Monday, 31 October 2011

VeganMoFo 2011 #31: 'Quick Fix Vegan'

It is the 31st of October... the end of MoFo. I can't believe I managed to make a post every day! There was a lot of planning involved. I am so far behind in my reading, though, so don't be surprised if you find me commenting on your posts over the next several weeks post-MoFo. I'm going to end my cookbook reviews with a look at the most recent cookbook to join my home. (Actually, Vegan Pie In The Sky arrived during the week, but I haven't had time to even think of making anything from that yet).

Quick-Fix Vegan
Robin Robertson, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011

Quick-Fix Vegan

I love cooking and baking, I love spending the time putting together menus or decorating cupcakes. However, my lifestyle does not always allow for the time I would like to spend in the kitchen, sometimes a 30 minute meal is in order! This is where Quick-Fix Vegan steps in, providing a wealth of speedy recipes for when you are short on time.

The book is paperback, it is illustrated throughout with some pretty green photos of produce, but no photos of the actual recipes. There are no menu suggestions here, I guess because it is a quick meal cookbook! Chapters include:

*Getting Started
*Starters and Snacks
*Stovetop Suppers
*Pasta Express
*Soups in Short Order
*Speedy Sandwiches
*Snappy Salads
*Easy Make-Ahead Bakes
*Sauces and Condiments
*(Almost) Effortless Desserts
*Metric Conversions and Equivalents

I have been cooking with this book through October. It has been a very busy month for me, so it provided a great chance to try out this book. I'm going to share with you all that I have made!



What happens with hummus and guacamole love each other very much. Delicious. Also, even though it has avocado in it, it didn't go brown over several hours. 4 stars.

Red Bean-Chipotle Dip

Red Bean-Chipotle Dip

This stuff takes less than five minutes, and is seriously delicious. I only used one chipotle, which gave it a nice smoky kick. I think if you left out the water in this recipe, it would make a great almost-instant refried-bean style tasting filling for tacos and burritos. Yum! 5 stars.

Tofu 'Scampi' with Spinach

Tofu 'Scampi' with Spinach

I think I erred in this recipe. I didn't have dulse flakes, but I had kelp powder, which ended up being quite gritty. I suspect dulse flakes would impart the flavour of the sea without the grittiness of the powder. I made some great leftovers with this, by adding a splash of soy sauce and dipping the tofu chunks into mayo. Yum! 3-4 stars.

Tropical Quinoa and Black Beans

Tropical Quinoa and Black Beans

This was a great dinner to make on a warm, spring evening. The flavours of black bean and mango go so well together! You could the quinoa separate and then mix it into the rest. I didn't add all the quinoa, I added about three large serving-spoonfuls (and saved the rest of the quinoa for snacking on later). I served this with roasted asparagus. This is also great at room temperature for lunch the next day! 4 stars.

Coconut Curry Chickpeas and Cauliflower

Coconut-Curry Chickpeas and Cauliflower

The first thing I made from here, who can resist a nice curry! I roasted some zucchini to go on the side here, but it would also be great just added in to the vegetable mix. 4 stars.

Chipotle Corn and Quinoa with Pintos

Chipotle Corn and Quinoa with Pintos

This is a magical dish, that I cannot recommend enough. Another great room temperature lunch the next day. 5 stars.

Ziti with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes

Ziti with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes

The first time I made this, I accidentally deleted the photo, so I had to make it again. Such a shame to have to eat delicious pasta with roasted cauliflower and grape tomatoes in a yummy white wine sauce with raisins and capers twice. Or maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because this s one of my favourite pasta dishes. The thought of it makes my taste buds yearn! 5 stars.

Linguine with Artichoke and White Bean Alfredo

Linguine with Artichoke and White Bean Alfredo

I made this with 8oz, rather than 12oz, of linguine and had enough for three big servings. I love how the artichokes and the white beans blend up into a thick, yummy, protein-rich sauce. 4 stars.

Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce

Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I had a bag of avocados to use up so I took the plunge, and I was very well rewarded. While the sauce is creamy, it is incredibly fresh tasting thanks to a combination of herbs and lemon juice. I only used 10oz of pasta, not 12. This is something eat up fairly quickly so the sauce doesn't go brown, though I did take some leftovers for lunch the next day and it was just as amazing. 5 stars.

Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce

Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce
Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce

Some sauces are lucky to make it into a recipe, because they are so good you just want to eat it with a spoon. This is one of those sauces! It takes almost no time to make, and you will be rewarded with one of the best sauces I have ever had. I eventually managed to put the spoon down long enough to mix it up with some pasta, white beans, peas and roasted zucchini slices for a great dinner. 5 stars.

