the jazzy vegetarian + scampi pasta




Last week I had the most amazing time with Laura Theodore on her radio show The Jazzy Vegetarian.

Laura is not only the author of the party-friendly, family-friendly vegan cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics, but she also hosts her own television vegan cooking show on PBS and Create Channel. I know! How cool! Check for listing, channels and times of her TV show HERE.

Laura is such a talented host, that she put me right at ease on my first live interview, even though I was scared to pieces and nervous as all get out! We shared some great tips for vegan cooking and just generally had such a fun time.

I’m pretty sure I jabbered too much and too long, but that’s nothing new to those who know me.
A few things I shared on the show were:

Frontier Co-op, an online retailer of some great vegan-friendly and animal-friendly products, such as seaweed, nutritional yeast, cleaning and hygiene products, spices and herbs and tons of other stuff.

If you become a buying club member on the Frontier Co-op Wholesalers, for a ten dollar membership fee, you can have anything over $250 delivered free of charge. The idea is to get others involved to reach the minimum, but I have found that at least once a year (sometimes twice or thrice) I have no problem attaining the $250 minimum all by my lonesome self.  

Laura also asked about egg replacers on the show and I shared a few ideas, but just recently No Meat Athlete posted a wonderful visual representation.




Lastly, I shared an easy recipe from Everyday Vegan Eats on The Jazzy Vegetarian, and it happens to be the cover recipe, which is a dish that can be ready in 15 minutes, Scampi Pasta with Asparagus and Walnuts. It has mild garlic flavor, a mild sea flavor, thanks to dulse seaweed, and the richness is tamed by fresh lemon juice. Really a delicious meal!






Scampi Pasta with Asparagus and Walnuts
Serves 4


Scampi, in the restaurant world, is a dish of shrimp sautéed in garlic butter and tossed with parsley and fresh lemon juice. In this version, dulse stands in for the flavor of seafood and the garlic-lemon sauce is tossed with thin pasta. This is a very fast meal, so get your pot of water boiling first.


Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta or gluten-free pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dulse seaweed flakes
  • 1/4 cup packed finely chopped parsley
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided sea salt and fresh ground black pepper


Preparation:
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Cool the pasta under running cold water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and walnuts. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium. Add the dulse, parsley, and asparagus. Cook, stirring, until the asparagus is partially cooked, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and continue to cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, another 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the reserved pasta, and the other 1/2 cup of reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring, until the pasta is heated through and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Season to taste with salt, plenty of black pepper, and the rest of the lemon juice, if needed. Serve hot.


CHEF’S TIP: If you have a wok, this is a great place to use it. Garlic or walnut pieces can be pushed up the side of the wok, out of higher heat, if any of them brown faster than the others. When the sauce is ready to be tossed with the pasta, you’ll have plenty of room to combine them.

From Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever. ©2014 Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.



If you haven’t listened to the complete interview, catch it below or HERE. While you are on the BlogTalkRadio, subscribe to her channel and take the time to look through the archives of the show – so many great interviews and information to be discovered!

I’d like to thank Laura for having me on the show and for being so gentle with someone so obviously new to the process. I am so deeply grateful!





Listen To Food Internet Radio Stations with The Jazzy Vegetarian on BlogTalkRadio with The Jazzy Vegetarian on BlogTalkRadio


If you would like to win your very own shiny new copy of Everyday Vegan Eats, the lovely Somer McCowan of Vedgedout.com is hosting a giveaway right this very second  (contest ends August 29). She is also sharing my recipe for Chilled Sesame Soba Noodles. Here is the equally lovely picture she took of said dish:


Photo by Somer McCowan of Vedgedout.com





I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. 

 

     

"vegan chocolate" cookbook giveaway



First and foremost, "Vegan Chocolate - Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts" by Fran Costigan is amazingly all about chocolate. Vegan. From the Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding (above - we'll get to that later), to the Opera Cake below and anything in between, be it a drink, a frozen dessert or a candy, Fran has got it covered.

When I first received the book, I was stunned (though shouldn't have been) by the photography by the very talented Kate Lewis, who does complete justice to each of Fran's recipes that is lucky enough to have been photographed - and plenty there are, in this book. This is a cookbook of chocolates that Julia Child would be proud of!



A small sampling of the offerings are:

~a complete chapter on Truffles!
~Brownie Pudding Cakelettes (page 79)
~Brooklyn Blackout Cake (page 94)
~White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake (page 97)
~Intensely Chocolate Trifle (page 110)
~Buche de Noel (page 116)
~Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies (page 144)
~Raspberry Chocolate Silk Tart (page 164)
~Chocolate Panna Cotta (page 176)
~Chocolate Jello Shots (!!) (page 193)
~Chocolate Espresso Gelato (page 198)
~Chocolate Dulce de Leche (page 234)
~Hot Chocolate Mexican-Style (page 245)
~Chocolate White Russin (another, yes!) (page 258)

.... you get the picture. If you want to make anything chocolate related, this is the book you want.

Some of the recipes are easy as pie (such as the above Bread Pudding), while some are showstoppers, such as the Opera Cake below.


