Vegan Mofo Day 12: Post #9. Betty’s Sandwiches Destroy the Kitchenicon

Okay, so I have a vegan cookbook problem.

As evidenced by:

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Some of my friends have long been asking me to share my cookbook library’s contents here, with reviews and stuff. As you can see, that’s a bit of an overwhelming task. Maybe after MoFo I will continue to write posts about a cookbook from the collection on a semi regular routine. Many of these books are somewhat irrelevant to me now that I’ve gone gluten free, although I will try to adapt them at some point once I find a good gluten free flour blend and figure out my idea for gluten free seitan…

Anyways, today’s MoFo prompt is to write about our favorite vegan cookbook. As you can see, it is a bit hard for me to pick just one. So, I’ve decided to highlight 5 of them.

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They are:

Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes

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I used to love sandwiches before I went gluten free (now I can’t seem to enjoy bread without gluten in it really), so this was the perfect fit for me at the time. To me, sandwiches were a specific food group. Even now that I don’t eat sandwiches (sobs!) there are still some favorite recipes in here that I can make without needing bread. These include the Chickpea Bacon from the Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Sandwiches and the Shh-ocolate Spread (part of a panini), that is basically a healthier, nut free nutella. There are also symbols in the book that signify when something is “potentially gluten free,” among other things. In my mind though they mostly require bread, which makes it a bit of a challenge. Before going gluten free, I made the Sushi Soy Wraps, Retro KFC-Style sandwiches (their recipe for no cluck cutlets are amazing!), From Russia with Love, Chazwhich, and brioche bread. It has a great beef-style seitan recipe, and two recipes for making alternatives to Tofurky slices at home! This cookbook contains all the vegan sandwiches of your dreams, basically.

Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater

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I have to say, that when I got this cookbook, I was on a big health kick, and was groaning when I saw some of these recipes. However, Natalie Slater is a girl after my own heart, having created some of them most ridiculously amazing and inventive recipes which include a falafel waffle (which I didn’t have luck with unfortunately in my waffle maker, bummer!), nacho cupcakes (sounds gross but was soooo good),  and a green bean casserole pizza (my favorite, and her green bean casserole alone is the best vegan version of this holiday staple food I have tried). It’s a beautifully designed, colorful, fun cookbook. Natalie also puts the dessert recipes first, which I think we can all appreciate in some way or another. Without this book I wouldn’t have found out that Chick-o-Sticks are basically vegan Butterfingers that you can find at Dollar stores. I also bought a twinkie pan because of this, which was a worthy investment. Not sure what to do with your cans of green jackfruit? There are two really amazing recipes that use this versatile vegan ingredient: You Don’t Know Jack Hash, and Cannibal Corpse Crockpot (which is basically pulled jackfruit tangy bbq), which is used in the BBQ salad, which is the perfect combination of health foods and tasty stuff like ranch dressing. If you’re looking for fun, kid friendly recipes with names that make you chuckle, get this book!

Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

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Chef Chloe is my favorite vegan celebrity chef, hands down. I always say she can do no wrong, although I do disagree with the amount of salt most of her recipes call for. In her first cookbook of three (she’s also written a dessert book and Chloe’s Vegan Italian–which I have and is also amazing and packed with even more recipes than you’d expect in a book of that size), there is something for everyone. I especially loved the Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers with Whipped Maple Butter, Easy Peasy Pasta Salad, Double Drive Through Burgers, LA-Style Chimichurri Tacos, Moo Shu Vegetables with Homemade Chinese Pancakes, Avocado Pesto Pasta, Indian Buffet Trio, Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice, Southern Skillet Black-eyed Peas with Quick Buttery Biscuits, and Tempeh Piccata. Many of these recipes are easily adapted to a gluten free vegan diet. I have to remember to try making the Chinese Takeout Chow Mein very soon, as I’ve been craving a dish like this for awhile! I love the section on The Basics, which includes an amazing homemade version of Sour Cream which I once taught a group of non vegan kids at a camp how to make and they enjoyed it! I can’t wait until I can make the trek to NYC to eat at her newly opened restaurant!

Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon

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This is probably the most ultimate vegan cookbook I own (Sorry Veganomicon! I’ll get to the reasons why I love you after I talk about this one). There are 500 recipes in it! The categories cover every kind of food you may ever crave to be veganized. The dinners have the most comprehensive section, which include meaty dishes ranging from chicken wings, Vegan Venison, Jalapeno Corn Dogs, and more. My favorite casserole is the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie, which I think I can improvise and make gluten free still (I don’t really recommend this book if you are strictly gluten free, but since I recently went gluten free, I still have a great appreciation for it as a vegan in general.) The section for Baked Treats could be its own cookbook in itself! They include both savory and sweet items. I haven’t tried many of them at all, but they sound amazing. I always forget there is an appetizer and snack chapter, because it’s in the back of the book, but this section includes two different recipes for Faux Fondue! It even has a Kale Chip Party Mix and instructions on how to make your own potato chips. I love the holiday section, which includes some unique gourmet ways to spice up that Tofurky instead of eating it as is from the box. The recipe I have made the most of any recipe is the Baked Chicken and Easy Waffles. It was often my big reward for surviving hectic exam periods at school.  My only gripe with this book is that so many of the recipes require (and no good substitutes have yet to be found on my end) a Gardein Product that I can no longer find in stores anywhere near me, which is the Chick’n Scallopini. Overall, this book is like the bible of delicious, easy and fun vegan recipes.

Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

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Though this book is known as the “Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” I would slightly disagree. It’s definitely the first really comprehensive and large vegan cookbook of it’s kind, so credit is deserved there. But in terms of cookbooks that have been released afterwards, I find this one a bit more catered to people who are experienced vegan cooks or who want to challenge themselves and make really nice, fancy, refined dishes. Thankfully, I really like this aspect of the book! My all time favorite recipe, Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream, is housed here. I also love the Lemony Roasted Potatoes, Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup, and Smlove Pie. Looking at this cookbook, I am reminded that although I tout it as one of my favorites, I haven’t gotten too adventurous with it as of late. This book was also one of my first vegan cookbooks I ever owned when I first went vegan 7 years ago. It led me to do what I now realize was some pretty brave things as a baby chef who didn’t know how to cook for herself and suddenly needed to now that it was harder and more expensive to find prepared vegan foods to eat. I tried making seitan from scratch without even really knowing what it was at the time because of this book. It’s great for someone who wants a lot of really nice, quality recipes that will impress people all in one book!

So check out these cookbooks if you haven’t already!

And don’t forget to like my facebook page for updates and follow me on Instagram over @laurahasheart. My twitter is also @laurahasheart. 

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Vegan Mofo Day 29: Meaty Meatless Mondays: Seitan overview and recipe links

Seitan–what is it even? Simply put, it is a meat-like vegan substance typically made from vital wheat gluten. It can be used in place of almost any meat depending on how you flavor it.

Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it is not gluten free which makes it difficult for vegans who are also gluten free to enjoy. However, upon making some mochi the other day, I think I may be able to figure out how to make some gluten free seitan eventually, so keep an eye out for when I do!

I think seitan dishes may be the theme of next year’s vegan mofo, but don’t quote me on that yet. I started a zine about it, but I am not sure if I plan on finishing it any time soon. We shall see; I’ll keep you posted.

Here are some of my recipes from the past that have used seitan in them:

French Toast, Seitan Ham and Homemade Cheese Sandwich

Ham Seitan itself

Quinoa Jambalaya with Shrimp Seitan

“Shrimp” Bao

Additionally, this past week I made some bacun seitan from this recipe and made BLTs with it as evidenced here:

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If you’re looking for a good cookbook that features a lot of good sandwich friendly seitan recipes, I suggest you check out Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has recipes for chick’n patties that several of the recipes do different, beef style seitan, deli meat style, etc that all have tons of uses for in their many delicious sandwich recipes. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love sandwiches.

Foodie (Photo) Friday! I made a lot! Especially from the cookbook Isa Does It!

This week was a big week for my cooking. Not only did I create my own original recipe for a favorite, typically very non vegan appetizer, but I also tested tons of other people’s recipes.

