Category: Food & Recipes, Human

Cookbook Review: Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda (2014)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

A Celebration of Vegan Food

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through the Blogging for Books program.)

As with many renowned vegan eateries, NYC’s Candle Café is a restaurant I’ve coveted from afar, salivating over the many mouth-watering dishes photographed, enjoyed, and shared by vegan friends and acquaintances on Instagram, tumblr, and other social media outlets. (I have five dogs who I love to pieces – but they kind of put a damper on my travel plans.) Luckily, the burgeoning vegan cookbook market – and the increasing number of cookbooks released by popular vegan restaurants, such as Candle Café, The Chicago Vegan Diner, and Jivamuktea Café – has made it possible to enjoy even the most upscale menus from the comfort of your own kitchen. Hasta la vista, age of vicarious living!

Candle Café ups the ante with Vegan Holiday Cooking, a special cookbook chock full of holiday-themed menus. While this isn’t the first vegan holiday cookbook on the market (there’s also Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas and Susan Voisin, as well as Zel Allen’s Vegan for the Holidays), Vegan Holiday Cooking is unique in its focus: rather than concentrating solely on the “big” holiday season – Thanksgiving through New Year’s – Pierson, Ramos, and Pineda extend their celebration across the calendar.

The book includes ten menus for a variety of occasions, including the Super Bowl; the Lunar New Year; Valentine’s Day; Passover; Easter; Cinco de Mayo; the Fourth of July; Thanksgiving; Christmas; and New Year’s Eve. Each menu receives roughly the same amount of attention – the 4th of July and Christmas both merit 18 pages of coverage! – resulting in a holiday cookbook with great depth and variety.

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Snowball Cookies

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

2014-11-26 - VHC Snowball Cookies - 0003 [flickr]

Baked goods are always a little risky for me – cookies especially, which is tragic because I love them SO MUCH – which is why I usually stick to tried and true cookbooks. (See, e.g., Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I really should review one of these years.) But the Snowball Cookies in Vegan Holiday Cooking looked so tempting that I just couldn’t help myself. Caution, meet wind.

The results are a little mixed. While the cookies themselves are pretty easy to make and taste amazing, the chocolate icing (? ganache? glaze?) proved a bit of a mess. It was thin and runny and didn’t set on the cookies AT ALL, even after fifteen minutes in the fridge. Plus the recipe made at least three times more chocolate than was necessary, and now I’m stuck with an entire pint of extra chocolate sauce. Not the worst problem, but still.

In the end I added about 1/4 cup of cornstarch to thick the sauce up; while it still transformed the cookies into a sticky mess, it was much more manageable (and tastier) than the previous wet mess that was the test cookie. Next time I’ll probably just skip the recommended sauce altogether and use a magic chocolate shell or some kind of chocolate (or not! the eggnog flavor from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur would go great on snowballs!) icing instead.

Kahlua Ice Cream

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

2014-11-23 - Kahlua Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

I eat so much ice cream, y’all, that’s it’s difficult to come up with new flavors to try! This one was inspired by the Irish Cream recipe in The Vegan Scoop, which turned my attention toward the liquor cabinet, and the many wonderful boozy flavors I’ve yet to experiment with. I know that ice cream’s kind of out this season, but methinks this would make an excellent dessert for a vegan Christmas/New Year’s bash. And yes, Kahlua is vegan!

Kahlua Ice Cream

(Makes a little under a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

2 cups soy creamer, plain or vanilla
1 cup soy milk, plain or vanilla, divided
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua + extra to taste (I used 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon)

Directions

1. In a small mug, combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk well and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the soy creamer, remaining soy milk, sugar, and 1/4 cup Kahlua. Heat on medium-high, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and add the arrowroot slurry immediately, whisking well. This should cause the milk to thicken noticeably. Taste the batter and add extra Kahlua to taste.

