Tuesday, December 9, 2014

But I Could Never Go Vegan! | Review + Giveaway! [closed]

I first heard of Kristy Turner's blog, Keepin' It Kind, after seeing her Sweet and Salty Ice Cream Layer Cake win the PPK's Vegan Chopped in 2012. After that, I became a regular blog reader, and looked forward to seeing what Kristy would create week and after week. In 2013, I met Kristy at Vida Vegan Con and she exuded the same amount of warmth, ease and approachability in person that comes though each and every blog post she writes. Her unique style of creativity in the kitchen is rounded out by her honest writing and infectious enthusiasm, so it's no surprise that she has graduated to writing a cookbook that embraces and reflects all of that and more. 

But I Could Never Go Vegan! is packed with 125 of her trademark recipes accompanied by gorgeous photos, all shot by her husband, Chris. The book is divided into chapters with common excuses about why someone could never go vegan, like It's All Rabbit Food, I Could Never Give Up Cheese and Where Would I Get My Protein? followed by recipes within each of those chapters that turn that "I could never" into "well, maybe I could!"

Recipes like Fire-Roasted Chile & Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Parmesan-Crusted Avocado & Kale Florentine with Smoked Paprika Hollandaise, Beer-Battered Faux Fish & Chips, Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese and Seitan Reuben Pizza with Caraway Seed Crust show that it's not only easy to go vegan—but also delicious, doable and sometimes decadent.

I made Kristy's BBQ Bacon Burger first and it was honestly the best vegan burger I've ever tasted. Earthy beets mingle with lentils and farro before they are mixed with a perfect balance of spices, then formed into patties and baked to perfection. They look and smell absolutely fantastic! I topped them with Kristy's pickled cabbage, which provided a great zip and crunch, and finished with Sweet Earth seitan bacon between a few leaves of fresh kale—but Kristy provides lots of options for toppings that can also be found throughout the book.

I loved Kristy's burger so much and can't wait to try more, so I'm excited that the kind folks over at The Experiment are not only allowing me to share Kristy's recipe here (see below), but also are offering a free copy to one lucky reader through this post!

To enter, just leave a comment below that includes a common misconception you've heard or read about vegan food. (For example: It's only vegetables, I'll always be hungry, it's too hard, etc.) I'll randomly choose a winner from the comments on December 15. Shipping is limited to US/Canada only. Please leave your email in your comment or some way to reach you in case your comment is drawn as the winner ... good luck!

The winner of this giveaway is Jennifer, congrats! Thanks to all who entered!

If you are in Los Angeles this weekend, Kristy will be doing a book signing in West Hollywood! Here are the details:

WHAT: Book Signing/Vegan Wine & Cheese Event  
WHERE: Kitson Melrose, 8590 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood 
WHEN: Saturday, December 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

BBQ Bacon Burgers
Makes 8 burgers
Nut-Free | Can Be Made To-Go | Plan-Ahead

I think we can all agree there is a type of hunger that only a burger can satisfy. When that hunger arises, all you can think of is a meaty patty with all the fixin’s. Nothing else will do. 

That’s when this burger comes to the rescue. It’s a hearty, BBQ-flavored patty made of beets, farro, and red lentils. Naturally, it’s topped with Tempeh Bacon (page 25), homemade pickled red cabbage, and even more Barbecue Sauce (page 31). Plant-based cheese is a great addition, and I strongly recommend Cashew Blue Cheese (page 46). This is one succulently messy burger, so you may want to change out of your new white shirt.

Prep Time: 50 minutes (not including time to cook lentils and farro)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Down Time: 24 hours (while red cabbage pickles)

pickled red cabbage
1 head red cabbage
1 cup (250 ml) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
½  cup (125 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or vegan brown sugar
3 to 4 allspice berries
3 to 4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves

burger patties
1 cup (150 g) peeled, chopped beets
2½ cups (365 g) cooked farro
1½ cups (240 g) cooked red lentils
¼ cup (30 g) quinoa flour
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup (60 ml) Barbecue Sauce (page 31) or store-bought
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste

8 vegan burger buns
Barbecue Sauce (page 31)
½ batch Tempeh Bacon (found on page 25 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!)
½ batch Cashew Blue Cheese (found on page 46 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!) or other vegan cheese of choice, optional
Mixed greens or lettuce

to make the pickled red cabbage

Make the pickled red cabbage a day in advance. Chop the cabbage into quarters and cut out the core of each. Shred using a large box grater, or use a knife to make very thin slices. Place the shredded cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle salt over it. Toss to combine; leave the colander in the sink for 10 minutes to drain excess water.

