Monday, October 31, 2011

VeganMoFo #22 - Veganomicon

I saved the largest cookbook for last. Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero is the sort of book you'd give to a friend who was trying out a plant-based diet. It is full of helpful advice and 250 recipes to keep you cooking.

I made the Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. I used whole grain bread for the bread cubes and dark chocolate cut into small pieces for the chips. I thought this dish was excellent but next time I'll use crispier bread for a firmer bread pudding.

Other recipes I've tried and liked from the book include: Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls,  Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls, Tofu Florentine, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango, Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad, Baja-Style Grilled Tempeh Tacos (my fave recipe from the book), Snobby Joes, Black Bean Burgers, Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu, Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh, Chickpea Cutlets, Black-Bean Vegetable Soup, Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans, Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons, Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits, Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping (DH's fave recipe from the book), Dill Tahini Sauce, Skillet Cornbread, Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones and the Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies.

Here's a preview of our dinner tonight. I made the Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies from Jennifer Raymond's Fatfree and Easy, the Graveyard Salad (one of the cucumber tombstones fell over) from the Forks and Beans blog, toasted pumpkin seeds and a jack-o-lantern pizza. I prebaked the crust then added pizza sauce, diced bell peppers and kalamata olives. I'll crisp it in the oven right before dinner. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 28, 2011

VeganMoFo # 21 - Table for Two

One of the things I hate most in the world is throwing food away. Still, there are times when DH makes a huge quantity of vegetarian chili and we just get sick of it and there is no room in the freezer. That is why I bought Table for Two: Meat- and Dairy-Free Recipes for Two by Joanne Stepaniak. Every recipe in this book is pared down to just a few servings.

I made the Slow-Roasted Broccoli Hoagies with Mustard Dill Sauce. Broccoli, mushrooms, and onions are roasted and spooned on bread along with olives with a simple mayo/Dijon mustard sauce. I liked it but then I usually enjoy unusual sandwiches.

This book includes a nice selection of pantry staples and a list of kid-pleasing recipes. The recipes are basic and delicious with minimal amounts of oil in the baked goods and a few fatfree salad dressings. I've made and like the following recipes from this book: French Toast, Whole Wheat Muffins, Catalina French Dressing, Cheddar Cheeze Soup, Chuckwagon Stew, Cornucopia Oat Burgers, Golden Gravy, Pierogies in a Pot, Cabbage and Pasta Bake (my fave from the book), and the Chili Bean Topping for Grains or Pasta.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

VeganMoFo #20 - Fiesta Vegan (and a recipe)

Today's book is much more obscure. A while back I self-published this small booklet of my favorite New Mexican recipes called Fiesta Vegan in print, PDF format, and for the Kindle (without photos) but alas it has not sold well at all over the years. Anyway, I wanted to post at least one recipe during VeganMoFo so here is my favorite recipe from the book. I am crazy about the combination of green chiles and potatoes. If you use nondairy cheeses like Daiya, you can certainly add some to the mashed potato mixture.


Feel free to use roasted poblano chiles for this recipe or even whole canned green chiles.  I really prefer our New Mexico green chiles from Hatch. The photo above shows what the Hatch chiles look like after roasting and peeling and before stuffing.   (Two years ago I wrote a post HERE about the different types of chile peppers and HERE is how I roast chiles.)

I’ve seen all sorts of things used to stuff chiles - once in Taos I ordered Chiles Rellenos and they were stuffed with a carrot mixture. My favorite version uses mashed potatoes mixed with sautéed onions and garlic. The Chimayo Tomato Sauce is milder than most red chile sauces so it doesn’t overpower mild flavor of the chiles.

NOTE: Chimayo chile powder is harder to find outside New Mexico. Use any mild, powdered red chile pepper you like. There are also have frozen red chile purees made by Bueno which would work.

