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 2014: Day 15: Meaty Meatless Monday: Jackfruit Tutorial

Hey all!

Today for Meaty Meatless Monday I want to do a bit of a tutorial/guide to cooking with Jackfruit rather than sharing a specific recipe (although I will definitely share some of my favorite recipes for it).

For those of you that don’t know, Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is popular in regions of Asia, that happens to be, when in the right form, a fantastic faux meat substitute for vegans in terms of it’s texture. It can be used in vegan pulled pork type recipes, bbq, as a crab or tuna substitute, even in a recipe for Philly Cheese Steak, to name a few! It is rich in iron as a half cup has 25% iron, but otherwise has fairly neutral nutritional value. It is similar to tofu in that it can take on whatever flavors you cook it with, with a bit more of tangy, even sweetly sour taste.

I jumped on the jackfruit wagon as soon as I could find a way to get some, and at first that meant purchasing it from Vegan Essentials’ online store. You can find a link to the actual jackfruit here. However, since every vegan I knew in my small state had said they couldn’t find it locally, I at first did not question them, and assumed the Asian Markets had been checked thoroughly since people had said they had looked there. Well, one day I decided to question that and see for myself. And low and behold, The Chinese American Mini Market in Cranston, RI had a big shelf of them, and they were less expensive than Vegan Essentials at $1.35 a can, as well as no shipping costs were needed. Hurray!

Another mistake I see people making is that there are two different types (maybe more, I don’t know) of Jackfruit. One is a sweeter, more fruit-like kind. It typically (if referring to Chaokoh brand which is the most commonly found canned brand) comes in a yellow container, like so:

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This can still be used for other types of recipes, but won’t work if you want to make a shredded meat-like recipe. Notice that the can also says it is in syrup.

Instead, you want to buy young green jackfruit in brine (or water if you find other brands).  I am assuming based on the differences between the two, that this form is not as developed as the other, maybe even not quite ripe yet. Here is a picture of what you are looking for:

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To make it easier to remember though, I made some handy graphics to keep in mind when looking for the meaty type of jackfruit:

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When preparing the jackfruit, you typically want to drain and rinse it before using. The easiest and best way I have found to shred it is to pulse it a few times in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, then it’s a good idea to simply follow the instructions the recipe usually includes that asks you to shred it with a fork, either before or after it is cooked.

Now, on to the recipes!

In books, my favorite recipes using jackfruit are from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. She has a recipe for yummy bbq’d jackfruit in the crockpot (which I believe is called Cannibal Corpse Crock Pot) that she also uses on top of a yummy kale salad. She also has a recipe for a sweet potato and walnut jackfruit hash (which she calls “You Don’t Know Jack Hash”) which I absolutely loved. Check her and her book out!

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The jackfruit salad from Bake and Destroy

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott also has a really great vegan carnitas taco recipe in it.

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The jackfruit carnitas tacos

As far as websites go, here are my favorite, tried and true jackfruit recipes:

The V-Word (a fellow Mofo-er) has a mind blowing recipe for Vegan Philly Cheesesteak.

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Vegan Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak!

Finally, one of my absolute favorite non-tuna salad sandwich recipes can be found here. It is amazing, and unfortunately gets gobbled up so fast every time I make it that I don’t have any pictures. It was a big hit by itself (without the melt part) at Girls Rock this past Summer amongst the volunteers!

And how could I forget? My very own Jackfruit Chick’un Noodle Soup!

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So, in conclusion, do not be afraid to try jackfruit. It’s really fun to use and delicious, and there are many recipes you can find. I hope this settles some of the confusion you might have had if you are a jackfruit newbie looking to find it and don’t know much about it, as well.

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Exciting news in my world!

Hey!

So I forgot to post my typical Friday entry, and had been so excited with some great news I received this week, that it must be why I forgot! But also, I wanted to write a special post about all the new things that are going to be happening!

First of all, my last semester at my community college before I receive my Associate’s degree in General Studies starts this Tuesday! Forgive me if I don’t post as often as I have been due to adjusting to my new schedule…although I may surprise myself by writing some posts…

Second (there are 3 big things total to share), my recipe for the vegan “Scallops” Wrapped in “Bacon” was featured on the Bake and Destroy blog! I’m so honored to share my recipe there, and also so happy and proud the recipe came out so well! Here is the link to it, if you have not seen it yet!!

Thirdly (and finally!) I got accepted into a culinary arts degree program! It’s at Johnson and Wales University, in Providence, RI (about a 20 minute drive from where I live!). My goal is to get my Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Nutrition (and maybe even become a Registered Dietitian when I complete it…but one step a time…) but I have to prove myself first by completing the Culinary Arts associate’s degree with a 3.0 gpa, and applying (with references and some volunteer or work experience in nutrition). I do not think it will be much of an issue, but we shall see! Either way I am very excited!

