Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MoFo 2012 Wrap Up and Giveaway Winner

Wow! What a month. It was a very fun MoFo for me this year. I was so lucky to be able to have so many great books to give away. I was even luckier to get copies of some of them myself. I am really looking forward to delving deeper into them. It is really hard to pick a favorite.

In the awesome picture category it was a tie between Candle 79 Cookbook and Great Gluten Free Vegan Treats.

In the most cheeky category was The Sexy Vegan Cookbook.

In the most intriguing category there was also a tie between Vegan Eats World and World Vegan Feast. Both made me want to learn more about cuisines around the world.

It was very interesting to study the very different writing styles of the different authors. There were some that just got right to the point with mostly recipes. There were others that provided a lot of reference material and personal insights. What a great variety!

I had a couple of ulterior motives for picking my theme this year. I am a cookbook addict and I thought it would be a great way to scratch that itch. I hope to finish writing my cookbook this next year, so this was a great way to force myself to research different styles and see how mine personal style might fit into a book format. But mostly, I wanted to share some insights and books with you guys! I hope you enjoyed this year's theme as much as I did!

I know there was a lot of great vegan food blogging going on this month, so I truly thank you for coming back and visiting this blog. I hope you will hang around and come back often. I'm pretty sure I will be taking a little break to catch up on things like housework and paying attention to my family and friends and of course, Fred, who always gets neglected during MoFo! I'm ready to do some goofing off!

Don't worry I didn't forget about the giveaway. The final MoFo winner is...

#1 Kate!!!

Congrats Kate. There are indeed some quick and pretty easy options in the book! Please make sure to contact me with your shipping info at vegintraining at gmail dot com.

Everyone please have a safe and fun Halloweeen!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review - Ani's 15-day Fat Blast

I saved this book for last to review on purpose. This might be just the book to reverse some of the not-so-healthy effects of my busy month. Admittedly, my eating and sleeping habits have been pretty poor this month. It has made me feel kind of bloated and seriously lacking energy. I've also been having a hard time focusing and concentrating. I could really use a good body-mind clean up.

After reading the first four chapters of Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast, I am reminded of how what you put into your body totally affects how you function. In the first chapter Ani discusses the myths and truths about raw diet. She talks about how whole, nourishing raw foods are more easily digestible, easy to make and quicker to prepare. All good things for a busy blogger. The thing that made me sit up and take notice was her promise increased energy. I could use some of that!

Chapter 2 gives a peak at what is in it for the reader. She promises that the plan will produce weight loss, increased muscle mass (from plant proteins), increased energy and endurance, healthier skin, better mental performance, improved overall health, slower aging and toxin elimination. That's a pretty big promise and I want it!

The third chapter explains the building blocks of her plan: Rocket Fuel. These include probiotics, prebiotics, MCFAS and thermogenic foods. Confused? So was I, but she does a great job of explaining what these are and how they work.

In  the next chapter she explains the plan, the tools needed and how to supply your pantry. This is where some people might get off. The plan includes a lot of powders and other not so standard ingrediets like sahca inch, maca and matcha. I like to think I have a pretty good knowledge of ingredients, but even I found myself thinking "Hmmmm. Do I want to go out and purchase all of these ingredients?" My goal is vibrant health, so yes, I will probably give it a go. Probably...not definitely.

The pros: quick prep, natural ingredients, short program, promise of quick health and weight loss results.

The cons: unusual ingredients

The author seems very focused on weight loss and looking good, which probably is logical giving the subject of the book. What really hooked me was her focus on increased energy, mental clarity and a healthier, leaner body. I've had my fair share of challenges with inflammation and other annoying physical issues. I do believe that many health issues we face are related to our dietary choices. The plan itself is only 15 days long. I can do just about anything for 15 days. I'm curious to see how I would feel at the end of that time. Will I go and buy the special ingredients to work the program? I'd like to think so, but time will tell. How bad do you want it?

No really,  how bad do you want this book? Because you can win your very own copy. Just leave a comment about a health or fitness related goal you'd like to reach by changing your diet by midnight MST tonight for your chance to change  your world with this book. The winner will be chosen at random and announced tomorrow, the last day of MoFo and Halloweenie! (US and Canadian shipping only please)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Winner of Vegan a la Mode!!!!

Here is part two of the ice cream fest...that I was not a part of I might add. Hmph. Just kidding. Like father like daughter, it was no surprise the ice cream was gone in a flash. It must have been a great treat! Here's Tyler:

I have to preface this review by stating I am an AVID Horchata drinker and have even gone on a quest through my southwestern town to locate the best Horchata aficionados. Having said that, Hannah Kaminsky’s frozen vegan version does not disappoint when it comes to great Horchata flavor. When I saw that the recipe actually started out just like Horchata (soaking of almonds and rice), I knew this recipe was for me.  

I let the almonds and rice soak for a full 24 hours and then proceeded with the recipe, which included blending and straining the almond/rice mixture, cooking it down, and chilling it to a scary gelatinous goo (don’t let this frighten you, it churns to a beautifully rich ice cream). 

It was easy to follow and I did not make any modifications (other than accidentally adding a bit too much cinnamon, which was a delicious mistake). The result was a silky, ever-so-slightly grainy, Horchata flavored bliss. If you have not had real Horchata made from scratch than this may seem odd, but there is a wonderful micro-grit from the almonds and rice that lends itself as a perfect balance to the sugary, cinnamony sweetness that is Horchata. Even the next day this ice cream was creamy and delectable, the true measure of exemplary homemade ice cream  in my humble opinion (and the fact that it was all gone within 36 hours of making).