Serves 4

Chimayo Tomato Sauce:

2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 Tbsp. Chimayo red chile powder
2 Tbsp. unbleached white flour
3 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt or to taste
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

To make Chimayo Tomato Sauce, saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes in a medium saucepan. Add the oregano and Chimayo chile powder and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir until all the oil is combined. Add the tomato paste and water, whisking until smooth. Cook over low heat until thick. Add the salt and vinegar.

1 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ c. non-hydrogenated vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance
Pinch sea salt

12 lg. mild green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, stemmed and split lengthwise

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 25 minutes, or until  tender. Drain well.
In a medium saucepan, saute onion in canola oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Mix sautéed onions and garlic with potatoes and margarine and mashe until smooth. Salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour about 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Reserve rest of sauce for serving with the stuffed chiles. Fill each green chile with ½ c. potatoes. Place the chiles in the pan with the potato side up. (This dish can be made in advance up to this point and can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.) Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Warm the remaining Chimayo Tomato Sauce and serve with the chiles.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 314 Calories; 22g Fat (46.2% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 420mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

VeganMoFo # 19 - Sweet Utopia

I bought Sharon Valencik's Sweet Utopia: Simply Stunning Vegan Desserts for one recipe - the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Sticky Toffee Pudding is my favorite non-chocolate dessert and I really enjoyed her nondairy version of that recipe. Since then I haven't made anything from the book. (Seen here is the library version of the book; I own the Kindle version although now that I see the color photos in the book I wish I'd purchased the print version.)

For VeganMoFo I made the Fruity Chocolate Crepe Rollups and I'm very glad I did. This recipe will become a standby when I need a fancy dessert or breakfast and better yet, the only oil used is what you need to cook the crepes.

The chocolate crepe recipe was supposed to yield four crepes but mine actually made six. The first three stuck to the pan I chose. I finally switched to my trusty cast iron skillet and made these with only some vegetable cooking spray. The crepes are spread with jam (I used Trader Joe's Superfruit preserves.) then soy yogurt and fruit. I topped mine with some coconut and walnuts but really it wasn't necessary.

This book has a really nice variety of different desserts from cakes and sweet breads to tarts and granola and tiramisu. I'm especially interested in the chapter on Velvety Mousses, Puddings, and Cremes and plan to try one of those very soon. I recommend this book to everyone with a sweet tooth!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VeganMoFo #18 - The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook

Years ago a neighbor of ours in Colorado had heart surgery and I gave a copy of this cookbook to his wife. She was having trouble figuring out what to cook for him and The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in Fifteen Minutes or Less (1997) was really helpful for her. I still use it often years later especially when I'm trying to find new ways to eat more beans.

Dr. John McDougall is one of the original physicians who promoted a low-fat plant-based diet for healing and he is responsible for the health info in the book. His wife created the recipes which are divided up into Breakfast, Salads and Dressings, Soups and Stews, Main Dishes: Grains, Main Dishes: Beans, Main Dishes: Pasta, Main Dishes: General, Sauce, Dips and Spreads, and Desserts. There is also a chapter on acceptable canned and packaged products. For VeganMoFo I made the Greeny Beany Soup. The soup contains leeks, potato, herbs, orzo (I used vermicelli), white beans, zucchini and spinach.

I liked the soup and it is a good example of the recipes in the book - simple and hearty. I've noticed a lot of the recipes really appeal to DH who likes uncomplicated foods with an emphasis on healthy carbs. The book is especially valuable for the large number of soup recipes. There are a few recipes that do use honey so it isn't 100% vegan. There are no nutritional analyses of the recipes in my version of the book. Still I think everyone who is eating a lowfat diet should have this book although maybe they do already. This book is still in print almost 15 years after it was first published!

