Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 Vegan Cookbook Gift Guide

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Since I began this blog, I've done more than 40 cookbook review posts. As a vegan blogger, supporting other vegan authors and endeavors as much as possible on this space and beyond is important to me. The vegan community is small but strong and growing, and supporting each other is critical to making veganism and vegan cooking more visible and accessible for all. In 2016, I plan to continue to support other vegan endeavors as much as possible in a different way. Stay tuned! 

Below are some of my favorite cookbooks that I've reviewed on the blog in the past few years. There's something here for everyone, while more are listed here. This list is built upon my 2014 guide, as great cookbooks never go out of style. If you are searching for the perfect vegan cookbook to give this holiday season, I've got you covered! 

(Clockwise, from top left)

Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen  |  Kathy Patalsky

The Great Vegan Protein Book  |  Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes

Teff Love  |  Kittee Berns

Going Vegan  |  Joni Marie Newman and Gerrie Adams

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking  |  Annie and Dan Shannon

But I Could Never Go Vegan!  |  Kristy Turner

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible  | Karen Page

Nom Yourself  | Mary Mattern

The Abundance Diet  | Somer McCowan

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen  |  Richa Hingle

(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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vegan Pork Buns with Oyster Mushroom Bacon

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Makes 35 buns
Time 4 hours (to make the buns, some portions involve passive resting time), plus 30 minutes to make the oyster mushroom bacon)

I love veganizing meat- and dairy-heavy dishes: it's an opportunity to be creative and produce dishes that allow me to stay in alignment with my strong belief that animals aren't food. Things like vegan burgers, cheese and bacon are always fun to recreate. It's less about trying to "make" food be something that it's not, and more about recreating the textures and flavors (smoke, saltiness, umami, etc.) that make it so good in the first place.

Sometimes I see something I want to veganize, but never had before, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to taste. There's no sensory experience to capture or memory attached to it. But that's not really a negative: it leaves room open to interpret the dish and make something unique. 

An example of that are these puffy vegan pork buns! This iconic Momofuku pork bun recipe produced perfect little pillowy buns with a little hit of sweetness and subtle chewiness by simply leaving out the milk powder and subbing refined coconut oil and liquid smoke for the pork fat. It worked well with the crispy and succulent oyster mushroom bacon nestled alongside some rich hoisin, clean cilantro and cucumber, with spicy scallions and a little pickled radish to provide color and balance everything out. And they look dynamite once assembled and ready to go!

You can also fill these with jackfruit, shiitake or maitake bacon or tempura-fried vegan scallops

One recipe Momofuku's Pork Buns 

  • To make these vegan, I left out the milk powder and swapped out the pork fat with 1/3 cup refined melted coconut oil with 1/2 tsp liquid smoke whisked in.
  • This recipe says it makes 25 buns, but says in step 2 that it makes 50 buns. I made about 35 buns following this recipe.
  • I found that the dough was easier to work with rolled into balls then chilled. The recipe says you can steam them all and freeze, but I found it better to store the dough rolled into balls and only rolling out the desired amount for steaming.

for the oyster mushroom bacon (double or triple as desired. I used 1-2 pieces of mushroom per bun)
20 large oyster mushrooms, tough ends removed and wiped down with a damp paper towel if needed
2 TB refined coconut oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt

to serve
any prepared pickles (I used this recipe
mandolined cucumber slices
hoisin sauce
sliced scallions


Preheat oven to 375.

To make the oyster mushroom bacon, combine the oils, liquid smoke and salt in a large bowl. Toss the mushrooms to coat. Place the mushrooms gill side down in a cast iron pan or baking sheet, taking care not to crowd them. After 10 minutes, if there is a lot of moisture in the bottom of the pan or sheet, remove from the oven and tilt to collect and discard with a spoon.

Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes more, watching them carefully to avoid burning. Flip, then bake for about 5 minutes more, or until they have a nice color around the edges, keeping a close eye on them. Transfer to paper towels to drain slightly and allow them to crisp up.

To serve, assemble the steamed buns with hoison sauce, one or two pieces of mushroom, something pickled, scallions and fresh cilantro. Serve warm. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Vegan Thanksgiving Roundup!

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I have so much to be thankful for this year. Although it's been full of ups and downs, I've had so many great opportunities come up, and have met a lot of great people along the way. I'm also thankful for this space ... I can't imagine this blog not being a part of my life—it's such a great creative outlet and makes me feel so connected to the vegan community. And speaking of the vegan community ... it's so fantastic in LA! I'm so grateful for and constantly inspired by all of the amazing bloggers, events and restaurants that this area has to offer. 

