Monthly Archives: February 2010

meatless monday recipe…wine?

image from italyinsf

cruising the internets yesterday, i came across this series of reviews of trader joe’s from – for most, these posts would be confirmation of all that is the glorious, salivating foodie adventure that is trader joe’s. but for me, it was this one sentence from the review posted by (a pretty fab vegan blog) that stopped me in my tracks:

They also sell their famously inexpensive Charles Shaw wine, a.k.a. “Two Buck Chuck” – which, obviously, goes for $2/bottle (in doing a little research on the internet I am seeing conflicting information about whether or not their Two Buck Chuck is vegan-friendly, however – some wineries use animal products in the filtration process).

now a serious, vegetarian, wine drinker has to say to herself, “huh? animal products?!?”

so i posted to facebook and twitter and asked for some help on this most pressing issue (and i’m not even joking) because i’m not kidding around when it comes to wine. i do not want some foreign animal matter swirling around in my glass. the odd thing is, i have never gotten sick off of wine – i’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now and am pretty sensitive to cross contamination or when dishes are not 100% vegetarian.  i’ve actually had chefs come and apologize to me in restaurants because a dish was prepared with chicken broth and my sweaty, tummy-aching presence obviously sensed something was wrong.

but wine? mon dieu!

in response to my panicked query, my good friend arminda sent me to these two posts – one from diary of a nutritionist and the second from wise geek. basically, to remove proteins, yeast, and other organic particles, wineries use something called a fining agent. it is added to the top of the wine vat and as it sinks down, these elements adhere to it and help to filter the wine. i am in quite a quandry about this – i actually don’t eat altoids or anything else with gelatin in it because it is made from animal bones. i wonder why i’ve never had a bad reaction to wine (only to bad wines)? should i still be concerned? it’s a lot to ponder…and what exactly are we talking about?

this explanation from

Fining can take on a whole new meaning if you are a vegetarian or a vegan. Many of the fining agents used are animal products. These animal products include albumen, casein, gelatin, and isinglass.

Albumen, which is produced from egg whites, is the most common fining agent. Egg whites are typically used in fining red wines. Wines fined with egg whites are acceptable to vegetarians but not vegans.

Casein is a milk protein. Casein is also more commonly used in red wines. For someone with a severe milk allergy, it is wise to inquire if the wine they are drinking was fined with casein.

Gelatin is an animal protein from the skin and connective tissue of pigs and cows. Gelatin may be used in the fining process of either red or white wines.

Isinglass (also called fish glue) is made from the bladder of the sturgeon fish. Like the other agents, this works like a magnet, attracting the impurities and carrying them to the bottom of the barrel or tank, producing a clean wine. Isinglass is found in many German white wines.

barnivore and vegan frommars have posted a list of vegan and non-vegan wines. they also suggest that you contact the winery directly to find out about their fining process. many of the blogs i came across in my research touted frey organic wines as a terrific vegan option. all i know, is i have a good deal of tasty research ahead of me!


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eco friendly style is in the bag…we’re live, baby!

image from modernest

the day is finally here! our website is live and open for business!

come and visit us!


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hatch show print…

one of the things i like about writing a blog is that it allows my mind to wander from thought to thought…sometimes this is a good thing (like this morning) and sometimes not so much (when you look up and it’s already noon). yesterday’s post about laura palese’s work started me thinking about hatch show print in nashville. since 1879, they have been creating bold, timeless designs using the same letterpress techniques – only the faces on the posters have changed. a good friend of ours actually visited (on multiple days) and said it was like an out of body experience (he’ll probably get a little teary eyed seeing their sign in this post). lucky for us, he returned home with armfuls of posters and was generous enough to share with his friends.

from marshall solokoff’s photo album

for all of us who cannot make the trek to nashville, here is a fantastic photo tour of hatch’s headquarters from marshall solokoff.

image from uppercase

uppercase has a terrific article on hatch show prints and the history and process of letterpress. the ritz-craft image above was hand-carved into wood at its full 41″x30″ size (there’s no photoshop size scaling here, kids!).

check out this amazing collection of posters from the historic ryman auditorium.

this video was produced with the smithsonian, hosted by hatch show print manager jim sherraden – whose motto, “preservation through production”  means keeping this american artform alive by doing it the same way it’s always been done, with the same materials and tools. you can also buy jim’s book, “hatch show print: the history of a great american poster shop” on amazon.

if you are going to be in austin between now and may 9th, you will have to see “american letterpress the art of hatch show print” at the austin museum of art.

quilt monoprint

there are tons of posters for sale on the hatch show print website. if i had to choose, i think i would go for one of the monoprints…but please, please don’t make me choose!

