vegansaurus!

11/08/2012

Hey NYC! Amanda Cohen, the chef at Dirt Candy (a Megan Rascal love!) is giving a talk about her awesome restaurant, cooking with vegetables, and her new cookbook (Dirt Candy: The Cookbook), which looks awesome.
If you want to attend, just RSVP, and then get your vegetable-loving self over to the NYU Fales Library at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. It’s a free event, and there’ll be snacks! It’s sponsored by the Wagner Food Policy Alliance and NYU Meatless Mondays.

Hey NYC! Amanda Cohen, the chef at Dirt Candy (a Megan Rascal love!) is giving a talk about her awesome restaurant, cooking with vegetables, and her new cookbook (Dirt Candy: The Cookbook), which looks awesome.

If you want to attend, just RSVP, and then get your vegetable-loving self over to the NYU Fales Library at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. It’s a free event, and there’ll be snacks! It’s sponsored by the Wagner Food Policy Alliance and NYU Meatless Mondays.

10/11/2012

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.

09/17/2012

A vegan global cuisine cookbook is on the horizon! Needs your help!  »


Vegan Moroccan Stuffed Squash, one of many recipes on Justin’s site.

The Lotus and the Artichoke is a vegan food blog inspired by the world travels of Justin P. Moore. Now, Justin wants to take his recipes and make a whole vegan cookbook! He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to fund its publication, and now is your chance to donate. The perks look nice!

Here are a few recipes the cookbook promises to have:

  • Gobi Tikka (North India)
  • Persian Eggplant (Iran/Germany)
  • Orange Tempeh Teriyaki (Hawaii/Japan)
  • Mushroom-Tofu Stroganoff (Germany/Russia)
  • Knödel & Rotkohl (Germany)
  • Broccoli Quiche (France/USA)
  • Cashew Mushroom Risotto Deluxe (Italy/Germany)
  • Ginger Lemon Chickpea Sprouts (India/USA)
  • San Francisco Savory Crepes (USA)

Yeah, that sounds pretty yummy. The book also promises 50-plus full-page pictures. I am so down with this! I can’t handle cookbooks without pictures. I want to see what the stuff looks like!

If this all sounds good to you, make your way over to Kickstarter and chip in. 

09/11/2012

Mayim Bialik is coming out with a vegan cookbook!  »

You heard it! Blossom is coming out with a vegan cookbook. As she said last week on her blog:

My next book will be a plant-based (vegan!) family cookbook. Yay! It’s meant for vegan and non-vegan alike! I intend to include all of the Jewish recipes I’ve veganized as well as all of our family’s standard beloved recipes.

I’m into this! I like Jewish food and Blossom was my jam. Remember her boyfriend? What was his name, Vinny? He was the hotness. And Six was so great in those Lifetime movies later in her career. 

So, is there vegan matzo brei in my future?!

07/30/2012

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!

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!

06/20/2012

It’s summer, let’s preserve some produce!  »


You guys know how I’m all enamored of DIY and bartering with your neighbors and making your neighborhood your actual community? I know, I’m so on trend right now! The latest cookbook to cater to our 21st century homesteading obsessions is Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, and I want it SO BAD.

Bay Area Bites has an interview with McClellan that features her recipes for apricot jam and pickled okra, as well as dates when she’ll be signing books and holding canning classes in the Bay Area. She sounds appealingly pragmatic, and I really wish I could attend one of these events. Maybe you can? I’m totally making refrigerator pickles this weekend. They don’t sound any more complicated that cold-brewed coffee, which I drink constantly now that it’s warm in the suburbs. And with all the extra storage room (closets! garages! attics!) there’s no reason not to put up a bunch of delicious summer produce for savoring during the leaner months. Not that it’s ever lean in California, but we do have growing seasons.

What do you think? Are you creating your own Little Apartment on the Prairie? Or is all this for us deluded, un(der)employed suckers? Who even has the time to make jam out of everything except people who don’t have jobs? I have some time for it, but that’s because the only other thing I do is work, and I don’t have kids or fun to take up my time. Just a new kitchen project every weekend. And canning seems practical! Think of all the homespun sack-garments I’ll be able to trade for my strawberry jam and spicy bread-and-butter pickles!