After 10 minutes, quickly rinse off the salt and use a clean kitchen towel to pat the cabbage dry. In a large airtight container, mix the sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, allspice, cloves, and bay leaves. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover the container and chill 24 hours. Take out the allspice berries, cloves, and bay leaves before using. Leftovers can be kept chilled up to 1 month.

to make the burgers

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Fit a steamer basket onto a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Place the beets in the steamer, cover, and steam until easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove from the steamer and cool for about 5 minutes.

While the beets are steaming, combine the farro, lentils, and quinoa flour in a large bowl. Use your hands to mash them together until they start holding together in clumps when squeezed. Set aside.

Combine the beets, garlic, barbecue sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, cumin, thyme, chile powder, paprika, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce (if using), salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until mostly smooth (tiny pieces of beet are okay). Pour into the bowl with the farro mixture. Stir until fully combined.

Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts, shape into patties, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until firm, flipping once halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Before turning off the oven, place the burger buns on the oven rack for 2 minutes to heat them up. Remove and spread a layer of Barbecue Sauce on both halves of each bun. Place a few pieces of lettuce on the bottom bun and add the burger patty. Top with 2 to 3 bacon strips, some cashew blue cheese crumbles, and some pickled red cabbage. Top with the other half of the bun. Serve warm. Leftover patties can be chilled in an airtight container 4 to 5 days or frozen 1 month.

  • Buckwheat, oat, and brown rice flour work in place of quinoa flour.
  • For perfectly round burgers, spray a biscuit cutter with olive oil and use it to shape your patty on the baking sheet.
  • If you want to brown the outside of the burgers, spray a frying pan with olive oil and cook the baked patties over medium heat for a few minutes on each side.
  • To make the burger prep much quicker, plan on cooking the farro and lentils and steaming the beets earlier that day or up to 3 days in advance.
  • Try using a different cheese, like Sunflower Cheddar (page 42), Tofu Chèvre (page 36), or a store-bought vegan cheese.
  • To make gluten-free burgers, replace the farro with brown rice and use gluten-free buns.

But I Could Never Go Vegan Book Trailer!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2014 Vegan Cookbook Gift Guide

As a vegan food blogger, I am lucky to receive vegan cookbooks to review from a variety of publishers from time to time. Below are about half of those types of cookbooks, while the other half are cookbooks I've purchased or received as gifts over the past few years. Below are links to my reviews of them, while more are listed here. If you are searching for the perfect vegan cookbook to give this holiday season, I've got you covered!

(Clockwise, from top left)

The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha Cookbook  |  Randy Clemens

Vegan Brunch  |  Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Plant Power  |  Nava Atlas

Vegan Tacos  |  Jason Wyrick

Vegan Casseroles  |  Julie Hasson

The Lusty Vegan  |  Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg

Vegan Without Borders  |  Robin Robertson

Vedge  |  Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

Vegan Finger Foods  |  Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen

The Conscious Cook  |  Tal Ronnen

Nut Butter Universe  |  Robin Robertson

(Clockwise, from top left)

One-Dish Vegan  |  Robin Robertson

Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats  |  Debbie Adler

Vegan Chocolate  |  Fran Costigan

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

Practically Raw Desserts  |  Amber Shea Crawley

The Oh She Glows Cookbook  |  Angela Liddon

Whole Grain Vegan Baking  |  Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes

Herbivoracious  |  Michael Natkin

The Great Vegan Pumpkin eBook  |  Jackie Sobon

(Clockwise, from top left)

How To Be Vegan  |  Elizabeth Castoria

Vegan Soul Kitchen  |  Bryant Terry

The HappyCow Cookbook  |   Eric Brent and Glen Merzer, editors

The Candle 79 Cookbook  | Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda

Veganissimo A to Z  |  Reuben Proctor and Lars Thomsen (not a cookbook, but a good vegan reference/resource for ingredients)

Everyday Vegan Eats  |   Zsu Dever

Great Chefs Cook Vegan  |   Linda Long

Spork-Fed  |  Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg

Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker  |  Robin Robertson

Crazy Sexy Kitchen  |  Chef Chad Sarno and Kris Carr

The Forks Over Knives Plan  |  Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vegan Without Borders | Review, Recipe + Giveaway! [closed]

Over the past two decades, Robin Robertson has written more than 20 cookbooks. Each one is packed with tons of easy-to-follow, foolproof and approachable recipes, so it's no wonder that each book she releases is a huge hit with her loyal and ever-growing fan base. Based on her volume alone, she's like the Stephen King of vegan cookbooks. 

Her latest release, Vegan Without Borders, is her most personal collection to date, and represents her voluminous experience and expertise with global cuisine from working in restaurants, travelling, gathering insights from friends and colleagues for the past 25 years and writing the "Global Vegan" column for VegNews magazine for the past decade. 

