vegansaurus!

12/20/2011

Cookbook review: Vegan Pie in the Sky makes pie vegan, delicious, easy to make  »

Here are a few things to like about Vegan Pie In The Sky:

1. It’s the latest cookbook by awesome vegan mavens Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Instant cred!

2. It comes in an adorable square shape.

3. It proves that your pies can have flaky crusts, delicious fillings, and be gorgeous baked goods without animal ingredients like butter or eggs.

Those are all pretty good selling points, I think, and plenty of reason why you should pick up VPITS, or perhaps give it to your favorite baker as a holiday gift. The book looks small, but it’s 75 (!) recipes that covers everything from making the perfect pie crust to filling said crust with deliciousness—including 18 chocolate pies!—to topping it off perfectly. As a bonus, many of the fillings are gluten-free, and you can always experiment to make the crusts gluten-free as well by using your favorite flour sub.

Look, what I’m saying is that I don’t even really like pie, and I still want to make all of these. If I haven’t convinced you yet, check out the four sample recipes on the Post Punk Kitchen site.

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.

12/13/2011

Cookbook Review: The Tipsy Vegan!  »

I got a gratis copy of John Schlimm’s The Tipsy Vegan to review for you guys! Rachel has been on a cookbook review roll, as I’m sure you’ve read, but when I saw “tipsy,” I knew this book was for yours truly. However, this is not a book of vegan cocktails like I thought! It’s all about cooking with wine and liquor. But there are a handful of cocktail recipes as well, they kick off each chapter. 

To sum up the book in three words: Fun, challenging, sassy! That’s right, sassy. The tone of the book is very jovial and lighthearted, which I appreciate. And you are encouraged to enjoy your booze! As god intended. One thing I will say is that I’m not sure it’s really a book for beginners. It’s for more of a mid-level to experienced cook. There are lots of ingredients, lots of different techniques involved, and lots of recipes requiring things like ice cream makers and food processors (which I do not have because I’ve slimmed down my kitchen accessories. Oh, life in the big city!). A bowl and spoon are not going to get you very far here. On the other end of the spectrum, this is just the thing for the uninspired cook! It’ll give your cooking a kick in the pants! The recipes and ingredients are inventive and interesting. And the book is entertaining. I’m a fan!

I tried two of the recipes: Bruschetta on a Bender and Rockin’ Roasted Potatoes With Racy Rosemary and Mustard. The potatoes, the recipe for which you can get over on NYT, had vodka in them, which I had because my first housewarming gift was a half-empty bottle of Ketel One (#classy). Both recipes called for vermouth, but the potatoes said you could use a dry white wine instead and the bruschetta said a fruity red would work too. As I don’t know what I’d do with a bottle of vermouth and you better believe I know what to do with two bottles of wine, I opted for the wine. But the book said I could!

I don’t know what you call the sauce I made for the potatoes but it was damn good! Like, I was about to lick the bowl, horseradish and all. I had a little sauce left over and I put it in a cup to save in the fridge. I’m thinking Brussels sprouts! 

The bruschetta was interesting because it called for thyme instead of your typical basil. My bro and sis-in-law were ‘bout it for the bruschetta! They both had like seven pieces. I liked it too but I did miss the basil. But there’s really no need to buy a cookbook with a basil bruschetta recipe, is there? And red wine on the tomatoes? Genius! Why don’t we do that all the time? We can from now on. Pish, I don’t even remember what life was like before red wine-soaked tomatoes!


Sweet Instagram pic of the bruschetta. Oh, Instagram, how I love you. Follow me: @MeganRascal!!!

Check it, I scored the Bruschetta on a Bender recipe for you! With permission from Da Capo Press, naturally:

Bruschetta on a Bender

Ingredients4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and very coarsely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
12 slices crusty French or Italian bread, about 3 inches in diameter
1 garlic clove, peeled and split
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry vermouth or a fruity red wine
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
Toss the tomatoes with the salt and drain for 30 minutes in a large colander set over a bowl.

Under a hot broiler, toast the bread slices on both sides.

Rub the toasted top of each slice with the split garlic clove and lightly brush the top of each slice with the olive oil

Gently press down on the drained tomatoes to extract even more juices. Then transfer them to another bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar, dry vermouth, thyme, and oregano.

Season with the pepper to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture in small mounds on top of the toasts and serve at once.

Yield: 12 bruschettas

Yay! Now you can make the bruschetta just like your pal Megan.

There are a lot of other great-sounding recipes I still want to try, namely the Merlot ice. Basically a Merlot slushy, it requires a food processor. I’m about to get one just to make it. Can you imagine? A Merlot slushy? Be still my heart! 

