When I first went vegan, I relied heavily upon online resources to make the best cruelty-free choices available, like Leaping Bunny for cosmetics, The Post Punk Kitchen to figure out how to make stuff to eat and HappyCow for finding vegan restaurants. Although recalling and using most of the information pulled from these sites is now second nature to me, I still revisit HappyCow when travelling—whether it's within the US or beyond—because vegan options are constantly growing, changing and evolving.
When we visited Scotland a few years ago, HappyCow told us where to go to find vegan food, and led us to Café Arriba in Isle of Skye, and Henderson's Bistro and Black Bo's [now closed] in Edinburgh. Wouldn't it be a great idea to have a book that showcased similar dishes from vegan restaurants around the world that included recipes, photos and a bit about their history?
Voila! The nice folks over at BenBella Books have thought of just that, and they've released The HappyCow Cookbook, which features more than 80 recipes from almost 50 restaurants, spanning 11 countries around the world. If you want to feel like you are being whisked away to a Denmark- or Israel-based restaurant by making one of their signature dishes, or would like to recreate a favorite dish you just had in Japan, you can just crack open this cookbook to experience it once again in your own kitchen.
When I received my HappyCow Cookbook review copy, I made Studio City-based SunCafe Organic's Moroccan Tajine. This dish offers a simple yet flavorful balance of rich and sweet, and a beautiful array of textures and aromas. The technique behind making this dish was completely new to me, and I loved the aromas it released during the baking time. Bella Books has kindly allowed me to share the recipe for the Moroccan Tajine here, and is also offering a free copy of their book through this post!
**To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment below including the best dish you've ever had at a vegan restaurant, and include the restaurant name in your comment, along with your email or some way to contact you in case your nameis drawn as the winner. Shipping is restricted to US and Canada only. I'l randomly pick a winner on August 26 ... good luck!**
From SunCafe Organic in Studio City, CA | Reprinted with permission by BenBella Books
For the sauce:
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the stew:
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
For the date/cinnamon sauce:
1/2 cup whole dates
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Small pinch cayenne
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raisins (garnish)
Dill sprigs (garnish)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Gather together the sauce ingredients in a blender. Mix on high until smooth. Next gather together the stew ingredients. Mix them with the sauce in a large bowl. Place on a baking tray and bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Set aside.
Combine all the date/cinnamon sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.
To assemble: Mold tajine in 3 1/2-inch mold circles or use a 1 cup measuring cup. Drizzle date/cinnamon sauce over the top and around the plate. Garnish with raisins and dill sprigs, then serve.
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