Cookbook Preview! Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking »
Homemade Brussels sprouts. Recipe adapted from Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking. They turned out SO well!
Vedge Restaurant is hands-down the best thing that has ever happened to my hometown of Philadelphia, period. A newcomer on the Philly vegan/fine-dining scene, Vedge has recently made pretty much every top vegan restaurant and “awesome place to eat, ever” list I know of. Even the blokes at GQ love it! Vedge, who recently partnered with Williams Sonoma to make sauces I’ve tried and super loved and you should try too, have somehow catapulted vegetable eating into an art form even fit for, gasp, non-vegans! Seriously though, bring non-vegans to Vedge and they won’t sheket about how wonderful it is. Kind of miraculous when you consider that all dishes center around vegetables and the fine dining crowd in Philly is usually on their suit and tie shit (tie shit).
I’ve eaten at Vedge a handful of times and have to say it really is the best ever! The only qualm I have with it is that the plates are admittedly pretty small. Patrons are encouraged to order a few of them “tapas style,” which is code-speak for “buy $100 worth per person,” which you have to do if you want a full meal.
To cut to the chase, owners Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau are soon releasing a new cookbook that highlights the fantastic dishes at their restaurant, tailored to aspiring at-home veggie chefs.
I am indeed glad that Vedge charges what other frou-frou fine-dining places charge, and especially that it doesn’t spend a dime of it on animal exploitation. Totally worth it! Still, I am quite thrilled that my all-time favorite Vedge dish, the Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce, is now available for at-home chefs like myself. Vedge offered a preview to Vegansaurus, and I have had the privilege of making my fave dish at home! Here’s the recipe, reprinted with permission.
Brussels sprouts served at Vedge Restaurant. Image.
Vedge’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce*
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 to 3
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
½ cup vegan mayo
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 to 3 layers of outer leaves removed and bottom core cut off
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1. Begin by making the sauce, whisking together the mustard,vegan mayo, and water with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon on the pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Run Brussels sprouts through the slicer blade of a food processor or carefully shave on a mandoline.
3. Heat a large sauté pan on high. Add the olive oil. Just as the oil starts to ripple, add the garlic, then immediately add the shaved Brussels sprouts. Sear for 30 seconds, then stir to prevent the garlic from burning.
4. Add the remaining salt and remaining pepper, then allow the Brussels sprouts to sear for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they brown evenly. Transfer to serving dish.
5. Drizzle sauce directly on top of the Brussels sprouts.
Enjoy! [Note: I used an oven instead of following the recipes because I served these to a dinner party for nine and ran out of stove space. That worked really well too!]
*Recipe from Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking, copyright © Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, 2013. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available July 2013 wherever books are sold. (omg that sounded so grown up!)
Thanksgiving Recipe AND Cookbook Review: Vegan A La Mode »
Overall Rating: A
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Best for: Anyone who owns an ice cream maker. Bonus if you have adventurous taste in dessert.
Why review an ice cream cookbook in November?
- You should make the Easy As Pumpkin Pie recipe (below) for your Thanksgiving feast.
- We like to keep you guessing.
I know a thing or two about vegan ice cream recipes. For our wedding in summer 2011, my husband and I made 18 flavors in place of having a wedding cake. I sure wish Ms. Hannah had gotten around to publishing this gem of a book in time for our wedding guests to benefit.
This is hands-down the finest collection of vegan ice cream recipes ever made. Hannah Kaminsky is to vegan ice cream what Terry and Isa are to vegan cupcakes or Miyoko Schinner is to vegan cheese. Her creativity with flavors is unparalleled, but so are her solutions for richness and texture.
Making the Buttery Popcorn flavor. Seriously.
The book started as a blog, so you can check out some recipes there. At least a third of the flavors are what I’d call “highly experimental”: beet marmalade, wasabi-ginger-sesame-chocolate, buttered popcorn. Others are easy crowd-pleasers: peanut-butter Oreo, French vanilla, maple-pecan. Some are pretty ambitious (Birthday Cake requires that you cook cupcakes, then put them in the blender). Some are super-simple (see Easy As Pumpkin Pie, below). All that I’ve made have been delectable and worth the work.