Beyond the scope of the recipes and the subject itself (chocolate!), Fran writes effortlessly and the recipes are clear and precise. For the more intricate recipes, such as the cake above, she even provides a game plan that makes a traditionally complex dessert seem like a walk in the park, complete with a time table and how long each component of the recipes will keep. This makes holiday baking and dessert making a breeze!

And that is just one chapter in the book! The other chapters contain recipes that range from super easy and quick to intermediate. This book is not just for the novice baker/cook, but also for someone who wants to put something extra special on the table - a truly versatile and long-reaching cookbook.

I chose to make the Bread Budding because my children had been asking me to make one, as they had seen many non-vegan renditions on TV shows and were wondering what all the hype was. Then this book fell in my lap, including a bread pudding recipe. May all our desires be answered so easily!

The recipe was completely delicious and addictive! I really am not one for sweets, but I kept going back for another bite of this. I couldn't resist! Make it yourself and see!

Who wants this book?

I am giving away a copy to one lucky winner (US residents only, please).

Leave a comment and follow me via Twitter, a reader or Facebook. Make sure to leave me a clear way to get in touch with you. Contest ends September 1 (first day of Vegan MoFo - have you signed up yet?)

Without further delay, here is the recipe by Fran Costigan and the photo by Kate Lewis of that scrumptious Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding. It may be summer time, but one bite and you'll see that heating up the oven is all worth it.


Photo by Kate Lewis




Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding

The humble origin of bread pudding dates back to thirteenth century England when a “poor man’s pudding” was assembled from stale leftover bread, bits of fruit, and spices moistened with sweetened water. Contrast that lean and thrifty pudding with contemporary recipes often served in expensive restaurants, which are made with egg-rich breads, such as brioche or challah, baked in custards made with three or more eggs, heavy cream or whole milk, and sweetened with sugar. There’s a lot to like about the technique and texture of these modern bread puddings, but clearly a recipe renovation is needed. In my version, cashew cream, coconut milk, and starch make the creamy custard, and a healthy dose of chocolate provides the wow factor. I use protein-rich, easy-to-digest sprouted bread, but any bread you like will do. Serve the pudding warm right out of the baking dish, or make it ahead and warm before serving. If you want to spice up brunch with Ms. or Mr. Sweetie, try the heart-shaped variation at the end.


Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients
      6 slices sprouted wheat bread, or another bread
      1/2 cup raw whole cashews, rinsed and soaked
in boiling water to cover for 1 hour
      1/2 of a 13.5 to 14-ounce can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk,
 well-stirred (do not use light)
      1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
      2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B or dark amber) or agave syrup
      2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      1 tablespoon tapioca starch or organic cornstarch
      1 ripe medium-size banana
      3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into chunks

Preparation
1.    Cut the bread into roughly 1-inch chunks. Put the chunks into a large bowl and set aside until needed.
2.    Drain the cashews and put them into a blender. Add the coconut milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend, starting on low and increasing the speed to high for 1 minute or until the liquid is perfectly smooth. (If you have a high-speed blender, this will take about 1 minute. If using a standard blender, blend the ingredients in 2 or 3 batches until perfectly smooth.)
3.    Add the tapioca or cornstarch to the blender and blend for 1 minute. Pour the liquid into a 2-cup measure and add enough water or nondairy milk to equal 1 1/3 cups.
4.    Pour the liquid over the bread and set aside to soak about 15 minutes, stirring gently with a silicone spatula a couple of times, until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid.
5.    While the bread soaks, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375˚F. Oil the sides and bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
6.    Spoon the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the banana and mix into the soaked bread. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the top. Press some of the chocolate into the bread mixture.
7.    Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 350˚F. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly puffed and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving.


Serving
Serve warm or refrigerate until cold. Reheat in the oven.

Keeping
The bread pudding is best eaten the same day but may be refrigerated in a covered container overnight.

Variation
Bread Pudding Hearts: After the pudding has baked and cooled, refrigerate it until firm. About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and cut small heart-shaped portions, or one large heart to share. Place on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Set the table while the pudding hearts heat in the oven back to melty, chocolaty goodness, about 15 to 20 minutes.



Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press. Photo credit: Kate Lewis

farmer's market salad with eggplant vinaigrette



As many people are want to do weekly, we headed to the Farmer's Market on Sunday. It is amazing how Farmer's Markets have changed over the past few decades - completely aside from the fact that there are so many more than there used to be.

They have grown not only in numbers but in scope as well. I remember them being small events consisting of produce vendors, the occasional jewelry stand and a few scout groups selling their ware. Nowadays, it is full of organic produce, music, flowers, artisan foods of jams, cookies, tamales, baskets, pottery - you name it, chances are, whether it be food related or not, you'll find them at your nearest market. Here is a great site for locating a Farmer's Market: Local Harvest.

I could do without the animal body parts, which are also quite common these days, but overall, I'm very happy with how far things have come and am looking forward to seeing more support for the markets and, hence, even more progress.



In addition to going to the market for fresh produce, I also go for inspiration. You'll never know what special herb, or common one for that matter, will be the trigger for your next dish. For me, it was grape tomatoes and garlic chives.