What Robin calls a "pastiche of plant-based delights from all over the world," VWB is a gorgeous hardcover cookbook packed with tons of easy-to-make recipes that celebrate cuisines from more than 20 countries across Europe, Africa, India, Asia and the Americas. Dishes like Papri Chaat from India, Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (Akara) from western Africa, Pissaladière from France, Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower from the Middle East and Pho Chay from Vietnam all have simple instructions, and about half of the recipes are accompanied by gorgeous, full-color photos.

Since I tend to gravitate towards making East Asian and Southeast Asian dishes (they almost never have dairy, and meat and fish is always easy to sub out), I decided to make Robin's Szechuan Bok Choy from VWB first. This easy-to-make recipe has about 10 ingredients and can be made in under 20 minutes. The sauce oozes into the nooks and crannies of the bok choy, and presents a perfect balance of sweet, spicy and salty flavors. The kind folks over at Andrews McMeel Publishing have not only allowed me to share Robin's recipe here, but are also offering a giveaway of the book through this post!

The winner of this giveaway is Christine ... congrats and thanks to all who entered!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Robin's Vegan Without Borders, simply leave in the comments section below your favorite type of global cuisine, including your email or some way to contact you in case you are the winner. I'll randomly choose a winner on December 7. This giveaway is open worldwide ... good luck!

Szechuan Bok Choy
Serves 4

From Vegan Without Borders: Easy Everyday Meals from Around the World by Robin Robertson, Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC

This easy but flavorful stir-fry is typical of the cuisine of the Szechuan province of China. Made with bok choy, it’s a delicious side dish but you could add strips of tofu or seitan and serve it over rice to make it a satisfying meal. This stir-fry is also delicious made with broccoli, green beans, or asparagus.

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
1 1/2 pounds baby bok choy, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 scallions, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon natural sugar

Heat the grapeseed oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy and shallots and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost tender. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, red pepper flakes, and sugar and stir-fry until the bok choy is tender and nicely coated with the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Plant Power, by Nava Atlas | Review, Recipe + a Giveaway! [closed]

Whether you are vegan, veg-curious or just trying to eat a healthier diet, Nava Atlas' newest title, Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipesis a great resource. Packed with more than 150 recipes, Plant Power not only shows you how to make great plant-based dishes with an array of vegetables, legumes and fruit, but also how to shop and stock your pantry and refrigerator, as well as plan meals throughout the week. 

I first tried Nava's cream of broccoli soup, which is made by blending white beans with broccoli, peas and dill, and balanced out perfectly with a touch of lemon juice. This vibrantly green soup is easy to make in less than 30 minutes and leftovers heat up nicely the next day. See the recipe below to make Nava's soup for yourself and, if you are hungry for more, the kind folks over at HarperOne are offering a free copy of Nava's book through this post.

The winner of this giveaway is Johanna, congrats!

For a chance to win a copy of this gorgeous hardcover cookbook with tons of interior photography shot by Hannah Kaminsky, just leave a comment below that includes your favorite go-to plant-based dish. I'll randomly draw a winner on November 25. Please leave your email or some way to contact you in your comment in case you are drawn as the winner. Shipping is limited to US and Canada only. Good luck!

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

A longtime favorite in our family of broccoli enthusiasts, this soup gets a thick, creamy base from pureed white beans or tofu. The addition of green peas at the end of cooking time brightens the color and heightens the flavor of the soup. This is great served with many kinds of wraps or sandwiches, or with a colorful main dish salad such as Taco Salad. Recipe from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. 

Serves: 6

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water

1 large onion, chopped

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth or 4 cups water mixed with
 2 to 3 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend (such as Frontier or Mrs. Dash)

5 to 6 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets and peeled stems

2 cups frozen green peas, thawed

One 15- to 16-ounce can great northern beans or cannellini,
drained and rinsed, or one 12.3-ounce package firm silken tofu

1 cup unsweetened rice milk or other unsweetened nondairy milk, plus more as needed

To finish the soup
2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, or a combination, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil, broth, or water in a soup pot and add the onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, then add the garlic if desired. Continue to sauté until the onion is golden.

Add the broth and broccoli. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the broccoli is tender but not overcooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beans or tofu and half the green peas. Continue to cook just until everything is nicely heated through.

The easiest way to puree this soup is to simply insert an immersion blender into the pot and puree until it’s as smooth as you’d like it to be. You can also leave it a bit chunky. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the mixture to a regular blender and puree (don’t overprocess!), then transfer back to the soup pot. Add enough nondairy milk to give the soup a medium-thick consistency.

To finish the soup, add the remaining green peas, the finely chopped broccoli florets, the chopped herbs, and the lemon juice. Stir together, then season with salt and pepper. Cook over very low heat for 5 minutes longer, or until the finely chopped broccoli florets are tender-crisp, then serve.