3. Cover and transfer to a fridge to chill for six to eight hours or, better yet, overnight.

4. To make the ice cream, process the batter according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Enjoy immediately as soft serve or transfer to the freezer for a firmer dessert.

2014-11-23 - Kahlua Ice Cream - 0006 [flickr]

Candle Cafe’s Wheat Ball Heroes – and a Pita Pizza!

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

2014-11-21 - VHC Wheat Ball Heroes - 0007 [flickr]

I’m pretty sure I don’t eat enough sandwiches. Or at least not compared to my high school years. I used to have a sammie a day, like clockwork, and now I’m lucky if I make one or two a month. Adulthood, man. (On the plus side, I eat so much pizza and ice cream that my mom would be appalled if she knew. IF ONLY.)

I decided to rectify this oversight with the Wheat Ball Heroes from Vegan Holiday Cooking – one of the last recipes I’ll try before finally getting around to a review! (Just in time for the holidays, yay!) The recipe involves making both your own wheat balls and marinara sauce from scratch, but seeing as I had a bunch of homemade sauce in the freezer, I took a bit of a shortcut there. fwiw, the Candle Cafe’s marinara sauce recipe looks pretty solid; I’m sure it’s delish.

As for the wheat balls, they’re really tasty, but also rather troublesome. They’re made of seitan (homemade, using the Simple Simmered Seitan recipe from Vegan on the Cheap!),

2014-11-21 - VOTC Simmered Seitan - 0003 [flickr]

fried onions and garlic, bread crumbs, and assorted seasonings. After mixing the batter in the food processor, it turns into a crumbly mixture, which you’re supposed to form into little balls and bake. The dough didn’t hold together quite as well as I hoped, even after adding a little extra oil and a splash of water. Some balls took multiple tries, and still imploded while in the oven. To wit:

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Potato Gratin

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

2014-11-16 - VHC Potato Gratin - 0001 [flickr]

2014-11-16 - VHC Potato Gratin - 0004 [flickr]

I’d say that these Potatoes Gratin from Vegan Holiday Cooking are kickin’ it, but it’s hard to go wrong with potatoes and cheese. Like, next to impossible.

So this is a fairly standard recipe as far as Potato Gratin goes – though I guess it’s been awhile since I made it, so grain of salt. Thinly sliced potatoes are layered with mozzarella Daiya cheese, topped with breadcrumbs, and kept moist with soy milk seasoned with chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. During baking, the cheese melds with the soy milk to create a wonderfully creamy mozzarella sauce.

Since I wasn’t sure how many layers of potatoes I would end up with, it proved difficult to evenly distribute the two cups of cheese throughout the dish. In the end I underestimated and only used about a cup of cheese. Though I still think two full cups is maybe a little excessive (blasphemy!), my potatoes could’ve used more cheese. Maybe next time I’ll shoot for a cup and a half?

The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe were the breadcrumbs. Or rather, the bottom layer of breadcrumbs, which became gummy and adhered to the bottom of the pan during baking. Even Peedee, after an hour of frantic licking, couldn’t dislodge all the chunks. If you’re trying this recipe, definitely throw all the breadcrumbs on the top – and broil the dish before serving for extra golden crispy good measure!

Candle Cafe’s Quinoa Vegetable Cakes

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

2014-11-14 - VHC Quinoa Vegetable Cakes - 0002 [flickr]

2014-11-14 - VHC Quinoa Vegetable Cakes - 0006 [flickr]

2014-11-14 - VHC Quinoa Vegetable Cakes - 0008 [flickr]

I’m a sucker for homemade veggie patties, and the Quinoa Vegetable Cakes from Vegan Holiday Cooking are among the tastiest I’ve ever had! Technically they’re a “cake,” not a burger, but they’re pretty much the perfect size for slapping between two slices of bread, so there you go.

The batter is a mix of quinoa, onions, carrots, and red peppers, half of which you blend into a mash using a food processor (resulting in the burgers’ psychedelic neon orange color). Add breadcrumbs, shape into patties, and bake!

