So I'm sure most of y'all have figured out by this point that I am a vegan. Veganism has been in the news a lot lately what with Beyonce's endorsement of a plant based diet plan, as well as Hampton Creek's roaring success in the wake of an Avian Flu epidemic. So what exactly is a vegan? Well one of the most well known aspects of veganism is the diet portion. Vegans, or people who subscribe to a plant-based diet, do not consume any animal products. This includes meat, seafood, dairy, honey or any other animal derived ingredients. What a lot of people don't realize is that veganism involves not only an elimination of animal products from your food but from your cleaning, hair and beauty products as well. It's crazy how many common household items have weird things like whale sperm or bug juice in them. As a vegan I have to investigate all the products I buy to be sure no animals were harmed by animal testing by the company or in the process extracting ingredients from them. Veganism also calls people to reevaluate the way we look at the environment and the other creatures in our environment. Last week I received an email from one of my dearest, closest friends who currently works for the National Audubon Society. She informed me that there was an amendment currently going through Congress which would bar the enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This Act currently protects migratory birds from the dangers of industrial activity as well as deliberate killing. Today I'm asking all my readers to sign this petition, and help protect animals who are a vital and beautiful part of our ecosystem.
My friend Jewel, who is starting her new job with the EPA, this Fall, runs an environmental blog called Habitual Jewel. If you have always wondered what an environmentalist does or have questions about how you can make environmentally sustainable choices in your life, check her out!
Since I wanted to celebrate migratory birds and draw attention to their plight, I thought it would be a perfect time to share my meringue nests. Get it? Birds...Nests? Eh eh? Once again the key ingredient here is the miraculous chickpea brine. I'm basically obsessed with this stuff right now, and I'm loving all the experimenting I've been getting to do, like when I made these Mocha Raspberry Macaroons and this S'mores Frappuccino. These nests can be filled with anything you're craving at the moment. I'm super excited for 4th of July so my filling took a bit of a patriotic turn. You can fill yours up with chocolate, fruit or even pudding if that's your fancy. You'll notice in the ingredients that I call for chilled chickpea brine. I find that when the brine is chilled it whips up much faster and holds it shape better than room temperature brine. I usually refrigerate my brine overnight, but if you're in a rush you can use room temperature brine just keep in mind if will take longer to whip up.
Yields 20-24 Meringue Nests
2/3 cup chilled chickpea brine (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Using your whisk attachment on your standing mixer, whip your chickpea brine on medium high for 5-10 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed.
2. Turn your whisk down to a lower speed and gradually add in powdered sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Whisk on medium high for an additional 3-5 minutes or until stiff peaks have reformed.
3. Transfer your meringue into a piping bag and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully pipe your meringue into nests by making a 2 in diameter circle as the base then piping along the outer rim of the base until a "nest" has formed.
3. Bake your nests for 3.5 hours then turn off the oven and allow them to dry for an additional hour. Do NOT open your oven while the nests are cooking or drying out. Once the drying hour has passed you can remove your nest from the oven and eat them immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week. You can fill your nests with pudding, yogurt, chocolate or fruit.