Each recipe appears on its own spread, which makes the logistics of cooking easy, and most have a sexy glamour shot to make you drool. Some of the thickeners and texturizers might be unfamiliar (guar gum, anyone?), but Rainbow Grocery sells them in bulk, so buy a tablespoonful and experiment. The Banana Pudding ice cream, which includes a hit of guar, is the only vegan flavor I’ve ever made that scooped soft straight out of the freezer.
Final verdict: If you have an ice cream maker, you owe it to yourself and that little machine to buy this book. (If you don’t have one, you should get one. They’re great. I’ve got this one by Cuisinart.)
AND AS PROMISED, A RECIPE!
Easy as Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup grade-B maple syrup
2 Tbsp. bourbon
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
Pinch freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Mix everything together in a bowl until smooth.
2. Chill for a while.
3. Process in your machine as per its directions.
4. DEMOLISH! WIN THANKSGIVING!
Guest cookbook review: Veggies for Carnivores by Lora Krulak »
Last I checked, Vegansaurus is a vegan lifestyle blog. It’s not called Pescetariansaurus or Vegetariansaurus or Omnivore Rex. I feel the need to point this out because this cookbook, Veggies for Carnivores, mentions many non-vegan things. Most notably is the use of honey in a handful of the recipes. None of the recipes call for meat, though some have little blurbs called “A Carnivore’s Choice” that list different types of meat that would “go” with that particular entry. So after reading the cookbook for the first time I was left a little confused. Why would someone take the time to market to a vegan blog?
Per the back cover, Veggies for Carnivores is supposed to introduce new flavors that “will make veggies irresistible—even to the most die-hard carnivore.” Of the seven chapters, only one is on entrees. The others, not including the introduction, are dressings, dips, soups, salads, and smoothies. If we’re moving vegetables to the center of the plate, shouldn’t we have more than one chapter on veggie-based entrees? Sides and starters are thoroughly covered, but if the basis of the book is to get “die-hard” carnivores to move their meat to the side, I would have assumed there would have been more of an emphasis on plant-central plates.
The book does a great job of promoting healthy eating; it’s ideal for all of our stubborn relations who could use an overhaul in their diets. Krulak does an excellent job of spelling out the benefits of vegetables in her recipes and overall as a staple in our diets. She uses her history of world travel with cute anecdotes and infuses her knowledge of many cultures into most of her recipes. I have never thought to use maple syrup in lieu of olive oil in cooking until I read this book. I tried it while sauteing onions, peppers, and Tofurkey sausage, and I was really impressed.
Beautiful avocado dressing on my frou-frou salad.
The first recipe to really jump out at me was one for Sweet Avocado Dressing. It was super small, ingredients wise, and extremely easy to make. I’ve never made my own dressing before, but have seen my partner make them on numerous occasions. It called for avocado, lime, soy sauce, maple syrup, and olive oil. I cut the amount of olive in half; I use a ton of dressing on my salads so I didn’t want to overload myself on EVOO. The dressing came out pretty awesome, even if my blender doesn’t allow me to blend slowly while drizzling in the olive oil, as the recipe states, without making my kitchen look like a crime scene.
Veggie for Carnivores is a good, short cookbook. It may not be aimed at a vegan household, unless you don’t mind having to make some easy substitutions. (You may need some stickers or white-out to cover up the salmon or tuna suggestions.) And as I stated previously, if you have a relative who is notoriously omnivorous and wouldn’t in a million years give up his meat (like my own dad), and who could stand to eat more vegetables, then yes, this cookbook would be perfect for him. But as a vegan looking for new and exciting dishes? Not so much. Maybe the fine folks at Notreallyveganorvegetariansaurus.com would like to give it a try.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Cookbook Reviews by Rachel: Love Soup »
This cookbook changed my life. Well, at least my cooking. The recipes in Anna Thomas’* 2009 Love Soup not only make dishes so good you’d sell your babies to eat more of them, but they demonstrate techniques and strategies that can make all your cooking better. It’s been one of my main go-to cookbooks for nearly three years. Even if you think you’re not into soup, this book will change your mind.