The primary spice is cilantro, which made me a little nervous; I’m not the biggest fan (tastes like soap!). To my surprise, the cilantro isn’t at all overwhelming, and actually adds a rather nice flavor to the finished patties.

You’re supposed to bake these bad girls at 350F for ten minutes, after which time they should be nice and crispy. Mine weren’t, even after twenty minutes in the oven, so I cranked the heat up to 400F to get the job done: about ten minutes on each side. (The recipe also doesn’t say anything about flipping, but that’s the only way I could get both sides nice and crispy.) The next time I make these, I’ll go right to 400 degrees; ten to fifteen minutes on each side ought to do it.

These are freaking amazing when served with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mustard, and Vegenaise (pictured above) – and even better when you swap out the fresh vettable topping from friend onions and mushrooms. YUM.

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

2014-10-27 - Chocolate Cherry Chunk - 0001 [flickr]

This flavor was inspired by Purely Decadent’s Cherry Nirvana flavor which, according to the internets, has been discontinued. (Boo!) Not that it much matters to me; while Kansas City is home to a surprising number of health food stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Green Acres, to name a few), their selection of vegan foods is uniformly sucky. Just before Halloween Shane trekked down to Overland Park in search of So Delicious’s holiday-flavored ice cream pops (Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn), and he came home empty-handed. Also MIA: Amy’s Daiya Cheese Pizzas; Nayonaise; and Tofurky frozen pockets. WTF!

/ rant.

Anyway, this Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream is in Cherry Nirvana’s ballpark, but I came up just short of nailing it. The cherry flavor isn’t quite the same, possibly because So Delicious uses a higher-quality cherry extract than I. But the chocolate-covered cherry bits are gangbusters! Pro tip: you may want to make extra for snacking.

The frozen ice cream proved difficult to scoop, but that was totally on account of the frozen bits of chocolatey goodness; the ice cream itself is smooth and creamy. For easier scooping, you can set the chocolate cherries aside and sprinkle them atop the ice cream just prior to serving. Either way. Awesome.

(More below the fold…)

Sweet Potato Latke Fail!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

2014-11-08 - VHC Sweet Potato Latkes - 0002 [flickr]

After a pretty respectable streak in the kitchen, I encountered an epic fail with the most unlikely of suspects: latkes, which don’t usually prove much of a challenge at all. The Sweet Potato Latkes from Vegan Holiday Cooking – a 50/50 blend of shredded sweet and russet potatoes that looks so amazing in the gourmet food photo from the cookbook – came out more like hash browns. These guys could not hold a patty shape to save their lives. Like, not even close. I put a ball of batter in my palm to flatten it out, and it just crumbled everywhere. Not to mention, they didn’t even rival the neon orange color of the latkes pictured in the book.

Not wishing to waste four potatoes (or all the effort spent grating them), I did the obvious thing: made them into baked hash browns! Basically I followed the alt. baking instructions, adding about 15 minutes to the recommended bake time. Since I needed two cookie sheets to hold all the potatoes, I tried a little experiment: the first cookie sheet I lined with parchment paper, while I lightly sprayed the other with Pam. The results? Nearly identical. Go figure.

You’re supposed to top the mini latkes with a dab o’ almond creme fraiche – but, seeing as the recipe is so similar to the one featured in the Roasted Squash Soup – i.e., the one that already didn’t work for me once – I skipped it altogether. Good thing, since there were no latkes in need of garnishing after all!

2014-11-10 - Latke Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

For what it’s worth, the leftover potatoes made a wonderful add-in for a tofu scramble. Pictured above is a scramble with mushrooms, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and about a cup of hash browns (fried separately for maximum crispiness). So good, I’m not even 100% sure I can call this a fail.