What is the newest cookbook to join your collection?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

All the four kitties

OK, this is a terrible photo. But it is the only photo in the world that has all four cats in the same picture. Gizmo is sitting on the arm of the chair, you can see Sahara jumping off the sofa in a red blur (which is why the photo is so fuzzy, I rushed to take it before she left), Possum is sitting on my mum's lap, and you can just see Dim Sim's ears poking out from where she is sitting on the sofa.

Even though today is officially the last day of October in Australia, I will still be making a final MoFo post to wrap things up tomorrow, which will still be the 31st of October in the US.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

VeganMoFo 2011 #30: 'Hearty Vegan Meals For Monster Appetites'

Hearty Vegan Meals For Monster Appetites
Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, Fair Winds Press, 2011


When I first heard there was going to be a book called Hearty Vegan Meals, I was excited. I am in possession of a Monster Appetite myself, so this book was made for me. This book is sort of the opposite to yesterday's Appetite For Reduction - low calories are not on the menu. I bought this book from Powell's in Portland when I was in the USA earlier this year (along with two others) and I was eager to start cooking through it.

The book is a paperback and is full of beautiful photographs taken by Celine. While there is no menu section, there are many serving suggestions throughout the book. Chapters include:

*Complete Prep Guide for Wicked Good Meals
*Down-Home Breakfasts
*Mean and Mouthwatering Mains
*Over-The-Top, Totally Tantalising Sides
*The Bottomless Bread Basket
*Condiments, Sauces and Other Staples
*Ooey, Gooey, and Downright Sinful Sweets

This is Hearty Vegan Meals' first outing on my blog. I have blogged too many to share all the photos with you today, so I will share my favourites and list all the others I have made at the end (I will blog all the photos at a later date through my regular blogging schedule post-MoFo).

Hearty Breakfast Bowl

Hearty Breakfast Bowl
Hearty Breakfast Bowl

This is so amazing, I had to post two photos. I already knew I was going to get this book, but if I'd had any doubts this recipe would have sealed the deal. Imagine a large bowl full of scrambled tofu and tater tots, topped with cheesy gravy and TVP bacon bits. I added some roasted cauliflower to the bowl for veggie content, and it was the perfect addition. This is a bowl of heaven. A billion stars (5 seems not enough).

Orange Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Orange Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

How good are these muffins? Well, good enough that my kitty Sahara punched me in the face with her paw trying to get the muffin I was eating. There is surprising power in a furry little paw intent on getting food. Cranberries and chopped tinned mandarins are studded through the muffins, and cream cheese is mixed into the batter. So good. 5 stars.

Savoury Cheesecake and Mamou's Magical Vinaigrette

Savoury Cheesecake
Savoury Cheesecake; Salad with Mamou's Magical Vinaigrette

I was so proud with how this cheesecake turned out, and the taste is fantastic. The base of the cheesecake is made from Skillet Cornbread, another recipe from the book. This is a make-ahead dish, you need to chill it overnight. You can reheat it or eat it at room temperature, I ended up doing it at room temperature, and it was great. Is fantastic for lunches at work as well. 5 stars.
The book suggests serving it with Mamou's Magical Vinaigrette, which is a nice, peppery, light, herby dressing that sparkles on salads. 4 stars.

Chorizo and Potato Lasagne Bake

Chorizo and Potato Lasagne Bake

This is the first recipe I made from this book, and it blew me away. This slices of potato take the place of pasta sheets in this lasagne. They are cooked before baking, so there is no issue with potato that won't bake through. The filling is delicious and would make a great savoury mince on its own. I needed to microwave the topping for twice as long before it thickened enough. 5 stars.

Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Caution: This is some serious mac and cheese! Five cheeses come from: 1) a noochy sauce (I didn't use as much butter as the recipe called for), 2) tofu-ricotta mixture (this is not like other tofu ricotta mixtures), 3) Tofutti Cream Cheese (a whole tub!), 4) shredded vegan cheese (I used Cheezly Cheddar), and 5) Walnut Parmesan Sprinkles. This is a seriously rich mixture. I made it even richer by having the amount of pasta used, so I had double the concentration of the cheesy goodness. 5 stars.

Pasta Alla Formiana

Pasta alla Formiana
Pasta alla Formiana

You take uncooked pasta and it bakes into perfect softness in the tomato sauce in the oven - genius! The parmesan mix within here is outstanding, you will be eating it by the spoonful. 5 stars.