Case in point: the Roasted Turnip and Winter Squash soup I made the other night (those are roasted pine nuts floating in there; Thomas is big on garnishes). As usual, the recipe calls for roasting the key veggies before pureeing them into liquid ecstasy. Stellar trick! Everything tastes better roasted! This soup is divine!
This photo sucks because I took it with my iPad while eating leftovers in my cubicle. These soups don’t stick around long enough for pro-looking photography, pshaw.
Another trick she often recommends is to slowly brown onions until they’re caramelized and savory. This is so reliably delicious that I pretty much sneer now at any recipe with onions that doesn’t have you do this. Translucent, schmanslucent.
Roasting veggies, browning onions, and otherwise coddling your top-quality ingredients does take a while though, which why this is neither a weeknight nor a beginner book. But it’ll take your cooking to a new level without requiring you to go all kitchen-wench, either. Usually her extra steps (and the extra dishes to clean) are totally worth the effort and well explained. She might even convince you it’s worth making your own stock (it is).
All the Love soups are vegetarian. The majority are vegan and labeled as such; many more of them are a snap to adapt (leave out a garnish, or replace milk or butter).
Thomas organizes the recipes by season and relies mainly on what you should be able to get at the farmer’s market that time of year. That strategy makes the book especially useful to, say, someone with a CSA share in Berkeley. So often I’d get a veggie box and wonder, “What can I do with celery root, turnips, and leeks?” or whatever, and Thomas would have the perfect recipe using that exact combo of seasonal ingredients.
This book is best if you own an immersion blender. It’ll probably make you want to buy one. And a stock pot. And a CSA share. And you’ll want to move to California, though my mother in D.C. loves this book even more than I do, so that’s not actually a requirement.
Some family favorites: Caramelized Cabbage Soup (my mom has served this at Christmas dinner), French Lentil Stew with Roasted Carrot and Mint (to die for), and the cohort of Green Soups that involve pureeing things like kale, spinach, and chard (my husband is obsessed).
The non-soup recipes are less spectacular; I’ve made some of her breads, but that’s not her strong suit.
Final Verdict: A fantastic staple for the kitchen library.
Overall Rating: A
Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Best for: Any home cook willing to put a couple hours into making something bomber, especially those who like cooking seasonally.
*For those of you following along at home, why yes indeed, that is the same Anna Thomas who wrote The Vegetarian Epicure back in the olden days. Ten bonus points for you!
Cookbook Reviews by Rachel: Big Vegan »
This is the first installment in a regular series in which Rachel gets opinionated about cookbooks both classic and new. If you’ve got one you’d like to see her cover, hit her up at rachel [at] zurer [dot] com.
Chapter 1: Eh
There’s a new vegan cookbook in town and it’s enormous. But as your mom always says, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, size isn’t everything, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and get your elbows off the table (what?).
Case in point: Even though Robin Asbell’s Big Vegan is so full of intriguing recipes that I ran out of room for my little slivers of post-it notes, when the olive oil hits the skillet, the book doesn’t always deliver. Asbell’s instructions sometimes feel wrong, other times arbitrary, and don’t leave you with a sense you’re in good hands, despite her creativity.
Chapter 2: In Which We Get Deep
As Descartes once inquired, “What’s the point of a cookbook?” Or maybe that was Plato. Anyway, the question is even more important now, with the interwebs bursting with free recipes and people trying to sell you special kitchen-friendly iPad cases. Why pay for dead trees?*
One word: relationships.
A cookbook is more than just a collection of ingredients and instructions. Like an art gallery or record label (remember those?), a cookbook curates the vast world of possibilities according to a certain sensibility. Find an author whose taste you like (HAHAHA PUN!), and it’s like finding a foodie best friend.**
Except cookbooks go beyond curating. They also teach. And as sappy Hollywood flicks have proven time and again, good teaching matters. A good teacher sets clear goals and articulates the rules. A good teacher anticipates challenges and gives you the tools to meet them.
A good teacher is someone you trust.
