Jul 26, 2016

jazzy vegetarian + giveaway

Jazzy Vegetarian is on the Create Network and some PBS stations! In fact, the 5th season began in May, but it is never too late to catch the show being rebroadcast. I checked my local (local, yes, but not where I live, sadly!) Create Network and even Jazzy Vegetarian Season 1 is being aired, so, yes, you can catch Laura Theodore almost twice a week, if not more.

Laura Theodore is the Jazzy vegetarian who brings healthy, accessible and easy meals to every table. This season's theme is Vegan-easy meals and the season has an accompanying cookbook: Laura Theodore's Vegan-ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet [AMAZON, B&N]. I reviewed this book last year; check it out.

"This fifth season of the award-winning Jazzy Vegetarian show is filled with fabulous, ved-ucational guests, and plenty of jazzy-licious, plant-based recipes. From Sunday Brunch to a Garden-Fresh Dinner, Laura Theodore — with help from celebrity guests like Lidia Bastianich, Julieanna Hever, and Rickey Medlocke, (lead guitarist of the legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd); — cooks healthy, delicious food for family and friends."

So, what kinds of dishes does Laura prepare on the show? Recipes like:

This delicious salad was a breeze to make and tasted really delicious. Laura suggests that you can use tamari almonds, which gave me the idea to use wasabi almonds. So good! Watch Laura prepare this dish on Create right HERE!

Then I made these amazing crabcakes. They are so simple to prepare, but deliver big. Laura makes this recipe into 8 cakes, but I'm from Texas - everything needs to be bigger, so I made 4 cakes, extra thick:

While flipping through the book I noticed an(other) easy salad recipe, but this one with a quick feta. I had to try it!

So very easy and yummy! The tofu feta is surprisingly delicious, given the simple recipe that it is. I threw in a few slices of jalapeno, simply because I love spice and I used fresh herbs since they are growing in my garden; a small garden, but herbs it does have.

Finally, I wanted to make something I knew my family would love - seitan! You can watch Laura make this dish on Create Network right HERE. Laura uses easily bought seitan, but I like making my own seitan (recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats [AMZON]) because it is more flavorful, tender and moist. And since we like our Seitan Piccata with a bit of sauce, I tightened it up with a bit of cornstarch/arrowroot slurry (mix 1/2 cup broth with 2 tablespoons starch and add it at the end; cook for 30 more seconds).

Of course, we had to have a side with this delicious meal and we chose another caper dish - Cauliflower, Broccoli and Caper Medley.

If you would like to make any of these recipes, get yourself Laura's Vegan-Ease cookbook [AMAZONB&N]! All these recipes are in the book, plus menus, tips and tricks and plenty of vegan-ease recipes to keep you well fed.

Make sure to catch Laura's Jazzy Vegetarian show on Create Network or PBS stations on Wednesdays and Sundays. Check the schedule for Create Network right here at the link.

What? You don't get Create Network in your area, either (just like me) and Jazzy Vegetarian hasn't been brought to your PBS network, yet??? First, write to your cable network to get Create Network and then pen an email or letter to your local station to start airing Jazzy Vegetarian. The more people ask, the quicker we can get Laura to be broadcast everywhere.

In the meantime, head over to Laura's website and pick up a few Jazzy Vegetarian DVDs. You can get the 3-disk DVD collection HERE. If you would like other combo packs of DVDs or cookbooks, head over HERE to check out the selection.

Because I really love Laura and what she is doing to help the animals and people, and because I love her recipes, I am giving away her 3-disk DVD collection (the one I linked to above), so be sure to enter below by commenting on this post. If you go and check out Laura's Jazzy Vegetarian Facebook page, come back and post a SEPARATE comment for a SECOND chance to win the DVDs! Score!

I will be picking the winner on August 9th, midnight. Only US entrees, please. Thank you and good luck!

Laura is sharing a recipe from the show and it is just in time for summer: Strawberry Mountain Pie! Thanks to David Kaplan for taking the great photo of the pie

Photo by David Kaplan

Strawberry Mountain Pie
Makes 6 to 8 servings / Ease Factor 2        

This delightful and delicious pie provides the perfect showcase for seasonal organic strawberries. The filling is so creamy you will not believe it’s based in raw cashews and tofu. Easy to assemble and super yummy!


