Thoughts on Making My New Vegan Cookbook, by Molly Patrick »
[This post is from Molly Patrick, co-author of the new cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food for the Body and Soul]
Did you know that New Mexico was part of the United States before you watched Breaking Bad? (It’s okay. I grew up there and sometimes even I got confused. It’s not really new, it’s not really Mexico. What to think…)
Breaking Bad didn’t lie on two accounts: 1) New Mexico really is full of meth; and 2) there is nothing like the New Mexico sky.
I grew up in a teepee on a bunch of land in asscrack nowhere New Mexico (you guys, I swear I’m not lying. A teepee!!). I had no running water, no electricity and no plumbing for the first part of my life. I was a teenager when we got our first TV and it was (I kid you not) a black and white 10 inch (dear god, why would I make this shit up).
We had an outhouse until I was ready to graduate high school and I grew up without ever eating meat (to this day I have not tried the stuff).
Actually, that’s not entirely true. When I was six, my Godfather bribed me to eat a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving for $5. At six years old, $5 is like $500 so I totally did it. I also tried Chicken McNuggets once in high school. I gagged a little, kept the sweet and sour sauce and trashed the nuggets.
My unusual and socially awkward upbringing was the root of some of my disgruntled teenage years but as soon as I decided that being mad wasn’t a cool trend anymore I got over it. When I got a little older and discovered how (some) people of privilege operate, I had a whole new appreciation for the way I was raised.
It may not have been fancy but it was full of love, honesty, humbleness, grace and compassion.
Last year, I wanted to share a piece of my upbringing with my girlfriend, Luanne so we quit our jobs and headed South from the Bay Area to asscrack nowhere land. We were on a mission to write a follow-up to our first cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food of South East Asia.
Luanne is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (kind of like New York but in South East Asia) so naturally, she was excited to go to New Mexico to see the aliens.
We were in New Mexico for seven months.
We wrote a cookbook, saw no aliens, tried no meth, saw countless jaw dropping sunsets and sunrises (see pics), soaked our bodies in natural hot springs, played in the snow and drank beer in the sun. We also ate lots of green chili (another one of New Mexico’s little secrets).
I created the recipes, Luanne tasted them, Luanne styled the photographs and I took the pictures. We had an awesome fucking time. I highly recommend quitting your job and doing something bat-shit crazy that makes no sense at all at some point in your life (but don’t go to New Mexico in winter. That shiz is cold. We’re talking high desert @ 6,000 feet, people. Bur).
Here are two recipes from our new cookbook, Bold Vegan, Food for the Body and Soul. There is a discount for Vegansaurus readers! The promo code is: vegansaurus and it will allow your guys to buy the instant download version of our new book for $10 (usually $14.99). [Ed.: YES!!!]
It is filled with 90 Western and Asian classic comfort food dishes. From Vietnamese Pho to Pot Pie and Creamy Alfredo Pasta to Green Onion Pancakes.
Brought to you from New Mexico, with love.
But first, some sample recipes:
Fiery Garlic Tofu
(gluten free if using gluten free soy sauce / nut free)
- 1 14 oz. box (397g) firm tofu tofu, cut into 1 inch squares
- 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch (45g)
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil plus 3 tablespoons, divided (105ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (3g)
- 20 turns fresh black pepper
- 10 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 - 5 dried red chilies, cut in half (add more if you like more spice)
- 1 heaping tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (12g)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (15ml)
- 6 tablespoons water (90ml)
- 1 red onion, sliced into rounds (140g)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (2.5ml)
- Sugar Glaze (1 tablespoon (15g) brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon (15ml) water)
- 1 green onion, cut into 2 inch strips for garnish
Evenly spread out cornstarch on a plate.
Cut tofu and dredge evenly in cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup (60ml) of the grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan.
Place 1/2 of the tofu in oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns of black pepper.
Cook for 9-10 minutes, turning so that all sides get brown.
Take out of pan and place on a brown paper bag (placed on a plate) to soak up the oil.
Place 3 more tablespoons (45ml) of oil in the pan and add the remaining tofu.
Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns black pepper and cook for 9-10 minutes.
Take out and place on paper bag.
Use the same oil and pan and add the garlic, chili and ginger.
Cook for 1 minute and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 6 tablespoons water.
Add red onions and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the tofu back to the pan, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the glaze and cook for an additional minute.
Garnish with green onions.
Do not serve the red chilies, they are added for flavor, not to eat directly.
If you don’t like spicy then leave the red chilies whole.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
(gluten free / nut free / soy free if using soy free Earth Balance buttery spread)
First, the Cheese Sauce
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2 cups / 240g)
- 1 cup carrot, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (130g)
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced (1/2 cup / 65g)
- 2 cups water (475 ml)
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (70g)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk (45 ml)
- 3 turns fresh black pepper
Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
After 20 minutes, turn off heat and add Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a blender and blend until creamy, about one minute on medium. You may need to scrape the sides down from the blender a couple of times for everything to get incorporated.
Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.
Place into a bowl and add fresh black pepper.
Now, assemble the whole dish:
- 1 recipe cheese sauce (above)
- 4 cups thinly sliced potatoes, 1/4 inch thick (4 potatoes / 625g)
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread (45g)
- 1 onion diced (1 cup / 120g)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk creamer (120ml)
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped (8g)
- 1 tablespoons rice flour (30g)
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
- 3 cups of chard, chopped (175g)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
Slice potatoes and set aside.
Heat Earth Balance in a skillet and add the onions, garlic and parsley.
Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the flour and salt and stir for 30 seconds.
Slowly pour in the creamer and stir until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Evenly spread 1/4 cup (60g) of cheese sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 baking dish.
Place a third of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom of the pan.
Place half of the chard over the potatoes.
Place a third of cheese sauce over the chard (about 1 cup / 230g).
Repeat (another third of potatoes, the rest of the chard, another third of the cheese sauce).
Add the last layer of potatoes and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.
With a spoon, evenly dollop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.
Place in the oven and baked uncovered for 1 hour.
You can use any leafy green in place of the chard.
(I’m writing my bio in first person because I think writing about myself in third person is creepy)
If I’m not in my kitchen you will find me behind my camera, in front of my computer, on my meditation pillow, in a yoga class or watching Parks and Rec (I promise I’m not snobby – I’m not even good at yoga. It has been my lifelong dream to touch even my fingers to the mat in a forward bend. It still boggles me that I can’t do it given that my arms are disproportionately long).
I have helped open restaurants in New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona (including Nature’s Express in Berkeley, CA). Before I wrote cookbooks and opened restaurants I was a personal chef.
You can buy my cookbooks on my website, boldvegan.com. While you’re there you can drool over lots of free recipes, check out my guide to getting healthy, 21 Days to Awesome and, sign up for my emails where I share even more recipes and charming banter.
(oh, and I’m always accepting recipe development, food styling and photography work. Check my online portfolio here)