vegansaurus!

04/07/2014

Cookbook Review: Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon!   »

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Another day, another fantastic cookbook for review! Today we are featuring The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon. This cookbook is based off  the popular vegan cooking blog of the same name, which you may have visited and even cooked from yourself!

First of all, this cookbook is gorgeous! There are 100 recipes featured, with each recipe given it’s own page of text and full-page, color photograph! I love this, as sometimes I find myself making recipes that aren’t turning out, and I have no idea how they’re supposed to look, which can lead to confusion and frustration in the kitchen. That’s why I love making recipes from blog posts so much! 75 of the recipes in Angela’s cookbook are new, while 25 of them are from her most popular blog posts, just updated. Her recipes are made with “real, whole-foods ingredients,” packed with vegetables and few processed foods. Each recipe is also classified regarding food sensitivities and allergies, so gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free and nut-free labels abound! 

Before we get to the food, I want to add that everything I made turned out as beautiful as the pictures featured*, which the author deserves credit for, for creating easy-to-follow recipes with vibrant ingredients. This is definitely a book for those looking to add some “cleaner” recipes to their repertoire! 

The first two recipes I made were the Eat Your Greens Detox Soup and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fingerling Potatoes and Rosemary. imageIt was a lot of green in one sitting, but my bod needed it! The soup was maybe not something I would serve guests, but make for myself when I’ve had a long weekend or late night out. It just felt good to eat it. And how can one go wrong with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes with fresh rosemary? The answer: you can’t! The potatoes were approved by my 18 month old niece, Audrey, which is one of the highest forms of praise in this household. She is demanding more as I type! 

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Next up I made the Marinated Italian Mushrooms because Bradleys love marinated mushrooms. I have always bought them at the store, not realizing how easy they are to make! The homemade version is delicious, and will be a staple now in my home for years to come! 

When I was flipping through Oh She Glows, deciding what to make, I came across the Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich, and it was a done deal. I am a huge fan of adding Vegenaise to anything and calling it a salad. Liddon’s version did not disappoint; I was blown away by how flavorful and colorful it was! Disclaimer: I did not add the pickles it called for because I do not swing that way. imageI slathered this salad on sliced sourdough bread, because any respectable sandwich comes on sourdough when you grow up in the Bay Area. 

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Last but very certainly not least, I made the Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole. Talk about a sight and taste sensation! This guacamole is beautiful. There is a bit of prep involved, to chop all the fruits, but it is SO WORTH IT. One doesn’t even need chips for this, it’s great by the spoonful! 

I recommend this cookbook because it stays true to it’s word: “Vegan Recipes to Glow From the Inside Out.” The recipes I made, at least, made me feel good. They weren’t particularly tricky to make, they were just a little time consuming, as anything chock full of vegetables will be. There are so many more recipes within these pages I can’t wait to make, including her Summertime Cherry-Basil Bruschetta (Megan Rascal told me she loves bruschetta! Maybe I can finally lure her back to California for a visit by making it [Megan Rascal note: YEP SOUNDS PROBABLE BRUSCHETTA FOR LIFE]) and the Roasted Beet Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme and Balsamic Reduction! 

Full Disclosure: I was sent this cookbook free from the publishing company for review, however, all of the opinions stated above are my own. 

*Well, my food may have turned out beautifully in real life, but I’m no food photographer! Angela Liddon not only created all of her recipes, she also shot all the food within the pages herself! 

04/04/2014

Cookbook review: Mayim’s Vegan Table!   »

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I just received Mayim Bialik’s debut vegan cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and I absolutely love it. I have had so much fun making the recipes out of this book. They are easy to follow with super accessible ingredients. I got the feeling this book is catered towards people who are new at veganism or feeding picky, young eaters, but I think anyone can enjoy it! While it can be exciting to make challenging recipes with multiple, unusual ingredients, most of the time I want to make quick meals that are big on flavor. In that respect, Mayim’s cookbook definitely delivers! Like, WHOA! 

The first recipe I made was the creamed cornbread, which is pictured above. I never would have thought of using creamed corn. It added a texture to the cornbread that was both soft and incredibly moist! This recipe did call for quite a bit of maple syrup, which I could see some people very much enjoying, but I would definitely cut down on that next time, maybe even adding some jalapeños. But don’t take that as me criticizing: I very much like having recipes in my repertoire that are delicious in their original form, but can also be easily tweaked to suit my own palate!