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan cookie crumbs or vegan graham cracker crumbs (see note)
3 to 5 heaping tablespoons sesame tahini
1½ tablespoons nondairy milk


16 ounces extra-firm regular tofu
8 ounces soft silken tofu
1⁄3 cup raw cashews
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegan white sugar or your preferred dry sweetener


16 ounces organic strawberries
2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
2½ teaspoons filtered or spring water

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the crust, put the cookie crumbs, 3 heaping tablespoons tahini and 1 1⁄2 tablespoons nondairy milk in a medium-sized bowl and combine using a large fork or dough blender. Add more tahini until the crumbs are moistened, but still crumbly in texture (up to 5 heaping tablespoons of tahini in all). Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes. Put the pie plate on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

While the crust cools, put the extra-firm regular tofu, silken tofu, cashews and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the tofu mixture over the cooled crust. Spread in an even layer and smooth the top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the pie is slightly firm to the touch (center of the filling will still be very soft). Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes.

While the pie bakes, trim 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-inch off the wide end of each strawberry. Then, when the pie is out of the oven but still warm, arrange the strawberries, flat end down, in a pleasing pattern on top of the pie, gently pressing the end of each strawberry into the filling so it stands upright. Put the preserves and water in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Spread the preserves evenly over the top of the strawberries using a pastry brush or small spoon.

Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours before serving. Carefully cut the pie into slices (the filling will be soft). Stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, leftover pie will keep for about 2 days.

Chef’s Note: To make cookie crumbs, put  1 1⁄2 to 2 cups of broken-up vegan cookies in a blender, and process to coarse crumbs. Add more cookies, as needed, to make the amount of crumbs needed for this recipe.

Amount per serving, based on 8 servings:  166 Calories; 6g Fat; 1g Saturated fat; 7g Protein; 57mg Sodium; 23g Total Carbohydrate; 12g Sugars; 2g Fiber

Recipes from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore 2015, Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC. Reprinted by permission. More information at www.vegan-ease.com and www.jazzyvegetarian.com

Jul 5, 2016

"peace and parsnips" + giveaway

Obviously, a labor of much love, Lee Watson (Blog, Twitter) brings us a classic-in-the-works in the form of Peace and Parsnips (Amazon, B&N), Adventurous Vegan Cooking for Everyone.

The title really says it all: ADVENTUROUS vegan cooking, is right. Lee covers everything in this book, from making vegan milks to condiments and everything in between: small plates, smoothies, salads, soups, sides, curries, big plates, baked & stuffed, sweet treats, burgers & more, and even breakfast - all with his unique spin and authenticity.

This is a gorgeous hardcover book filled with wonderful photography and delectable recipes. Along with the creative and inspirational recipes, Lee voraciously regales us with witty and endearing lore of his travels. Uniquely, he is one who has traveled the path he tales about.

What about the food, tho? Indeed, he delivers big on flavor and his enthusiasm for the dishes is nothing short of spot-on.

Since I have been doing very little besides finishing up Aquafaba (Amazon, B&N), it should come as little surprise that I was only able to make a few recipes from P&P, but worry not, folks, for these are just the tip of my adventurous cooking from this book. It really is worth it. There are few books that actually pique my interest with their content, and this is definitely one of the jewels in the bunch.

The first recipe I made was from the Big Plates chapter, Persian Fava Bean, Seitan & Green Herb Stew.

I was not a bit thrown when I saw that among the ingredients was methi leaves, which are dried fenugreek leaves, very common in Indian grocers, and Iranian limes. Of course, even though I was non-pulsed by the unusual ingredients, I also came up short regarding the limes. I knew what it was but (gasp) I didn't actually have it.

Ingredients for Persian Stew: (from top left) dill, cinnamon, turmeric root, radish, cinnamon, dried lime, lemon peel, dried fenugreek in the middle.

A quick search on Amazon came up with a few expensive options. Since I had fresh limes and a dehydrator (or even the sun) I decided to dry my own limes. I'm happy to report that after a few preliminary preparations for the limes, they dried out beautifully and tasted exactly as they should after about five days in the dehydrator at 110-degrees.

As Lee says, the herbs make this dish sing. He's right. I cooked up the rice with a few grates of fresh turmeric root. This dish made a lot and we were all the better for it.

