebook wall, so we can enjoy your enjoyment! We want your pictures.

Ps: ‘No animals were subjected to cruelty in the presentation of this menu.’

Mycovore Recipe #9:) – Vegan Pasta Fungi

Made this last night, and thought I would share another Mycovorean recipe on the Blog o Blob:)

This is basically a vegan alfredo sauce, with flavourful mushrooms, and pasta. The recipe is sized for four hungry dinners.

First, prepare the mushrooms. Slice 450 grams of mushrooms. A mix of cremini and button mushrooms works well. Chanterelles are amazing. If they are large mushrooms, slice and chop into bite size pieces. For smaller button mushrooms, sectioning into quarters works really well. The objective is to have the mushroom pieces approximately the same size as your chosen pasta.

A note on buying mushrooms. Ready sliced mushrooms can be used, but they do not keep well in the fridge. I prefer to purchase bulk un-sliced mushrooms, and keep in the vegetable crisper in a paper bag. Fresh mushrooms do not keep in air tight containers or plastic bags. Remember, fresh mushrooms are actually still living entities (at least for a while); dead mushrooms deteriorate rapidly. They will go slimy very rapidly unless they have air and moisture.

Saute on medium heat, in 2 tbsp of olive oil, with 2 cloves of crushed garlic (or large pinch of garlic power), .25 tsp of herb de Provence, your favourite pepper mix to taste, and .25 tsp of smoked paprika. Cook until mushrooms have given up most of their moisture, but do not burn them! At this stage, turn off heat, and let rest for a few minutes, until rest of sauce is brought together.

Set a pot of water for pasta, and bring to boil. Salt water well. Cook adequate pasta for four folks, about 100g of dried pasta per person.

In separate skillet, prepare vegan alfredo. Melt 2 tbsp of vegan margarine on medium heat. Add 1 clove garlic. When pan is hot, add 250 ml of your favourite vegan milk (hemp and/or cashew milk works very well; coconut milk works, but gives the dish a distinctly coconut flavour). Bring to simmer. Add 250 ml of your favourite vegan parmesan. Simmer until it is melted and sauce thickens slightly.

Reduce heat to low, and add previously prepared mushrooms. Maintain on low heat. The mushrooms will absorb additional liquid from the sauce, which will help thicken it. Salt to taste.

Your pasta water should be boiling now. Cook your favourite vegan pasta (fusilli or bow-ties work well), until al dente. Drain, and add to sauce. Allow to heat on low for another minute or two, to allow pasta to absorb some of the liquid, and flavours to blend.

Very savoury and tasty. Accompany with a green salad and garlic bread for a rustic Italian meal.

Have a sweet day!

Mycovore Wellington

This is Dad’s recipe for Mushroom Pie, which he calls the second in his Mycovore series of dishes. He’s a bit nutty about mushrooms!

He was happy to contribute it to the Sweetteeth blog (and tonight’s dinner:).

First, you need to gather the mushrooms. If you know what you are doing, this would be fantastic with wild gathered mushrooms.

Since I do not wish to perish because of misidentified fungi, personally, I go to the store and purchase 2-3 lbs of various mushrooms, usually half white and half cremini. Experiment, portobellos, enoki, shitaki are all good. More mushrooms, thicker pie. The amount you need is based upon the size of pie you are creating, and how hungry the crowd is:)

Pick up a package of tempeh, and for convenience, a vegan friendly frozen pastry. This works very well with puff or pie pastry. Or, prepare your favourite vegan pie pastry recipe.

Optionally, pick up a small package (2 oz) of dried mushroom. These cost $5 – $10 a packet, so are a bit dear, but add a lot of flavour.

If using, when you get home, rehydrate the dried mushrooms in .5 cup of hot water from the kettle, and let cool while you get on with the rest of the dish.

In 3 tbsp of olive oil, saute on medium heat a large onion, diced fine. Once softened, add 2/3 of the sliced mushrooms. Add .5 tsp of dried garlic (or two or three cloves of fresh crushed), and .5 tsp of herb de provence.

Pepper is essential with mushrooms. Montreal Steak spice (I put that sh!t on everything), being predominantly various peppers, is especially good, but any pepper will do.  Add about 1/4 tsp of steak spice and/or black pepper. No salt yet.

Saute until mushrooms begin to give up their moisture, 10 minutes or so. They will cook down substantially. At this point, there should be a mess of brown liquid, and the mushrooms should be about 1/2 cooked.

Add 1/2 to a full 8 oz package of tempeh, diced into small pieces, and the rest of the mushrooms. Cook for another five minutes. Add the re-hydrated dried mushrooms if using, but reserve the liquid they were in.

As an option, a finely diced sweet red pepper can also be added, and makes a nice addition.

With that liquid (or 1/4 cup mushroom or vegetable stock or even water), add 2 tsp corn starch, mix it to a slurry, and then add to mushroom saute. Heat for another five minutes on low, to allow the corn starch to be absorbed and form a gravy. Optionally, you can add more liquid (stock or water) to give a ‘saucier’ end result.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt at this stage to taste.

Let mixture cool while you prepare the pie crust.

This works well in a 10×6 square pyrex pan, but any pie plate will do.