Other recipes I've tried from the book include: Mexican Corn Salad, Chili Bean Salad, Taco Soup, Cream of Vegetable Soup, Mexi Corn Chowder, Chili Tortilla Soup, Ellen's Bean Soup, Southwestern Brown Rice, Beans and Greens, Spicy Chili and Chips, Quick Wisconsin Chili (DH's favorite), Black Bean Sloppy Joes, Spicy Tomato Couscous, Rotini and Greens, Mustardy Pasta, Mushroom Stroganoff, Vegetable Bean Enchiladas, Potato Enchiladas, Mexican Lasagna, Moo-Shu Wraps, Polenta with Italian Bean Sauce, Baked Tofu Loaf, Spinach Buns, and Peanut Butter Spread.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

VeganMoFo #17 - The Kind Diet

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone isn't only a vegan cookbook, it is a macrobiotic vegan cookbook. Macrobiotics is a diet that emphasizes whole grains and dark leafy greens and de-emphasizes nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes). One of the most interesting things to me about macrobiotics is the belief that you are imbued with some of the qualities of what you eat. So for instance if you eat a lot of root vegetables you'll be very grounded.

Some of the foods popular in the macrobiotic diet are an acquired taste such as umeboshi plums, mochi, burdock, sea vegetables, etc. The best book I've found that explains macrobiotics is the Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter. The best online source for some of the more unusual ingredients used in macrobiotics is Gold Mine Natural Foods.

For VeganMoFo I made the Ginger Pasta with Zucchini. I wish I'd pureed the tofu instead of mashed it. I do cook macrobiotic occasionally and I don't always find it the most colorful food so I added the carrots to the photo. The Kind Diet is divided into Vegan Recipes (not necessarily macrobiotic) to get you started and SuperHero Recipes (vegan and macrobiotic). About half of this book is devoted to discussing reasons why you should go vegan with information on factory farming, health, etc. She also provides some good tips for those new to vegan cooking on how to stock your kitchen, cook veggies, save money, etc.

I've also made the Tahini Dressing and the Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions. The Endnotes offers sources for the information she gives on agriculture and health. There are many dessert recipes for those who love to bake. There are a few photos of the recipes and many photos of Alicia. I'd recommend the book if you are interested in macrobiotics or more healthful vegan cooking.

Here's a bonus photo of umeboshi plums and umeboshi paste. There is also umeboshi vinegar available but that has crazy amounts of sodium (the Eden Foods brand of umeboshi vinegar has 1050 mg sodium per 1 teaspoon).

Friday, October 21, 2011

VeganMoFo #16 - Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen

Although I make a lot of unusual pizzas until I made this recipe I had never tried beans on pizza. This recipe is the Quick Tuscan-Style Pizza with White Beans, Tomatoes, and Basil from Donna Klein's Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. It is one of her older books and was published in 2001.

White beans are cooked with garlic, olive oil, and vegetable broth until they are creamy. They top the pizza along with sliced tomatoes and basil. The really fun part of this pizza is the crust. In the recipe she specifies using commercial refrigerated pizza dough but I used the basic pizza dough recipe from the book instead. You roll it out and prick it all over with a fork and bake it for 4 minutes. Then you prick it all over again with a fork and bake it again. Then add toppings and bake it on the bottom rack of your oven. This makes the crust crispy and cracker-like. It was really good and I think this would make a great appetizer at a party cut into smaller slices.

This is the first recipe I've made from this book and I honestly don't know why I waited so long. The book has a whole section of pizzas and I've made all the pizzas from Vegan Italiano several times. I also have her Supermarket Vegan and Tropical Vegan Kitchen on the Kindle and I've never made anything from those books either. It is officially time to remedy that!

Other recipes I want to try include: Provencal Chickpea Flour Pancake, Polenta Crostini with Caponata, Green Olive and Almond Tapenade, Ditali with Cauliflower, Squash Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce, Vermicelli Nests with Chickpeas, Spinach and Tomato, and the Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Panini. Each recipe in the book includes nutritional info; there are no photos. She includes a section on suggested weeknight menus ready in less than an hour and information on entertaining.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

VeganMoFo #15 - Color Me Vegan

I've been doing mini-reviews of cookbooks so far but today I'm going to do a complete review.

