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!

 

Happy (kimchi) Pancake Day!

Apparently it’s pancake day (according to IHOP). Or if you could care less about IHOP, at the very least next Tuesday is as good enough as any to prepare yourself for celebrating everyone’s favorite flat, round tasty thing.

Pancakes may be my favorite food group: dosas, crepes, blini, gimme. Say no more, I’m coming over.

Here’s a nibble from Vegan Eats World to add to your pancake recipe treasure trove (you do have one, don’t you)? Gluten-free, Korean-style pancakes bursting with kimchi are just what you need on a cold Feburary day like today. Use store bought vegan kimchi or make your own; if possible use “old” kimchi that’s very juicy and soft as those juices will go straight into the batter.

While you can show off and make huge round pancakes, my advice is to take it easy and make lots of small pancakes. Use about ½ cup of batter per cake and spread it to slightly less to 1 inch thickness.

Gluten-Free Kimchi Pancakes (kimchijeon) from Vegan Eats World

Makes up to 3 thick, 10-inch pancakes or a bunch of little pancakes!

For a fast dipping sauce, serve this kimchijeon with a sauce 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part rice vinegar and a dash of toasted sesame oil.

  • 2 cups cabbage kimchi, drained of juices (reserve it) and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mixture of kimchi juice and water (use whatever amount of drained juice is reserved from the kimchi, the rest should be water)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 scallions, root ends trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
  • ¾ cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
  • Additional cooking oil spray

1. Preheat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for at least 6 minutes. In a large bowl combine kimchi, kimchi juice/water mixture, oil, scallions, garlic, sesame oil, and red pepper powder. Pour in the rice flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir to form a thick, chunky batter.

2. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet, then tilt the skillet to spread around the oil. Spread a third of the batter over the griddle, using the back of a spoon to evenly distribute the kimchi chunks throughout. Fry for 5 or 7 minutes, occasionally shifting the pan to evenly brown the pancake. It’s ready to flip when the edges appear dry and bubbles have form all over the top. If the pancake begins to stick, use a little more oil on the next pancake or spray the pan with additional cooking spray.

3. Slide a thin spatula underneath the pancake to loosen the bottom and check the color; it should be golden brown and firm. Using a large wide spatula, carefully but quickly flip the pancake; if it’s too difficult, try sliding the pancake onto a plate first, then flipping it over into the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the other side is golden. Loosen the pancake with a spatula, then slide it onto a dinner plate, slice into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.

New year soupalution

Now that we’re into week three of the new year and the holidays are well behind us, it’s easy to stress about getting real with all those resolutions.

I don’t really care about making (or sticking to) New Years resolutions. I’m forever making changes and trying out new approaches toward getting things done in my life throughout the entire year, so piling them all on one date seems like a recipe for failure. When I’d rather just be thinking up tasty recipes. But the one palatable change after months of decadent holiday eating is “eat little healthier”. And for me, soup is always the answer, with it’s nearly endless flexibility and easy of loading up with tons of fresh veggies and legumes.

The following recipes adapted from my new book Vegan Eats World. Adapted in that I’ve streamlined a few things, because I really want you to make this rich and tangy Mediterrean-inspired soup and the delightful chickpea “parm” topping. The soup base itself is endless flexible and can be altered with the addition of any diced vegetable (zucchini, butternut squash, artichoke hearts) or bean (chickpea, kidney, navy) or any combination of fresh or dried herbs.

The parm topping is inspired from a perhaps unconventional source, a traditional Ethiopian dish that uses a toasted chickpea flour batter to mimic fluffy scrambled eggs that I played with during the writing of VEW. This tangier, finely crumbled version of bu’techa resembles fat crumbles of freshly grated parmesan cheese, that unlike popular nut-based parm, the crumbles dissolve upon contact with hot broth, creating a velvety tangy layer on top of any soup.

The chickpea topping is also excellent on top of red sauced pasta or tossed into any pasta dish, so the resolution to choose better everyday meals like soup can be all the more savory. Here’s to a tasty and healthy 2013!

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigianino

Serves 6

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • One 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • Two 14-ounce cans cannellini beans or any white bean
  • Additional olive oil for drizzling (optional)
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves or finely chopped escarole (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Few twists of freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 recipe Chickpea Parmigianino Topping

1. Pour the farro into a metal mesh sieve and rinse. In a 4-quart soup pot, preheat the olive oil over medium heat, stir in the garlic, and fry for 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and fry for 5 minutes or until onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, salt and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the vegetable broth, beans, and farro. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover. Simmer the soup for 30 to 40 minutes or until the farro grains are plump and tender. Occasionally uncover and stir the soup.

2. When the farro is tender, if using spinach or escarole stir into the soup and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with pepper and salt to taste. Partially cover the soup and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

3. Ladle soup into large deep serving bowls. Sprinkle top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Chickpea Parmigianino.

 

Chickpea Parmigianino Topping

Makes about 1 1/2 cups topping

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Over medium heat in a small saucepan preheat the olive oil, then pour in the chickpea flour. Use a rubber spatula to mash the flour into the oil and stir constantly to toast the flour for about 2 minutes. The flour should turn a darker shade of yellow and look slightly damp.

