Unboxing a Cookbook

I think it’s appropriate that the first video we produced for Things Vegans Cook is an unboxing video of a cookbook. We had the opportunity to review V is for Vegan by Kerstin Rodgers, an award-winning food writer from Britain. This is the second edition of the book; it seems to be pretty popular.

When I got the package in the mail I was so excited. I seized the opportunity to record my delight in receiving and opening this delivery. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed recording this video.

If you would like us to review your book here on this website, you can contact us and we’ll look at what you have to offer. It has to be in line with TVC’s philosophy, we are all about what vegans cook. Maybe we’ll make another unboxing video!

Thanks for watching — and check back on Friday for our review of the book.


Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole in Tacos with Grilled Calçots

In Oaxaca, they have all kinds of mole, a kind of paste or thick sauce—yellow, green, red—but a chocolate mole is one of the most unique. This chocolate mole with smoked tofu is as satisfying as any meat dish.

Calçots are a Catalan dish of very young leeks simply broiled, slightly blackened, and dressed with olive oil. A great combo for tacos. The typically Oaxacan sauce will make double the amount you need for the tofu, so either freeze half, or if you have more guests, double the amount of tofu. You can serve this as tacos or just as a stew with rice. 

This recipe comes from V is for Vegan, a new cookbook by Kerstin Rodgers. For more Kerstin’s amazing recipes, visit her website MsMarmiteLover.

Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole in Tacos with Grilled Calçots
Serves 4
Tofu and mole meet in a happy flavor explosion that will keep your diners coming back.
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  1. 2½ Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. Generous 2 oz [60 g] vegan dark chocolate
  5. 8¾ oz [350 g] whole tomatoes
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin
  7. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  8. ¼ tsp ground allspice
  9. 2 dried ancho chilies
  10. 2 dried chipotle chilies
  11. 2 Tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  12. 1¾ cups [170 g] blanched or ground almonds
  13. 2 Tbsp strong agave nectar
  14. 14 oz [400 g] firm smoked tofu, drained and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes
  15. 1 pack of calçots, young leeks or scallions, trimmed
  16. 14 corn tortillas
  17. Sea salt
  18. For the Garnish
  19. Slices of avocado
  20. A fistful of alfalfa sprouts
  21. Sprigs of cilantro
  22. Lime wedges
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the chocolate, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook slowly over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the chilies.
  2. Meanwhile, split all the dried chilies and discard the seeds, then briefly toast the chilies in a dry skillet until soft. Place in a 1 pint [½ L] heatproof pitcher with the vegetable bouillon powder. Fill up the pitcher with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Put the almonds, the chili and stock mixture, the cooked sauce, agave nectar, and 1 Tbsp salt in a powerful blender. Starting on a low speed, process together, increasing the speed as you go, until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a deep, wide skillet.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/

But I Could Never Go Vegan!

But I Could Never Go VeganToday’s Book: But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner By Kristy Turner of Keepin it Kind Blog

Sometimes we need a road map, and as a new vegan you probably have lots of questions and are wondering “how can I make all that great food?” Well, Kristy Turner has the answer. Her book is full of great recipes that any new vegan can follow and duplicate. Using familiar ingredients and sound cooking techniques, this blog author shows you how to make tasty and appealing meals for the whole family.

Follow along over at Keepin it Kind (http://keepinitkind.com/being-vegan/), where she talks about her own story of becoming a vegan (not all of us were raised 100% vegan) and the challenges she faced. You can even add your own story if you want.

How to Make Edible Squash Bowls

Monday’s recipe was a warm and fuzzy vegetable ragout from the Vegetarian Times. Today we feature a video that will help you step up your presentation or this and other entrees: how to make edible squash bowls.

There is a trick to hollowing out and preparing acorn squash to be stuffed. This technique is known to cooks everywhere, but for the home cook, it may be a new tool for your culinary repertoire. These are the kinds of tricks that can really help speed up your cooking time, so give it a try and let us know how it turns out.

Squash and Vegetable Ragout

Sometimes we just want comfort food — something warm and filling that reminds us of homemade meals (real or imagined) and makes us feel all cozy inside. If that dish has nutritional value, say a lot of vegetables, even better.  Ragout is a dish that typically has loads of vegetables and makes diners feel all warm and comforted.

This South American Squash and Vegetable Ragout from the Vegetarian Times does not disappoint. With a balance of legumes, veggies, and fruits, it can then be stuffed into a whole squash, baked, and served as a complete entrée.