COLOR ME VEGAN by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Color is so important to my life - it can change my mood, it can inspire me, and I often feel disappointed with a boring all-brown meal. For me one of the best things about plant-based cuisine is how colorful it can be. I was thrilled when I first saw this book at a bookstore but decided to wait to buy it because I am trying to reduce my cookbook purchases. After seeing the book highlighted in other VeganMoFo posts, I knew I had to buy it immediately.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's previous cookbook, The Vegan Table, is one of my top three cookbooks. (I'm not reviewing it this month because I have the Kindle version and I wanted to only review cookbooks I have in print.) I prefer recipes that are simple with a lot of fruits and vegetables and Color Me Vegan is similar to The Vegan Table in that respect. It is also similar in that it is organized differently than most cookbooks. Chapters are divided by the predominant color of the recipe and I like that you can easily find the color chapter you want because of the colorful tabs at the top of each page. White and brown foods also have their own chapter as do recipes that use the entire rainbow.

The first day I had Color Me Vegan I had already started bookmarking all the recipes I want to make. I started with the Hot Tamale Pie. The photo below shows it before baking.

Beans and corn are mixed for the base and the topping is a simple cornmeal and nutritional yeast combo.

I also made the Purple Cabbage Salad which I have to remember to bring to the next potluck I attend. Unfortunately I didn't have oranges which would have made this over the top in the color department but it was really delicious. I used canned pineapple and omitted the hazelnuts. I loved the sweetness with the jalapenos and toasted sunflowers. 

I saved the best for last. I also made the Chocolate Zucchini Bread which was excellent. I couldn't find any non-dairy chocolate chips at the local store so I bought a dark chocolate candy bar and cut it up instead. I reduced the fat by instead using 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil. It was probably a little crumblier from that substitution but still very moist and rich.

There are so many other recipes I want to make from this cookbook: Strawberries with Lavender Syrup, Chocolate, Banana and Almond Butter Panini, Muffuletta Sandwich, Nori Wraps with Orange Cashew Cream, Peanut Butter Pancakes, Blueberry Croutons, Garlicky Greens with Pasta, Swiss Chard Pie, Nectarine-Agave Panini, Sweet Potato Tacos and the Raspberry Lemon Muffins.

Color Me Vegan is a beautiful book and it includes many color photos. I like that she suggests where you can use water for sauteing instead of oil and that she includes all sorts of interesting tidbits. Did you know there are 1000 kinds of edible greens? Or that dairy cows now get calcium supplements because they often no longer graze outdoors?

I'd recommend this book to both omnivores and vegetarians who want to eat more fruits and veggies, to those following a low-fat vegetarian diet, and to everyone who loves color on their plate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VeganMoFo #14 - Eat, Drink and Be Vegan

Eat, Drink and Be Vegan: Everyday Vegan Recipes Worth Celebrating by Dreena Burton has 8 different hummus recipes. I know this may not mean much to others but I find it very exciting! The White Bean Hummus with Thyme and Basil is one of my favorite recipes and is a great choice for serving to omnivores who may not know much about hummus. I initially wondered about some of the flavors used in the dip - white beans, tahini, lemon, garlic, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard plus fresh herbs but it really works.

This book's emphasis is on entertaining with a section on other dips and nibblers, sandwiches and spreads, casseroles and one pot meals, beverages, and Dreena's signature desserts. There are color photo inserts throughout. I also like that this book uses less oil - for instance, only 2 Tbsp in the Cocoa-Banana muffin recipe. I think this is my favorite book of hers and I really need to try more of the desserts. There are a good selection of gluten-free desserts as well.

Recipes I've tried and liked include: Berry Goodness Muffins, Chipotle-Lime Two Bean Hummus, Tamari Roasted Chickpeas, Lentil Veggie Chimichangas, Quick Chickpea Confetti Casserole, and the Cashew Banana Ice Cream.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

VeganMoFo # 13 - The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook

Joanne Stepaniak was one of the very first authors writing vegan cookbooks. The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook Featuring Recipes Using Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula Flakes is one of her earlier books (1997). If you have never tried nutritional yeast (not to be confused with brewer's yeast) it has a wonderful cheesy flavor and is a good source of B vitamins. Look for it in health food stores in the bulk food section or you can buy it online.