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

2014-11-06 - VHC Cauliflower & Fennel Soup - 0004 [flickr]

Another hella tasty soup from Vegan Holiday Cooking! The title’s pretty self-explanatory: the base consists of roasted cauliflower (2 heads) seasoned with fennel (3 bulbs). Simply roast the cauliflower and fennel, then cook it with the soup stock for bit; blend and serve! I couldn’t find any fennel bulbs locally, so I used a mix of dried fennel seeds and ground fennel instead: 2 teaspoons of seeds and 1 teaspooon ground fennel.

If you want to be extra-fancy, you can serve it with truffle oil to garnish.

Deluxe Tofu Scramble

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

2014-11-05 - SRJ Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

Okay, so, confession time: I did not follow this recipe – found in Simple Recipes for Joy – to the letter. I tried, I really did, but I just could not bring myself to mix the spices in the 4 to 5 recommended tablespoons of water before adding them to the tofu scramble. The tofu of which? IS NOT PRESSED! Madness, right?

I don’t know about you guys, but I usually have a problem with too much moisture in my scrambles – especially if I add veggies with a high water content, like mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Granted, this recipe calls for none of these things (though I did add a little of each, in the interest of cleaning out my fridge), but still. Four tablespoons? That’s a lot of water, yo! I would say try one tops, since the recipe is absent the one tablespoon of soy sauce I usually use. But no more!

Otherwise I really liked this Deluxe Tofu Scramble. The spices are a mix of cumin, nutritional yeast, tumeric, thyme, paprika, chili powder, salt, parsley, and coriander – which is a new one for me. The taste is a little fresh and different from what I’m used to. Definitely gonna remember coriander for my next impromptu scramble!

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tofu Dumplings Potato Gnocchi

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

2014-11-04 - VHC Roasted Red Pepper Soup - 0001 [flickr]

This might be my all-time favorite soup, you guys. AND I FREAKING LOVE SOUP! It’s like Candle Cafe’s roasted red pepper pasta sauce, but drinkable!

So there are four roasted red peppers in this bad girl, along with corn (I didn’t have any peas, so I doubled up), leeks (or scallions, in my case), onions, veggie stock, and basil. The recipe includes instructions for making your own tofu dumplings by hand, but I took a shortcut by using premade potato gnocchi instead. It turned out aces.

I’m not gonna lie; after my last red pepper fiasco, I was a little nervous about roasting my own, even if my method had served me well up until last week. But I seeded and sliced the peppers as usual, divided the slices between two glass baking pans, drizzled them with about a tablespoon of olive oil each, and then roasted at 425F for about 40 minutes. The skins? Peeled right off. Smooth as silk! Or whatever the vegan equivalent is. Satin, maybe?

I reused the roasting oils – now infused with sweet peppery goodness – in the soup. Zero waste! (I even left the skins to the insects outside.)

Cookbook Review: Vegan Eats World, Terry Hope Romero (2013)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

“What if the world was vegan?”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook for review from the publisher.)

Wherever it’s eaten, meat basically remains the same – it’s plant foods that transport our senses. Apply those flavors to vegan staples such as seitan or tofu and even straight-up vegetables, and the possibilities? If not endless, pretty darned expansive.

As a semi-reformed fussy eater, I was both nervous and excited when Da Capo Press offered me a copy of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet for review. (Waaaay back in May, to celebrate the book’s release in paperback. I’m SO SORRY it took as long as it did, you guys!) Nervous because I knew that many of the recipes contained therein would fall outside my comfort zone and challenge me to try new things – and excited for the same.

The recipes in Vegan Eats World run the gamut: there’s everything from soups and sammies to spring rolls, dumplings, and pierogies. Crepes, breads, and pies, of both the sweet and savory persuasions. Tofu scrambles, gyros, curries, and noodles. French tarts, Greek lasagna, Ethiopian tortes, and Egyptian soup. Romero traverses the globe in search of traditional dishes to veganize and otherwise “hack,” combining different ingredients and foodstuffs in exciting and unconventional ways. The result is a hodgepodge of recipes which hail from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and are as mouth-watering as they are varied. There’s literally something for everyone here!