As the end of MoFo approaches, I am looking forward to having more time to delve further into this book! One of you will have that chance before I do! The winner of Vegan a la Mode is...

#9 Amey!!

Way to go! Please contact me with your shipping information at vegintraining at g mail dot com. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Iron Chef: Hot Chiles, Sunflower Seeds and Grapes

Today's Iron Chef entry is brought to you by the foods Hot Chile, Sunflower Seeds and Grapes. As I looked at this list of ingredients I was instantly psyched because hot chiles were part of the challenge. Sunflower seeds, no problem. It was the grapes that had me stumped. The only way I usually tend to consume grapes is in a good wine. I don't usually care for them with savory stuff and I figured a lot of my challengers would go the sweet route. What to do?

At first I was going to tackle a brunch dish. I had planned to make a breakfast sandwich. I thought maybe some type of biscuit with sunflower seeds in it and maybe some type of chile-grape jam. I set about making the jam and it ended up being the texture of applesauce. Had I not been so bummed out I may have thought to use it in a scone or something like that. Instead, I scrapped brunch as it was after 1pm by now.

I decided to get back to my love of the great Southwest and its flavorful and spicy personality. First I made a cilantro-sunflower seed pesto.

Cilantro-Sunflower Pesto

Yields 1 1/4 cups

3 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves (small stems are ok)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients except for the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine then run processor until well chopped. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and let run until pesto is fairly smooth, scraping the sides once or twice.. Add more salt to taste if needed. Will keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks and will freeze for 6 months. GF

Next I got to marinating some tofu see recipe below.

Cilantro-Sunflower Pesto Marinated Tofu

1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons Cilantro-Sunflower Pesto
1 tablespoon Aji Panca Paste (can be found in some hispanic markets or online)
1 tablespoon low sodium tamari
8 oz. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and sliced into 8 equal rectangular pieces

In an 8 x 8 baking dish whisk together marinade ingredients. Add tofu in a single layer. Marinade for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, turning once.

Tofu can be grilled or baked in marinade.

Then I set about using those pesky grapes. I have to say the results far exceeded my expectations! This is what I came up with:

Grape-Avocado Pico de Gallo

1/2 cup green and red seedless grapes, quartered
2 medium red tomatoes, diced about 1/4" dice
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 very hot fresno (red) chile pepper, finely diced*
2 tablespoon red onion finely diced
juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
 1 small avocado, peeled and diced

In a medium sized bowl, combine grapes, tomatoes, cilantro, hot chile pepper, onion, lime juice, cumin and salt. After they are well combined, gently fold in diced avocado. Let sit for about 30 minutes to let flavors meld. Serve immediately. GF

* I feel it is very important to use a pretty hot variety of chile. It contrast the sweetness of the grapes beautifully.

So I had all the players lined up. I first thought I would make a tostada. That was until I realized after two trips to the store this morning, I had no lettuce or cabbage in my house. Two times was enough, so I switched gears. I had some corn tortillas in the fridge and a big ol' bottle of canola oil left over from a cooking class. Have you figured out where I'm going with this yet? Taquitos!!

Pesto Marinated Grilled Tofu and Black Bean Taquitos

1 recipe Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Pesto Marinated Tofu (see recipe above), reserve 1 tablespoon marinade
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Pesto (see recipe above)
12 corn tortillas
1/3 cup Daiya Mozzerella Shreds
Oil for frying

Preheat grill to 350. Oil grill grates. Place sliced marinated tofu on hot grill and brush with marinade. Grill for 5 minutes or until nice grill marks appear and tofu is golden. Turn and brush other side with marinade. Grill for 5 more minutes until tofu is golden and slightly firm. Dice into 1/2 dice and set aside.

In small saucepan, combine black beans, 1 tablespoon reserved marinade and 1/4 cup pesto. Simmer over medium heat until beans are heated through. Gently stir in tofu and remove from heat.

Heat oil to 350. If you don't have a thermometer, use a small piece of tortilla to test heat. If it bubbles slightly, you are ready to go. It is really important to make sure the oil is not too hot or your taquitos will fall apart.

Assemble taquitos.

Take one tortilla at a time and place in oil for about 10 seconds to soften tortilla. It is very important to do this step to prevent tortillas from breaking apart. Carefully place softened tortilla on a paper towel lined plate. On end of tortilla closest to you, sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons shredded Daiya. Scoop approx. 2 tablespoons tofu-black bean mixture over Daiya in a straight line. Gently roll tortilla over filling until it resembles a cigar.

Here is the tricky part. These little guys like to unroll when you put them in the oil. I suppose you could use a pick to hold them shut, but they can tear pretty easily, so be careful if you pick 'em shut. If you successfully pick them, you could probably cook 2-3 at a time. I chose to cook one at a time and gently place them in the oil, seam side down, immediately holding the taquito with tongs using very light pressure. Fry for about 3 minutes, then turn over. Fry for about 2-3 more minutes or until beautifully golden. Using tongs drain excess oil from both ends of taquito. Place on paper towel lined plate, and repeat for remaining tortillas.

Serve immediately with a healthy serving of Grape-Avocado Pico de Gallo (recipe above).

Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post by midnight MST tonight (10/28/12) for a chance to win Vegan a la Mode...cuz you need a frozen dessert after this dish! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review - Vegan a la Mode and Guest Poster!

When Skyhorse Publishing agreed to provide a copy of Vegan a la Mode by Hannah Kaminsky for this giveaway, the first thing that flashed into my mind was my step daughter's family. She is probably one of the best cooks I know and her whole family loves ice cream! She seemed the natural choice to review this book and I was thrilled when she agreed without hesitation. It's such a pleasure to be able to share our love of cooking.