I made the Caesar Salad. The base of romaine lettuce with strips of toasted nori and croutons is topped with a delicious dressing. The dressing is oil free and consists of nutritional yeast, tahini, Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice and soy sauce. I really liked it and will make it again. Next time I might add some capers to the dressing as well. I recommend this book for new vegans and for those who enjoy comfort foods.

Recipes I've tried and liked from this book include Chickpeas A La King, Grilled Cheez Sandwiches, Sadie's Vitality Broth, and the Crock Cheez (my favorite recipe from the book).

Here are some bonus photos from the Santa Fe Farmer's Market voted one of the top ten farmer's markets in the country by USA Today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

VeganMoFo # 12 - Vegan Brunch

One great summer when I was about 14 I went with a girlfriend's family to Cape May Point, NJ. We stayed at her Polish grandmother's beach house and ate her incredible pierogi. I haven't had them since I gave up dairy so I decided to try the potato and mushroom-sauerkraut pierogi from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I changed a few things to reduce fat and sodium (I caramelized the onions with some veg. cooking spary and water) and for the pierogi dough I used the same amount of fat but used extra-virgin coconut oil instead of cooking oil. Although the ones in the photos aren't browned, we did end up liking them better browned. I had a lot of filling left over so I will be making them again soon.

I used my little dumpling maker to shape the pierogi. I ran out of yellow onions when making the potato filling so I used a red onion. Below on the left you can see the potato filling and the mushroom-sauerkraut filling is on the right.

The pierogi were labor-intensive as are some of the other recipes in the book so I tend to make these recipes for dinner. (I am never an enthusiastic cook in the morning!) I recommend Vegan Brunch for those who miss big luxurious breakfasts or like to entertain or who love to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Recipes I've made and enjoyed from the book include: Puttanesca Scramble, Shiitake-Dill Frittata, Tofu Benny, Cornbread Waffles, the Banana Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast) which is seriously awesome, Potato Spinach Squares, Cherry Sage Sausages, Cocoa-Raspberry Muffins and the East Coast Coffee Cake.

Friday, October 14, 2011

VeganMoFo #11 - The Art of Tofu

I bought this small cookbook, The Art of Tofu, after I tried some of Akasha Richmond's recipes in Vegetarian Times. Apparently there is also an updated print version for sale that includes color photos.

I made an old favorite - Southern Tofu Fricasee with Mashed Potatoes. The cookbook is intended to promote Mori Nu Tofu but for most of the recipes involving fried or sauteed tofu I use regular old extra firm tofu. Tofu is put in a paper bag with flour and spices and then browned in a heavy skillet. Onions, celery, and carrots are added along with broth to make a delicious sauce. The accompanying mashed potatoes also have a little pureed silken tofu added.

The book gives cooking times along with nutritional analyses of each recipe. I counted and there are about 50 recipes included along with a really large intro that talks about various ingredients. Recipes I've tried and liked include the Deep Dish Pot Pie, Tofu Piccata with Mushroom Caper Sauce, and the Tofu Swiss Steak. There are many more recipes I need to try like the Orange Blueberry Coffee Cake, the Italian Spinach Dumplings, and the Santa Fe Red Chile Enchiladas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

VeganMoFo #10 - Fat-Free & Easy

Not the best photos today but definitely one of the best recipes (the recipe is available HERE). I make this recipe for Berry Cobbler frequently and it does not taste like the usual fat-free baked goods. It is excellent! I've done it in all oat flour, regular whole wheat flour, white flour... really whatever flour I have. I usually use a bag of frozen mixed berries. One time I added some peaches to the berries. (I apologize for the berry juice on the cookbook - how embarrassing!)