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The next recipe I made were the brussels sprouts chips. I meant to share these with my dad, but I ended up eating them all in one sitting. Oops! Peeling the layers of brussels sprouts is not much fun, but the result is so spectacular that I don’t mind doing it again! I hadn’t had roasted brussels sprouts chips since I last went to Social Brewery and Kitchen, so this was quite the treat.

imageMayim’s cheese sauce shows up in a few different places in her book, so I decided to give it a whirl, on it’s own. I used Daiya mozzarella, and in place of wheat flour, I substituted rice flour. I was curious if this recipe could hold up gluten-free. Good news: it does! I think many gluten-free substitutes, such as flour, breadcrumbs and pasta, can be used in the same ration without compromising the taste in her recipes. That is just another reason I am loving this book!  

imageI baked the cheese sauce atop enchiladas (my own recipe, not the ones featured in the book). I was very pleased with the consistency of this sauce freshly made as well as baked in the oven! I could see using this sauce not only on the enchiladas and mac’n cheese in the book, but also with burgers and chili cheese dogs! 

Next up, I made the soft pretzels. These were an Instagram favorite, but I have to admit, I already knew that would be the case! image
I knew I had to make the pretzels, both for myself and because if I’m going to do a review, pretzels are going to be the hit. I am super with-it, when it comes to food trends! My first thought was “Oh no, working with bread dough is so tedious.”, but I should have known better! Mayim’s recipe couldn’t have been easier or faster to make. One thing: the recipe says it makes eight, but then only has you form four pretzels. I only made four and they were huge! So next time I will make eight. I brought two over to my sister and her husband, who are both particular about food. They LOVED THESE PRETZELS, and keep demanding more! So, don’t just take it from me that they are incredible. 

imageThe very last recipe I made were the baked zucchini chips! They were fantastic and I ate them all in one sitting. Four zucchini have never disappeared so quickly! I didn’t have any vegan parmesan, and even though the recipe said that ingredient was optional, I wanted a cheesy taste. I diced up some Daiya mozzarella instead, and I thought it worked pretty well. Of course, I then had to dip them in Sriracha, because, what else? 

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So, that’s that! There are so many more recipes I can’t wait to make, including her Matzo ball soup and falafel! The cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, with appetizer, bread, sauce, breakfast, entree and dessert sections. There is also a sweet introduction, leading up to nutritional information for vegans and a few how-tos. If you are in the market for a new cookbook, I think Mayim’s Vegan Table is definitely worth checking out! 

Full Disclosure: The publishing company sent me this book free for review, however, all of the opinions stated in this post are mine. 

02/11/2014

Cookbook Review: Comfortably Yum by Allison Rivers Samson  »

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I recently had to opportunity to test a few recipes from Allison Rivers Samson —she of VegNews' amazing “Veganize It!” column and owner of the delectable online confectionary Allison’s Gourmet! — new e-cookbook, Comfortably Yum, and trust me when I say: Lady knows how to create a recipe. From an INSANE mac and cheese to a mind-blowing Clam Chowder, I ate it all and then I ate it again. I also took some pretty horrible photos, because WHAT I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER I AM AN EATER, but voila. Allison’s clam chowder via Allison herself:

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RIGHT?!?!?!

A lot of love and care went into this cookbook. The recipes were tested numerous times and as Allison says, she’s done the culling for you. This is not a cookbook where you’ll make two recipes and then put it on your shelf and never use it again. This is a cookbook where you’ll make every recipe and add your favorites to your current rotation. They’re a delight for long time vegans and newbies to the art form. (And trust me, when you see how she spins a magic ingredient into mac and cheese, you will acknowledge that this is, indeed, an art form!) I’ve been cooking out of it all week, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. Maybe when I’m dead. MAYBE. I’ll probably come back as a ghost to devour all your Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits. Some shit is worth haunting for. 

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So yeah, if you’re looking to reinvent your mac and cheese or try your hand at making a simple yet tasty MELTABLE (!!!) vegan cheese, this is the e-cookbook for you! And, um, invite me over? (Please note: You might* have to pay for my plane ticket to your house but just know, I’m mediocre company and I don’t do the dishes!) (First class only.)

Oh, and $3 from each copy will be donated to the fabulous rescued farm animal sanctuary Animal Place, so you can feel good about stuffing your face with deliciousness. 

*definitely will.

01/07/2014

Thoughts on Making My New Vegan Cookbook, by Molly Patrick  »

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[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.

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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

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(gluten free if using gluten free soy sauce / nut free)

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Evenly spread out cornstarch on a plate.