Hush Puppies with Mexican-Style Dipping Sauce for Corn and Eat Your Collar Dreams

Tofu Fried RiceHush Puppies; Mexican-Style Dipping Sauce for Corn; Eat Your Collard Greens; vegan sausage
Hush Puppies

I debated long and hard over how I would make these. They call for deep frying - which terrifies me slightly. Also, I don't like eating really fried food as it makes me feel ill. I thought about baking them, but ended up doing a compromise and shallow frying. I was so pleased with how they turned out! Even though they are in the sides section, these are super filling! 4 stars.
They are served slathered in the Mexican-Style Dipping Sauce for Corn, which is creamy and tangy and goes great with these little fried morsels, as well as being delicious with fresh corn on the cob. 4 stars.
The book suggests the vegetable side of Eat Your Collard Greens. We can't get collars in Australia, so I used silverbeet. These are so delicious, I could have just kept on going back for more. 5 stars.
(I also served with some steak-sauce glazed soy sausages).



Your own, homemade mozzarella is just two minutes in the microwave away, plus is totally adorable to boot. 4 stars.

Orange Seitan Stew - 4 stars
Stew-tatouille - 4 stars
Chocolate Stout Chili - 3 stars (only because I am not a fan of the strong stout taste, so next time would go half stout and half stock)
Seitan Burgers for Stews and Chilis - 4 stars
Sloppy Jo-nis - 4 stars
Better Love Your Beans Bake - 4 stars
Cheesy Chili Bake - 4 stars
Creamy All-In-One Bowl - 4 stars
Beefy-Cheese Mac - 4 stars
Traditional Red Lasagna - 4 stars
Pasta alla Carbonara - 4 stars
Eggplant Parmigiana - 4 stars
Deli-Style Macaroni Salad - 4 stars
East Coast Meets West Coast Pasta Salad - 4 stars
Skillet Cornbread - 4 stars
Walnut Parmesan Sprinkles - 4 stars
Hemp-Almond Parmesan (made with sesame seed option in place of hemp) - 4 stars
TVP Chorizo - 5 stars
Imitation Bacon Bits - 4 stars

What is your favourite hearty meal?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


The handsome Possum, having some roly poly time in the grass.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

VeganMoFo 2011 #29: 'Appetite For Reduction'

Appetite for Reduction
Isa Chandra Moskowitz, De Capo Press, 2011

Appetite For Reduction

Pretty much anything that comes out from Isa, I buy. There have been other low fat vegan cookbooks around that I haven't ever really considered buying, but it was a no brainer that this one would find its way to my bookshelves. I don't really think of Appetite for Reduction a a 'diet' cookbook, as it is a book bursting with delicious, fresh and healthy recipes that everyone will love. I certainly have loved cooking from this book - everything is so packed with flavour, and you certainly don't feel like you are on any sort of restricted eating. This book is full of noms!

The book is a paperback with a middle section of glossy colour photos of some of the recipes. The front cover has that lovely matte feel like Vegan Brunch did. I'll list the chapters in a moment, but I will point out that there is no dessert chapter. Some people have felt this to be a gross omission. However, there are a trillion vegan dessert books available (Isa herself has written many of them!) so turn to those or just have some fruit if you need something sweet to end with. There is no menu list, as such, in the book, but there are lots of suggestions throughout for recipes to combine. The chapters that are in this book include:

*Introduction/Metric Conversion Chart/Mission: Nutrition/About the Icons
*Full-On Salads
*Totally Stuffed Sides
*Rub-Your-Tummy Veggies
*Main Event Beans
*Sink-Your-Teeth-Into Tofu and Tempeh
*Talk Pasta To Me (& Noodles)
*Soul-Satisfying Soups
*Comfort Curries, Chili, & Stews
*The Elements of a Bowl (fun suggestions for putting together delicious bowl meals)
*The Importance of Eating Sandwich (fun suggestions to putting together great sandwiches and wraps)
*Appendix: Recipes by Icon (Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, 30 minutes or under, Downtime)

I've blogged a lot from this book, and I have more photos awaiting upload than I could fit in this post. So I am going to put up some of the best things I have made but haven't blogged yet, and I'll list the other five-star recipes that don't have photos today at the end. I'm going to kick off with some of the menu suggestions. I'll often eat more than what is considered one serve here, so I'll mention how many servings I got from each if they differ from the book.

