You know what you want to do? You want to make Celine’s gingerbread granola. The oven will warm up your house, the baking granola will make it smell heavenly, and later the actual granola, covered with the non-dairy milk of your choice (plain almond for me!) will make your whole body happy. Ginger! Is it the perfect winter food ingredient? MAYBE.
Get the recipe at Have Cake, Will Travel. Be bold, make Version II! Throw extra crystalized ginger in it, that’s the best part!
Cookbook review: Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! »
Celine Steen and Tami Noyes have a new, gorgeous cookbook out called Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, and because vegan blogging tends to be a mutual admiration society (you’re all so great!), they sent me a copy for review.
It has long been established that the sandwich, in all its many, glorious forms, is the perfect food. But if a good sandwich is as easy as taking your favorite main course and slapping it inside some carbohydrate casing, why would you need a cookbook? I advise thinking of this book as more of an inspiration guide, like reading two inventive ladies’ food-dream journal.
The photos are nearly obscene, they’re so beautiful, and the recipes aren’t terribly daunting. I made four, for research purposes.
Green monster rolls (pp. 178): Easy and delicious! Super garlicky, which I love, plus the boiling step makes a satisfying, chewy crust. I froze a few of my first, less photogenic batch, and plan to defrost them for panade once cold weather returns.
Asian eggplant (pp. 130) on a green monster roll: Girl, this eggplant was to die. TO DIE. Spicy and savory, the sauce was a great foil for my little rosa bianca eggplant. I then used the leftover slaw on my tomato sandwiches for the rest of the week.
Bierocks (pp. 88): The older I get, the more I love cabbage. And sauerkraut. Pickled foods forever! Here, I substituted Soy Curls for the tempeh called for in the recipe, and it turned out smashingly. These we ate with spicy brown mustard, as advised, and oh, they were tremendous. German pierogi!
And for dessert, open-face Bananas Foster cake sandwiches (pp. 168): We used Double Rainbow vanilla soy cream. These were lovely, though I feel like the banana cake was better cut thick, toasted, and spread with vegan butter, probably because I’m not an ice cream superfan.
You can find these recipes, plus 100 more, inside Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, available at all fine booksellers. You can also find the recipes I followed by searching inside the book on Amazon. For even more food porn, check out Tami’s VSStD photo set on Flickr.
[photos by me; let’s be Instagram pals: @meaverly!]
UnFish’Wich! UnFish’Wich! Celine and Tami’s new book, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, comes out in a month! It contains 101 sandwich combinations, including this gorgeous UnFish’Wich, and Celine has a few more absolutely amazing photos previewed on Have Cake, Will Travel right now.
Sandwiches are a perfect meal, and I can’t wait to see what brilliance these two wonderful, creative vegan minds have come up with. Sandwiches, oh yeah!
(what looks to be) a fruit, agave, and maybe some sort of nut butter grilled sandwich made stuffed French toast made with HOMEMADE VEGAN BRIOCHE. Goddammit, Celine! WHY?! Why do you make these things and then not live with me I COULD KILL YOU! Just so I could love you more! Because that’s how love works!
CLOSED! Vegansaurus giveaway: Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites! »
Who wants a cookbook? You do! You especially want Joni Marie Newman's and Celine Steen's Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, because it’s fantastic! It’s full of tons of super impressive recipes that will blow some omnivore minds. We even got an unsolicited guest review of it, it’s so beloved.
Laura says, If you want to go on the opposite of a weight loss diet (an extra-deliciousness diet!?), you should cook out of this book. Every recipe is crazy-delicious-looking, and adorable and filled with cuteness and personality, à la Celine and Joni! We love love love these two ladies, and we know you’ll love their enormous, amazing cookbook.
To enter, leave a comment with your favorite vegan dish to feed a monster appetite. Anyone who says “I could just eat a bunch of kale in a salad and be totally full” is automatically disqualified for lying. The contest will be open until 9 p.m. PST on Friday, January 27, so ENTER NOW! Good luck!