Here is her review of the book. Thanks Ty!!

Our family experiments a lot with ice cream and although we are not vegan, we are always trying to find new ways of perfecting our craft. Vegan recipes offer not only a delicious plant-based alternative to the rich dairy based desserts, it’s generally cheaper. Over the years I have tasted many store-bought vegan ice creams, and a few (usually coconut milk based) do appeal to me, but often they fail to satisfy my craving for actual ice cream. We tested two recipes from Vegan A ‘La Mode, Bitter Orange Sorbet and Horchata Ice Cream, and my craving was satisfied. 

The book is beautiful and easy to follow with great pictures and reference material. I recommend reading the “Troubleshooting” section before getting started, it has invaluable tips on avoiding ice cream catastrophe (ex: the stabilizer recipe to keep sorbet smooth).  We are a “jump-right-in” kind of family, so this suggestion is in hindsight. Both recipes turned out deliciously craveable the first time, even without modification; however some slight adjustments would probably amount to perfection. I want to work my through every recipe in the book and would be happy to give/receive this book as a gift, vegan or not. 

Mason, my 6 year old, picked Bitter Orange Sorbet, and this mini-foodie knows great flavors. It was an easy recipe to follow and we had a great time with it. First we made our orange sugar syrup. In hindsight I would have cooked the sugar syrup longer and taken it to a thicker "thread" stage. In my experience this helps keep sorbet smooth and creamy in the freezer, rather than turning to ice. The author offers a vegan stabilizer recipe to achieve this. Another way to accomplish this, I have heard, is to substitute some brown rice syrup for some of the sugar, but I have yet to try it.  While the syrup simmered we juiced our fruit. 

We made one adjustment to achieve the "bitter" undertone. We were not able to find the sour variety of oranges, as the recipe note suggests.  We substituted a 1/4 cup of extra grapefruit juice for 1/4 cup of the orange juice because our oranges were really sweet.

So after our orange sugar syrup cooled and we mixed with the juices, it was on to the ice cream maker. We have an electric Cuisinart Pure Indulgence, which is a staple in our kitchen. We churned until smooth and thick then transferred, covered, and put in freezer, BUT....not before sampling the fruits of our labor. It was slightly sweet, tangy without making our jaw clench, a hint of each juice came through without any being overpowering, and it melted in our mouths. It was delectable and I could not wait to eat again the next day. This is where the effort to make it creamy would have been froze rock-solid. We moved it to the fridge for a few minutes to soften, then mixed well. It was still a bit "slushy" like, rather than the creamy texture it had night before, but who doesn’t love a great slushy?!

Our overall experience with this recipe was excellent and left me very excited about the 2nd trial.... Horchata ice cream!!!.....Stay Tuned.....

OK folks! It's time for another giveaway. This was can be shipped anywhere so everyone can join in the commenting fun. Leave a comment about the craziest or most interesting ice cream flavor you've ever had. If you haven't gone outside that box yet, just post about your favorite ice cream treat. Please make sure you post before midnight MST tomorrow night. The winner (and the Horchata ice cream review) will be posted on Monday. Sweet dreams.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegan for the Holidays Winner!!!

It's kind of been like Christmas all month for me. I feel like the cookbook Santa!

Unfortunately, I have not yet been invited to partake in Hanukkah celebrations. But I do know that Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days when the holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated by the Macabees. Foods fried in olive oil are eaten to commemorate this miracle oil. Latkes, a fried potato cake, are often served on the Hanukkah table. Vegan for the Holidays includes a simple and delicious recipe for this classic dish: Potato Latkes with Tofu Sour Cream and Applesauce (pg. 82). I opted to use the Toffuti sour cream I had in the fridge instead of making the recipe for Tofu Sour Cream (pg. 83) in the book. I used the food processor to shred the potatoes and I squeezed the excess liquid out of them. The result was a beautifully crispy cake.

Between these and the nog, it was not a low fat night to be sure. But my love for the potato (and things fried) is never ending. I'm going to need to take a serious look at Ani's Fat Blast (which will be reviewed before the end of MoFo) very soon. Check out these golden beauties.

Who's going to get a jump start on holiday party planning with their very own copy of Vegan for the Holidays?

The winner is...

#11 Lizzie Bordello!!!

Congrats Lizzie! Its sure to be a delicious holiday season for you. Please contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com with your shipping info. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway - Vegan for the Holidays

Today's featured book is the festive Vegan for the Holidays by Zel Allen.

This is a happy little book that covers the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Zel introduces each chapter with a reflection on the holiday featured in the chapter. The book has some Thanksgiving classics like Williamsburg "Pumpkin" Pie and mashed potatoes with her own unique twist: Onion-Chardonnay Gravy. Her version of the holiday classic, Egg Nog: Brandied Holiday Nog is a rich delicious creamy treat. It rivals it's eggy counterpart without any of that pesky cholesterol. It was a little early to break out the nog, but I'm certainly glad I did. I do recommend making sure your ingredients are cold, or at least let the nog chill before serving.

If you are one of those people who needs some inspiration during the holiday season, this book has some fun and original recipes and ideas. The author shares how her food brings her loved ones to the table every holiday. Maybe she can inspire your loved ones to do the same.

Here's your chance to add a festive holiday book to your collection! Leave a comment about a dish you just can't imagine living without during the holidays by midnight MST tonight, Thursday, 10/24/12. Winner will be announced tomorrow (US Shipping only please). 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe and Giveaway Winner!

Thankfully some foods are naturally gluten-free: vegetables, fruits, nuts and even some grains. One of my favorite grains is quinoa. It is super quick and easy to make. It takes on flavors so easily and it's a complete protein to boot.

