Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Lusty Vegan | Review, Recipe and Giveaway!


lusty
[luhs-tee]

adjective
1. full of or characterized by healthy vigor
2. hearty, as a meal
3. spirited; enthusiastic

synonyms 
1. robust, strong, sturdy, stout

vegan
[vee-guh n] 

noun
1. a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet

lusty vegan, according to Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg, are vegans who are looking for love. In their newly titled The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them, they explore the connection between food and relationships—specifically focusing on vegans dating omnivores and vice versa—and present advice and recipes on how to help bridge that gap.


So why is this important ... it's just food, right?

Wrong. Ayindé and Zoë will not only tell you why, but also describe their own personal experiences of being a vegan dating an omnivore, and share what they've learned along the way.


Ayindé, a life-long vegan, chef and founder of ieatgrass.com and Zoë, a writer, certified holistic health counselor and founder of sexytofu.com, have one thing in common: neither have dated another vegan. So who is this book written for: omnivores or vegans?

Both! If you are an omnivore, TLV will give you tips on "how to handle your vegan" (heh) and, if you are vegan, it will give you advice on how to coexist peacefully with your new omnivore friend.

In addition to sharing experiences and advice, TLV also presents recipes designed to delight omnivore partners with an emphasis on not trying to "convert" or "change" them, but to show that vegan food isn't all steamed tasteless greens and brown rice. How does Moroccan Tempeh Chermoula, Seitan Kabobs with Sangria Tomato Salad, White Mushroom Truffle Gravy and Devil's Pot Pie sound? And to finish? Care for Spiced Peach and Plum Cobbler, Lemon Meringue Chia Pudding, or Mexican Hot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries? (Recipe below!)

I'm a firm believer that
there is a strong connection between food and sensory memories, and I love that TLV recognizes and discusses that in detail. Food and cooking not only offers nourishment, but also a unique opportunity to connect with another through creating experiences, establishing bonds and forming memories ... and isn't that what relationships are all about in the first place?

Curious and hungry for more? The kind folks over at Vegan Heritage Press are offering one free copy of The Lusty Vegan through this post!

To enter, just leave a comment below that includes a vegan dish you've made for non-vegans that they've loved. Or, if you've dated an omnivore as a vegan or a vegan as an omnivore and have a piece of advice for others, please share it! Either or both comments will enter you into the drawing. I'll announce the winner on October 23.

Please leave your email or some way to contact you in case you are the winner. Shipping is limited to the US only. Good luck!

Mexican Hot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)


Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 3 minutes | Serves 2 to 4


The combination of sweet strawberries, creamy chocolate, and a tiny kick of cayenne creates the ultimate trifecta of deliciousness.


1 (3-ounce) block semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped or grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound strawberries, cleaned

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, stirring with fork or whisk so it melts evenly and doesn’t burn. Add the cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. When fully melted, remove from the heat to prevent burning.

2. Holding the strawberries by the stem end, dip them in the melted chocolate, coating them on each side.

3. Place the dipped strawberries on the prepared cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set the chocolate, or until ready to serve.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Forks Over Knives Plan | Review and Giveaway! [closed]

I've been cooking and posting almost exclusively about cookbooks for the last two months, and have especially loved immersing myself in so many other diverse and unique points of views and cooking styles and writing about them. So when the kind folks over at FSB Associates sent me a copy of the newly released The Forks Over Knives Plan: A 4-Week Meal-By-Meal Makeover, I was more than happy to continue along on that theme into this month.

Vegans are vegans for a variety of reasons, but I eat this way for reasons that are purely ethical—the health benefits are just a bonus. But sometimes I get into a rut, and eat too much processed food, not enough vegetables or skip meals altogether, especially when I'm busy or stressed. That's why books like The Forks Over Knives Plan are not only useful to me, but also to anyone who needs a clear and simple plan for getting their diet back on track.

Written by Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, this plan focuses on hearty comfort foods that don't involve portion control or measuring single nutrients. Week One focuses on breakfast, Week Two on lunch, Week Three on dinner, ending on Week Four, which offers tips on how to successfully maintain the diet. 

Included are 100 recipes that embrace whole- and plant-based food, and are packed with freshness, color and simplicity. I tried the plan's South-of-the-Border Pizza, which uses enchilada sauce in place of traditional tomato sauce, black beans, red pepper, creamy avocado and fresh cilantro. This recipe is a good representation of the book and recipes within it—it's simple, accessible, colorful and easy. 

Because I love the concept of this book as well as this recipe, I'm excited that FSB has kindly offered to give away one copy of this beautiful hardcover cookbook to one reader through this post! 

To enter, leave a comment below that includes your favorite simple and healthy go-to vegan dish, including your email or some way to contact you in case you are drawn as the winner. Shipping is limited to US only.

I'll randomly choose a winner on Thursday, October 9 ... good luck!

