Cookbook Review: The Tipsy Vegan! »
I got a gratis copy of John Schlimm’s The Tipsy Vegan to review for you guys! Rachel has been on a cookbook review roll, as I’m sure you’ve read, but when I saw “tipsy,” I knew this book was for yours truly. However, this is not a book of vegan cocktails like I thought! It’s all about cooking with wine and liquor. But there are a handful of cocktail recipes as well, they kick off each chapter.
To sum up the book in three words: Fun, challenging, sassy! That’s right, sassy. The tone of the book is very jovial and lighthearted, which I appreciate. And you are encouraged to enjoy your booze! As god intended. One thing I will say is that I’m not sure it’s really a book for beginners. It’s for more of a mid-level to experienced cook. There are lots of ingredients, lots of different techniques involved, and lots of recipes requiring things like ice cream makers and food processors (which I do not have because I’ve slimmed down my kitchen accessories. Oh, life in the big city!). A bowl and spoon are not going to get you very far here. On the other end of the spectrum, this is just the thing for the uninspired cook! It’ll give your cooking a kick in the pants! The recipes and ingredients are inventive and interesting. And the book is entertaining. I’m a fan!
I tried two of the recipes: Bruschetta on a Bender and Rockin’ Roasted Potatoes With Racy Rosemary and Mustard. The potatoes, the recipe for which you can get over on NYT, had vodka in them, which I had because my first housewarming gift was a half-empty bottle of Ketel One (#classy). Both recipes called for vermouth, but the potatoes said you could use a dry white wine instead and the bruschetta said a fruity red would work too. As I don’t know what I’d do with a bottle of vermouth and you better believe I know what to do with two bottles of wine, I opted for the wine. But the book said I could!
I don’t know what you call the sauce I made for the potatoes but it was damn good! Like, I was about to lick the bowl, horseradish and all. I had a little sauce left over and I put it in a cup to save in the fridge. I’m thinking Brussels sprouts!
The bruschetta was interesting because it called for thyme instead of your typical basil. My bro and sis-in-law were ‘bout it for the bruschetta! They both had like seven pieces. I liked it too but I did miss the basil. But there’s really no need to buy a cookbook with a basil bruschetta recipe, is there? And red wine on the tomatoes? Genius! Why don’t we do that all the time? We can from now on. Pish, I don’t even remember what life was like before red wine-soaked tomatoes!
Sweet Instagram pic of the bruschetta. Oh, Instagram, how I love you. Follow me: @MeganRascal!!!
Check it, I scored the Bruschetta on a Bender recipe for you! With permission from Da Capo Press, naturally:
Bruschetta on a Bender
Ingredients4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and very coarsely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
12 slices crusty French or Italian bread, about 3 inches in diameter
1 garlic clove, peeled and split
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry vermouth or a fruity red wine
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the tomatoes with the salt and drain for 30 minutes in a large colander set over a bowl.
Under a hot broiler, toast the bread slices on both sides.
Rub the toasted top of each slice with the split garlic clove and lightly brush the top of each slice with the olive oil
Gently press down on the drained tomatoes to extract even more juices. Then transfer them to another bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar, dry vermouth, thyme, and oregano.
Season with the pepper to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture in small mounds on top of the toasts and serve at once.
Yield: 12 bruschettas
Yay! Now you can make the bruschetta just like your pal Megan.
There are a lot of other great-sounding recipes I still want to try, namely the Merlot ice. Basically a Merlot slushy, it requires a food processor. I’m about to get one just to make it. Can you imagine? A Merlot slushy? Be still my heart!
Before I sign off, I’ll add another point: this book doesn’t really feel like a vegan cookbook, it feels like a “regular” cookbook. It’s not really about being vegan and you aren’t making approximations of omni recipes you’ve been missing; you’re making fun and exciting recipes that are also vegan. I think omnis would certainly enjoy this book too and if not for the title, I doubt they’d notice the absence of animals products. It’s definitely a good cookbook if you’re entertaining a mixed-diet crowd! So I say check it out and get a little crazy. A little crunked, even. Go for it.
Polenta Agnolotti with corn corn corn! »
One of my favorite vegan chefs and friend of Vegansaurus, Mark Tinkleman, has started a food blog!: Semolina and Sauce. Recently, he posted about this Polenta Agnolotti (Wikipedia: “Agnolotti is a kind of ravioli typical of the Piedmont Region, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over with a roast beef meat and vegetable stuffing.” Roast beef smost beef! Not this time, buddy!) with porcinis, quince, and frisee.