Here is a very simple and flavorful way to use this super grain (which is actually a seed). Use some leftover quinoa (2 cups cooked) for a very quick salad.

Instead of the traditional tabbouleh made with bulgur wheat, quinoa is used in this salad to make a gluten-free equivalent of the popular Lebanese dish.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Yield 6 Servings

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups finely minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely minced fresh mint
3 medium sized tomatoes, seeded and diced
zest and juice of one large lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 scallions, minced

Combine the quinoa and water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer, stir gently, and cover. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Chill the quinoa in the fridge until cold, about 1 hour.

Stir in the olive oil and salt and then gently fold in the parsley, mint, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest, black pepper, and scallions until well combined. Let rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge until well chilled. Serve cold.

Excerpted from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats, Allyson Kramer, Fair Winds Press, 2012

I'm happy to share this one recipe with all of you. But only one lucky commenter gets to win the whole book. That commenter is....

#2 - Anonymous (Karen)

Karen - I tried to email you and your email address bounced back undeliverable. Please contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com with your shipping info

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway - Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats

Finally a gluten-free AND vegan cookbook that is beautifully presented and full of great information and delicious recipes. Being just vegan or just gluten-free poses it's own challenges. If you find yourself vegan and suddenly unable to eat gluten, don't fear! Allyson Kramer has got your back in her book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. There are recipes for breads, muffins, pizza, pasta and so many other things you might have thought you'd have to give up with the gluten.

Allyson has provided a very handy and informative guide to gluten-free flours at the beginning of the book. There is also a section (with recipes included) for pantry basics. I was pleasantly surprised at the great variety and yum factor of the recipes in the book.

I have a good friend of mine who is trying to eat a more plant based diet. She also has some loved ones who gluten sensitive. She asked me to recommend some books for her. One of her criteria is that she wants a book with a lot of pictures. She likes to see what the dishes will look like when they are done. She is a woman after my own heart, and apparently Allyson is too! The book is chock full of mouth watering photos. This book will be perfect for her!

The recipe I chose to make first was the Basic Brown Bread (pg. 26). My issues with baking are well known among these parts. So why not go for the most challenging thing I could? Ha. This bread contains buckwheat flour. Allyson explains that there are two types of buckwheat flour. I did not know this before I started. Apparently I had the dark variety. It gave my bread a very odd almost purple-ish hue. The color was a little off-putting to me, so next time I will use the light flour. I had never made gluten-free bread before. One thing that was very noticeable was the loaf did not rise as high as gluten-full bread. It was much more dense as well. The flavor was really good. If you make this recipe, I do recommend slicing the bread pretty thin because of the density.

I took the loaf to work to share with my co-worker. His wife has recently had to give up gluten, so I thought she might like to try the bread. They are having some challenges trying to figure out what to cook and eat. The next day he came in and asked for the recipe. He wants to get the book for his wife for Christmas. Loving it! He is a far cry from vegetarian much less vegan, but it's great he is willing to look at different options.

Today we have another wonderful giveaway courtesy of the fine folks at Ten Speed Press. A free copy of Great Gluten-Free Eats could be yours (US shipping only please). Just leave a comment about a food or dish you love but think you could never have if you had to be gluten free by midnight MST tonight. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced tomorrow 10/24/12.

Drumroll please!!! The winner of Vegan Eats World is...

#30 - Petunia!!

Congrats Petunai. Please make sure to contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com with your shipping information.

Monday, October 22, 2012

PPK Cookbook Challenge - Week 7

It appears that I got ahead of the game for this week's cookbook challenge by a week. This week is free choice week, where we get to pick any Isa Moskowicz or Terry Romero book. My book review and giveaway of Vegan Eats World came just in time for the challenge. OK, it may have been pre-meditated.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Indian food and soft chewy naan. When I saw Terry's recipe for Yogurt Naan, it was a no brainer. I am thrilled to report that no yeast was killed in the making of this bread, no small feat for me I can assure you! The dough was beautifully soft and easy to work with. I am not kidding you that I squealed with delight when the perfect naan came out of the pan. Active time is pretty short, but you do have to factor in rising time. This naan rivals the best Indian places' bread. I plan to make some yummy curry to go with it this week, so I hope it reheats well. Look how perfect it is!

I had already decided to make the Yellow Split Pea Soup with Chard (pg.122) before the naan caught my eye. I had some yellow split peas hiding out in my pantry and some gorgeous chard in my garden. I whipped up some of the Spiced Buttery Oil (pg. 44) and got to work on the soup. The peas take about an hour to get soft and creamy, which gave me ample time to chop the rest of the ingredients. My only regret is that I didn't make the inerja to go with it. There is always next time! Look at the beautiful colors.

Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post by midnight MST tonight for your chance to win your very own copy of Vegan Eats World!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review - Vegan Eats World - Giveaway!!

How excited am I for yet another new cookbook from Terry Hope Romero? I'm more excited than a 12 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert! That's pretty darned excited. I have cooked so many recipes from Viva Vegan, Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar it isn't funny. Terry's recipes are always well written and tested, it is always a safe bet to whip one out for hungry friends with confidence. When I heard she was writing an international cookbook, it was all I could do not to break out into multi-lingual, international song.

The book starts off with a huge table of contents. She breaks the world down into 12 chapters that cover everything from spice blends to curries to desserts and lots more in between. Like Veganomicon, Vegan Eats World includes handy icons for meals that take under 45 minutes, mostly inactive time, cheaper ingredients, easy, low fat, gluten free, and soy free recipes. This makes the huge book a little less intimidating. 