Before I sign off, I’ll add another point: this book doesn’t really feel like a vegan cookbook, it feels like a “regular” cookbook. It’s not really about being vegan and you aren’t making approximations of omni recipes you’ve been missing; you’re making fun and exciting recipes that are also vegan. I think omnis would certainly enjoy this book too and if not for the title, I doubt they’d notice the absence of animals products. It’s definitely a good cookbook if you’re entertaining a mixed-diet crowd! So I say check it out and get a little crazy. A little crunked, even. Go for it. 

12/06/2011

Café Gratitude Bereavement Plan  »

It sure sucks that Café Gratitude is closing. Lucky for me, I said my goodbyes a few months ago with a slice of raw cheesecake, right after I said goodbye to S.F. Pride and right before I got on a plane and moved to Denver.

Lucky for you, I’ve had time to figure how to live Life without Gratitude. And because I’m the nicest person ever, I’m going to share that hard-won knowledge.

Gather round, grasshoppers. Here’s what you do:

WARNING! REPLACING CAFÉ GRATITUDE IS HARD AND EXPENSIVE AND WILL MAKE PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE WEIRD! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK! BUT IT’S HELLA TASTY!!!

  1. Admit that the best thing about the restaurant was dessert. Then buy Sweet Gratitude, the book that will tell you how to make said desserts.
  2. Flip through the book. Cry a little when you realize how hard and complicated they are and how much better it was to just pay for them.
  3. Take a deep breath and COMMIT. It will be worth it!
  4. Buy Irish Moss.
  5. Buy a kitchen scale.
  6. Buy raw coconut oil.
  7. Buy soy lecithin.
  8. Buy raw cacao butter, powder, and maybe nibs.
  9. Buy raw vanilla beans.
  10. Buy a VitaMix. Or don’t but you’ll wish you had one. Trust me.
  11. Choose a recipe. Buy the rest of the stuff you’ll need, like almonds and cashews and dates and agave and coconuts, from the grocery store. 
  12. Plan ahead. You’ll probably need to soak things for various amounts of time, from one to 24 hours. Maybe make a Gantt chart?
  13. Whip! Blend! Chill! 
  14. EAT AMAZING FOOD! 

That’s a lot of steps, partly because I’m making fun of it. To be honest, it really is worth it, at least for special occasions. I still haven’t tried making the tiramisu at home. But I will. And you’ll hear about it.


Look what I made! Raw lemon-blueberry cheesecake! It rocked!

Pro tips:

  • Start with some of the simpler recipes. The cheesecakes, for example, don’t need Irish Moss. 
  • Making this food will make you covet a better blender, unless you have a great one already.
  • Blend longer than you think you need to.
  • If you’re not a raw food purist, don’t be a raw food purist. Use canned coconut milk. Use the almond milk you always use. Screw raw vanilla, use regular. Yeah of course it’ll taste different but you’ll be more sane.

Thanks, Gratitude. I am grateful you existed, and grateful for the challenges you’ve left us. Though I’d still rather just let you do the work.

11/29/2011

More holiday deals: Oh Deer! Chocolates e-book, get it on Etsy!  »

It’s that time between the two major holiday meals, where you have two choices: take it easy, eat some veggies, maybe do a juice cleanse OR GO FULL SPEED AHEAD, EAT EVERYTHING, after all, swimsuit season is so far away! I’m somewhere in the middle—I guess it’s not so black-and-white. One thing I do want to do in this time is incorporate more raw foods in my diet. And OhDeerChocolates has sprung up on Etsy at the most perfect time!

Sara Malazzo-Miller, creator of OhDeerChocolates, is selling her e-cookbook for the low price of $8, for this week only! Her 20+ cookie, truffle, and candy recipes are raw, vegan and CHOCOLATE!


OhDeerChocolates’ chocolate mousse.

Raw dessert—it’s like health food. At least that’s my motto! Sara is also donating 100 percent of the profits to wildlife rescue centers. Now that’s the holiday spirit!

11/16/2011

Cookbooks vs. apps: a question for the readers  »

Image by neoprolog on Flickr

Lizzie Stark over at the Today Show has a pretty interesting post up about the relative merits of cookbooks vs apps. I only know this because Terry Hope Romero, author of many of my favorite cookbooks, tweeted about it:

@terryhope

Cooksbooks & apps are like apples and tofu: need both in my life 

You have no idea how much you’re missing on the Twitters, yo.

I gave you my opinions on the subject just last week: books all the way, baby. Though a digital, searchable index of the books I already own would make my year. 

Anyway, I bring the question to you, dear readers. Are cooking apps the way of the future, or misguided anachronisms like Tamagotchi and, um, what else was stupid to make electronic?