I mostly tried a bunch of recipes from the Isa Does It cookbook though, which I have not found a single recipe that wasn’t amazing or really yummy yet. My only complaint is that the recipe names are not easy to remember because they are usually named after the ingredients and not that creative/specific so I feel like I sometimes write about them and name them different than what is in the cookbook. So apologies if I am not using the actual recipe names to a T, I am currently too tired and somewhat lazy to go get the book and double check! Woops. How unprofessional of me…

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cashew Cream Sauce

The most impressive recipe  I have tried  so far was definitely the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Tarragon Cashew Cream and Brussels Sprouts. I have made my own gnocchi from recipes before, but it seemed so difficult and was such a long process. Maybe my cooking skills have drastically improved over time and I just do things faster and in a more organized time saving manner, but I still think this recipe is by far an easier and simple way of making you own vegan gnocchi from scratch than the previous recipe I tried. It only really takes awhile because you have to bake the sweet potato (or potatoes…but I found a 1 lb sweet potato that worked out very well). The sauce is also simplistic yet has a very fancy flavor/touch to it with the tarragon. And a cashew based sauce makes almost any pasta recipe rich and luxurious. The Brussels Sprouts were the perfect finishing touch, and add to the dish to make it a complete healthful meal.

I love the bowls so far in this cookbook. I think I forgot to post about the cucumber ranch tofu bowl I made New Year’s Eve? Well that was pretty good. Even better was the pizza bowl, though.

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Not the prettiest looking pizza bowls

I used tofurky italian sausages (Which, to my delight, do not contain soy protein isolate in them which I am really trying to avoid as much as possible now.  My nutritionist said she believes that it is that form of soy that causes the most problems for our hormone balance, and it is very highly processed (and typically g.m.o I think?) so it is good to avoid or eat irregularly. Tofu is fine unless you have digestive/other sensitivities to it, whIch I do not.

Anyways, this was absolutely delicious and comforting. The sauce is really, really good. It reminds me of pink (or vodka cream) sauce, which was one of my favorite sauces before I went vegan and I have found difficult to replicate as a vegan despite trying . Actually now this gives me an idea to try and make an even more authentic version of it! Yay!

Paired with the kale (which I actually seemed to cook right for the first time ever…I typically only eat it raw), rice, sausage, garlic, red onions, olives, etc it is just so wonderfully filling and tasty!

My pictures of it are not the prettiest, but believe me, it is so yummy!

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edamame hummus tofu wraps…before I wrapped them 🙂

I also made the tofu wraps with edamame hummus. It somehow tastes kind of like a Japanese-inspired egg salad wrap to me which I thought was pretty cool. I will definitely be making the edamame based (instead of chickpea) hummus on it’s own again multiple times. The tofu was really good too though! I love anything with sesame oil in it, and it crisps the tofu perfectly. Isa Chandra Moscowitz doesa really good job through writing her recipes teaching people the proper methods of cooking her dishes without having them fail horribly. Hopefully I can get there myself too!

I did not use sprouts because when I buy them they seem to go bad too fast, instead I used greens. When I use up the leftovers tomorrow though, I am probably going to use baby arugula. Yum!

Aside from cooking from Isa Does It, I found this recipe on a facebook group I belong to and was intrigued so I gave it a try. Behold, Green Pancakes!

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not the prettiest again but behold green pancakes!

They look kinda gross, but I felt really good about eating them for my breakfast and do not taste too different from unhealthy versions of pancakes…especially when you add some maple syrup, ha, ha. I kept thinking of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and thinking this would make a good vegan story like that, especially for kids while eating these. So it was fun, healthy, and fed my belly all at once.

Finally, I made a really delicious salad today.

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my delicious salad with chickpea “bacon”

The centerpiece of the salad was the Chickpea Bacon recipe from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Gosh do I love that book!

I put 2 cups chopped romaine, 1/2 cup baby arugula, 1/3 cup sliced cucumber, 1/3 cup chopped hearts of palm, 1/4 of the chickpea recipe, a slice of red onion that I chopped into smaller bits, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 2 tbsp Organicville Non Dairy Ranch! I made a similar version for my dad and he really liked it too! He was trying to refuse eating it because of the non-dairy ranch, but now he says I have to make him a salad every day! (Though fat chance…but I will make an extra for him when I have one from now on!)

Ta da! And now you know what I cooked up this week!

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can follow me on these social media outlets where I post related (and unrelated) things to my blog.