The first part of the book is a section called Kitchen Cartography. This section is great for the less experienced cook. It offers lots of great tips and basic prep hints with cute little illustrations. I've never been very good at mis en place, but after reading her little blurb on mis en place, it just seems to be silly not to do it. Terry includes some basic cooking terms and methods. It is an international cookbook, so she takes a bit of time to describe some ingredients the reader may not be familiar with and separates them out by region. Even you seasoned cooking veterans are likely to learn something new. 

The second part of the book includes all of the creative and varied recipes. Terry knows her way around the kitchen and the world. There are 300 recipes in this section. Each chapter includes an encouraging introduction. The recipes are easy to read and use. The biggest problem you will have with the book is deciding where to start and what to make first. To help you with this quest, she provides really handy resources including some menu ideas, recipes by icon and an excellent index at the end of the book.

For me, it was an ingredient that I wanted to use that led me to the recipe I made first. I had some aji amarillo paste in my pantry that really needed some love. I fell in love with this pepper paste while testing for Viva Vegan. I was thrilled to find a very intriguing recipe in which to use it. The Andean Aji Bean Stew (pg. 116) had five of the cute little icons listed: mostly inactive time, cheaper ingredients, easy, low fat and soy free. Sounded like a perfect weeknight meal to me!

As the icons indicated, this was a very easy and low maintenance recipe. The most time intensive prep was peeling and chopping the butternut squash. It is chock full of antioxidant rich veggies. The beans and quinoa give it a good protein boost. The aji amarillo gave the stew a beautiful spice. I loved the hint of smokiness imparted by the smoked paprika and liquid smoke. This was a wonderful one dish meal. It got a thumbs up from my family and one very meat eating co-worker. This is going to be in my regular rotation for sure. 

Now it is your turn! You can win your copy even before the release date! One very lucky commenter is going to take a trip around the world with Terry courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books. Leave a comment about your most memorable international food/eating experience or your favorite type of international cuisine by midnight tomorrow night, Monday, 10/22/12. The winner will be chosen at random Tuesday. US and Canada shipping only please. 

OK, folks. Here is the winner of Artisan Vegan Cheese...

Commenter #14!! Laura C.

Laura, please make sure to contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com with your shipping information. Congrats!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Iron Chef - Potatoes and Sesame

The fine organizers of Vegan MoFo chose two awesome ingredients for this edition of Iron Chef: potatoes and sesame. Potatoes are one of my all time favorite foods. I can't think of any way I don't like to eat them. I have to say fried potato products are like crack to me. I am trying hard not to eat a lot of fried foods these days, so when this challenge came up I had to muster all of my will-power not to fire up the fryer.

Sesame has several forms that are awesome in many types of cuisines. I just happened to have whole sesame seeds, tahini and toasted sesame oil in my pantry. So many options went through my head: sushi, sesame potato cakes, curry, gyoza, soup, Asian potato skins, lettuce wraps. They all sounded sooooo yummy, however, none of these came to be for this challenge. Instead I opted to make a salad; not just your run of the mill salad. This salad has it all; protein, starch, vegetables, savory mushrooms and lots of flavor!

It has several components and lots of ingredients, but it is actually pretty simple to make. I recommend making the dressing and marinating the tempeh and mushrooms a day ahead of time. Make sure to read the recipe all the way through before starting so you can decide on your plan of action. The day of assembly, I recommend starting your potatoes first. They will need some time to roast and cool. You don't want them to be super hot, just warm.

Sesame Crusted Tempeh Asian Salad with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Makes 4 entree portions

Prepare Tempeh and Mushrooms for marinating:

1 - 8 oz package tempeh, cut into 12 thin rectangles
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced


1cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon red miso
3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
1 teaspoon dried thai basil or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Steam sliced tempeh for 15 minutes. While tempeh is steaming, whisk marinade ingredients together in a 11" x 7" rectangular non-reactive pan, or any pan that will hold the tempeh in one layer. While tempeh is still hot, place in single layer in the marinade. Add shiitake mushrooms to the pan. Marinade 8 hours or overnight, turning tempeh once about half way through.


1 small head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced, washed and drained (approx 7 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
2 green onions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced
1 recipe dressing (see recipe below)

marinated tempeh and mushrooms from above
Spray oil for pan
1/4 cup each black and regular sesame seeds, combined in a shallow bowl
Roasted potatoes from above

In a large bowl, toss savoy cabbage, red peppers, green onions and dressing until vegetables are evenly coated. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Spray a 10 inch iron skillet or non-stick skillet with spray oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté until just browned, about 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside to cool to room temp (a little warmer is actually even better).

Re-spray pan with oil. Dredge marinated tempeh in sesame seed mixture until evenly coated. Place coated tempeh in preheated pan. Sear for 3 minutes. Gently turn tempeh and sear other side for about 3 minutes. Turn heat off and leave tempeh in pan to keep warm.

Assemble the salad:

Divide salad mixture evenly among 4 plates or large shallow bowls. Arrange 3 slices of sesame coated tempeh on each plate. In the center of the salad place 1/4 of the sauteed shiitake mushrooms. Add 1/4 of the roasted potatoes evenly around the edge of the plate.


1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon red miso
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or more if you like it really hot)
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth. Will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Yesterday was such a full day for me, I barely got my post up. I did not include the winner of American Vegan Kitchen. I won't leave it out today. The winner is...

#5 - Jeni!!!

I agree Jeni! No diner experience would be complete without pie. There are a couple of great pie recipes for you to try in your brand new copy of AVK! Please make sure to contact me with your shipping information at vegintraining at g mail dot com. Congrats!!