Because of this I might try to focus on some health and nutrition topics that I enjoy, believe, and can share that have helped me from my experiences (or link to resources I can share), in addition to the usual delicious recipes, food pictures, and other vegan lifestyle related posts! I also really would like to try to include some more illustrations to accompany my blog again, but we shall see…

By the way, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to follow me on the facebook page (it’s easier to keep track of when I post new things if you don’t have your own wordpress!) https://www.facebook.com/bananacurlvegangirl

You can also find me on twitter https://twitter.com/laurahasheart

and even Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/hasheart/

Until next time friends! Keep eating deliciously!

Foodie (Photo) Friday, Thanksgiving Edition!

I’m still kind of super tired, I guess my cold is not totally gone and it’s upsetting to me a bit.

So I apologize, but I’m going to try to get through posting this fairly quickly so I can go to bed early, haha.

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This was one of my better Vegan Thanksgivings though. I ended up making a Tofurky roast feast in the crockpot with this recipe. I also cooked up the gravy that came with it. My grandmother brought some jarred pearl onions and we cooked them with some pepper, paprika and earth balance. I don’t know why, but I always liked that, it’s simple and really good. Probably the most elaborate thing I made, besides the pumpkin pie I ended up making, was the green bean casserole. It was well worth it though, it was quite tasty. Actually, I had been worried about it because I thought it might taste too parsnip-y, but it balanced really well. I only put 1/2 tsp salt in it total, though, and it was fine. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp! No way. I’ll definitely be making it next year, though (well, if I decide to make a green bean casserole…and other factors…heh).

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Additionally, I made potato latkes for Thanksgivukkah. I also made Baba Ganoush for an appetizer. I don’t think I can link the recipe to it though, I found the recipe that I had printed out awhile ago and have no idea where I got it from now. But it’s quite tasty. You roast 2 eggplants with some garlic (you put the garlic on it halfway through cooking the eggplants). Then you use the roasted garlic, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt, etc and make a paste in a food processor, then add the eggplant and combine.

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I know I had said I was making pumpkin pie graham cracker squares for dessert, but I ended up getting the Eat To Live Cookbook I had ordered and they had a fantastic sounding pumpkin pie that I decided to make instead. So I did. It’s sugar and flour free, which is awesome. It’s sweetened with dates instead. Aside from the fact that the crust is made from almonds, I couldn’t tell any other aspect was done differently than the traditional recipe. It was soooo good and I liked the cashew cream to put on top but I should have made a little less since I ended up giving a lot of the pie away without it so that I wouldn’t end up eating the whole thing myself (my family is not big on pumpkin desserts for some reason, but I am…)

My meals leading up to Thanksgiving basically just consisted of two things:

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Pumpkin Echiladas from the Vegan Stoner Cookbook, and Green Bean Casserole Pizza from Bake and Destroy.

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I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving, or Thanksgivukkah (Hanukkah…although it’s still happening…) if that’s your thing too. I was very glad to have a cruelty free and vegan Thanksgiving for myself once again, so I’m going to leave you this picture of me in my majestic Compassion Company Thanskgiving t-shirt.

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Foodie (Photo) Friday #5: Eating out, Pumpkin/Chocolate muffins, Tofu Satay

Hello hello! It’s foodie (photo) Friday! Annnd… I did not make much food this week because I ended up going out to eat quite a bit.  I’ll talk about my dining experiences first before going on to the food pictures and recipe reviews:

I went to a burrito place that had seitan as a filling option (which I was very excited about) in Amherst, Massachusetts,  an Asian restaurant in Providence, RI  (the menu had mostly Thai and Chinese dishes but also some Cambodian I believe) where I got orange crispy tofu, garlic eggplant, and sticky white rice, and then tonight to The Grange in Providence where I got a pretzel bun po’ boy with fried oyster mushrooms, vegan remoulade, pickles, lettuce, and cole slaw.

It’s a big toss up between whether I liked The Grange or the Asian food better. I want to say I liked the Grange more. I was so excited when I was eating that sandwich. The flavors in it are amazing. And all the textures together worked really well. A mix of 3 crunchy elements (the pickles, lettuce, and mushrooms) and two soft/creamy (the bread and the remoulade). I was worried that the restaurant might not live up to the hype I’ve heard about it, but I was impressed by the food at least. The only complaint I may have but am undecided about is that I found the atmosphere kind of weird, it was noisy and too dark (I don’t really like dark restaurants, but maybe that is because my vision is not great in the dark? I honestly do not know!