Tell us what you think! Is there a cooking app you love? Should I try it? Why?

10/12/2011

CONTEST CLOSED. Vegansaurus Giveaway: VIP Tickets to VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods! (HELLO, there’s a Cinnaholic cinnamon bun BAR)  »

Contest closed! The winners are Brandi and Rachel! We will contact you soon!! Yay!! If you didn’t win, never fear! There are options:

1) If you want to volunteer at the party, they’re in need of a handful of volunteers and you get:

1—A free tik

2—Free food and drinks

3—A free signed copy of Spork-Fed

4—A free VegNews tee

Email cholland AT vegnews DOT com if you’re interested!

2) You can still buy tickets here!

SO NO MATTER WHAT YOU BETTER COME!

xoxoxolaura

Great news! Vegansaurus has just secured four VIP tickets to the VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods, despite the event’s being almost sold-out! We have connections, what can I say. I am going to be at the party (I’ll be under the Cinnaholic cinnamon bun bar), and I hope you will, too! We’re giving away two pairs of these coveted tickets, which include sumptuous vegan appetizers, all-you-can drink cocktails, a signed copy of the brand-new Spork-Fed cookbook, all the photobooth photos you can take, and, yes, the aforementioned cinnamon bun bar. And this all takes place on VegNews' gorgeous rooftop deck in the Mission. Seriously, it's the prettiest and most glamourous place in this filth-ball city!

We’re gonna give them out in sets of two. That’s two sets of two VIP tickets, if my math is correct! For a chance to win, just tell me what your current favorite vegan cookbook is (side note: did you see that Vegan Pie in the Sky is out?! So exciting! Buy a million copies! Plus, we’ve heard there are recipes for OLIVE OIL CRUST and MIND-BLOWING CHEESECAKES. Hello!), and I’ll draw two winners this Friday at 5 p.m.. That’s in TWO DAYS! So get to stepping! The same day we stop selling our t-shirts! And the Vegucated tickets giveaway ends! Friday is a big day!! Please only enter if you can definitely make the party (Friday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.). More details here! Now, enter!

Plus, we’ll get to hang out? How awesome will that be?? The answer is: VERY AWESOME because I am like, the cutest, coolest, sexiest, smartest, most down-to-earth lady you’ll ever have the pleasure of lying under a cinnamon bun bar with. Let’s do this!

Finally, let’s drool over the Cinnaholic cinnamon bun below and dream up our most favorite topping combo would be. Oh! If you don’t want to tell me your favorite vegan cookbook, let me know your favorite cinnamon roll topping combo OMG SO FUN.

09/30/2011

I made seitan and spinach with Meagen the Vegan Food Addict's seitan mix! She sent me a bag from her new Etsy shop to sample because she is the sweetest nicest, and I used a recipe from Robin Robertson’s new cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan (proper review to come!) and served it with spinach! It was so good, you guys!
Meagen’s seitan has a rich, hearty flavor, the texture is awesome, and it’s so easy to make: Just water, soy sauce, and five minutes of kneading; pop it in the oven and like an hour later, a giant loaf of delicious wheat-meat is ready for your delectation! I had to add a little more water than the package called for, which I think was why I had to bake it a little longer, but that’s OK because guess what, it’s scrumptious.
The sauce I used came from chef we love Robin Robertson's seitan donburi recipe. I omitted the scallions and rice because I was too lazy to bother chopping or steaming. From start to finish it took maybe 20 minutes, including photography (thanks for the camera (phone), Dad), and it was really good. Might've been better with a different green, but all I had was spinach, and you know what? Spinach is tasty.
[P.S. Have you bought your super-sexy Vegansaurus shirt yet? They’re going fast!]

I made seitan and spinach with Meagen the Vegan Food Addict's seitan mix! She sent me a bag from her new Etsy shop to sample because she is the sweetest nicest, and I used a recipe from Robin Robertson’s new cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan (proper review to come!) and served it with spinach! It was so good, you guys!

Meagen’s seitan has a rich, hearty flavor, the texture is awesome, and it’s so easy to make: Just water, soy sauce, and five minutes of kneading; pop it in the oven and like an hour later, a giant loaf of delicious wheat-meat is ready for your delectation! I had to add a little more water than the package called for, which I think was why I had to bake it a little longer, but that’s OK because guess what, it’s scrumptious.

The sauce I used came from chef we love Robin Robertson's seitan donburi recipe. I omitted the scallions and rice because I was too lazy to bother chopping or steaming. From start to finish it took maybe 20 minutes, including photography (thanks for the camera (phone), Dad), and it was really good. Might've been better with a different green, but all I had was spinach, and you know what? Spinach is tasty.