Make sure to come back tomorrow. It's going to be an exciting day! I will be reviewing the upcoming Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero and yes I will also be giving away a copy to one lucky winner.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway - Artisan Vegan Cheese

Of all of the incredible vegan cookbooks that have come out this past year, I don't think there has been as much buzz about any of them as there has been about Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoki Schinner.

What is it about cheese that is so irresistible? It is the single food that makes many people think it is impossible to go vegan. There may be something to their claims: cheese is addicting for real. According to this article by the PCRM, cheese contains very minute traces of morphine that is naturally produced by the liver of cows. It also contains casein. This sneaky little substance releases several opiates during digestion. So if people say they are addicted to cheese, they may very well be.

However, I think a lot of the "I can't live without cheese" attitude has a lot to do with our dairy loving culture too. Can you imagine a plate of nachos without the melty goodness on top? How about a caprese salad with no creamy mozz? Pizza without cheese is possible, but how fun is that? The National Diary Council has made sure that we feel like we must use their products to be healthy. Now we know better. But what's a vegan or lactose intolerant person to do?

There are lots of really good vegan cheeses now available on the market. But some of them fall short of that "aged" flavor that many have grown to love. Enter Miyoko Schhinner, a vegan food expert and restaurateur. She has written the holy grail of vegan cheeses. Her book has taken the country by storm and made the cover of VegNews, She offers a wonderful variety of flavors and types of cheese for the reader to try out.

The beginning of the book offers great tips and advice on how to become your own cheese monger. The key ingredient is patience; something I don't always have in excess. Good quality dairy cheeses require time and patience, the same goes for vegan cheeses. One of my favorite parts of the introduction is when she describes how she had lots of tasting parties and made all of her friends keep trying her experiments. I felt like she could look inside my soul as I do the same thing so often!

The chapter on "Almost-Instant Cheeses" is a great starting off point for the less patient. If you like melty cheeses, you're in luck. If you are an aged cheese fan, she teaches you about a miraculous liquid called rejuvalac. This odd sounding ingredient is the key to giving your homemade cheese that slightly pungent aged flavor.

I had two epic failures on my first two attempts. It took me a little while to realize that my rejuvalac was off. It was pretty warm here when I made my first batch. It fermented far too quickly and it was very strong. I tried to make two mild cheeses with it and was very sad when they were too pungent. I also did not follow the cardinal rule of being patient. I wanted to make it "now" and did not yet have the carrageenan suggested in the recipes. Miyoko says you can substitute double the amount of agar powder (which I did), but I got much better results with the carrageenan.

At the urging of some of my PPK friends I made the pub cheddar. Mine took quite a bit longer to get to the shiny smooth stage than stated in the book, so I was worried I was going to fail. But I channelled that sometimes illusive patience and it became beautiful and shiny. It reminded me of that bright magenta and yellow cheese that comes in a little plastic tub. It was pretty yummy on crackers and the texture was spot on for a spreadable cheddar. Sadly, I did not get a photo. However, I do know that there will be more successful cheese mongering in my future as I learn from the master.

Are you excited about having a chance to win the hottest vegan cookbook in the country right now? I'm excited for you! This one is for matter where you live. So my international friends, make sure you leave a comment for your chance to win Artisan Vegan Cheese by midnight MST tomorrow night (10/20/12) for your chance to win. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite cheesy dish or another cheese memory you have. The winner will be announced on Sunday. Good luck!

Books can be purchased through online retailers and

Thursday, October 18, 2012

American Vegan Kitchen - Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

The folks at Vegan Heritage Press have kindly given me permission to post one of Tamasin Noyes' delicious American Vegan Kitchen recipes. Just in time for National Oatmeal Day (see pg. 15) on October, 29th..the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe (pg.193) from American Vegan Kitchen.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 3 Dozen

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup born sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup raisins

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, oil, vanilla and maple syrup. Slowly, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed. Stir in the raisins. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or longer.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drip the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie and placing them at least three inches apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. If moved too soon, the cookies will crumble.

From American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes, (c) 2010 by Tamasin Noyes.  Used by permission of Vegan Heritage Press

Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post by midnight tonight (10/18) MST for your chance to win American Vegan Kitchen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review - American Vegan Kitchen

American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes is all about comfort food. I don't know if it is really fair to call this a review as I have reviewed and praised this book several times before. The new relationship glow we had in the beginning has matured into a comfortable, familiar trusting relationship. I had the great pleasure to be a tester for this book, so I have tried MANY of the recipes. Tami's writing style makes you feel like she is your buddy and you're hanging out in the local greasy spoon.

She provides a lot of great basic information on vegan proteins. Her savory seitan recipe (the slow cooker version particularly) is one of my go-to seitan recipes. It turns out great every time. She offers brief tips and tidbits without being long winded. On thing I adore about this book is her section titled "Celebrate All Year 'Round with American Vegan Kitchen". It is a fun list of different food themed days for throughout the year. If you are lacking blogging inspiration or cooking inspiration, turn to this section and get yourself a theme going. 

A couple of weeks ago someone posted it was taco Tuesday. I hadn't been to the store and wanted to make some tacos. Luckily, I had everything I needed to make AVK's 21st Century Tacos (pg. 145). I don't think it is fair for an Arizona, chile lovin' girl to critique these tacos. I will tell you, that I like mine much more fired up. But this recipe is super easy and great for a quick weeknight meal. I think most gringos and gringas will very much enjoy these. The taco meat freezes really well, so make double and freeze some for a super quick dinner. 