The Asian restaurant (called Gourmet House) had a lot of options for tofu which is always a sign of a good Asian restaurant for me. Almost all the dishes you could choose tofu or tofu and vegetables with. The orange tofu was so good. I was not expecting it to come the way it was though. This tofu was more like what I remember the sauces being when I was an omnivore and had ordered lemon chicken. It was a thick, citrus-y orange flavored sauce, with no hint of soy sauce or anything that I was expecting. I liked it so much I may have gone a bit overboard by eating the whole plate of it. Oops. And the eggplant and rice were also very yummy. I liked the stickiness of the rice, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had sticky rice before. It’s kind of sweet. The eggplant was savory but also had a sweet flavor to it at the time. The eggplant itself melted in my mouth.

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of my food at the restaurants, I was embarrassed to do so, heh.

Anyways, on to what I made from some tasty recipes this week.

The first:

venus chocolate pumpkin muffinsVenus Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. These are half and half pumpkin/chocolate muffins with a streusal topping. They’re difficult to make half and half so they look good, but they do taste pretty good. Next time I might omit the walnuts in the pumpkin, because I’d like a stronger pumpkin flavor. I think the walnuts might overpower it.

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Also I had a hard time with my oven getting them cooked well enough. Even with the max time listed with the recipe they were still totally liquid in the middle when I put a toothpick in the center, I think I cooked them for 5-10 minutes more. I honestly cannot remember, sometimes my oven is a bit weird lately.

Overall, these tasted pretty good and the recipe was pretty straight forward and easy despite having to make 3 separate parts so I give it a 4 good banana, one bad banana. It lost one good banana because it just didn’t have that “wow” factor when I tasted it. But they’re good otherwise.

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Second, was Tofu Satay from The 30 Minute Vegan cookbook.

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I made it into a bowl with some quinoa and added extra peanut satay sauce on top. The satay sauce was perfect, it tasted exactly like the kind of peanut satay sauce I like, that I remember getting from the Thai restaurants I have been to. Sometimes people and companies make a type of peanut satay that doesn’t taste this good, maybe without coconut milk and less of a peanut buttery taste, but this was amazing. The tofu came out pretty good, but I wish I had baked it longer until it got a little more crispy, except I was hungry and impatient so oh well. The addition of raw scallions and red pepper made it a complete and tasty meal all together with the quinoa. So yay! I think this probably deserves a 5 good banana rating!

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That’s all, folks! I have some couple neat ideas for a few different kinds of posts this week, hopefully I’ll get some time to post them, but I do have some exams coming up as well, so I don’t know! But I hope so!

Until next time!

In deliciousness,

Laura

Vegan Junk Food Review

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The other day I received a package of goodies I had bought myself from veganessentials.com and was a bit too excited. If you can’t tell, I ordered 2 cans of Jackfruit for some future culinary creations, Kettle Brand Maple Bacon flavored potato chips, cola flavored gummy candy by Goody Good Stuff, and a grapefruit flavored lip balm stick by Crazy Rumors.

Now, I was very hesitant to buy the potato chips because I’ve been hearing in vegnews how good they are, and I am trying to be good about not eating too much junk food and getting healthy. But I figured as long as I do not eat them every day or more than a single serving each day I will be fine. So far, I have been good about that.

My Review of Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips:

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I was so excited to try an actually vegan flavor like this!

 Hmm, so I haven’t had many potato chips by this brand recently (or potato chips in general really!) but I really liked the thickness and crispy-crunchy texture of the actual chips. I was sort of disappointed with the flavor, as it is stronger on the maple notes and weaker on the smokey bacon flavor. I was hoping it would be a bit more balanced. However, they’re still delicious regardless. I give them a 4 good bananas, 1 bad rating!

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My Review of Goody Good Stuff Cola Breeze Gummies:

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1 serving of these babies!

Well, first of all, these are not the junkiest junk food you could choose. 9 pieces of them are 99 calories, and they are truly fat free and with very low sodium. However, they’re basically just empty calories from sugar and the stuff they use to make them gummy. Basically they have zero nutritional value, but they’re definitely a nice treat!

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I also noticed a spelling error/typo (as I almost always do on things like these if there is one)…they wrote “demending” instead of “depending.” Anyhow, on to the review of the taste, which is probably what you are waiting for. I was a little disappointed because it has a very strong citrus flavor and a less strong cola flavor which I was really wanting. There is more of a subtle cola flavor. I still would rate it a very good for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s very tricky to find specialty candy like this that is vegan. I believe these are imported from Europe somewhere, so that somewhat illustrates how hard it is to find. Second, they have a great sour type flavor which I really like, and a great texture. I’m going to rate them 4 good bananas, 1 bad.

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This company, Goody Good Stuff, makes other types of gummy candies in different flavors, so if you’re interested in trying them, check out where I found them, in the candy section at veganessentials.com!

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helped you decide whether you should try these items or not.

Also, keep an eye out (next week perhaps) when I finally try the Jackfruit I bought. I’m going to try a recipe I have in the Bake and Destroy cookbook I have by Natalie Slater, review it, and then try to make my own creation after I understand a bit more how it works and what it tastes like! I’m excited for that!