Jennifer Raymond's Fat-Free and Easy is one of those all-purpose cookbooks that I refer to often. This one is unavailable in print for a reasonable price unfortunately but it is one of my all-time faves and is still available in Kindle format at least.

I've made many of the recipes including the Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Torte, Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies, Gingerbread, Berry Cobbler (my favorite from the book obviously), Chili Corn Pie, Quick Chili Beans, Holiday Tofu Roast, Spinach and Bread Pudding, Golden Mushroom Soup, Split Pea Soup, Piquant Dressing, Fatfree Vinaigrette, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Aztec Salad, Missing Egg Salad, Quick and Easy Brown Bread, and the Cornbread.

I recommend this book to everyone who is trying to get healthy or lose weight, to those who love simple food and to those who are beginner vegan cooks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

VeganMoFo #9 - 20 Minutes to Dinner

(Note: I'm not sure this book is technically still in print but it is still available for purchase as a Kindle version and used copies are easy to find.)

I'm pretty sure I have more cookbooks by Bryanna Clark Grogan than any other author. She even has a new international cookbook out that looks great but I'm trying to resist buying it until after I buy a new computer.  20 Minutes to Dinner: Quick, Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Vegetarian Meals focuses on easy meals that the entire family will enjoy.

I made the Chinese Spaghetti which involves steam-frying a pound of vegetables of your choice (I chose cauliflower, red cabbage, carrots, and green beans) along with bell peppers, scallions, and ginger. The veggies get added to a pound of cooked spaghetti (I used whole wheat) and a quick sauce is added at the end to thicken everything up. For the protein she offers several options (I always love books that give me choices in the ingredients) and for that I made her Smoky Tofu recipe. She gives many ideas for substitutes in each recipe and some of the recipes link to other recipes. I think the whole dish took about 30 minutes total for both recipes but it would have been faster if I'd gone with her frozen stir-fry veggie suggestion.

The book was published in 1997 but I think it still shines strong today for those who are seeking no-oil vegan recipes. One of my favorite sections of this cookbook is a long list of hot and cold sandwich and wrap ideas. She also includes many recipes for meat and dairy substitutes like Tofu Cream Cheese and Soy "Fish" Cakes. I probably wouldn't recommend it for someone who doesn't eat soy but I think it is a great book for any vegan who doesn't use oil or for busy families.

Recipes I've tried and liked from the book include Pan-Fried Breast of Tofu, Melty Pizza Cheese, Cabbage and Noodles, Carrot-Oat Patties, Stir-Fried Peas and Tofu, and Hawaiian Sticky Tofu (probably my favorite recipe in the book).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

VeganMoFo #8 - Vegan with a Vengeance

I know most people would probably list Veganomicon or one of the dessert cookbooks (some of which will be reviewed here later this month) as their favorite work by Isa Chandra Moskowitz but I still love her first book Vegan with a Vengeance best. I make the Best Pumpkin Muffins dozens of times a year and they are DH's favorite muffins. They are so good they turned him from a pumpkin-hater into a pumpkin freak.

I made the Revolutionary Spanish Omelet with Saffron and Roasted Red Pepper- Almond Sauce. (And yes, more pumpkin muffins!) Soft tofu is pureed with garlic, soaked saffron, and olive oil and is poured over potato and onion slices and baked. We both liked it a lot and the leftover red pepper sauce was great over pasta.

I love the humor in this book and all the sidebars on veganism on the Internet, taming your tofu, anarchist-feminist potlucks, and Food Not Bombs. There is a small center section of photos and the book includes sections on Brunch, Little Meals, Sammiches, and Finger Foods, and Pizza and Pastas.

I have MANY favorites from this book other than the Pumpkin Muffins: Scrambled Tofu, Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties, Tempeh Sausage Crumbles, Tempeh Bacon, Fronch Toast, Lemon Corn Waffles with Blueberry Sauce, Berry Scones, Cherry-Almond Muffins, Apple Pie Crumb Cake Muffins, Beet, Barley, and Black Soybean Soup w/Pumpernickel Croutons, Potato-Asparagus Soup, Fresh Mango Summer Rolls, Chickpea Broccoli Casserole, Falafel, Veggie Burgers, Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy, Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy, Brooklyn Pad Thai, and the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.