Update: Contest is closed! Congratulations to Susan! Thanks for entering, everyone, your comments made me super-hungry!
Guest post: An interview with Mihl of Seitan Is My Motor! »
Seitan Is My Motor is not only a cute reference to a clever song by Cake, it’s also an amazing food blog by vegan maven Mihl. She’s been blogging for over three years and has amassed quite a collection of recipes in her blog’s expansive index. And she doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity, not a bit of it. Her photos are light and stunning (how does she do that? She has mad skills), and her prose is clear and unassuming.
Take a look at her beautiful photo of this mouthwatering Pflaumenkuchen (plum cake), which has ENTIRE PLUMS baked into the top of it. I’ve been dreaming about this cake ever since she posted, and only the cruelest tricks and whimsies of fate have prevented me from making it.
If you’re still not convinced, because you’re a total freak, know that the lovely Mihl lives in Dresden and posts selected recipes on a version of her site that is entirely auf deutsch. You have been looking for an opportunity to practice your German, haven’t you? How is she so amazing? I’ll let her explain for herself:
Vegansaurus: When did you start Seitan Is My Motor?
Mihl: Right away when I went vegan back in April 2007.
What inspired you to start a food blog?
The correct question would be “who inspired you?” When I thought about making the switch from vegetarianism to veganism, I started to read vegan food blogs. They provided so much information and since they were packed with awesome vegan recipes, they made the switch to go vegan very easy for me. I talked to my boyfriend about how awesome these blogs were and he suggested to start one as well. He even bought a digital camera. That’s how I started my blog.
What motivates you to keep blogging?
Several things. First of all, my readers, all the people who leave comments or just read my blog. Right from the beginning I got wonderful feedback and I met some awesome people through blogging. People from all over the world stop by my blog and I feel like I am part of a huge international community. It helped me to feel confident about my veganism right from the beginning. At that time I didn’t know any vegans in real life, and I still knew there were many like-minded people out there. Second, if you have access to the internet, blogging is an easy and cheap way of sharing ideas and information for free. And I probably wouldn’t think about cooking and baking that much if I didn’t have a blog. The blog documents how I developed some of my cooking and all of my baking skills. If it wasn’t for Seitan Is My Motor, I would probably still bake from cake mixes.
How would you describe your blog?
It’s a recipe blog that documents my experiences with vegan cooking, developing recipes, trying out new ingredients or flavor combinations.
Any advice for aspiring food bloggers?
Just start! A blog is a great place where you can post whatever comes to your mind. There are endless possibilities.
In a desert-island scenario, what three food items would you bring with you?
A loaf of whole rye sourdough bread, a bag of potatoes, a can of chickpeas.
What do you like best about being vegan?
I am vegan for ethical reasons. I am very glad I made that decision and I try to live my life as cruelty-free as possible. Knowing to have made the right decision and not having to make excuses anymore for consuming animal products is what I like best about being vegan.
What is your least favorite defensive-omnivore question/argument?
I don’t get that much negative feedback. Most people are curious about my lifestyle and their questions are honest. I’ve not always been vegan and I remember that I asked the same questions and made the same excuses. Using animals is such a huge part of our culture that it is really difficult for most people to look behind the scenes.
Now, just TRY to restrain yourself from holing up in your apartment for a week, baking all of her recipes, and slipping into the happiest carb-induced coma the world has ever seen. Photo by Mihl, of course.
CLOSED! This contest is CLOSED! Last day to enter to win a copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions! »
Thanks everyone for entering! We’ll announce the winner ASAP!
Are you in the running? All you have to do is leave a comment telling Laura about your favorite vegan food! Or, guess her favorite vegan food! Whichever, just get your name in there before it’s too late! The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions is pretty great and you know you love winning things.