My second dish from the adventurous cookbook turned out to be Smoked Tofu Sausage Sandwiches with Red Onion Marmalade & Kale Chips, from the Burgers & More chapter. Which sounds like it's easy, peasy, right? Almost. It turns out that even my Whole Foods doesn't carry smoked tofu. But since I started making homemade ingredients why stop now, right? Have smoker, will smoke.

My stove-top smoker is actually very easy to use and does a wonderful job smoking using hot smoke, so that's how I got my smoked tofu, but Lee actually has an easier alternative than smoking tofu, but far be it by me to take the easy route.

The sandwiches are made using the baked sausages and homemade red onion marmalade. They are accompanied by baked kale chips. This was one serious sandwich, folks!

I bet you want to make something from Lee's creative mind, too! You're in for a treat with his Asparagus Club Sandwich with Rainbow Chard and Pine Nut Cream. Make it, eat it and then enter the giveaway to have your chance to win this book.

Of course, if you can't wait until the 19th to hear the result or another few weeks to get the book if you are lucky enough to win it, (and who can blame you?!?) then do yourself a favor and grab your own copy. Don't wait! Besides, the contest is open to US and Canada residents only, but the book is actually available everywhere that books are sold and read. Good luck!

Image credit to Alistair Richardson

                   PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE

Asparagus Club Sandwiches with Rainbow Chard & Pine Nut Cream
The Trump Tower of sandwich construction, the Empire State Building of munch, the Shard of…you get the idea. This one is quite tall. Incredibly green and healthy, with a touch of chard technicolor among the layers, it’s a light and quick sandwich to whip up and stack. Three tiers of tofu and panfried asparagus goodness here, with a smooth pine nut cream. Delicious served with homemade vegetable chips. And try it with tomato, ginger and orange chutney. The trick here is to try to slice your bread as thinly as possible.

Makes 2 sandwiches (enough for 4 to share)


·        11½ ounces (325g) firm tofu, pressed, or tempeh, cut widthwise into 3 x ¾-inch (8 x 2cm) slices
·        1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
·        sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
·        2 tablespoons olive oil
·        6 scallions, trimmed and halved lengthwise
·        6 asparagus spears, halved lengthwise
·        1 teaspoon fennel seeds
·        2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
·        6 large leaves of rainbow chard, cut into ¾-inch (2cm) ribbons
·        ¼ cup (50ml) dry vermouth or dry sherry
·        a handful of basil leaves

For the pine nut cream
·        ¾ cup (100g) toasted pine nuts (hazelnuts would also be delicious)
·        4½ ounces (125g) silken tofu
·        1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
·        ½ tablespoon lemon juice
·        a large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
·        6 thin slices of sourdough bread
·        olive oil, for brushing
·        1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced


To make the pine nut cream, put the pine nuts into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until smooth and creamy. Check the seasoning and set aside.

Pat the pressed tofu dry. Season the flour with sea salt and cracked pepper and place on a plate. Dust the tofu slices with the seasoned flour – they have to be very dry to crisp up nicely.

Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium heat. Add the scallions and sear for 5 minutes, until tender. Remove and keep warm, then add the tofu slices in the center of the pan, arranging the asparagus around the edges. Fry the tofu and asparagus until nicely golden – this will only take 2 minutes on each side for both. The asparagus may need turning more than the tofu, but see how they get on. Remove everything from the pan and keep warm.

Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the same pan on medium heat and add the fennel seeds and garlic. Heat through for a minute, then drop in the chard. Stir and sauté for 3 minutes. Drizzle in the vermouth and let it steam for a moment, then add the basil leaves, season, and cover tightly with a lid. Turn the heat down to low and allow to steam for 5 minutes.

Brush your sourdough bread with olive oil and lightly toast on both sides. Time to build your triple-decker! Grab two pieces of toasted bread, spread them with a thick layer of the pine nut cream, then top each one with a couple of slices of tomato and two pieces each of tofu, asparagus and scallion. 

Top with a second slice of bread and repeat for the next layer, but this time spoon some of the chard and basil on top instead of the asparagus and onion. Press down firmly, then cut the sandwiches in half.

Credit line: Recipe from Peace & Parsnips: Adventurous Vegan Cooking For Everyone © Lee Watson, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.  theexperimentpublishing.com

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