Squash and Vegetable Ragout
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  1. 6 dried pitted apricots
  2. 4 dried pitted prunes
  3. 6 small acorn or butternut squash
  4. 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for coating squash
  5. 1 small Spanish onion, diced (1 cup)
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  7. 2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
  9. 1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
  10. 1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  11. 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  12. ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  13. 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Place apricots and prunes in bowl, and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Soak 2 hours, or overnight. Drain, and coarsely chop fruit, reserving liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut circular opening in squash tops, and reserve tops. Cut small slices off bottoms of squash so they stand up straight. Scoop out and discard seeds and fiber from squash. Rub outsides of squash shells and lids with oil, and place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and oregano; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes and juice; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add potato, sweet potato, and reserved apricot-prune soaking liquid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are almost soft. Add corn and apricot-prune mixture, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more. Add beans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 5 minutes more.
  4. Ladle 1 cup stew into each hollowed squash; place lid on top. Bake 60 to 90 minutes, or until fork can easily pierce through squash.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/
Try it at your next party and see if it doesn’t please the crowd.

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran

mainstreetveganWe are a couple of months into the New Year and, If you’ve committed to a vegan diet, getting healthy or even just trying to eat better, here’s a little bit of inspiration for you. A book by Victoria Moran called Main Street Vegan.

Moran is an author, nutritionist, and vegan lifestyle coach. She is also the creator of the Main Street Vegan Academy. She has been an outspoken voice in the world of veganism for many years, and an advocate of eating a whole foods diet.

IN this book, subtitled “Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World,” Moran backs her work up with facts and a lifetime of sustaining herself and her daughter on a vegan diet. She shares this passion in the, available through amazon. You can visit her website for more information. http://mainstreetvegan.net/

Stuffed Poblano Chili

Here in the Southwest, chilies are available year round. One of our favorite dishes is the one for poblano chilies stuffed with quinoa show in the video from the Kitchen Shaman YouTube Channel.

This recipe isn’t in the “easy” category as it involves a number of steps, but you can follow along with the video and you’ll end up with a satisfying dish.

Try this recipe out on some of your friends and see if they don’t say “Oh yeah vegan cuisine has flavor!”


Polenta Cakes

Most of us don’t think about Southwestern food as being easily converted into vegan cuisine. I’ve spent the last 20 or so years perfecting recipes that are from my region of the American Southwest and are suitable for the vegan table. Here is one that is my favorites.

Polenta is actually a dish that comes from Spain, but it was picked up by Mexico and brought into the United States. It can be soft and creamy or made into these delectable little cakes that can be served with almost any entrée, from Portobella Fajitas to red chili tofu. They can be served with your favorite vegan chili or soup or even just eaten by themselves. However you serve them, they’ll be a hit with your diners.


Creamy Polenta Cakes
Creamy polenta formed into cakes can be served with a variety of entrees or all by themselves.
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  1. 1 cup polenta
  2. 4 cups vegetable broth
  3. 1 cup coconut milk
  4. 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  5. 2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
  6. 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  7. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  8. ¼ cup red pepper, roasted and diced
  9. 1 tsp red chili powder or 1/2 tsp jalapeno powder
  10. Daiya Pepperjack “cheese”
  11. 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  12. 2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  1. Bring 4 cups of vegetable stock and the lime juice to a boil.
  2. Slowly add in the polenta. Use a whisk to keep the polenta from lumping together. Keep the temperature at medium high and whisk until the polenta absorbs the water. This is going to take an absurd amount of time (15 minutes).
  3. Keep whisking and add in the margarine.
  4. Keep whisking and add in the coconut milk.
  5. Lower the temperature to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, and roasted red pepper. Keep whisking.
  6. Finally, when the polenta is getting a bit stiff yet tastes creamy and dreamy, add the chili powder, salt and cilantro, and take it off the fire.
  7. Stir in the cheese at the very end. It will melt all on its own.
  8. Pour into a greased sheet pan and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Remove from refrigerator and “turn” the polenta out of the pan. Once you do this, cut the polenta into either circles or squares. This is a great opportunity to use funny shaped cookie cutters and make dinner fun for the family!
  10. Heat up a flat griddle and add a little oil. Sear the polenta cakes so that they color on both sides.
  1. You have the option of serving the polenta right out of the pot, without the added step of making cakes.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/

Why I will ALWAYS be Vegan

why I will always be veganSome things don’t make it on my radar. I live and breathe in the vegan food blogging world, but not in the publishing world. Last year this little treasure was released.

Why I will ALWAYS be vegan: 125 essays from around the world edited by Butterflies Katz.

Elegant, beautiful, and well crafted, Why I’ll Always be Vegan is full of essays by everyday people telling their story of becoming and/or being vegan.

I’m not sure how I missed it, but I can tell you know, if you are interested in the life and adventures of devout vegans, this just might be the book to read.

How to Make Almond Butter

It is ridiculously easy to make your own almond butter, if you have a food processor. Even a small one.

Just take a handful of almonds, toss them in, and puree to your desired smoothness. The mixture will first make crumbs, then a ball, and then the almonds will break down into almond butter. Just have patience. Spread on anything you would put peanut butter on.

Want to see how easy it is? Enjoy this video by Chef TR.