Banana Curl, Vegan Girl’s Facebook Page

Follow me on Pinterest (the blog has it’s own board if you just want to follow that)

Twitter

And I think that’s everything for now! I will be adding these to the end of my blog every so often for new people to click on and explore. Also, I love comments and feedback and love it when people spread and share my work I am doing here, so do not be shy about that!

First Blog Post–Happy Vegan Rosh Hashana!

I rarely celebrate any Jewish holidays, as I am not religious at all. However, I grew up loving Russian Jewish food because that’s the ancestry of half of my family, My family  decided to get together this past weekend, and we decided to make food inspired by Rosh Hashana for it, since it starts tomorrow night (The evening of September 4th, 2013) and is close enough to when we got together since we don’t see each other very often.

So when I heard we were doing this, I started looking around for what in my mind was classic Jewish food, with the intention of veganizing it. I looked in a lot of the cookbooks I own by Isa Chandra Moscowitz as she has a lot of good stuff like that hidden throughout her cookbooks (mainly Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance) and finally decided on a menu.

I ended up making:

My Reviews of it all:

The “Brisket”

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A rating of 5 good Bananas is the highest rating! Woohoo! Seitan Brisket recipe! This means it was amazingly delicious and I wanted more. This means even my aunt, who eats meat and isn’t used to fake meats at all, ate it and said it was really delicious (especially the sauce)! I would gladly make it again, even though it took me two days  to do so!

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so good, 5 good banana rating!

A few tips if you decide to make it yourself? If using the recipe in the Vegan Sandwiches book for the home-made Moo Free seitan, I cooked it in the slow cooker, that way you can forget about it all day basically and go about  your business as normal. However, place it in the fridge when you go to bed so it’s ready and cool the next day. Then slice and prepare the rest of the stuff on the Earth Balance recipe. I used grape juice instead of red wine (I’m sort of straight edge but I cook with wine occasionally. I wanted to try the grape juice though to see if it worked and it worked amazingly,) I also used white miso for the glaze.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own seitan (I contemplated it) you can try storebought. You could also substitute any beef like basic seitan recipe instead. With either of those changes though, I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same 5 good bananas rating results that I had 😛

The kugel:

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I hate to give my worst rating to a recipe right away, but I’m giving this the rating of one good banana, 4 bad bananas! 😦 Partly this may have been my fault, because I was really spacey the day I made it, and used 3 matzos instead of 4, and forgot the onions, and left out the lemon juice. However, the way the recipe was written it was easy to forget the onions, but the lemon juice was totally my fault. Despite my botched attempt at making this recipe, I think it would not change much had I done it right. It’s a hunch…but the matzo makes it have this weird taste and it just was too spinachy or something. I wish it was better. Like it has the potential to be a bit creamier like a spinach souffle or the like, but it’s really off-putting. I don’t even want to eat the rest of it that is left over… 😦

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the kugel along with everything else on the plate

Oh, and I used a Stop and Shop brand of egg-free noodles. They’re the same shape as the egg kugel noodles, but I verified to make sure they were vegan.

FInally,

The Rugelach!

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Well I’m rating these delicious vegan Jewish Holiday pastries that I grew up with (except not vegan at the time) four good bananas and one bad! It loses one good banana simply because I think they could be slightly better. The recipe doesn’t instruct how to get the classic rugelach shape correctly, which I’m more than okay with because they still taste excellently good, but I think the dough may also need a tiny bit of work, as it’s softer than the real rugelach I remember. Otherwise, it’s basically the real deal. The chocolate filling option is amazingly authentic and so tasty!

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one out of two baking sheets it made of these babies!

It was slightly challenging to clean the food processor after making these, as well as really hard to roll out, I didn’t slightly flour the surface, I heavily floured it. Except for some of the jelly rolls I made unrolling a bit in the middle, though, I am very happy with it. It makes a ton! I made exactly 48 cookies. Don’t eat a ton of them all at once, as they’re about 100 calories a pop (more on how I calculate this later on in future blog posts).

That’s it for this post today! Hope you enjoyed it! And if you’re Jewish (or not), Happy New Year !

P.S.: Since this is my first ever blog post, don’t forget to check out the about me page on my blog here