Chapter 3: What smells like burnt fish?
I got a free copy of Big Vegan from Chronicle Books in September, and worked hard to test it as much as possible before writing this review. Some stuff, with minor modifications, came out great, like the version of “Lemony White Beans with Fresh Rosemary Vinagrette” I posted for Vegan MoFo and that both Meave and I found orgasmic.
I also used Asbell’s recipe for Avocado-Lime Cupcakes as the basis of my entry to the Denver Avocado Takedown. The Jamaican Tofu Chowder with Collards made a hearty addition to a soup potluck, and the Veggie Sandwich Loaves (bread with veggies baked into it) was definitely GOOD. And I should know, I’ve been baking bread like mad lately.
But here’s the thing: If I weren’t already an experienced cook, the book would have definitely led me astray. The Tofu Chowder recipe had me put the collard greens in at the end and cook them for just 10 minutes. I thus ended up with tough, icky collards.
The Crispy Sesame Kale was divine (KALE CHIPS!!), but the recipe told me to discard the kale stems. Seriously? You can’t give me a hint as to what to do with those besides throwing them away? (Hint: Put them in stock, or chop them up and add them to stir fries. For example.)
The Veggie Loaf called for “bread machine yeast”, with no explanation of why or what that was — I couldn’t find it at 3 stores, and finally used normal yeast, while ignore Asbell’s rising times, with good results.
Worst offense: The “Millter, Ginger, and Edamame One-Pot” called for adding a sheet of nori, “toasted and shredded” at the end. No further instructions. I put a sheet of nori in toaster oven. It caught fire. I put it in for less long. My husband walked in and asked, “What smells like burnt fish?” Against my better judgement, I added it to the food (trying to really TEST this, you know?). ICK. The dish was decent otherwise, but picking out shreds of nori made it way less fun.
Chapter 4: The Bottom Line
Other pros I should mention: A whole chapter on grilling (though I didn’t manage to try any); recipes for cultured vegan cheese (still on my to-try list); the paperback has flap at the front and back that are great for saving your page. On the flip side: The majority of the recipes are beyond-weeknight complicated, and many use ingredients I don’t tend to have on hand (shao xing rice wine? Kitchen Bouquet? semolina flour?). Very few photos.
Final verdict: This is a book I’ll keep using, but it’s not a kitchen staple, and I don’t trust it.
Overall Rating: B
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
Best for: Experienced cooks looking for a challenge and wanting to expand their repertoires.
*That phrase is going to be outdated as soon as someone invents the iTunes of cookbooks and it’s worth it to buy these books digitally. But I’m sticking with it for now.
**Maybe “guru” is a better term for it, since the admiration only runs one way (as much as I like to pretend Isa’s my new BFF because I follow her on Twitter).
Cookbook review: Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau »
Earlier this year, Vegansaurus was asked if we’d like to review Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s new cookbook, Color Me Vegan. Being a total CPG fangirl—as in, every time I’m in her presence I’m awed to speechlessness—I said, YES WE WILL AND IT WILL BE ME WHO DOES IT GIVE ME THAT BOOK, and a little while later, I had it.
It’s gorgeous, as usual. The recipes are color-coded and include health information, like the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the main ingredient(s) in every dish. It’s designed, I guess, for people who are concerned with maximizing the nutritional content of their vegan diets, a group that usually doesn’t include me, except I found myself over the last year cooking for members of that group, and they really appreciated it.
The recipes are pretty all right! In the purple section, there’s one for my favorite Japanese eggplant dish, dengaku.
I’m not sure it turned out as well as it might’ve, but I tend toward heavy-handedness with the miso paste, and also I could have cut the eggplant more attractively.
Also in purple—or red? I can’t remember now—there’s a recipe for my absolute favorite way to eat cabbage, rotkohl!
This was good! Not as good the amazing and wonderful and perfect rotkohl I ate in Germany, but CPG adapted the traditional recipe, and anyway this was the first and only time I made it (compared to the countless times Dada in Germany made it for us, oh MAN that cabbage was THE BEST). It’s really good cold! Looks-wise, next time I’ll try slicing the cabbage with a mandoline.
