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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  1. That stew looks amazing! Is that your photo or one from the book?
    May have to go out and buy it if only for that one.
    Glad to see you posting again. Happy Summer my friend.

    1. Thank you, in2insight! My photo, and it was really good. The book is a bit involved, but really worth it. Happy Summer to you as well. Stay cool!


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