[P.S. Have you bought your super-sexy Vegansaurus shirt yet? They’re going fast!]

09/28/2011

You guys know that Isa and Terry have a VEGAN PIE COOKBOOK coming out and that it’s up for preview on Amazon?? And, they are generous souls indeed because they’re sharing this recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Pie WITH US EXCLUSIVELY. J/K, any idiot with an internet connection can get it but still, aren’t you glad that we’re the idiots who told you about it?? I cannot wait to get a copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky in my hot little hands, OH MY! (I’m rhymin without even trymin!)
I’ve pre-ordered my copy and you should too because it’s motherfucking pie season, yo! Let’s bake, bitches. 

You guys know that Isa and Terry have a VEGAN PIE COOKBOOK coming out and that it’s up for preview on Amazon?? And, they are generous souls indeed because they’re sharing this recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Pie WITH US EXCLUSIVELY. J/K, any idiot with an internet connection can get it but still, aren’t you glad that we’re the idiots who told you about it?? I cannot wait to get a copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky in my hot little hands, OH MY! (I’m rhymin without even trymin!)

I’ve pre-ordered my copy and you should too because it’s motherfucking pie season, yo! Let’s bake, bitches. 

05/23/2011

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!

05/04/2011

Product review: Mark Bittman Vegetarian Cooking app!  »

I got to test out a gratis copy of the new Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything Vegetarian iPhone application! Since my last mention of the app was less than informative, here is a thorough review, because I love you!

My official recommendation: it’s awesome! If you want to spend the $4.99, it’s worth your money and a lot cheaper than purchasing the actual cookbook. The recipe selection looks pretty amazing. I haven’t made anything yet but there are really a lot of things I already want to make! Or get someone else to make for me! You can make me food and I’ll give you fashion tips—fair trade!

I am told there are 950 vegan recipes and variations out of about 2,000 vegetarian recipes in total. The breakdown is 397 recipes and 553 variations to non-vegan recipes. There’s also a “top 100 vegan recipes” list under “Bittman’s picks” and several little “references” that like suggest vegan breakfasts for you, cheese substitutions, and one I’m really interested it: how to make any bread vegan. I love bread!

I don’t see any way to isolate the vegan options for the entire app but when you search for something, it’s super-easy to bring out the vegan options because of the vegan filter. You can search for key words if you want or you can use the filters they already have like “style.” So you can do a search by selecting “sweet” as the style and select just vegan options and it will pull up anything sweet and vegan (you saw where that was going). You could also search “cauliflower” or whatever word you want and select just vegan options. Oh and one of the style options is “raw” and there are 26 recipes and variations with that search. That’s for my raw friends! You know I’m always thinking of you.

When you are just browsing the recipes, the vegan ones are clearly marked but you can’t immediately see if a non-vegan recipe has a vegan variation. But when you use the search function, it lists all vegan recipes and all vegan variations for that search so that is prob the best way for us to look at variations. But just browsing for recipes is easy. There are no pictures so if you only like cookbooks with food pictures, this is not the app for you. I often like pictures but the names of these recipes are enticing enough that I don’t think I would miss them that much.

One thing to note: Reader Ryan K. says that some non-vegan recipes are marked vegan and vice versa. I haven’t run into this yet. I can send the creator a note about this and hopefully they can fix it in a future update.

Here are some screen grabs! First, a recipe; as you can see, it has the overview, ingredients, steps and variations:

Here’s a progression of how you can browse without the search. First you pick a general category and a more specific category:

Then you pick a recipe. You can easily see which recipes are vegan but if you select a non-vegan one, like the first veggie burger, it might have a vegan variation:

This is also cool: when you look at a recipe, you have all these options for what to do with it:

Another function is that you can generate shopping lists—kinda nice and useful. And as long as you have your phone, you will always have your grocery list.

Here’s my favorite part:

Under the style search option, you can search for hippie! It pulls up what you’d expect, tofu and whatnot.

Here’s my second favorite part! For some of the basic recipes and techniques, there are these illustrated guides:


Love it! You KNOW I like pictures over actually reading instructions. And as you can see, these aren’t crazy Ikea-style stick figure pictures that I can never understand.

All in all, I’d say it’s worth at least $4.99. Even though all the recipes aren’t vegan, I’m still very pleased with it. If you are vegetarian, it’s DEFINITELY worth the money. It has more recipes than the Vegan with a Vengeance app and that one costs $9.99 (say what?). The recipes are a little lacking for vegan dessert options but I actually think the first thing I want to make is the vegan banana chocolate-chunk bread pudding. Banana and chocolate are my favorite and I love bread pudding! I’m going to eat the hell out of that.

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