[photo by Jessica via Flickr]

05/22/2012

Cookbook reviews by Rachel: The Sexy Vegan  »

Overall Rating: C
Creativity
: B
Level of Difficulty
: Intermediate to Advanced; most recipes unnecessarily complicated
Best for
: People with lots of time to spend in the kitchen and who want to spend it on hearty, dude-friendly food

I kind of love Brian Patton, author of The Sexy Vegan. He’s basically what you’d get if  John Hodgman and Ellen DeGeneres had a baby and the kid came out with Hodgman’s self-conscious nerdiness and Ellen’s dietary choices, plus hyperactivity. Patton recently tweeted a link to this yearbook photo. He makes silly jokes in his cookbook, starting with the title. He seems like the kind of friend I’d love to have at every potluck, especially the ones that involve drinking games until 2 a.m.

Thing is, friends like that don’t necessarily write the best cookbooks.

Like Brian himself, the book made me smile on nearly every page (in a Will Ferrell-meets-Shakespearean-puns kind of way: ”New England Blam Chowder: I cleverly change the C to a B and BLAM! We’ve got a delicious vegan chowder”; a dish called “My Balls”). But it’s been sitting on my shelf for months and the only time I’ve managed to use it is when I forced myself to so I could write this review.

The problem is not that these recipes don’t work or aren’t good. The problem is that they’re unnecessarily complicated, and Patton gives no hints or advice to convert them into something suitable for the everyday, after work, home cook. He doesn’t even acknowledge that he’s asking a lot, he just continues his charming-dude act. 

Oh Brian, you’re just too high maintenance! 

One entree that sounded amazing and that I considered making, Barbecue Ribz, involves flipping to SIX OTHER RECIPES. These include things like “Crazy Shit Vinegar” (a relish and flavored vinegar with peppers and carrots you could in theory make ahead of time and have on hand if you’re a member of the cult of Brian Patton) and “Blackened Seasoning”, which is just a spice blend, but seriously Brian, don’t make me mix it up ahead of time or do math and shit! I hate that! Just tell me what spices to use! The Millenium Cookbook isn’t even this complex!

And Millenium food this ain’t. The dishes I managed to accomplish—by taking a special, specific trip to the grocery store and planning way ahead—went over well with some nonvegan friends at a dinner party, but they were homey, not gourmet. Definitely not the kind of thing you’re glad you saved a whole afternoon for.

The Blam Chowder was not very clammy but a yummy, hearty, creamy vegetable soup. What really made it was the smokey flavor imparted by the tempeh bacon. But I cheated and used store-bought tempeh bacon, not Patton’s recipe (which takes a sub-recipe, liquid smoke, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and at least eight hours to marinate).

The jambalaya was like a chunky pepper/tomato sauce over rice; again, what made it was the sausage. Patton’s recipe for seitan sausage is more involved than say, Isa or Terry’s (it includes a cooked potato and mashed white beans), but it resulted in a softer texture which was a nice change. But the dish would have been just as delicious if he’d billed it as fast food, told you to make some rice while you chopped some veggies and opened a can of tomatoes, then added some Field Roast afterwards. It tasted basically like that. Not worth my whole day.

Final Verdict: An amusing but ultimately inessential addition to the growing vegan cannon. 

05/16/2012

CLOSED: Win a copy of John Schlimm’s Grilling Vegan Style!  »

Hey good-looking! You like to grill? Summer’s right on our doorstep, here in the northern hemisphere, and John Schlimm, author of The Tipsy Vegan,* has a new cookbook to teach us vegans how to grill as seriously as those meat-eaters. It’s called Grilling Vegan Style, and you totally want to own it.

This book looks extensive, too. Learn how to grill watermelon! Sandwiches! Pies! S’mores! Basically everything you can physically place on a grill, John Schlimm will teach you to grill, but, you know, Vegan Style, because dang it, barbecue isn’t just for dead animals.

Impress your friends this summer at the park with your grilling genius! Finally host those backyard barbecues with the skills to back up all that panache (I’ve always loved your panache). Show the grilling fanatic in your life that you, too, have mastered the art of cooking over an open flame!

Want a preview? Here’s a trailer:

Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

We’re so excited about this because we have a copy of Grilling Vegan Style to give away! All you have to do is leave us comment telling us either your highest vegan grilling achievement, or your greatest vegan grilling disaster, by noon PDT on Friday, May 18. We’ll pick a winner and send the book your way! Even if you live outside of the 48 contiguous states of America! So please, comment, enter, and get ready to spend the summer reeking of smoke and pride of accomplishment.

*Endorsed by Megan Rascal!

Update: Contest is closed! Thanks for playing, everyone!