2. In a measuring cup whisk together the lemon juice, water, and salt. Pour into the flour; it will sizzle and splatter a little. Stir constantly until a firm ball of dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and spread the dough onto a dinner plate. Use the spatula or your fingers (once the dough cools slightly) to press and smear the dough into a thin layer over the surface of the plate. Transfer the plate to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

3. Once the dough feels completely cool, remove from the refrigerator and drag a large fork through the dough. Continue to press the fork through it while also stirring and fluffing up the crumbs. The more you work the dough with the fork, the finer the crumbs will be. Continue for 3 to 5 minutes until it’s very fine and crumbly. Use the crumbs now, or pour into a container and chill another 20 minutes for firmer texture.

4. For best results, sprinkle crumbs generously over hot soup or pasta just before serving. The crumbs will dissolve on hot, moist food. To keep crumbs fluffy, use a fork to fluff up before serving.

Feliz navidad con mucho pan

Truth be told, I have been slacking on that Christmas spirit. The summer and fall have been something of blur and I’m just happy to be home and settling in before winter officially kicks in. There’s a pink tinsel Christmas tree I may drag out of the closet by the weekend, I have a batch of cranberry bitters lurking in the corner of the kitchen, but let’s face it, I’m super-lazy about the holidays.

And for the most part, “holiday” food hasn’t been really on my radar. I’ve been obsessed with soups, curries, pizza, growing kombucha babies in tangy tea, gathering supplies for making bitters and pickles. I roasted a batch of chestnuts for kicks last night, and wondered why I don’t do this more often.

But sometimes all it takes to kindle a little holiday cheer is baking up a childhood holiday favorite. But for me it’s not gingerbread or cookies or sugary cakes, but a special savory bread my dad would make (and still does) around Christmas.

This time of year Venezuelan many bakers and home chefs make a rustic, soft bread stuffed with a combination of ham, olives, raisins and capers, not surprising called pan con jamon (ham bread). This sweet, salty and smoky mashup so typically Spanish and tastes great any time of year, but for me it will always taste and smell of Christmas. Or even just feel festive when I’m buying up bottles of olives stuffed with pimentos or capers. But I’ll let you in on a terrible secret: as a miserably picky child, I loathed olives. I’d scream if you got one near me. Yet once a year, this bread would coax the reluctant olive-fan out of me!

Of course, my version is entirely hamless. But my dad’s bread deserves better than factory-made faux ham. There’s where juicy, smoky roasted red bell peppers step in and provide the perfect sweet, savory base. I douse the generous pepper-olive-caper-raisin filling with plenty of extra virgin olive oil for fatty goodness and sweetened it up with a touch of brown sugar and a dash liquid smoke. A touch of thyme, garlic and oregano round out the flavors

Typically pan con jamon is either shaped like a big long rolled up tube, stromboli-style, or formed into small individually round shaped buns. For batch I opted for cinnamon-bun style pinwheels for single-serving ease with with a festive look. And since I’m a huge fan of no-knead bread, I suggest you opt for the overnight fermentation for the fullest-flavored, semi-no knead dough, but you could speed the process along and get shaping the buns after a 2 hour rise.

If you’re looking for a savory alternative to holiday breakfasts or brunches, do give these pan sin jamon pinwheels a go!

Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups gently warmed unsweetened plain almond milk or rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • One 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • 5.75 ounce jar pimento-stuffed green olives (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2.4 ounce capers (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 2 tablepsoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated on a microplane grater to a fine pulp
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Extra olive oil for brushing
  • Smoked salt for sprinkling

1. Pour the warm almond milk into a bowl, whisk in the brown sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.

2. Whisk in the melted coconut oil, then stir in the flour 1 cup at a time and stir for a few minutes into a thick, slightly sticky dough. Cover the top of the bowl tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap and set aside overnight for about 12 hours, or for a minimum of 2 hour or until doubled in size.

3. While the dough is done rising, drain the peppers very well, dice and transfer to a large colander. Drain the olives, roughly dice and add to the peppers. Drain the capers, add to the olives and peppers and using your hands firmly squeeze everything to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a small bowl, add the remaining filling ingredients EXCEPT for the olive oil and combine thoroughly. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Generously flour a large work surface and use your hands or a rubber spatula to transfer the dough to the work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough generously with flour, then dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 16 x 10. If necessary, sprinkle the dough with flour to stop any sticking. Brush the olive oil over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of space around the edges.

5. Use your hand to press down on the filling in the bowl and drain away any excess liquid that may have collected. Spread the filling in an even layer over the olive oil. Carefully roll up the dough like a jelly roll and pinch the along the seam to seal, then pinch and tuck in the ends. Place the dough log seam side down and slice into pieces about 1 1/2 inches thick.

6. Carefully transfer the slices (they may be a little fragile, loaded with filling) about 2 inches apart on the paper-lined baking sheets. Gently re-shape the slices if necessary. Cover buns with a damp, clean kitchen cloth and set aside for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F.

7. Gently dab a little olive oil on top of buns and sprinkle with a little smoked salt (just a touch, this is optional but adds another smoky dimension) Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and crusty. Cool slightly before serving. Tightly wrap leftovers and store in the fridge. These are best reheated before serving.