Chickpea Piccata and Broccopots

Chickpea Piccata; Broccopots

This is a delicious combination. I chose the broccopots for something different.
The piccata is great, that delicious, rich, tangy sauce that I have come to crave. I got 3 servings, instead of 4. 4 stars.
Broccopots is the green version of the famous and fantastic caulipots. This variation, with broccoli mashed into the potato instead of the cauliflower, is one of my favourite variations. I find the caulipot recipe makes a huge amount! Probably 5 serves, rather than 4. 5 stars.

Veggie Pot Pie Stew with Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits

Veggie Potpie Stew; Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits

The stew is very satisfying. I did find that the base of the stew needed a bit more flavour, so I would increase the amount of stock powder I used to make the stock next time (but this will vary depending on the strength of your stock). I got 4 servings, rather than 6. 4 stars.
The biscuits are great with the stew but also very nice as a snack. I only got 8 biscuits, rather than 10, so I must have made them a bit too big. As a result, I needed to bake them for a bit longer. 4 stars.

Tofu Chimichurri with Chipotle Caulipots

Tofu Chimichurri; Chipotle Caulipots

Chimicurri is one of my favourite sauces and marinades, but often has a lot of oil. This is full of flavour and completely oil free. 5 stars.
The chipotle caulipots call on the old favourite of chipotles in adobe to lend a smoky heat. I didn't use the full four chipotles called, I probably used only one or two. 4 stars.
Served with a salad.

Apple-Miso Tofu, Scallion Potato Pancakes, and Orange-Scented Broccoli

Apple-Miso Tofu; Scallion Potato Pancakes; Orange-Scented Broccoli

The tofu is an unusual but very addictive flavour. The marinade ended up more of a thick paste, rather than a liquid like most marinades, so it clings to the tofu and apples perfectly. 4 stars.
Orange-Scented Broccoli sounds delicious, and is very nice. Quick to make, it is a nice way to dress up broccoli. 4 stars.
The scallion pancakes were tasty, though didn't brown as much as I would have liked in the oven. Using 1/4 cup for each, I got 11 rather than 12. They are yummy cold taken for snacks at work the next day. 4 stars.

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, and Polenta Stuffing

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes; Shaved Brussels Sprouts; Polenta Stuffing

Thanksgiving isn't an Australian tradition, but I have read a lot about what people eat on blogs. This is kind of what I imagine a healthy Thanksgiving in a bowl would be like. Served with Cranberry Sauce (from Eat, Drink & Be vegan).
Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes have a lovely tamarind BBQ sauce coating them. Make the time to marinate well, because the flavours are great. 4 stars.
The Brussels sprouts have a great texture. It takes a little bit of time to slice them so thinly, but it isn't that long and it is work it. 4 stars.
I've mentioned that I love polenta, and this stuffing is seriously addictive. 5 stars.

Mushroom & Cannellini Paprikas with Scarlet Barley

Mushroom & Cannellini Paprikas; Scarlet Barley

The paprikash is delicious, and is amazingly creamy without a drop of sour cream. I love dill, and this has lots. 4 stars.
Scarlet Barley is a stunning, colourful dish thanks to grated beetroot. It makes the plate look fantastic. I had to simmer the barley at a medium-high temperature, rather than on low, to get the water to absorb in time. 4 stars.

Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie (with Garden Variety Caulipots)

Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie (w/ Garden Variety Caulipots)

I think this dish is the talk or the town, everyone I know who has made it is in love with it. It is so tasty. The shiitake mushrooms and the Worcestershire sauce make this something special. 5 stars.
This recipe also calls for caulipots (hence the upside down part). I chose Garden Variety Caulipots, which have chives and parsley. 4 stars.

Pasta Con Broccoli

Pasta con Broccoli

This is so simple, but so delicious. Pasta and broccoli in a white wine sauce. I added white beans for protein. Sprinkle nooch on top! I got three serves out of this, rather than four. 5 stars.

Caldo Verde with Crumbled Tempeh

Caldo Verde with Crumbled Tempeh

I have recently discovered that I love Caldo Verde! This version uses silverbeet (chard) for the greens, and delicious chunks of sauteed tempeh. Make sure to brown the tempeh well. 4 stars.

Classic Black Bean & Veggie Chili

Classic Black Bean & Veggie Chili

This chili is fresh tasting and packed full of veggies. A great taste! 5 stars.

Other 5 star recipes:
Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing
Eggplant Bacon
Cheezy Pots
Creamed Corn
Eggplant Dengaku
Baked Falafel
Forty-Clove Chickpeas & Broccoli
Jalapeno-Cilantro Hummus
Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup

Do you have a favourite Isa cookbook? Can you choose?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Maryanne Oliver's Gizmo

The last of my paintings by Maryanne Oliver. This time a little bit of punk creeps in with my lovely girl Gizmo. I love how Maryanne paints cats, and I love how Maryanne paints her red-haired girls.