Vegansaurus Giveaway: The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions! Haley is the winner with “kim chee”! »
Those geniuses Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen are at it again! They’ve written a new cookbook, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions: Veganize It! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite, and it’s a goodie. Packed with recipes from Beer-Battered Corn Dogs (HELLO!) to Frozen Pot de Crème (HELLO!), this cookbook is outta control. They also have tips for replacing any animal ingredient in pretty much any recipe you could dream up. It’s not only a cookbook, it’s a real resource. Plus, it’s hella cute, easy to follow along, and Joni and Celine are so much fun to read. It’s a keeper.
If you want to win a copy (and you do! because you are a winner!), let me know a food that you like in the comments! Whatever is closest to a my favorite food (don’t try to get it out of me, it’s a SECRET! Just like everything surrounding food should be! Secrets! And lies! What!) will win. Or, you know, I’ll use random.org. We’ll run this until Tuesday, Feb. 8. May the best vegan win! Yes, this giveaway includes a judgement on your character!
Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week three: VEGAN Peanut Butter Krispy Bar and VEGAN Toffee Fudge Brownie! »
Last week, guest veganizer Janet Hudson made gorgeous margarita bombes three ways, a recipe that nicely synced up with our last week of really summery weather. For the third installment of Vegansaurus’ Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef, we are pleased to introduce Celine Steen! As you know, Celine is the proprietor of the highly regarded Have Cake, Will Travel, and the author of several cookbooks. For her challenge, she needed to recreate the winning recipe from a school bake sale, something particularly suited to her vegan talents.
Celine being a superstar, she decided to veganize both the winning dessert and the second-place dessert, so lucky us, we get two recipes this week! The first is for Eric Wolitzky’s Peanut Butter Krispy Bar, spelled that way because he used fancy brand-name cereal. Also he baked for something like a billion children, which is why the those proportions look insane. Celine cut them down to regular, one-household size for you, of course, but never mind that: Let’s bake some tasty rectangular prisms!
Vegan Peanut Butter Krispy Bar
The first topping will appear darker than the one used on the show, since semi-sweet chocolate is used rather than milk chocolate. If you find affordable and tasty vegan milk chocolate, by all means, this will be delicious too.
Puffed cereal layer
¼ cup nondairy butter
¼ cup water
¼ cup light agave nectar or light corn syrup
⅓ cup granulated sugar
4 to 6 cups puffed rice (or other puffed cereal; quantity may vary depending on the size of the puffed cereal chosen)
1 cup (132 g) semisweet chocolate
½ cup plus 2 Tbs (140 g) natural peanut butter, at room temperature or slightly heated, to combine easily
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs (140 g) store-bought or homemade vegan hazelnut chocolate spread, at room temperature or slightly heated, to combine easily
1 cup (132 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbs (42 g) natural peanut butter
1 tsp light agave nectar or light corn syrup
Puffed cereal layer
Melt nondairy butter; set aside.
Combine water, agave/corn syrup and sugar; cook to soft ball stage. Whisk melted nondairy butter into soft ball sugar.
Pour over puffed cereal and fold together well. Add enough cereal so that it is coated and moist.
Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment or wax paper and coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread out evenly, press down firmly with more parchment or wax paper to minimize the mess, and let cool.
Melt chocolate using bain-marie method or microwave. Combine with peanut butter and chocolate spread. Pour and spread this mixture over cooled puffed cereal preparation. Let cool to set up.
Melt bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter and agave/corn syrup.
Pour and spread over bars.
Let entire pan cool overnight.
Cut into desired shapes. Stores well in the freezer.
The proportion gigantism continues in the second-place recipe, Malika Ameen’s Toffee Fudge Brownie, aside from which they also look kind of gross. Sure, a cup of heavy cream, that seems, um, reasonable, but 22 eggs? Not while Jack DeCoster’s still Mister Egg USA. Thank goodness for Celine and her mighty veganizing powers!