If the title isn’t enough to attract you, Mark also offers a sort of corn manifesto sure to intrigue! I knew corn was messed up but Mark proclaims, “corn is a weapon of US imperialism.” Damn, son! My only critique for this recipe is MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! Now, go make me polenta.
Recipe: Lettuce wraps for your mouth »
Any of y’all ever go to P.F. Chang’s? It was my favorite restaurant when I was but a wee teenager in Indianapolis, and one of the yummiest menu items was the vegetarian lettuce wraps. I found myself craving these this weekend, but the nearest Chang’s is on the other side of the bay, so I decided to try to make some instead. Even though I used the “wrong” kind of lettuce because that’s what I had so GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, they were still really yummy: Goes well with Blue Moon, 2-Buck Chuck, Absolut straight from the bottle, +c.
Accidentally Low-Carb Lettuce Wraps Ingredients
1 head of lettuce (iceberg probably works better than the red-leaf I used)
3 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 pound of tofu, pressed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup celery, minced
5 smallish carrots, minced
1 8-oz. can of water chestnuts, minced
2 bulbs shallots, minced (PROTIP: save time by mincing all this shit together, in a food processor if you’ve got one)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger (did you know you can buy that madness in jars now?)
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
Hot chili paste or sriracha, to taste
1. Heat your skillet on medium-high, and pour 2 Tbsp. of the oil in there. Once it’s hot, throw your tofu in there. Stir frequently until it’s pretty brown; this will take maybe 10 minutes. Add your ginger, coriander, thyme, and pepper. Stir for about a minute, and then add your minced mix. Take a moment to appreciate the shallot: It’s like if garlic and onion had the most beautiful, delicious baby ever in existence, not that babies are generally delicious, I mean, I wouldn’t know about the taste of babies, OKAY GOD ANYWAY.
2. Stir and cook for a while (10 minutes-ish?) until your veggies are soft. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and as much chili paste or sriracha as you can handle. Cook for a while longer until some of the liquid evaporates. Once it’s acceptable to you, remove from heat. You might want to let it cool for a while so its sheer heat doesn’t rip holes in your lettuce.
3. Take a leaf of lettuce, put some of this mixture on it, roll it up to the best of your ability, and nom. Make sure you have a fork nearby.
Warning: These are low-carb, so if that’s bad for you, add some rice or toast or something. I would marry carbs if they were a person, so I had some popcorn later in the evening. #popcorn4lyfe
Recipe: Seasonal Affective Risotto (butternut squash and leeks, mainly) »
The yearly end of Daylight Savings Time puts me into a funk. I’m on the brink of another major depressive episode, and the only things keeping me going are Sadie (my cat companion), wine, and glitter.
Risotto takes a while to cook, it’s a good dish to make when you want to be brooding and pensive and listen to Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors. I made it with butternut squash and leeks and a bunch of random fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and oregano) because those things came in my CSA box (so bourgey!). It lifted my mood enough to make me finally take a shower. Here’s how it went down.
Seasonal Affective Risotto
1 decent-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but gives it a nice fall color and a cheesy flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (if you have to pick just one, choose sage)
Salt and pepper
Preheat that oven to 400 degrees F. Put the squash on a baking sheet, and mix it up with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast it for 40 minutes, stirring when you remember.
Put the broth in a saucepan, heat it to a simmer, turn off the heat, and cover.
On medium-low, heat the remaining oil in another saucepan or wok or something big with some sort of sides. Throw those leeks in there, and saute until soft. I like to poke the spoon through the center of each leek slice so that the layers become kind of a cone, and then I laugh and ponder my existence.
Once the leeks are soft, add some garlic until it smells reeeeeeal nice. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for a minute or two. Then you want to add the wine:
Get one of these tiny bottles of crap white wine, and drink what you don’t use. You… might be sorry?
Stir some more until the wine is absorbed. Then you will add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the while. Every time you add some broth, stir until it’s absorbed before you add more. While you’re stirring, you’ll have plenty of time to think — about your nonexistent career path, your latest failed romantic endeavor, that time you farted at Burning Man. Then know that things can only go up from here.
Half an hour or so later, when all six cups of the broth are absorbed and you are all cried out, add the squash, nutritional yeast, and herbs, and cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper if you need to, but I don’t think you will. Take a deep breath, slap some bread on your plate, and smile for the first time in weeks.
Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Class with Heather Haxo Phillips »
You know those sayings, “Time flies” and “The older you get, the years just whiz by”? Well, they are popular because they are true! It’s already November! When did this happen? I’m not ready to put the barbecue away and pull out my heavy coats (okay, sweaters—I do live in California*). November means Thanksgiving! Which means not participating in eating turkey anymore, but still hanging out with the friends/family and eating so much it hurts! Right? Does everyone do that? Has any one else just given up and started wearing
sweatpants fashionable yoga pants to the table?
Some vegans eat raw and they like to stuff their faces over the holidays with delicious, healthy, raw foods. For you, Bay Area raw or raw-curious foodists, Chef Heather Haxo Phillips is here! She not only has a new book coming out just in time for Thanksgiving, she’s also hosting a workshop/dinner in Oakland. Jordan attended one of her classes before and really loved it, so that’s something to think about, too!
Heather’s fancy book!
In case you don’t particularly like clicking on links for information (I know there are a few of you out there), let me list the details for you.
Healthy Holidays: A Survival Guide is Heather Haxo Phillips’ second book. It’s rumored to be filled with over 50 recipes from famous raw food chefs, travel tips and conversation pointers. You can buy it as an e-book or in print form here.
Phillips’ Thanksgiving Workshop/Dinner happens on Sunday, Nov. 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Encuentro (202 Second St., we love it there!), and tickets cost $75. Foods that you’ll possibly be learning to make yet definitely EATING as your elegant holiday dinner include: cauliflower bisque; pecan pâté with marinated wild mushrooms and truffle oil; winter greens salad; holiday croquettes in savory sauce; shallot green beans; almond stuffing; mashed notatoes; cranberry orange relish; chocolate ganache truffle pie; and pumpkin pie with cashew caramel sauce.
Hey! I like raw foods! I like eating! I make a really good date, if someone wants to bring me/pay for me. What? It’s the holidays. I’m broke.
*That was for you, Chicagoans! Don’t be mad. I know there is more to Chicago than the winter and seriously, after this post, I’m TOTALLY going to start acknowledging that. Last post poking fun at Chicago winters. Seriously. Totally serious here. It will never happen again.
Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Oatmeal »
It’s motherfucking pumpkin season, folks. Every year around this time, I gorge on the sweet squash by inserting it into as many concoctions as possible. The amazing flavor and lovely color herald the fall holidays, my favorites. So when I woke up this morning with a headache brought on by far too much wine last night, I needed something sweet, bright, and comforting. Hence this pumpkin oatmeal was born:
Pumpkin Oatmeal for One
1 cup water
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 can pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup, or sugar, or whatever)
assorted pumpkin-esque spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg—OR just some pumpkin pie spice)
Put water in saucepan and bring to a boil. When it’s boiling, add everything else, and reduce the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s as runny or dry as you like. Add raisins or nuts or something if you’re nasty. Eat away your hangover.
Vegan MoFo: Rachel’s Amazing Super-Fast Oatmeal
I eat the exact same thing for breakfast about 97 percent of the time. Why? Because it’s awesome, and also because there’s nothing worse in the morning than having to make decisions. Actually, the cat peeing on your bed or a car alarm going off for hours are examples of worse things, but why make life harder, you know?
I make a non-instant, microwave version of oatmeal with awesome stuff in it. It’s super-healthy, keeps you full, and takes only five minutes, including prep!
Disclosure: the photo above is not a photo of my breakfast. It’s a photo of someone on Flickr's breakfast because a) they're a way better photographer than me (come on guys, you've seen me try to shoot food) and b) I forgot to take a photo of my breakfast.
1/3 cup rolled oats (NOT quick-cook or instant. Glue-city!)
About 2 Tbsp. chopped date pieces (to taste)
Sprinkle of salt
2/3 cup water
Sliced almonds (Or even better, those chopped and roasted ones you normally grind into almond butter that they seem to sell nowhere on Earth but the Berkeley Bowl. I’ll love you forever and even pay you back if you wanna mail me some of that, SO GOOD.)
Mix the oatmeal, salt, water, and date pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. The date pieces (or other dried fruit) are key: They break the surface tension and help keep your bowl from overflowing (science!).