For this holiday, I'll be staying in and making some of my holiday favorites, as well as some new ones, drawing inspiration from the list below. I hope it gives you an idea or two as well ... they are all from bloggers I really admire and am thankful for. 

I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving holiday!


Vegan Bacon-Wrapped Scallops 

Turkey Cheeze Ball (Fork and Beans)

Rustic Pumpkin Toasts (Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes)


Roasted Beet Stack with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme

Green Bean Casserole with Onion Ring-Style Topping (Keepin' It Kind)

Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Just the Food)

Garlicky Lacinato Kale 

Garam Masala Roasted Acorn Squash (Fettle Vegan)

Sage Stuffing and Shiitake-Shallot Gravy

Perfect Mashed Potato Recipe (Spabettie)


Cranberry-Raspberry Relish (Fork and Beans)

Sweet Potato Casserole with a Crunchy Nut Crumble (Oh She Glows)

Warm Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa Salad with Tempeh Bacon Bits (Keepin' It Kind)


Seitan Roulade with Sage and Sweet Onion Stuffing

Seitan Mushroom Roast (Keepin' It Kind)

Baked Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Cream

Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks (The PPK)

Stuffed Seitan Roast (Vegan Yack Attack)

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Oyster Gravy Mushroom 

Doublebatch Chickpea Cutlets (The PPK)

Vegan Pot Pie


Pumpkin Cheesecake (Cupcakes and Kale) 

Spiced and Sugared Cranberries

Crustless Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel (Healthy Happy Life)

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding (Vegan Yack Attack)

Whisky-Sriracha Caramel Corn

Persimmon and Ginger Tart (Fettle Vegan)


Vegan Chick'n and Waffles with Sriracha-Maple Syrup

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan Richa)

Loaded Baked Potato Hashbrown Waffles

Vegan Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit


12 Tips for Surviving Your First Vegan Thanksgiving (Cadry's Kitchen)

25 Reasons to Host a Vegan Thanksgiving this Year (Healthy Happy Life)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spicy Thai-Style Pizza with Peanut Sauce

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Makes 2, 10-inch pizzas
Active time: about an hour
Passive time: 24 hours, if making pizza dough recipe linked below

If you freeze super-firm tofu, defrost it, then press out every last drop of moisture—you'll be left with something you can squish with your fingers, quick-marinate, then fry up nicely in a cast iron pan. The result is a kind of fluffy, weirdly-textured-in-a-good-way product that is great sprinkled over noodles, used as an eggy substitute or packed into a sushi roll. I've used it here to create a curry and lemongrass-kissed pizza topping that mingles beautifully with this spicy peanut sauce, carrots, scallions and cilantro. 

This recipe uses a dough recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab and Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats. It's the easiest, poofiest best pizza dough recipe I've ever tried, and worked beautifully baked right in a cast-iron pan.

1 recipe pizza dough or prepared vegan pizza crust

for the tofu
1 package super-firm tofu, cut into 4 slabs, frozen, then left out at room temperature until fully thawed
1 TB canola oil
1 TB mirin
2 lemongrass hearts, chopped (reserve tough outer stems for making tea or soup later)
3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp soy sauce
a few pinches of habanero power (optional)

for the peanut sauce
1 TB sesame oil
small red onion, chopped
1 TB fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar

to finish
2-4 scallions, chopped (separate the white parts from the green parts)
1-2 carrots, chopped into matchsticks
1/3 cup crushed peanuts
handful of cilantro

To prepare the tofu, press the frozen and thawed slabs of tofu with your hands until there is no moisture left. Crumble well and set aside.

Place the rest of the tofu ingredients into a medium-sized pyrex and stir until combined. Place the tofu into the marinade and toss around until well coated. Set aside to marinade while you prepare the peanut sauce.

To make the peanut sauce, heat the sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and allow to sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding in a little bit of water if the onion starts to stick. Add in the ginger and simmer for 1-2 minutes more.

Add in the curry powder, give it a good stir to coat, then add in the coconut milk. Bring to a small simmer, then add in the peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, and stirring more often towards the end. Set aside. It will thicken as it cools.

To bake the pizza, preheat your oven to 500-550 if making the linked pizza dough, half it, and press it into a well-oiled 10-inch cast iron pan. You can freeze the other half if desired. 

If using your own prepared pizza crust, use whatever temperature is recommended or indicated on the package.
While your oven is preheating, brown your tofu by sauteing it in a little oil until crispy around the edges. Remove from the heat.

Bake the pizza unadorned for about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and add about 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce over the top, then add the browned tofu crumbles, scallions (the white parts only) and carrots, then bake for about 10 minutes more, keeping an eye on it towards the end to avoid any burning.

Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool. Top with the cilantro, crushed peanuts and sriracha as desired. Serve warm.