  2. Cut tofu and dredge evenly in cornstarch. Set aside.

  3. Heat 1/4 cup (60ml) of the grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan.

  4. Place 1/2 of the tofu in oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns of black pepper.

  5. Cook for 9-10 minutes, turning so that all sides get brown.

  6. Take out of pan and place on a brown paper bag (placed on a plate) to soak up the oil.

  7. Place 3 more tablespoons (45ml) of oil in the pan and add the remaining tofu.

  8. Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns black pepper and cook for 9-10 minutes.

  9. Take out and place on paper bag.

  10. Use the same oil and pan and add the garlic, chili and ginger.

  11. Cook for 1 minute and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 6 tablespoons water.

  12. Add red onions and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes.  

  13. Add the tofu back to the pan, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.

  14. Add the glaze and cook for an additional minute.

  15. Garnish with green onions.

Notes

  • 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

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(gluten free / nut free / soy free if using soy free Earth Balance buttery spread)

First, the Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

  2. After 20 minutes, turn off heat and add Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine.

  3. 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.

  4. Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.

  5. Place into a bowl and add fresh black pepper.

Now, assemble the whole dish:

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

  2. Slice potatoes and set aside.

  3. Heat Earth Balance in a skillet and add the onions, garlic and parsley.

  4. Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.

  5. Add the flour and salt and stir for 30 seconds.

  6. Slowly pour in the creamer and stir until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.

  7. Turn off heat and set aside.

  8. Evenly spread 1/4 cup (60g) of cheese sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 baking dish.

  9. Place a third of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom of the pan.

  10. Place half of the chard over the potatoes.

  11. Place a third of cheese sauce over the chard (about 1 cup / 230g).

  12. Repeat (another third of potatoes, the rest of the chard, another third of the cheese sauce).

  13. Add the last layer of potatoes and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.

  14. With a spoon, evenly dollop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.

  15. Place in the oven and baked uncovered for 1 hour.

Notes

  • 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.

I am also a regular contributor to Mind Body Green, Happy Cow, One Green Planet and Vegan Housewives.

You can check me on Twitter, catch up with me on Facebook, look at my pretty pics on instagram or share my latest obsession that is Pinterest.

(oh, and I’m always accepting recipe development, food styling and photography work. Check my online portfolio here)

11/27/2013

Vegan Yack Attack releases vegan pumpkin-themed e-cookbook!  »

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For those of you who don’t follow Jackie Sobon’s amazing blog, Vegan Yack Attack (um, get on it!!), she released her first e-book, The Great Vegan Pumpkin eBook, along with a sneak peek recipe for a DOUBLE PUMPKIN BEER FLOAT! There’s plenty more where that came from in her book. 20 recipes based around this spectacular squash (who, besides zucchini-loving Jenny Bradley, doesn’t love pumpkin!?!) Remember that time you ate so much pumpkin you thought you’d never eat it again? NEITHER DO I BECAUSE THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN! Just in time for the holidays, all your pumpkin-loving, vegan dreams can come true.

I might be a little biased, since Jackie is a dear friend of mine (no accident that I surround myself with great vegan cooks, let’s get fat and happy!), but her recipes are always creative and really easy to follow. I had the (tasty) pleasure of trying one of the Biscoff Cream Cheese-Frosted Spiced Cupcakes, while she was testing recipes for her book, and HOLY BISCOFF, BATMAN, it was good.

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So clickity-click through and buy her book today! It’s $7, but she’s offering a special $1-off coupon (coupon code at the bottom of her blog post). And happy pumpkin eating!

And, just because I can never pass up an opportunity for a bad pun, here goes it, “What’s the ratio of a pumpkin’s circumference to its diameter?”

Give up!? It’s, “Pumpkin Pi!!”

10/03/2013

Vegan Divas releases cookbook, feeds me donuts!  »

Meave and I were invited to the Vegan Divas cookbook release party this week and boy did we have a nice evening. For one, I’m terribly fun and charming so of course Meave had a great time. Secondly, there were mini donuts! And mini cupcakes! I like mini desserts. Less commitment. 