Roll out prepared pastry, for a top and bottom. Lay down bottom pastry in dish. Place cooled mushrooms mixture into dish. It can heap up a bit, but if you made too much filling for your pie, no worries. Any leftover filling makes amazing start for mushrooms on toast, vegan pizza, or whatever.

Top with the top pastry. Crimp your favourite crimp (or just kind of push the top down the sides, if using puff pastry), and cut a few slots in the top for steam to escape. It is generally pretty rustic looking.

Place in preheated 350 oven, and cook for 45-60 minutes, until pastry is golden, and usually, brown bubbling goodness can be seen seeping around the edges.

This makes a substantial meal for six folk, accompanied by a green salad, especially if the group marinates in good company and conversation.

Don’t forget to pick up some Sweetteeth for dessert:)

Have a Sweet Day!

 

 

 

 

Local and Proud

A bit more about what makes Sweetteeth special:

Our main enterprise is an events based vegan desert/iced confection trailer, which attends  all the vegan and vegetarian foodie events in the greater Toronto (and beyond) region, as well as music and cultural festivals. You will often find us at animal rights/rescue charity events.

This is the second year of operation, and even early in the season, we are booked at 10 events. The question we always get asked is: Where can we purchase your products in Toronto? We are working on that…

Sweetteeth is now producing packaged confections, and will be available at farmers markets and specialty vegan outlets this summer, in individual servings and take home pints. Our production of these confections is small batch, undertaken in a commercial kitchen in Toronto.

Over the spring, we have spent considerable effort in modifying our recipes and finding suppliers of local, direct from farm suppliers, to increase the local content, quality, environmental friendliness, and appeal of those products. We are using non-GMO first pressed sunflower oil. Organic Maple Syrup from Ontario is a primary sweetener. We are proud to purchase these direct from the farm.

We also employs beans sourced from Ontario growers.  We have switched to our gluten free waffle recipe to locally grown and milled oat flour.

It only makes sense. Arranging these linkages to local food producers, of the highest quality and taste, is important to us.

A component of our products is sugar. Well, you just can’t buy Ontario produced sugar, although we tried to source beet sugar made from Ontario sugar beets. Also, in trying to make this conversion, we understand that basically ALL sugar produced from beets in North America has at least partially genetically modified plants! Yes, you should be disturbed. Think about food and health security, folks!

Sweetteeth uses only organic cane sugar.

Confession: We use organic coconut milk. There is simply no local vegan substitute. Coconut milk, in our formulations, yields delicious results, and makes our products flavourful, healthy.

Sweetteeth is a considerable consumer of local fruit for our desserts. With the introduction of hard packaged product, we intend to offer seasonal flavours and recipes, with Ontario farmers produce as a the primary ingredient. Look for strawberry, raspberry, cherry, pumpkin pie, and peach flavours.     Last year, in half a season of operation, we topped a LOT of waffles and sundaes with fresh fruit. We will top a HECK OF A LOT more this year:)

Our event installation is a 16 ft trailer trailer, and has been described as ‘the cutest’. The conversion from grimy coffee concession, to an efficient confectionery, was an result of elbow grease and passion.

 

At summer music and foodie events, our storefront is basically swamped. Almost every phone attached to a customer, has taken photo of the trailer and/or their waffle plates:) Very photogenic and fun!

We are proud to be a local small business, working with other like minded business and organizations.

From ‘Surfing the Himalayas’:

“it is hard to imagine thinking in another mode, when you have thought in a particular way all your life. ” -Master Fwap

He says there are only five ways to approach anything:

  1. instinctual
  2. passionate
  3. irrational
  4. hierarchical
  5. relational

I thought, how does this apply to Sweetteeth? As a confection, strategy, ‘artisinal vegan softserve ice cream’ product? As a business and a life?

Obviously, our product has the first covered. Humans just instinctively like ice cream. Uncontroversial:)

Passionate? Hmm. Got that covered. As an events focused vegan installation, you have to be passionate. In a very real way, creating ice cream at an event is a performance challenge. Recipes, new flavours; booking and events planning; logistics and installation. It seems to take a lifetime of effort for a few hours of plating.

Very intense. Mentally and physically demanding. ‘Warning – may contain exhilaration!’.

Irrational! Understatement. You have to be crazy…

Hierarchical. Only in Dad’s mind, hahaha.

Relational. It takes a team, shared effort and creativity, to have an opportunity to share your enjoyment.

It has to taste good, and the smile has to go full circle.

Have a sweet day!

 

 

 

Sweetteeth is Delicious, and Tax Deductible!

Compassionate business pays!

FROM CRA: Meals are only 50% deductible as a business expense, except for a few types, which are 100% deductible!

  • “you incur meal and entertainment expenses for an office party or similar event, and you invite all your employees from a particular location. The limit is six such events per year;
  • the meal and entertainment expenses you incur are for a fund-raising event that was mainly for the benefit of a registered charity; “- T4002-16  CRA

So, invite all your staff to have a sweet day with Sweetteeth, and organize a charity benefit for your favourite animal rescue foundation while you are at it.

100% deductible business events and benefit functions are our specialty!

Sweetteeth will be glad to help you stick it to the tax man!

Include a sweet insulated bag and a pint to go, for an employee appreciation event that will keep things cool! We can customize to include your logo, event, or tagline:)

sweetteeth_insulatedbag_vistaprint_20170414