04/27/2012

Cookbook review: Eat Raw, Eat Well, by Douglas McNish!  »


When Vegansaurus gave me the chance to review Douglas McNish’s new cookbook, Eat Raw, Be Well, I consented enthusiastically and chomped at the bit until it arrived. I love making raw, vegan, gluten-free food (obviously) that isn’t too complicated or hard to prepare. In my opinion, overly intricate raw food cookbooks do more harm than good for the aspiring raw food chef. Sure, the pictures are nice, the descriptions fanciful, and their promise of gastronomic decadence enticing—but once casual chefs attempt some recipe with a mile-long ingredient list and super-complex instructions, they often grow discouraged that they drop raw food preparation altogether. I think that’s so sad!

When it comes to feeding myself, my friends, my family, and my dearest, I prefer recipes that favor simplicity and easy-to-digest combinations. I heard that this cookbook focused on easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t go overboard with ingredients required to make everything. Eat Raw, Eat Well recipes range from super-simple, three-ingredient raw cauliflower popcorn (nutritional yeast! salt! cauliflower!) to dishes that will take a bit more time to prepare.

This book has tons of recipes for the very beginner chef, including some great tips on how to make them on the left. Before reading this book, I reached into the knife drawer at my communal household in Glendale and pulled out whatever seemed cleanest. Now, I often search for the pairing knife that we keep sequestered in a special drawer when possible, because Mr. McNish says it’s good to do that and I think he’s right! Now I cut with ease and confidence, bitch.

The publishers gave me permission to post one of my favorite recipes in the book, the Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccine (page 236).

This dish is a great way to get as many healthy ingredients into your body as possible without having to sacrifice any of the things you love. The softness of the root vegetables makes it reminiscent of traditional al dente pasta.

Makes two servings

Ingredients
3 large carrots, peeled
3 large parsnips, peeled 3
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil (15 ml)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (60 ml)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fine sea salt, divided (22 ml)
3/4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil (175 ml)
1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds (125 ml)
3 cloves garlic
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves (750 ml)

Instructions
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and parsnips into long, thin strips, dropping into a bowl as completed (see Tips) Add olive oil, 1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt, and toss until vegetables are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes, until softened.

2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process hemp oil and seeds, garlic and remaining lemon juice and salt, until somewhat smooth but the hemp seeds retain some texture. Add cilantro and process until chopped and blended, stopping the motor once to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add pesto to fettuccine, toss well and serve.

Variations
Substitute an equal quantity of parsley leaves for the cilantro.

Toss the fettuccine from Step 1 with another sauce, instead of the pesto.

Tips
Peeling the vegetables lengthwise produces the long, thin strips required for this recipe. For best results use a Y-shaped (slingshot) vegetable peeler. When using a regular peeler, you can glide down the length of the vegetable to make one long, thin strip.

If you prefer, combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl before tossing with the vegetables, to ensure even integration.

I am not a big fan of agave and kind of think it’s gross, so I was happy to see the desserts go light on them. In general, Eat Raw, Eat Well's recipes are nutrient-rich and focus on using low-glycemic, healthful ingredients. There are better books out there if you're just getting into raw food. Raw Food for One and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine top my list for raw beginners, but I think this book would be a very good choice for the beginning to intermediate raw food chef. Happy uncooking to you!

Recipe and photo from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog Queer Vegan Food.

12/21/2011

Cookbook Gifts: Sometimes you just want dinner to be classy! Enter the ladies of Spork Foods  »

Look, I am never going to tell you that your meal is not fancy enough. Most of my cooking is of the “What’s in the fridge today?” variety. But maybe you are throwing a nice dinner party, or you want to make a dish with which to impress and shock all your omnivorous friends: “That’s right, it’s vegan!” In those circumstances, Spork-Fed—the new cookbook from the ladies of Spork Foods—will help you out.

Spork Foods is a gourmet vegan food company based in Los Angeles that is operated by two sisters, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg. The offer vegan cooking classes in person and online, and in the fall they released their first cookbook, Spork-Fed.

The recipes in this book don’t look easy to execute, but they do look delicious. They cover a variety of meals and situations, from brunch to appetizers to desserts, and the suggested menus at the beginning of the book are helpful for the culinarily stunted (like, uh, me). The carrot soup with mint oil, corn fritters with lemongrass, and glazed tempeh particularly stood out for me. I also appreciate that they mark the recipes that are gluten-free.

If you’re looking to step up your game in the kitchen, this is a good one to pick up.

Also — if you’re in Los Angeles online, Groupon has a deal on Spork classes right now! Get up on it!

Terri Coles lives in Toronto, where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues. We edit out all her extra vowels.

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