One of my all time favorite sweet treats when I was very young was tapioca pudding. I don't remember the last time I had tapioca pudding! When I was testing, I really didn't look at the desserts much for some reason. I guess it was because I had just come off of testing for a baking book and I was bursting out of my pants. I was excited when I found the Mom's Tapioca Pudding (pg. 196). It was very parntry friendly. I didn't have instant tapioca, but it's in every store, so no biggie. I could hardly wait for it to cool off to eat it. I let it get completely cooled, because this is how I ate it as a kid. Oh man did this take me back!! The recipe says it serves four. Hah! I didn't want to share any of it...but I did.

It's time for another give away! American Vegan Kitchen can be yours!!

America is truly a melting pot. There are so many cultural influences in American dishes. For this contest, leave a comment about what you think represents All-American food or great American diner fare. Leave your comment by midnight MST tomorrow 10-18-12. US residents only.

Come back tomorrow when I will be posting a recipe from the book!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

PPK Cookbook Challenge Week 5 - Yellow Rose Recipes

Last week's PPK cookbook challenge featured Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught. I love this cute and homey book. It is the home of one of my all time cookin' for a crowd recipes...the Tamale Pie.

This time around I opted for a southern favorite, the chicken-fried seitan. It was down home fried comfort food at its finest. I served it with her collard greens recipe, but subbed chard I had in my garden. Fred loved the greens and said it was one of his favorite preparations. It was pretty darn easy, so that's a bonus!

It makes me sad that this book is out of print, but you can still get your hands on some of Joanna's recipes in her Yellow Rose Greatest Hits. One of my pictures from testing even made the book! (The one for the Chickpea of the Sea Salad. You can order you copyhere

Make sure to visit tomorrow for a chance to win American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whole Foods Cooking Class

I have been more than a little distracted this week as witnessed in my memory lapse on Saturday's post. Oops! Well, my air-headedness benefits one lucky reader as I must in all fairness re-draw for a second winner for the Saturday giveaway of The Quick and Easy, Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food Cookbook. The benefactor of my scattered little mind is commenter #10! Aunt Di! Well how 'bout that!

So the cause of my distraction is a legit vegan event. On Sunday, I was thrilled to be the guest chef for a vegan cooking class at Whole Foods in Scottsdale. My lovely step daughter came to my rescue and was just the perfect partner for the class. I just love being in the kitchen with her. She is a dynamo in the kitchen and is one of the most incredible cooks (and women) I know. It was such a great experience. The folks in the audience asked great questions and offered some great information and knowledge as well. I met some really interesting and fantastic people.

What does this have to do with cookbook mania? Well, two of the recipes I made for the class are going to be part of the cookbook I am working on. So there, theme included in today's post! Can you tell I'm still a little tired? Yep, so excited after the class, sleep was a little challenging. :)

Here is what we served:

Quinoa Crusted Sweet Potato Croquettes w/Tomatillo-Avocado Sauce
Kale and Napa Cabbage Slaw
Sloppy Joses

Here's what it looked like:


This week there will be more cookbook giveaways, including one of the hottest vegan cookbooks out there: Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner (which can be shipped internationally...yay!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Announcing the winner of The Quick and Easy, Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food Cookbook

Thanks for all of the comments about diets and diet foods. I agree that the whole diet food industry is laden with unhealthy ingredients and yucky tasting "food". That is what we love about the whole foods vegan diet. It is also what's to love about this book. Alicia's recipes are lower cal versions of comfort food recipes that skimp a bit on calories, but not flavor.

Today's winner is

#12 Courtney!!! Woo Hoo Congrats!!
Courtney, please contact me with your shipping information and I will make sure the book gets headed your way. vegintraining at g mail dot com.

In other news: Today I will be doing my first cooking class for Whole Foods. It is so awesome to see such great interest in vegan cooking! It's a pretty big group, so I'm a little nervous, but vegan food will make it all good.

Here is picture to make your day! Cabby, the winner of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook shared this adorable shot of her sweet Pepper. He is very serious about helping to pick out a recipe!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review - The Quick and Easy, Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food Cookbook

The Quick and Easy, Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food Cookbook is the book I reviewed.  I must admit that when I saw the name of the cookbook I was skeptical. While I was excited about the quick and easy part and felt comfortable with the vegan part, the low-cal part made me hesitate. I am fortunate enough to never have had a need to focus on low-cal foods in my diet.  I definitely have never been a calorie counter.  But I was willing to give it a whirl since Kimmy recommend this book to me.  She knows my lifestyle and my food preferences so I put my trust in her when agreeing to review a cookbook for MOFO.  

Taking my job as reviewer seriously, I read the book cover to cover.  Reading the intro chapters I did do some eyeball rolling when I read the chapters about serving sizes and calculating how many calories you should consume, outlining typical diets in certain calorie ranges and being physically active. Being a die hard reader (I usually always read books cover to cover with the exception of cookbooks! ), I did not lose heart.  The chapter “What’s That?! A Guide to Your Vegan Pantry” was fascinating to me.  The author discussed staple vegan foods in a detailed yet succinct manner.  Being new to the world that is vegan, I wanted to know what all these “foreign” items were and this chapter did not disappoint.  I now have a better understanding about items such as Silken Tofu, Tempeh, TVP, Vital Wheat Gluten, Masa Harina, Nutritional Yeast, Bragg Liquid Aminos, Liquid Smoke. With this basic knowledge, I found myself excited to experiment with them.  Oh yes, a little knowledge can be dangerous.  So, I proceeded to the recipes to see where I could be culinarily dangerous!  

The middle of the book had colored photos of some of the recipes.  I must admit that I am a lazy cookbook person, I very rarely make something that does not have a picture unless I have tried it before. Again, I was skeptical of reading through recipes without photos but I persevered as I had an assignment to complete! 