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Homemade Pappardelle with Spinach, Portabello Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

2014-10-26 - VHC Roasted Red Pepper Sauce - 0005 [flickr]

Confession time: I did not make this pasta from scratch! I am way too lazy for that. However, the roasted red pepper sauce is homemade (do they even sell such a thing in stores?), and furthermore I roasted and peeled the peppers all by my little lonesome. And it took forever, I might add!

Usually I seed and slice them prior to roasting, which is always in olive oil and a glass baking dish. (The olive oil is awesome for reuse in pasta dishes, since it’s infused with pepper juices!) With this method, the peels practically fall off the roasted pepper slices.

This recipe instructed me to spray the whole peppers in Pam, roast them, and then seed, slice, and peel. Instead I compromised by seeding and slicing them, spraying them lightly with Pam, roasting them, and then peeling them once cool. Or at least I tried to: after 40 minutes in the oven, the edges had crisped up so much that the skins were basically melded onto the peppers. It took me 45 minutes and much finagling just to peel half of them! After that I tried a Hail Mary: I roasted them a second time in olive oil, like I would normally. That helped to loosen the skins from the edges a bit, but it was still a struggle to get them all off. Never again! From now on it’s olive oil for this girl and her peppers. (Though I’m sure the other method would have worked well too. Or at least better than the weird Frankenstein process I came up with.)

ANYWAY. The resulting sauce was crazy delicious. I threw some cornstarch in there to thicken things up, but otherwise I followed the recipe to a T. As for the spinach/mushroom mix, I did include spinach but chose not to cook it. (Wilty greens, ew!)

SO GOOD. I need to make red pepper sauce more often, y’all.

Quickie Apple Strudel

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

2014-10-26 - Apple Struedel - 0001 [flickr]

2014-10-26 - Apple Struedel - 0004 [flickr]

You guys, I was so worried that this apple strudel (recipe courtesy of Elepahntastic Vegan) would be a disaster! I used an old odd-sheet of puff pastry that’s been bouncing around my freezer for ages; the expiration date was a year and a half past, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that it must be a few years old at least. I know, I’m so bad!

Anyway, after I defrosted the dough I had trouble prying it apart. After much nudging and hand-wringing, I cut it half to expedite the process; that gave me two wildly misshapen and differently-sized pieces. One of them – the one closest to the opening of the package, I think – was a bit dried out, while the other was super-wet and moist. I slapped some margarine on the dry one, slathered apple pieces coated in cinnamon sugar on top of it, and then covered it up with the moist piece, which was by then the larger of the two. A little crimping and 25 minutes at 375F later, and I had an apple strudel that was as tasty as it was ugly. Yay!

I dusted it with a but of powdered sugar and enjoyed half for lunch and half later that night for dessert. I think it could stand to have more apples – I was afraid to push it too far, lest I have an exploding juices situation on my hands – but otherwise it was pretty good. Next time I think I’ll also do a wash of some kind for extra sweet goodness.

Not too bad for ten minutes of work! (Woulda been less, but see: “problematic dough.”)

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

2014-10-24 - VHC Butternut Squash Soup - 0001 [flickr]

My very first dish from Vegan Holiday Cooking! I decided to make it a practical one, so I chose a recipe that requires two of my current arch nemeses (butternut squash and apples, which are conspiring to make my fridge/freezer burst open at the seams). Seasoned with cinnamon, sage, rosemary, and chile powder, this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is topped with an almond cream, as well as pumpkin seeds toasted with lemon juice and cinnamon.

The soup is hella tasty and easy to make; no problems there. The almond cream was a little trickier; mine didn’t get terribly creamy and didn’t look much like that in the fancy gourmet food photo. Actually the difference in aesthetics isn’t terribly surprising; my almonds had their skins intact, hence the variation in color. But it also seemed a little heavier that Candle Cafe’s version, even with extra water added. When I plopped a little into the soup using an ice cream scoop, it just sank right to the bottom, with only a tiny bit staying afloat. Kind of like an iceberg! It still tasted great, though; ultimately I just blended the unused cream with the leftover soup and enjoyed them as one. Why use two containers when one will suffice?