Monday, October 10, 2011

VeganMoFo #7 - Vegan Italiano

I have hundreds of cookbooks and Donna Klein's Vegan Italiano is in my top three. I've made every pizza from the book several times and her Semolina Pizza Dough is now my basic pizza dough recipe. Another favorite from the book is her Fresh Tomato and Onion Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust. I made an adaptation of the recipe which is available HERE. (Oddly enough I have three of her other books and have never made a single thing from them but maybe I'll have time this month.)

For Day Two of VeganMoFo I made the Sicilian Skillet Pasta Pie - spaghetti is mixed with canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes along with garlic, onions, peppers, and kalamatic olives and baked in the skillet. It is a good representation of the recipes in the book because a) it has tomatoes as do most of the recipes in the book and b) it is a relatively simple recipe. Some of the recipes are really simple like spaghetti with garlic and olive oil or spinach with garlic but the main dishes are worth their weight in gold. There are no esoteric ingredients or soy or meat substitutes or dairy substitutes - everything in this book is basic food and most of the recipes are very quick to prepare.

I'd recommend the book just for the pizza recipes alone. One time when I was without an oven I practically subsisted on her Frying Pan Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Onions. Other non-pizza recipes I've made and liked include: Italian Fall Fruit Salad, Spinach and Mushroom Calzones, Zucchini Roll-Ups, Polenta Pie with Spinach, Zucchini Lasagna with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Pasta Alla Verde, and Lentils and Pastina Soup.

Friday, October 7, 2011

VeganMoFo #6 - Vive Le Vegan

I made the Gingered Pear Crisp from Dreena Burton's Vive Le Vegan:Simple,  Delectable Recipes for the Everyday Vegan Family and I thought it was excellent. In fact it was so good that I plan to include it in our Thanksgiving dinner and I'm not even that fond of pears! Fresh pears are mixed with maple syrup, dried cranberries, allspice, cardamom and fresh ginger and topped with an oat mixture. This book is more than a cookbook; it also contains a large section on feeding babies and toddlers, some information on hemp foods, ingredient glossary, and cooking guides for grains and beans.

So far I've made the Scalloped Potatoes, Sunflower-Lentil Pie (I like this with ketchup on top), Chipotle Veggie-Bean Burritos, China-Style Veggie Spring Rolls, the Citrus Mint Vinaigrette, the Creamy Avocado-Cashew Sauce (I like this over the burritos), and the Quinoa Spring Salad (probably my favorite recipe in the book). The Blueberry Bounty Buns didn't work for me - the texture was strange and they spread out quite a bit. That was likely operator error because I still am not perfect about measuring baking ingredients plus I'm at a high-altitude. Other than that I have had great success with her baking recipes and especially recommend this book for those with small children or those who love delicious vegan desserts.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

VeganMoFo #5 - ExtraVeganZa

ExtraVeganza: Original Recipes from Phoenix Organic Farm by Laura Matthias is really a beautiful cookbook of the gourmet variety. There are several sections of gorgeous color photos and most of the recipes sound just wonderful to me. For VeganMoFo I made the Almond Rice Balls. Cooked brown rice is miced with tahini, tamari, onion, garlic, dill, and soy milk then the balls are rolled in ground almonds and baked. Unfortunately my mixture didn't come together that well (perhaps my rice was too wet?) so it was quite difficult to roll into balls. The baked rice balls were pretty tasty though.

I think this book is especially good for those who love vegan baking; I really think there are more dessert recipes than savory recipes in this book! I recommend it for people who enjoy elegant gourmet meals. Recipes I've liked from this book are the Spinach Hummus, Sesame Shiitake Noodle Soup, Paul's Thai Noodle Salad (my favorite recipe so far), Pear Cardamom Muffins, Chocolate Chocolate Almond Cookies, Lemon Lavender Blueberry Muffins, Ginger Anise Peach Mufffins, and Creamy Peach Cardamom Pie.