The book is organized by topic and has a great index in the back.  As I went through the book, I marked “potential” recipes that I wanted to try.  After going through the entire book, I was pleasantly surprised by how many recipes I had marked.  Not only did it have to sound delicious to me; it had to be quick and easy!  Yes, this book does live up to its title.  Now, the challenge was to pick one for this review. 

I chose the Southwest Scramble.  I picked this because it was nutritionally a great bang for the buck and gave me the opportunity to use tofu & nutritional yeast with ingredients (veggies & beans) that I already loved.  I also used the Tofu Express to press the tofu to remove the excess water.  If you are a tofu lover and don’t have this gadget - it is a must!  This dish was awesome!  It had so many flavors and textures that excited my palette that I was more than thrilled that it made six servings.  Not only did I eat it for dinner but I enjoyed the leftovers throughout the week.  

Another useful feature in this book, is that  there are a lot of recipes that use the same ingredients and overlap with one another.  For example, the tzatziki sauce can be used on the gyros, the zucchini fritters and the fried green tomatoes.  I like the versatility in that!  Needless to say, I am not done with this cookbook.  As a matter of fact, I am going to make the zucchini fritters today. I am going to bake half the batch and fry the other half (options for preparing them both ways is given) to see which way I prefer them.  And, I will also whip up some of that delicious tzatziki sauce to dollop on the fritters.  Yes, I am one saucy girl! 

Thanks sister!!! Great review! 

OK readers, this is a US only one again. I promise, I have a couple coming up that can be shipped internationally soon! Post a comment telling what you hate about "diet" foods by midnight MST Sunday 10/14/12 for a chance to win your copy. The winner will be announced Monday 10/15/12. Don't forget to check back then to see if you've won!

As an added bonus, the publisher just sent me (and gave me permission to post) this simple scramble recipe from the book!

Naked Tofu Scramble

Makes 4 Servings

When I first transitioned to being vegan, I liked my tofu scramble heavily flavored with all sorts of herbs and spices. Now I also enjoy a more dressed-down version with just a hint of flavor from bell pepper and a couple of simple spices.

1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup chopped bell pepper, any color
One 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained, pressed (see Cook’s Tip on page 39), and crumbled
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Warm the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the crumbled tofu and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, and salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the desired texture is reached. Season with black pepper.

Per serving: 98 Calories | 7 g Protein | 6 g Total fat | 1 g Saturated fat | 0 g Monounsaturated fat | 4 g Carbohydrates | 1 g Fiber | 2 g Sugar | 35 mg Calcium | 1 mg Iron | 626 mg Sodium

Recipes from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food: 150 Down-Home Recipes Packed with Flavor, Not Calories, copyright © Alicia C. Simpson, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Candle 79 Giveaway Winner!!!

This is one of those books that just gets me excited. One of the dishes I will absolutely be making in the near future is the Seitan Piccata (pg. 89) with Creamed Spinach (pg. 114). Look at this beautiful dish. Lucky for us, 10 Speed Press gave me permission to share the recipes with you today! Enjoy!!

Seitan Piccata
Serves 6
6 seitan cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds; page 109)

Whole wheat flour, for dredging

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 cup finely sliced leek, white and pale green parts

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup capers, drained
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Caper berries, for garnish
1 lemon, thinly sliced for garnish, optional

Dredge the cutlets in the whole wheat flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the cutlets on individual plates or a platter.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in another sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, leek, salt, and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and stir well to incorporate the flour. Add the capers, stock, bay leaf, minced parsley, thyme, turmeric, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the sauce becomes slightly glossy, about 10 minutes.
Spoon the sauce onto serving plates and place the cutlets atop the sauce. Garnish with the caper berries and the optional chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve at once.
Bonterra Chardonnay, California
In picturesque Mendocino County, Bonterra has been proudly certified organic since 1987. The full body and toasty oak in this Chardonnay echo the silky texture of the lemon-caper sauce.

Seitan Cutlets

7 cups unbleached bread flour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
412 cups water
112 teaspoons sea salt
8 cups vegetable stock or water
14 cup tamari
1 piece of kombu
1 piece of wakame

Makes 6 to 8 cutlets, about 112 pounds
Put the flours in a bowl. Mix the water and salt together and add to the flour. Stir until the mixture forms a ball of dough. When you have a nice ball, cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.
Pour off the water and rinse the dough under cold running water until the water is almost clear. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
Put the stock in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the tamari, kombu, and wakame and decrease the heat. Add the balls of dough and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until they are firm and slice easily.
Drain the stock from the pot, reserving the stock if not using the seitan right away. Transfer the seitan to a bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let sit for about 10 minutes.
Drain and slice the seitan into 12-inch-thick cutlets.
If not using the seitan at this point, store it (sliced or unsliced) in 4 cups of the reserved stock, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Alternatively, the cutlets can be frozen (without the stock) for up to 3 months.

Creamed Spinach

2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems removed
1 cup coarsely chopped silken tofu
12 cup vegan mayonnaise
12 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
12 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Serves 4 to 6
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes.

Drain in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop the spinach and transfer to a large bowl.

Put the tofu, vegan mayo, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and gently cook over medium-low heat, making sure the mixture doesn’t boil. Once the mixture is warmed through, remove from the heat. Pour it over the spinach and gently mix together. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve warm.

Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. Photo credit: Rita Maas

After all of this decadence, you might be in need of a lower cal book! Have no fear. Tomorrow a guest post by my awesome sister and a review of The Quick and Easy, Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food Cookbook by Alicia C Simpson.  (US shipping only). 

...and the winner is...

#5 JohnP!!!!

Congrats!!! I'm more than just a little bit jealous that you've gotten to dine there. John, make sure to send me your shipping info at vegintraining at g mail dot com