Also, you might notice that those are not pumpkin seeds perched atop the almond cream. Right you are! I didn’t have any, so I subbed in pecans instead. I think they worked just as well.

My to-do list for Vegan Holiday Cooking is more than a dozen items long, so stay tuned for more!

Turkish Zucchini Pancakes (with leftover White Bean Farro Soup!)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

2014-10-18 - VEW Turkish Zucchini Pancakes - 0005 [flickr]

Along with the pesto for Sunday’s Butternut Squash Pizza, these Turkish Zucchini Pancakes from Vegan Eats World feature the very last of this season’s home-grown zucchini. (Yay! I did it! Now I can go back to stuffing my fridge with junk food!) Other goodies include carrots, white and chickpea flour, scallions, onions, and – an unexpected surprise for your taste buds – dill!

I’ve made zucchini pancakes about a million and twelve times now, but these are the best I’ve had in recent memory. Maybe it’s because I actually took the time to wring out the zucchini shreds in a towel instead of just throwing them in a colander and leaving gravity to do all the work? Whatever, I’m not complaining. Plus the leftovers heat up nicely in a frying pan or on the griddle.

I served them with leftover White Bean Farro Soup, the picture of which came out much prettier (and clearer!) this time around.

2014-10-18 - VEW Turkish Zucchini Pancakes - 0001 [flickr]

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

2014-10-19 - Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza - 0001 [flickr]

C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Peach Green Tea Ice Cream

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

2014-10-16 - Peach Green Tea Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

One of my all-time favorite flavors of green tea (second only to *maybe* jasmine) is peach. Recently it occurred to me that I’ve yet to make peach green tea ice cream, an oversight I took to rectifying immediately. Luckily, it was pretty simple: just process some canned peaches and syrup into a slurry and use it in place of the soy milk. Peach Green Tea Ice Cream in a jiff!

If this was the beginning of summer, I might have used fresh roasted peaches in place of the canned stuff. Sadly, it is not. (Sob. Snow is just around the corner, y’all! Get me some sun lamps stat!) But feel free to use ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

Also, 1 1/4 cups (or 1 cup post-processing) is about six slices shy of a full 15 ounce can. I was tempted to use the whole shebang, but worried that it’d be too much batter for my one-quart machine to handle. It can be hard to tell, since some batter expands more than others when frozen. As it turns out, it fit with very little room to spare. If your bowl is larger than mine, go ahead and use the full can. Or don’t! The leftover slices taste amazing when served alongside the finished product.

(More below the fold…)

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana Topping

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

2014-10-15 - VEW White Bean Farro Soup - 0003 [flickr]

You guys, this might be my favorite Vegan Eats World soup yet! It’s super-hearty, with farro wheat berries (my first ever time trying them! and they are AWESOME!), tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and cannelini beans (or great white northern, in my case; forgot to go shopping, OOPS!). Spinach or escarole is optional; I shredded mine into little itty bitty pieces so it wouldn’t get all wilty and slimy. (HATE cooked leafy greens.) It gave the soup a nice, festive Christmasy feel and kind of overruled the need for parsley. Way tasty, all around.

The topping is an Ethiopian/Mediterranean mashup involving cooked chickpea flour and lemon juice to make a tangy, parmesan-like garnish. It pairs most excellently with the soup and adds an unexpected kick. So good!

I’ve already claimed dibs on the leftovers.

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

2014-10-14 - VEW Seitan Stew & Frites - 0001 [flickr]

Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

2014-10-14 - VEW Seitan Stew & Frites - 0006 [flickr]

The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

2014-10-12 - VEW Seitan Coriander Cutlets - 0001 [flickr]

Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!