The winner of this giveaway is Nicole, congrats! Thanks to everyone who entered!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan Brunch : Chocolate Beer Waffles

This is my eleventh and final VeganMoFo post for 2014. For more information on this month's theme, see my Cook from Books description here.

If you are vegan and do any cooking at all, chances are you probably have at least one of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks on your shelf (and if you don't, you should!) 

When I first became vegan, I was angry at everything I read about that caused the endless and needless suffering of animals: factory farming, cosmetic testing, the fur industry, etc. Everything I read was written by a similarly angry (but infinitely more eloquent) person than me, so I was always surrounded by this tone.

But cooking quieted that noise, and the kitchen became a place I went to to create things instead of reading about things I felt I had little control over. 

What turned this escape into a passion was Isa Chandra Moskowitz's first cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance. It was different that other vegan-authored books because Isa's tone was different: she was funny, had a whatthehell attitude in the kitchen and made cooking approachable and cool. After I cooked my way through VwaV I wanted more. Since then, Isa has written seven more cookbooks, has contributed to countless others. 

Isa's fourth title, Vegan Brunch, was released in 2009 and, like all of her previous titles, was placed on preorder as soon as I heard about it. And when I received my copy, I did what I do with most cookbooks: I sit down and read my way through it like a novel. Vegan Brunch is funny, delicious, creative and inspiring.

It offers countless brunch staples like waffles, scrambles, pancakes and scones, made with completely accessible and affordable ingredients, showing that there's more to vegan brunch than cold fruit and dry bagels.

What I chose for this recipe are Isa's Chocolate Beer Waffles. They have dark beer in them. They have chocolate in them. They are smothered in a duo of chocolate drizzle and sweet cashew cream. They are delicious. 

The beer injects the batter with little pockets of air that mingles with the baking powder to create an impossibly poofy waffle that's fun to drag through the rich cashew cream and dark and sweet chocolate sauce. Is this for everyday? No, but why should vegan mean no indulgence or fun? Go grab your copy of Vegan Brunch from your shelf or on amazon and make these easy, fun and delicious waffles!

Next up to try: Isa's Puttanesca Scramble, Swiss Chard Frittata, Matzoh Brie, Cornbread Waffles with Pantry Mole Rojo and Seitan, Lemon Cashew-Stuffed Crepes with Whole Berry Sauce, Creamy Avocado Potato Salad and East Coast Coffee Cake.

So that's it for VeganMofo this year! It's been fun to take a closer look at my favorite cookbooks and bring some of the recipes to life in my kitchen and onto the blog. 

I'll also admit it's been fun to cook from someone else's cookbook as opposed to coming up with ideas and recipes on my own this month. I've enjoyed immersing myself in another's culinary point of view and style. In a way, it's kind of been like meeting the author!

To read more about VeganMofo, visit the kind folks who run it or go to randomofo. If you've been following along this month, thanks for stopping by! I hope something here has inspired you to open that unused cookbook on your shelf or try that recipe you were thinking about but never attempted. Or maybe even buy one (or two) of them!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vegan Finger Foods : Kimchi-Stuffed Sausages

This is my tenth VeganMoFo post for 2014. For more information on this month's theme, see my Cook from Books description here.

This month, I've written about cookbooks that I love, and why I love them. Some have a fantastic point of view, others have great writing and there's typically gorgeous photography included or a mix of all three. Vegan Finger Foods by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes has all three of these things and more.

What sets Celine and Tami's books apart for me are their cooking instructions/directions. If they use a technique I've never heard of or tried before, the way they write/instruct makes me feel like they are standing right next to me in the kitchen, giving me just the right level of guidance. And if a recipe is simple or I'm already familiar with it, I don't feel like they overexplain it.

Their unique style of guidance is what keeps me going back to Tami and Celine's books, whether it's in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! or Whole Grain Vegan Baking, and why I'm already looking forward to their newest title, The Great Vegan Protein Book (to be released in February 2015).

What you see here are VFF's Kimchi-Stuffed Sausages. Although I never liked sausages, even when I ate meat—I love vegan sausage. The taste and texture is very similar to one of my favorite vegan packaged products— Field Roast's spicy chipotle sausages—because it offers the right level of faux-meatiness and perfect spiciness. But my pre-packed indulgence was quickly replaced once I made and tasted these kimchi sausages.

The kimchi (blended into the mix and stuffed into the center) provides the right amount of funk, heat and crunch while the faux-sausage portion is perfectly spiced and textured. Tami and Celine hit the mark here on texture and taste, and this recipe makes a ton. They freeze and thaw perfectly, making the almost 2-hour prep and cook process more than well worth it.

Next up to try in Vegan Finger Foods: Corn Fritters with Tomato-Thyme Gravy; Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Onions; Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites; Pad Thai Summer Rolls; Caramelized Bananas with Chocolate Chipotle Sauce; and Chocolate Stout Truffles and Goji Berry Cacao Bites.