Friday, 28 October 2011

VeganMoFo 2011 #28: 'Vegan On The Cheap'

Vegan On The Cheap
Robin Robertson, John Wiley & Sons, 2010

Vegan On The Cheap

I've already discussed two other books by Robin, Vegan Planet and 1000 Vegan Recipes, and I have a review of her latest Quick Fix Vegan coming up. Today's post is about Vegan On The Cheap. I don't need to worry about food costs too much (not that I am living it up with mounds of truffles and bathing in maple syrup... actually that would be sticky), but I had to get it because it is a Robin Robertson cookbook! Plus it is never a bad idea to save money where you can. I recently learned on Twitter that Robin is a fan of Battlestar Galactica, which means you should definitely buy her books if you haven't already.

The book is a paperback and there are no photos inside. Chapters include:

*The Big Picture (talking about veganism and being a thrifty vegan cook, it also includes a 7 day menu plan)
*Cooking Basics
*Soup and Sew Savvy
*Satisfying Salads
*Noodle Know-How
*Skillet Sense
*First-Class Bakes and Casseroles
*Pizzas, Burgers, and Casseroles
*Slow-Cooker Favourites
*Sweet Delights
*Online Resources

I haven't blogged anything from this book yet, but I have made too many to put all the photos in one post. So I will post a few of my favourites from each section and then list the others at the end with my rating system.

Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

I really wanted to make this as it has two of my favourite things - kale and tempeh. The tempeh is smoky to boot! It uses the Smoky Tempeh Bits recipes from the Basics chapter, which are some of the best things ever just on their own. This soup didn't disappoint. 5 stars.

Cincinnati Suburb Chili

Cincinnati Suburb Chili

This is a delicious and intriguing combination. I guess it is not that interesting if you live in Cincinnati. But the chili is served over spaghetti and topped with Cheezee Sauce, and when you put those three things together, magic happens. 5 stars.

Curried Vegetable Salad

Curried Vegetable Salad

This is a great salad to make ahead for the week's lunches. The creamy, curry dressing is really yummy. 5 stars.

Red Bean and Corn Salad

Red Bean and Corn Salad

This salad suggests serving with rice to bulk it up, by I took it to work with lots of avocado and corn tortillas. Delicious! 4 stars.

Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash

Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash

This is a beautiful dish. I used 250g linguine (instead of 12 ounces) and just over 1kg butternut for the 'medium' butternut squash. Initially the sauce looked a bit too runny, but it is absolutely fine and coats the pasta perfectly. 4 stars.

Penne and Broccoli with Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Raisins

Penne and Broccoli with Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Raisins

I halved the amount of penne pasta required here to obtain my optimum pasta to sauce ratio. 4 stars.

White Bean and Barley "Risotto" with Kale and Tempeh

White Bean and Barley 'Risotto' with Kale and Tempeh

Fantastic, everything good in the world in a bowl. This makes three large servings for Susan-sized appetites. The recipe uses more of those amazing Smoky Tempeh Bits. 5 stars.

Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu Fried Rice

This is pretty simply in terms of ingredients, but magic happens in the saute pan. I could not stop eating this. I served it with some amazing sauteed broccolini. 5 stars.

Cacciatore Noodle Bake

Cacciatore Noodle Bake

This is a delicious, big dish - I got 5 servings from it. I used a blend of tofu, seitan and tempeh (I had a bunch of odds and ends left over) and used peas instead of green capsicum. 4 stars.

Other things I have made:
Marinara Sauce - 4 stars
Cheezee Sauce - 4 stars
Handy Hummus - 4 stars
Smoky Tempeh Bits - 5 stars
French Lentil Chili - 4 stars
Bean and Barley Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing - 4 stars
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cashews and Kidney Beans - 4 stars
Tabbouleh Chickpea Salad - 4 stars
Quick Lo Mein - 4 stars
Coconut Curry Rice - 4 stars
Better-Than-Takeout Tofu Stir-Fry - 4 stars
Baked Ziti - 4 stars
Deluxe Vegetable Lasagne - 3 stars

What's your favourite 'splurge' food item?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim by Maryanne Oliver

This is the second painting that Maryanne did for me, and it is of the pretty red-haired girl with Dim Sim. I told Maryanne about how Dim Sim didn't like her sisters, but loved spending alone time with me. So Maryanne made this beautiful painting of the two of us sitting on the moon gazing at the stars, with no other kitties around.