Meave is new to Vegan Divas and I think she liked everything. The chocolate cupcakes were excellent, topped with their signature mousse I believe. Nice and bittersweet. I think that was Meave’s favorite. I had already had many of the items served but new to me were the little carrot cake cupcakes. Excellent vegan cream cheese frosting! Tasted perfect. I also still love the bitty donuts. Cinnamon is my favorite. Like I’ve said in the past, Vegan Divas is very health-conscious so the desserts aren’t crazy sweet or buttery but they are still yummy and I could have eaten four dozen of those bitty donuts! Plus Vegansaurus doesn’t have anything against healthy food, we just don’t harp on it because the vegan internet world already does a thorough job covering healthy food, no? But I like healthy food—especially when it’s dipped in chocolate!

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And at this event, I finally got to talk to the Vegan Diva herself, Fernanada Capobianco! Well, I must say, the apt word for her is “fabulous.” She had a floor-length, chevron sequin dress on and she was so nice to us. As I said, fabulous. If you go to the bakery on the upper east side, maybe she will be there! Say hi. 

We haven’t tested out the cookbook yet, but we looked through. I was concerned the recipes would be difficult because they are healthy…? I don’t know where I got that from but the recipes look very reasonable. The cookbook also talks about the various ingredients. Vegan Divas loves coconut oil! They say it’s super good for you. Coconuts, right? What can’t they do!

You can get the cookbook on Amazon, among other places. You can also purchase their goodies online, if you can’t make it to the bakery!

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07/02/2013

TODAY: the veggie-lover’s sriracha cookbook arrives with epic LA launch party  »

quarrygirl:

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i have been anxiously anticipating the veggie-lover’s sriracha cookbook ever since i was lucky enough to test a few of the recipes back in summer 2012. my copy finally arrived here in london a couple days ago and it’s even more beautiful than i imagined. filled with gorgeous color photos, it packs 50 ridiculously tasty-sounding vegan recipes that revolve around my all time favorite condiment: SRIRACHA. we’re talking beer-battered fried avocado tacos with sriracha curtido, jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwiches with pickled red onion, and fiery pho chay just to name a few.

the official release date for the cookbook is july 2nd (tomorrow!), and to celebrate, author randy clemens is throwing an epic sriracha-themed LA launch party at golden road brewing. GOD I WISH I COULD GO TO THIS. not only does the menu look fantastic, but david tran (founder of huy fong foods!!) will be in attendance with special limited edition bottles of cock sauce printed with “The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook — July 2, 2013” for everybody who purchases a book that evening. I WANT ONE, IT ISN’T FAIR!

full details from randy clemens himself pasted below:

The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook Release Party
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 — 6 to 11 p.m.
Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewing
5410 W San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles

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I’m beyond proud to announce that The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook will be released on July 2nd, and naturally, I’m throwing a big party to celebrate.

Join me and a bunch of people with exceptional taste at Chloe’s, the semi-private club at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. We’ll have tasty grub and splendid beers to fill your mouth-hole, and sweet bluegrass tunes to serenade your ears. 

Try some of the following dishes from my book expertly prepared by Golden Road’s Executive Chef Adam Levoe: 

  • Not Your Mama’s Party Mix 
  • Southeast Meets Southwest Lettuce Cups
  • Burning Thai Bruschetta
  • Edamame-Sriracha Succotash
  • Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion
  • Beer Battered Fried Avocado Tacos with Sriracha Curtido

I’ll be there to chat about all things vegan and to sign copies of both The Sriracha Cookbook and The Veggie-Lovers Sriracha Cookbook. (They will of course be available for purchase at the event.) 

The event is free to enter; food and beer are available for purchase à la carte. There will be a list of suggested Golden Road Beer pairings and a TBA Sriracha-infused DESSERT. Stay tuned for other rooster sauce madness… 

RSVP/invite friends on Facebook | RSVP/invite friends on Google+

please, please, please go to this event and eat lots of sriracha jackfruit sandwiches for me. i’m so bummed to be missing it. 

in closing, here’s a photo of the mean quiche florentine i tested from the book, which i can honestly say is the best quiche i’ve ever eaten (vegan or otherwise) in my life. 

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Be there, L.A. vegans! How can you go wrong?

05/02/2013

Deborah Madison, queen of vegetables, wants you to garden on your fire escape  »

imageDeborah Madison, queen of produce, author of the loveliest vegetable cookbook around, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, has a new book out called Vegetable Literacy for Everyone. Eggplant Kohlrabi of Weird Vegetables blog got to interview her in March, and you guys, she is a treasure.

in the produce aisle you see pieces of things, you have no idea how much it takes to produce a broccoli head or a cabbage. We’re just so ignorant, we have no idea. There are all these leaves, stalks, stems, and flowers that make up a plant—many of which are edible—but we only know one little bit.

and

ou don’t need to have a garden in order to relate to Vegetable Literacy. There are other ways to open your own eyes. Hopefully the book will help you see the plant world differently, whether it’s in your own garden, a community garden, or a botanical garden. Go on a farm tour, or look at a photograph of a cardoon or some bolting chard. Or you might try growing a plant or two on your fire escape—that counts, too. Having a garden is great, but it’s not for everyone. This is not a book about gardening, it’s really a book about seeing and going beyond the pretty vegetable on the market shelf.

