Lemon Raspberry Bars

Ingredients
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup raw walnuts or almonds
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups pre-soaked raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup + 1.5 tablespoons agave
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
Instructions
  • Soak cashews. Minimum 3 hours. You can look up why this step is necessary. 
  • Mash raspberries, chia seeds, 1.5 tablespoons agave together with fork. Let gel. 
  • Pulse dates and nuts in food processor or blender. Add salt and blend continuiously for 2-3 minutes. Mixture will hold together when pressed if correct. If too dry, add more dates. 
  • Lightly grease 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Parchment paper is recommended. Press date and nut mixture in bottom of pan. 
  • Drain and rinse cashews. Add to blender with lemon juice, coconut oil, agave, and lemon zest and blend until creamy. 
  • Pour cashew filling onto crust. Top with raspberry sauce. Cover with foil. Place in freezer for 2-3 hours.

Vegetarianism is good business

In the last 6 months, I've come to learn something about the dynamic between vegetarians and meat-eaters. Meat-eaters don't understand what exactly it is that vegetarians eat.

It can certainly be confusing. When I first became a vegetarian I did a lot of reading. I knew I wanted to avoid being a "carbivore", something a lot of inexperienced vegetarians become when they rely on carbs, instead of protein, to feel satisfied. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and hunger pains at 2:30pm to learn the delicate balance of protein, carbs, and veggies to truly feel satisfied as a vegetarian. And, to be fair, I don't expect meat-eaters to understand that the balance exists, let alone how to acheive it.

Yesterday, I went to 18th Street Brewery's 2 Years Deep Anniversary Party. Holy shit, this was fucking awesome. So fucking awesome that my "$40 will be plenty" sentiment went over by $25. Lol. No shame, no regrets. El Diablo Negro, Deal with the Devil, Hunter Cherry, BA Bitch B Crazy, BA Cock Fight, and BA Trap Door. My opinion of barrel-aged beers has completely changed because of 18th Street.

Every time I have visited 18th Street (I have been twice in one day-justFYI) there has been a vegetarian option on the menu. I am eternally grateful for this! Still, I wasn't sure what I'd be able to eat, so I ate a half-meal beforehand. On our way there, my friend Ashley (Cotton and Copper Trading Co.) found a menu. Yes, 18th Street had a vegetarian option: the falafel on pita. Awesome! Being able to eat meant I was able to drink and enjoy all the amazing amazingness of the beers identified above. So, you can imagine my complete and utter dismay when they ran out of the falafel and I was already in it for a Deal with the Devil and a Hunter Cherry. NOOOOO. 

The walking taco without meat was offered to me as a vegetarian option, in addition to the cakes. Now, this is a normal thing in Northwest Indiana. The idea that a vegetarian meal is simply a "normal" meal without meat is a mistake made by more people than I could have ever imagined. 

For 18th Street Brewery to provide a vegetarian option on every menu, they clearly understand their target market. They run a good business, so I will directly attribute this to the brilliance of Drew Fox. For 18th Street to run out of their vegetarian option is proof that vegetarianism is alive and well in Northwest Indiana and deserves some attention. 

I get it. Vegetarians are a pain in the ass. I mean, Anthony Bourdain would probably eat out a prostitute before willingly breathing the same air as a vegetarian. We require "special" meals and that is, legitimately, annoying. BUT! Special meals doesn't have to mean tofu, tempeh, or lentils. 

Vegetarian customers want 2 things: protein and a-reasonable-amount-of-carbs. Don't force your vegetarian customers to make a meal with no protein. And don't force them to carbo-load before the marathon they aren't running. If you give your vegetarian customers a balanced meal, you will have given them something only they can give themselves. You will give them a service they are willing to pay for, that few restaurants can offer. 

Protein is found in some pretty interesting places. For 18th Street, simply adding beans to their walking taco would have made it a balanced meal. They would have had an entree that doubled as a meat-eater and vegetarian favorite. And for almost nothing. It doesn't get cheaper or easier than beans. Now, running out of the vegetarian option doesn't seem like such a dire situation, does it? Well, maybe it was only a dire situation for the veggies. ;)

It's simply a good business decision to make vegetarians happy. With so few places for us to go in The Region, we will flock to those oasises. And we'll spend more money. :)

**If you haven't been, support the cultural progression, great beer, great food, and great atmosphere that 18th Street Brewery is serving up at 5725 Miller Ave. in Miller.**

Curtis Harding

Soul Power • 2014

This is jazz, this is soul, this is funk, this is gospel; this is santified sick, this is player pentecostal; this is church, front pew, amen, pulpit; what my people need and the opposite of bullshit

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"Start some shit," but keep it cool.
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