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these cards are just my type…

image from designworklife for

oooh, do i love typography! so when i saw these cards on one of my favorite design blogs, designworklife, i immediately fell in love. brooklyn-based graphic designer laura palese has some awesome work on her site and these cards are on sale right now on amazon. i love collecting note cards and have a pretty significant stash of them in my office.  i know the art of letter writing is dying, but when the occasion calls for it, i love having super cool cards at the ready. these will definitely have to be added to the collection!

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meatless monday recipe: rigatoni with sun-dried tomato pesto…

image from food blogga

although she’s been around for awhile, i’ve only just discovered susan’s fabulous food blog, food blogga. it is filled with scrumptious home cooking and is very well written with easy to follow instructions.  i have a lovely bottle of red wine that i’ve been saving for some reason (it usually doesn’t last that long) and i think this über flavorful pasta dish will be a perfect companion. the thing that intrigues me about this rigatoni recipe is that she makes her pesto from sun-dried tomatoes, it sounds absolutely delicious!

she, like my boyfriend and me, is totally obsessed with cara cara oranges right now and we have quite a few in the house. so i’m thinking that her frisee salad recipe will be a perfect starter.

although i fear a carb overload (as if that’s possible), i’m also considering baking these cheese puffs (but i’ll make them with gruyère).

image from simply recipes

i’ve always wanted to learn how to make a pâte a choux dough, so with my bottle of wine as my inspiration, there’s no better time than the present! i figure if i can master these, the different flavor combinations will be endless – and it will be a way to add a definite wow factor to lots of simple meals.

mini update to a post that hasn’t even been posted! michael ruhlman simplifies the pâte a choux process on his amazing blog that demystifies and explains the craft of cooking…definitely a valuable resource and fantastic reading!


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meatless monday recipe: mediterranean quinoa bowl…

image from the sprouted kitchen

have you met my good friend, quinoa? he may look like an innocent little grain, but he is actually a seed that is a complete protein packed with all 9 essential amino acids, magnesium and iron.

luckily, here in l.a., the days have been a bit warmer and this mediterranean quinoa bowl from one of my favorite food blogs, the sprouted kitchen, will hit the spot for supper tomorrow and lunch on tuesday.

sara’s site is beautifully shot with easy to follow directions. i’m thinking about adding kalamata olives to this, but i will wait and see how it comes by following her recipe – she’s hasn’t disappointed me yet!

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your old van halen t-shirt gets a new life and gives new hope to women…

image from hello rewind

if you are like my boyfriend, you have a ton of t-shirts that you just can’t bear to part with. what are you going to do with that favorite concert t-shirt? well now, thanks to hello rewind, you can make that treasured cotton memory into a laptop sleeve! i know i just posted about looptworks, but the folks at hello rewind became followers of modernest yesterday on twitter, so i went to see what they were all about…and am i ever glad i did!

here’s how it works:  you place your order (13″, 15″ or 17″). they send you a prepaid envelope. you send hello rewind your shirt. they cut out the design and material; sew it all together with batting, felt and velcro. and in 4-8 weeks, your dear old friend now has a new purpose in life – protecting your laptop – and you get a customized laptop sleeve for $49!

and if that weren’t enough, the true purpose of hello rewind goes beyond giving you a super cool one of a kind product. working with restore nyc,  their mission is to retrain sex slave workers in the u.s.:

We want to show sex trafficking survivors that rescue is not the end and that there is hope for something better in their lives. We train and teach them in fundamental skills — sewing, English, business skills. Many of the laptop sleeves made through Hello Rewind are hand-crafted by sex trafficking survivors, and we hope that they become an integral part of our business operations. After supporting the sex trafficking suvivors involved with Hello Rewind, the remaining profits are recycled back into the company so that we can grow the business to support even more women.

pretty phenomenal. time to start digging through those bins…

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