This is winter white soup, from the white section. Because white produce is good for you, too! I have no idea why this didn’t turn out as white as the soup in the book’s photo, but it was still really good. I just love a thick puréed soup. And winter vegetables! So good for you!
I don’t think Color Me Vegan is as life-changing as The Joy of Vegan Baking—which is THE GREATEST—or as fancypants as The Vegan Table, but it is practical and good-looking, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau can really write a recipe, you know? Maybe its ideal audience is the health-conscious non-vegan; you can’t argue with the health benefits of a vegan diet, and in this book CPG makes her case for veganism through delicious foods, which is, I maintain, the best way to get people to change their diets. And having not been able to cook since early February, I am eagerly anticipating making every recipe with spring/summer produce in Color Me Vegan when I get home. You want a cleanse? Eat your dang vegetables, CPG-style.
Vegansaurus loves reviewing stuff! If you want us to consider reviewing your product, person, or just cast judgements on your lifestyle, hit us up!
Un-Cookbook review: The Raw Healing Patch! Veganize your rawness! »
In my last post on Vegansaurus, I offered a few strategies for making raw organic foods more accessible and affordable, especially for young people and lower-income folks living in the Bay Area. Wherever you fall on the raw-to-cooked spectrum, it’s indisputable that the raw food movement is helping to bring more folks into the vegan fold, which is something all vegans can be happy about. It seems to me that if we find creative ways to motivate raw foodists to go full-on vegan (e.g., rain down on them with mad knowledge, advice, free vegan food and love), we can help them discover that, through raw veganism, they can make a huge difference not only for their own health, but also for the health of the planet. A couple good places to start are local nonprofit People’s Grocery and Lauren Ornelas’ fabulous food justice/human rights/environmental advocacy group the Food Empowerment Project, which work to source ethical products and make organic produce accessible to everyone.
In the spirit of accessibility, I recently got my hands on a copy of The Healing Patch Cookbook produced by the down-to-earth, super-ecologically conscious, queer veg couple Julie Cara Hoffenberg and Sarah Woodward, who together make up the raw food team known as The Healing Patch. The cookbook, which they were kind enough to also make available in an eco-friendly e-book format, is utterly unpretentious, and a great way to usher rawies into the ethical vegan eating path. Hoffenberg and Woodward make clear throughout the witty cookbook that their way of eating and (un)cooking is just that—their way—and that they would never wish to impose them on anyone else; yet they are very clear that raw veganism has remarkably improved their lives. Healing Patch’s primary goal is to offer gentle coaxing to adopt a raw vegan lifestyle, basing their recipes and advice on what helped Woodward heal after her battle with ovarian cancer. Thankfully, they do this without laying on the sorts of guilt-trips or strict guidelines usually found in these .
Healing Patch’s recipes are really easy to make, require no esoteric ingredients, and have cute little factoids, including nutritional profiles. They also offer useful tips on economical home sprouting, gardening, selecting the best produce for each season, and how to substitute recipe ingredients for whatever is local and fresh whenever possible. They succeed at providing ample tricks for being a raw vegan while healing yourself and the planet at the lowest possible expense.
The one issue I take with this otherwise charming volume is that some of the recipes include dairy, ostensibly in order to help folks to “transition more gently” to raw veganism. This is disappointing, especially since the authors clearly believe in the tenets of raw veganism and oppose cruelty and oppression. It seems to me like the duo hasn’t quite made the connection that the dairy industry is horribly cruel and directly supports the meat industry. Maybe they should pick up feminist masterpiece The Sexual Politics of Meat by my personal hero Carol J. Adams—which, by the way, has just been released in a newly updated 20th anniversary edition!
Once Healing Patch gets educated in the ways of vegan feminism by Adams, I’m sure they’ll be willing to make all of their recipes totally vegan. Feel free to comment to them about this on their website—it will be good practice for the raw foodists you’ll be converting to raw veganism in the near future! Anyway, hopefully the next edition of The Healing Patch (which I do hope they eventually write!) will address this concern.
This is the second post written by Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!