Vegan Mashup Kickstarter: Help Us Make Vegan Cooking Television

Vegan Mashup Season 2 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/65363784/planning-vegan-mashup-season-two

Vegan Mashup, our by-our-bootstraps vegan cooking show that’s been featured on public TV enters it’s last stretch of funding, and we could really use your help. We want to make another season of our much needed vegan alternative cooking shows. Pledge a little or a little more if you can, and we’ll bring you a fresh and tasty season of honest vegan cooking. We’ve recently added a few new hot rewards, so take a look or share with your food-forward friends.

The other big news is that I’m deep in recipe development of another book. Unlike Vegan Eats World, this book will be smaller, tighter, faster and shall we say I’m cooking away at it on an accelerated time line. With a drop date in the fall (but slated for a Spring 2014 release) and a lot to do before then, it’s been nothing but salads, salads, and more salads. Did I mention this new book is ‘bout salad? My working title is “Salads Don’t Suck”, yet I suspect my publishers may have other ideas.

You have questions, of course! Well here are a few answers.

Vegan Mashup season 2? There was a season 1?

You bet there was! A whole first season exists, and can be found on various public access stations throughout the country. Haven’t seen it yet? Then call up your local station and ask ‘em nicely for it, or order the season on DVD. Even if you haven’t seen the first season, doesn’t the world need a little more vegan representation in the cooking show universe? Pledge a dollar, pledge a little more if you can, and spread the word about our Kickstarter page these last precious days!

Do you need recipe testers?

Surely, I will. This will be on a much smaller scale that Vegan Eats World. When the time comes, I’ll announce it here on my blog and likely on my Vegan Latina Facebook page, likely in early August.

Vegan salads, isn’t that like saying carnivorous bacon?

I’m not so sure about that metaphor, but yes, I did feel a little weird announcing to friends, family, or complete strangers that I’m working on a salad book. After the huge omnibus of Vegan Eats World, the task of doing another small book came quickly into focus. My first impulse was pizza, but after a lot of soul searching (and a pending fantastic pizza book from Julie Hasson), I decided that after years of cupcakes, pies, cookies, dumplings, I could really use a salad. But not a flimsy bowl of iceberg lettuce, but a full meal nourishing bowl of greens, grains, beans, veggie proteins, fruits, nuts, and other vegan goodies that satisfy and deliver filling, nourish plant based goodness with little fuse. These will be whole meal salads, ready to rescue your lunch from a boring, overpriced $12 sandwich (as it happens here too easily in NYC) or greasy take-out for dinner after a long day…as I do have a full time job in addition to the books, many of these recipes are based on real life weeknight meals.

You’re so quiet lately!

Yup, I have been. I’m basically in a torrid love triangle between my salad spinner and Scrivener (my word processing app of choice) these days, also working, writing, and organizing a new book on a very tight deadline. Will I take break from constant salad to post something non-salad? Will I get so sick of kale that it will be my new four-letter word? Will I find an exciting ending for this post?

Vegan Eats World vs. The James Beard House 4/15

Join me during your lunch break at The James Beard House for a reading of Vegan Eats World (yes, I do dramatic recipe readings) and a chat about vegan cuisine May 15 at noon. It’s free for students, with a suggested donation of $20 for everyone else.

Light refreshments will be served, including a taste of my favorite dessert from VEW, my flourless chocolate torte bursting with Ethiopian spices!

 

 

Broken oven creates a knead for old fashioned soda bread

The oven is broken.

For someone for whom a baking session is the equivalent of a relaxing massage or a few hours of Skyrim, I’ve been a little in crisis mode the past month. Month? A whole month without a working oven! I’ve been busy and not home a lot, so repairing the poor dear has fallen to the wayside.

I wanted to present to you an updated version of my favorite twist on soda bread (just in time for March 17th) from Veganomicon, the Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Millet and Currants. It’s a rich, tender bread similar to a scone with the snappy addition of crunchy millet.

I love it. You should make it sometime.

But that’s not in the recipe cards for me. However, I’ve been told that true Irish soda bread is not baked in an oven but over an open fire or stovetop. Very well, I have a fabulous cast iron Dutch oven that I’ve used for countless versions of no-knead bread. Seems entirely feasible to craft old fashioned soda bread (with new fashioned whole grains and vegan adjustments) with a similar set-up, only setting the covered oven on top the oven instead of inside it.

But I did have my reservations: old fashioned soda bread is a lean thing indeed: no added fat, not sugar and only buttermilk (or for me, clabbered soy milk) and baking soda to make it rise. I was skeptical going in, but it made for a fascinating process…and hells bells, the bread rose and baked all the way through.

And it’s wonderful. The texture is light and springy, and a crunchy roasted crust forms on the bottom (and slightly on top after flipping) with the aroma of the currants and caraway penetrating though the golden brown crumb. It’s unlike any other quick bread I usually make, and is relatively low maintenance for a stove top treat. I adore currants (or here, affordable faux currants made from Zante grapes) and caraway seeds, but you could leave these out for a very simple loaf.

Here’s a few tips for your stovetop bread adventures:

-This is lean bread without any added fat, so the key to a tender crumb is to just barely mix the dough; over-knead it and the bread can be tough and tasteless. So be careful to stir only enough to moisten everything (some streaks of flour in the dough are fine), drop it into the floured surface and shape immediately into a ball.

-Preheating the Dutch oven is key! Using cast iron is probably the best material for making any stove top bread.