Microwave for 3 minutes. Important: You may have to experiment with your power-level settings here. If your oatmeal overflows and pisses you off, then set the power level lower. I used to have a shitty microwave and it just worked, but now I have a stronger one and have to set it to Power Level 7.
Let cool for like a minute, then sprinkle with cinnamon, flax oil, and almonds to taste. I guess you could use other nuts or whatever but I’m almonds all the way, baby. Sometimes when I’m feeling really crazy I sprinkle on some chia seeds, but watch out, those like to nestle between your teeth and make you look dumb when you get to work even though you really did brush them, you swear.
Enjoy the deliciousness! Also cinnamon in the A.M. helps you be less hungry all day (Dr. Oz says so)! So do fat and protein! It’s really awesome!
You’re welcome. Now you know what to have in the house for me when I come visit.
Vegan MoFo: AvoKale Noodles! »
I’m not sure this recipe counts as super-fast, but it’s weeknight-fast and SO good I just HAD to share it with you. My awesome vegan husband Danny invented it, because he does lots of the cooking ‘round our place. Also Isa kind of invented it—it’s a modified version of the Pasta della California in Veganomicon.
Ok let’s get to it!
2+ Tbsp. garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup white wine
1 can white beans
2 avocados, cubed
salt and pepper
nutritional yeast for garnish/topping
Cook some whole-wheat spaghetti, or noodles of your choice.
Boil some kale in a small amount of water for like 20 minutes until it’s soft. Probably chop it up first.
Meanwhile, saute some garlic, red pepper flakes (depends on how much you like), and the lemon zest in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. USE THE ZEST! It makes a huge difference in the tastiness factor.
Squeeze in the juice from that naked lemon, add white wine. Cook a little longer.
Drain and rinse a can of white beans (or cook them from dried in a pressure cooker) and throw in with the garlic saucy stuff to warm up.
In a big bowl, mix together the noodles, the kale, the avocado, and the saucy beans.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with nooch on top.
Seriously, this is really good. I was gonna blog about something else but then Danny went and cooked this and I was like shit, I gotta pull out my camera now because dinner is just THAT GOOD tonight. It sucked, I swear — the camera was all the way in the other room and everything.
Vegan MoFo: Everything Stew »
Do you guys love my decorating skills? I know you do.
Those of you who were aghast at my suggestion last week to have a cupcake, possibly for breakfast, will be glad to know that a stew like this is as healthy as it gets. I used the Food Not Bombs technique of putting basically everything you have into it and simmering until everything is way overcooked. I swear it’s good. It’s also economical.
2 cloves of garlic (or more, if you’re nasty like me)
vegetable broth or water
every vegetable you have, especially if it’s in danger of going bad
some cooked beans
whatever spices you like, particularly salt and pepper
a fake meat product of some kind (optional)
In a big ol’ stockpot, saute onions and “hard” vegetables—to me this means peppers, carrots, celery and the like—for 8-10 minutes until soft. Crush or chop garlic and add to the pot, along with a bunch of spices (thyme, salt, pepper, rosemary, marjoram…). Stir and saute for a few seconds until you can smell the delicious smell of cooking garlic. Add the softer veggies (zucchini, broccoli, and so on) and saute for a while. Pour water or broth into the pot until everything is just barely covered. Add beans and fake meat if using, then bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer to your heart’s content. Taste and adjust spices. Serve on top of rice or quinoa, and/or with a side of crusty bread if you can afford it.
Vegansaurus! Let’s win the Denver Avocado Takedown* together! I JUST heard about this amateur cook-off and I’m so psyched to win, and I know with your help I can do it! Let’s win one for the vegans!
SEND ME YOUR BEST [NON-GUAC] AVOCADO RECIPE ASAP! I made a whole email address so you can tell I’m SERIOUS.
Here’s what’s up: On Sunday, Nov. 6, Denver-area cooks will be fighting to the death for the best non-guacamole avocado recipe. Each cook gets a free case of avocados to make a massive batch of awesome sauce, and then people who buy tickets sample the stuff and help judge, and then the winner gets some kind of prize (who even cares, I dig glory and bragging rights for shizzo).
I’m a good cook! I can even do quantity! But I need a killer avo recipe—that’s where you come in! Send me your best and tell me why it’s awesome. I will give you and the whole Vegansaurus community major props in all that I do. And if we win, it will be a victory for vegan food everywhere!
Let’s do this, Vegansaurs!!!
*”America’s Most Important Food Competition,” meaning, this matters!!