Don’t you just love her? Read the whole interview at Weird Vegetables (a delightful blog updated far too infrequently) and check out her books and let’s all grow some … something on our windowsills this year, okay? Let’s nurture some life that will nurture us.

05/01/2013

Cookbook Review! Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro  »

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There are a handful of vegan restaurants around the world that make such a lasting impression on their customers that word spreads like wild fire, then a cult following ensues, even among those who have never visited. L.A.’s Native Foods Cafe is like that for some, as are Chicago DinerMillenniumand Seattle’s Plum Bistro. And now you can bring Plum Bistro’s dishes to your home with a cookbook based on some of its most famous dishes as Sasquatch Books and restaurateur Makini Howell bring you Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro.

When my copy arrived, courtesy of the fine folks at Sasquatch Books, I was immediately taken with the design and feel, with its hard cover and bright yet matte colors. When I opened it and started thumbing through the recipes, I felt immediately intimidated. There is a “fundamental” section that prefaces the rest of the recipes, many of which include at least one of the “fundamentals,” like various soy creams, egg foam, pestos, relishes, etc. To someone who eats roughly 2 PB&J sandwiches a day, this seemed like a daunting task. However, I put my neuroses aside and got down to it.

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The first dish I attempted was something I had never successfully made since eliminating animal products from my life: French toast. More specifically, Plum’s “Good Old-Fashioned French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Sweet Soy Cream.” It was incredible. The “fundamentals” I needed to make first were super easy, much like most things in life I fret about it. The egg foam was like two steps, and the Sweet Soy Cream was me just using the blender—the complete opposite of daunting. I’d never made a cream of any sort before, and was a little apprehensive, since I’ve tasted some terrible vegan creams in my day. But the ease of this recipe made it my new jam (to borrow a phrase from our Jenny Bradley).

After pouring and mixing the soy milk, canola oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract (with no measurement suggested, I squeezed a little more than like 5 drops then panicked), and ground cinnamon (that I had to grate myself with a stick, which ruined my knuckles, but I did look classy doing it), I somehow, through science and prayer, turned it into a soy cream that I stuck in a mason jar and have used pretty much every day since. I’m literally in love. Figuratively.

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The French toast part was pretty much just like the French toast my mom used to make me. Except the mix has no unborn friends in it and, without insulting my mother, much better. The mix was vanilla soy milk (awesome), white vinegar (OK?), the vegan egg foam (weird, really really weird, but cool), vanilla extract (still scared of its potency), agave syrup (YES), more ground cinnamon (I put on medieval chainmail gloves this time), and canola oil (OIL RULES). This, also through science and vigorous whisking, turns into the French toast batter. The rest is easy, although Howell words the instructions perfectly for dumb-dumbs like me. The only other difference to my mom’s recipe was splitting each slice of bread down the middle, top-to-bottom, so they were connect by a sliver of bread much like a book is connected by the spine. This was so I could dollop some soy cream and strawberries on one half and fold over to make cute little French toast half-sammies. 

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Cookbook companies and authors use really good lighting and photographers, so the food we make almost never looks the same as their fancy pants pictures. Not this time. My dish came out almost exactly like the fancy photo, and my photo of it garnered many likes on my Instagram account. MANY.

The rest of the recipes range from just as easy as the French toast to extremely complicated and requiring devices like a Dutch oven. After laughing at the name “Dutch oven” I realized that I had to find something that was at or near my level of expertise, which can be described as infantile. But what a great idea: recipes all over the map so everyone feels both challenged and content at the tasks at hand. I approve. And to pay homage to the late film critic we just recently lost, I give it two green thumbs up.

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You can find Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro at your least favorite online book distributor. You can also visit Plum Bistro in Seattle and tell Ms. Howell she creates amazing dishes and you were sent there by a handsome man on the internet. 

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California.  He co-created and contributes to a 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.

03/04/2013

Cookbook Preview! Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking  »

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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.

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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

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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!)

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