-Being generous with the flour coating. No need to grease the Dutch oven; the coating of flour and the preheated surface will prevent sticking. If you bread sticks, you haven’t preheated the pot enough and you didn’t use enough flour

-For a sweeter bread, try using sweetened milk and adding 2 tablespoons sugar along with the soy/almond milk

Broken Oven Soda Bread

Makes 1 generous loaf

  •  1 ½ cups graham flour, whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for dusting
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups plain soy milk or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup dried Zante currants or genuine dried currants
  • 1 rounded tablespoon caraway seeds

1. Cover cast iron Dutch oven with a lid and preheat over a medium-high flame for at least 15 minutes. If you have a heat diffuser plate, place that underneath the pot.

2. Sift together both flours, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a large measuring cup whisk together soy milk and apple cider and set aside to curdle for 2 minutes.

3.   Form a well in the flour, add the curdled soy milk, currants and caraway seeds. Stir only just enough to moisten ingredients. The dough will be slightly sticky, that’s fine…don’t be tempted to add extra flour.

4.   Generously flour a work surface and drop the dough into the flour. Gently pat the dough into a circle, then carefully flip over a few times to coat generously with flour. Pat the sides with a little additional flour.

5.   Use a shape knife to slice a deep X into the top the dough at least 5 inches long (cut deep, about 2 inches deep). Uncover the Dutch oven, lower the dough into the pot and cover. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the bread is about doubled in size and feels firm to the touch. Uncover the pot. Use a long handled spatula (and wearing oven mitts to protect your hands!), carefully flip over the bread and bake uncovered another 5 to 10 to minutes to lightly toast the top of the loaf.

6.   Remove the bread, transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Wrap leftovers tightly and reheat before serving.

See me in London: Vitality Show March 23 & 24

Hey UK!

Saturday March 23st and Sunday 24nd I’ll be presenting at the Vitality Show in London at the Health & Nutrition stage talking about all things vegan cuisine with:

Beginner’s Guide to the New Vegan Cuisine
Tofu or tempeh? Chia seeds or cacao nibs? Can I get enough protein without eating animal products? Wholesome baking without eggs or dairy? Absolutely! Healthy, eco-friendly plant-based cuisine is hotter than ever, but where does one begin the culinary journey of a lifetime?

Join Terry Hope Romero in a lively discussion about the changing palate plant-based cooking for everyone! From actors to athletes to regular people, everyone has questions about preparing healthful and delicious meatless meals at home. For the omnivore that’s curious about where to start, to the long-time vegan who’s seen it all and looking for something new, join Terry in talking about the world of meatless cuisine that’s changing faster than ever before.

I’ll also be signing copies of Vegan Eats World.

It’s been years since I’ve been in London, and I want to make sure I experience all the vegan goodies in addition to bringing home a suitcase full of Cheezly. And I’ll need your help!

I’m giving away 10 daytime event passes to The Vitality Show (good for entry on Thursday or Friday). To win a pass, enter your name in the comments below and tell me one fantastic veganlicious food item or restaurant that I shouldn’t miss while in London (winners will be drawn at random, fyi).

Kale Takes the Kake Every Time

If you’re in NYC this weekend (unfortunately I am not) please allow me to nudge you towards where the cool kids will be having all the fun at the 3rd annual deliciously exciting NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. There’s something for everybody at this vibrant, growing festival and the hardest part may be just deciding to attend either Saturday or Sunday. Or you can do it like a pro and go both days to get your fill of the diverse line-up of speakers and presentations. Nosh on the trendiest vegan delights, get a live earful from the exciting line-up of speakers and celebrate into Saturday night for me!

While I’m sad not to be in town this year, I’ve had my share of excitement these past few months post release of Vegan Eats World: collaborating on recipe development projects, trying my hand at some restaurant line work, assisting food photography shoots. I’m also fresh from a trip from northern Italy that has given me a slow-food feast of ideas that I hope to express more fully in the following months.

But for right now, there’s the matter of that strange hankering for fresh foods that happens every year for me around this time. Late winter has lengthening days and has me yearning for warmer weather, but local fresh produce is almost two months away. So I turn to the staples that have kept me going all this time: kale, potatoes, legumes and olive oil, shaping them into something new.

Here I’ve literally shaped these essential components into plump cakes, dredged them in crunchy panko crumbs and pan fried them in a little olive oil to golden browned perfection. I like to keep these rustic and scrub the skins well rather than peel the potatoes, but I’ll leave that up to you. Serve them with a spicy Indian chutney (tamarind or tomato is ideal) or a dollop of olive tapenade, with or without a crisp green salad. I adore these vegetable-full croquettes; they have the heartiness of cold weather food with a hint of longer, warmer days ahead.

Potato Kale Kakes

Serves 6 or more

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups roughly chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked, drained green lentils
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • About 1 ½ cups panko crumbs for breading
  • Olive oil for frying

1. Cover the diced potatoes with at least 3 inches of cold water, bring to a boil over high heat and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes until tender (easily pierced with a fork). Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.

2. In a deep 12 inch skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat, add the mustard seeds and don’t stir. Once the seeds have finished popping, add the onion and garlic and fry until onion is translucent. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and chopped kale and fry for about 3 minutes or until the kale is tender and reduced in bulk by about half. Turn off heat and cool for 2 minutes.

3. Pour panko crumbs into a wide, shallow bowl or large dinner plate. Pre-heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

4. Transfer kale mixture to the cooled potatoes, add the vegan mayo, pepper, lentils and salt. Thoroughly mix (I use my hands for the greatest control), making sure all the ingredients are moistened and the lentils and kale are evenly distributed. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Scoop up a generous ½ cup and shape into a patty about 1 ½ inches thick, dredge both sides in bread crumbs and set onto a clean, dry surface while you finish shaping the rest of the patties.

5. Fry patties in the preheated cast iron skillet with a little olive oil until both sides are golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve hot!