I decided to try to get some of my holiday knitting done while reading all the wonderful blogs participating in VeganMoFo. Currently I'm working on hiking socks for DH. I have fallen in love with this yarn - it is called Wick by Knit One Crochet Too and it is a blend of 53% soy and 47% polypropylene which apparently will wick away moisture from your skin. The best part about it is that it has the same type of springiness which wool yarns have (apparently from the soy content??). Check it out if you are seeking a vegan yarn for knitting or crocheting. I bought mine at Yarnmarket which also has a wide selection of other plant-based and vegan yarns.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

VeganMoFo #4 - The Engine 2 Diet

Texas firefighter Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who has been studying how to reverse heart disease with a plant-based diet. Rip is the guy on the Forks Over Knives documentary trailer who is claiming "Eat more plant-based foods. It is just that simple." The Engine 2 Diet shows you how to try this way of eating for 28 days with lots of anecdotes on firefighters who have reduced their disease risk. I bought it for the recipes as I'm always looking for more lowfat meal ideas. (There are some recipe notes that mention the possibility of adding fish or chicken for Week One only of the plan but all the recipes are vegan.)

This is the Mexican Lime Soup from the book which is pretty similar to a tortilla soup with the addition of potatoes and mushrooms. DH thought it had too many ingredients so I guess I could have gone a little easy on all the recommended toppings.

I think this book will appeal more to men and those who are fighting heart disease or just want to lose weight. Many of the recipes will appeal to those who want to eat simply without a lot of fuss. For instance, the Chili Dogs and Applesauce  is pita bread stuffed with lowfat vegetarian hot dogs, chili, onion, cilantro, and applesauce. The recipes do not include nutritional analyses and there are no photos of the food. There is a pretty good section on filling breakfast ideas.

I haven't cooked many things from this book other than this soup, the Macaroni and Not Cheese and the Dark Chocolate Brownies. I really want to test out the section on oil-free salad dressings soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

VeganMoFo #3 - Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Today's book is the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by vegan cooking pioneer Joanne Stepaniak. I made the Baked Macaroni and Cheez which is our favorite version of this dish. It uses cashews, tahini, roasted red peppers, sauteed onions, and a minimal amount of nutritional yeast for the sauce. I've tried all sorts of vegan versions of macaroni and cheese including those that use tofu, sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes, miso, boatloads of margarine and other unusual ingredients but my favorite recipes always have roasted red peppers. As you see, the peppers do a good job of making this recipe look similar to the original. I use about 1/2 cup less water than the recipe states and I pre-soak the cashews a bit. I also saute the onions in water and reduce the salt to make for a healthier casserole.

I enjoy the recipes in this book although I'm not sure I'd feed them to really picky omnivores. Most of the recipes contain nutritional yeast so if you hate it this book isn't for you. There is one recipe that doesn't contain nutritional yeast that I make all the time - the tahini, pickle, and tomato sandwich which is wonderful on rye bread.

The book serves a place for those looking for substitutes for their favorite comfort foods and in the 10th Anniversary Edition there is a focus on reducing or omitting the oils. There is a center spread of gorgeous color photos and each recipe has a nutritional analysis. Probably the most unique section is the chapter on block uncheeses which use agar flakes or powder (a sea vegetable) to make firm cheeses. There is also a section on fondues which I've never tried as I do not have a fondue pot.

I've made many of the recipes in this book and have liked most of them. My favorites are the Florentine Ricotta Pie, most of the block uncheeses (Swiss, Monterey Jack, Onion, Dill & Horseradish, Colby, Muenster, and Buffalo Mostarella), Gooey Grilled Cheez, Cheez Please Soup, Creamy Vegetable Chowder, Parmezano Sprinkles, the Gee Whiz Spread and the Crock Cheez.
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