Since I also subscribe to our local CSA box, I had an eggplant hanging around that needed to be cooked. That's when things really took off.

I cooked the whole eggplant in a skillet until tender - reminiscent of Baba Ghanoush, where the eggplant is roasted whole, thereby imparting a smoky flavor. I chopped the cauliflower into pieces about the size of rice and sauteed it with garlic, I sauteed the green beans and tomatoes with lemon juice and, finally, I made the eggplant into a vinaigrette.

Sounds like a mouthful, but everything balanced out beautifully and it was a perfect, post-Farmer's Market meal. As a bonus, the remaining vinaigrette (which only contains a few tablespoons of oil) serves as a wonderful dip for raw veggies.

The best thing about this salad was that most of the ingredients went from ground to plate in twenty-four hours - almost as good as having my very own garden in the backyard.






Farmer's Market Salad with Eggplant Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 tablespoon neutral oil, divided
1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 medium cauliflower, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, halved, plus 2 teaspoons minced, divided
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 ounces green beans, trimmed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
¼ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
6 cups fresh spinach


1. Coat the eggplant with the oil. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the whole eggplant and cover the skillet with a stainless steel bowl. This will create smoke; use a kitchen fan to keep the air clean. Turn the eggplant a quarter turn when the bottom is charred. Turn as needed until the eggplant is tender. Cool the eggplant and peel. Set aside.
2. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until the size of grains of rice. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, the halved garlic cloves, season with salt and black pepper, and stir and cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Toss the green beans, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon oil, minced garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat and cook the green beans until charred and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside. Add the tomatoes to the grill pan and cook only until lightly charred, about 1 minutes. Set aside.
4. Add the peeled eggplant, vegetable broth, olive oil, tahini, chipotle, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and any garlic you can pick out of the cauliflower saute to a personal blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper and stir in the chives.
5. Toss the spinach with about ¼ cup  of the vinaigrette and serve with the cauliflower, green beans and tomatoes.
© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.







I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. 

 

     

spicy eggplant and zucchini



Eating out vegan can be a challenge at times, but should be no more difficult than asking a few pointed questions. Some establishments are more accommodating than others, nevertheless finding something to eat on any menu is always possible - even if that means ordering a green salad with oil and vinegar. Boring, but still possible.

Dining at P.F. Chang's, a chain casual Chinese-American restaurant, is more on the easy side because the personnel tend to be more educated regarding their menu and are more knowledgeable about items that are vegan or vegan-friendly.

Each ethnic restaurant comes with its own set of standard questions to ask in order to discover hidden animal ingredients. Asian restaurants tend to use fish sauce, oyster sauce, lobster or other shellfish sauce and egg in pasta or a specific dish. This is, of course, in addition to the usual meat and dairy.

P.F. Chang's has a vegetarian menu, so the work is done for you, but if you want to replace tofu in any meat-centered dish, it is wise to inquire in particular about the sauces.

All this is leading to one of our favorite dishes on the menu - Stir-fried Eggplant. My son loves this especially, but when we discovered that the eggplant is deep-fried, we were a little startled. In fact, that vegetarian dish, thanks to the frying, is one of their most calorie and fat laden menu item.

Ouch. Stir-fried, huh?




Making the eggplant at home is a better option and avoiding the deep frying is a must - but the eggplant has to be tender while at the same time not so tender that it completely falls apart.

Roasting the eggplant is a great way to go, but that is not a pleasant prospect in the middle of summer. Anything to keep the oven off! Because grilling uses minimal oil and still cooks the eggplant, I went in that direction. No secret about my love of my cast-iron grill pan.

And since my CSA is bursting with zucchini, that got into the mix, too. It is actually a welcome textural addition. I also added cashew nuts for crunch and because my youngest loves nuts in savory dishes - and I agree with her. Besides, cashews are a pretty standard fare in Indian and Asian recipes.

Use my method to cook brown rice, and this meal can be ready in about 30 minutes. The sauce is sweet and spicy, the eggplant is tender and this is another make-at-home dish that is better than the original.



SWEET AND SPICY EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHINI PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE


Sweet and Spicy Eggplant and Zucchini
Serves 4


8 tablespoons (½ cup) vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon neutral oil, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch slices
2 medium zucchinis, cut into 1-inch slices
½ cup cashew pieces
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
6 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 to 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch slices
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Combine 2 tablespoons broth, 1 teaspoon oil and plenty of black pepper in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant slices with the marinade and grill the slices until almost tender, about 4 minutes on each side. Turn the slices a quarter turn after 2 minutes to achieve a hashtag pattern. This will help the eggplant cook but not burn. Transfer the eggplant to a work surface and cut each slice into quarters. Set aside.
2. Toss the zucchini slices with the remaining marinade and grill until almost tender, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the cashews and cook until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Combine 2 tablespoons of broth with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of broth, tamari, sambal oelek, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the celery and cook 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, ginger and scallions and cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and add the reserved eggplant, zucchini and tamari mixture. Stir, cover and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook just until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the reserved cashews. Serve with cooked rice.





© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.





I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.