Vegan Toffee Fudge Brownie
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened coconut cream (makes for a buttery taste; can be found at international markets. Use any other nondairy creamer if desired)
½ cup light agave nectar or light corn syrup
½ pound (227 g) nondairy butter, cut into cubes
Non-stick cooking spray or nondairy butter
3.5 ounces (100 g) 70 percent chocolate
¼ cup plus 1 Tbs (70 g) nondairy butter
3 packed Tbs (39 g) light brown sugar
½ cup plus 2 Tbs (115 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 g) blended silken tofu
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ sheet of toffee, cut into good-sized chunks*
1. Have a Silpat-lined baking sheet and a large offset spatula handy.
2. In medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar and agave/corn syrup.
3. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil without stirring. Brush sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar.
4. Add butter and continue to cook without stirring until mixture becomes light brown.
5. When mixture becomes light brown, begin to stir with a heatproof spatula until it becomes a caramel color and thick enough to be poured without spilling. The whole process may take up to 15 minutes.
6. Carefully pour mixture onto Silpat-lined sheet tray and spread to about ¼-inch thickness.
7. Let toffee cool and store it in the freezer.
1. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Melt chocolate with butter over a bain-marie or use the microwave, if you are a soulless baker like me.
2.Transfer into a large bowl and, using an immersion blender, combine with sugars, tofu, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla until smooth. Fold in flour, baking powder and toffee chunks.
3.Bake at 325°F for 20 to 30 minutes. Mine were done after 26 minutes: you’ll know they’re ready when the top is set and the sides pull away from the pan.
There will be leftover toffee, which keeps well in the freezer. The brownies taste great straight from the freezer, too.
*Larger toffee chunks tend to stay whole in the brownies, as opposed to smaller ones that melt almost completely. Regardless, you’ll definitely taste the toffee.
We are so grateful to Celine for veganizing two recipes for us! If you don’t already read her blog, what is wrong with you? She writes recipes for six cookies at a time! Because sometimes you only want to make six cookies! I can’t believe no one’s offered her a deal specifically for one-to-two-person recipes; this is the USA, we are DUMB and LAZY and math is for immigrants and their children. In case you are too lazy to find the link on the left, click here to read the Project Just Desserts archive. Please let us know if you attempt Celine’s recipe’s, or Janet’s margarita bombes, or Laura’s mousse torte, or any of the recipes to come! Send photos! Play along!
Top Chef: Just Desserts, episode three airs tonight, and our third chef is revealed! »
The third episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts airs on Bravo tonight (10 Eastern/Pacific), which means that we’re ready to unveil our third guest chef (see the first two here!) who will veganize the episode’s winning dessert! Have you been able to bear the suspense? We have, but just barely! Ohhhh, puns, can you take it?!
This week’s guest chef is the TOTALLY RAD Celine Steen of the hugely popular and highly delicious Have Cake, Will Travel! If you’ve spent more than two seconds on Have Cake, Will Travel, you know that Celine makes the most ridiculous-looking food EVER. If you haven’t tried to eat your screen while on her site, have your prescription checked, okaaaaay?? Not only that, she co-wrote the fabulous must-own cookbook 500 Vegan Recipes: An Amazing Variety of Delicious Recipes, From Chilis and Casseroles to Crumbles, Crisps, and Cookies. It’s epic. What’s more, she has TWO cookbooks coming out in 2011, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions (GENIUS!) and Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (MORE GENIUS!). No vegan (OR ANY) kitchen is complete without Celine’s website, cookbooks, and AMAZING food photography.
We love her and are so honored to have her tackle this week’s recipe, however insane/terrifying/complicated it might be. So enjoy Top Chef: Just Desserts tonight (if you want, no pressure, KILL YOUR TELEVISION! Unless you’re me and then IF YOU TOUCH MY TV IMMA MURDER YOU) and then check back with us next Monday to see Celine’s amazing veganization of the winning dish!
And now, your episode preview: Will our veganizer have to make A WEDDING CAKE? Or is this a preview of something completely different?
[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]