"kitchen creativity" + giveaway

Greetings to you, the reader! I hope that all has been well with you and your loved ones; it's been a tumultuous past year, no matter what part of the world you call home, so I wish you all the best.

About Me

In case you are interested, a bit of catch up, in the next few sentences, and then I want to share a very special book with you - that is, if you are even the slightest bit interested in cooking the food you eat.

Current Events

My girls and I are in the middle of the Fall 2017 mid-terms at the community college, and it is intense. My son has been off this semester, having graduated with a bachelor's from UC Berkeley in Spring of 2017 and is awaiting the start of his graduate degree-career in film at USC in the coming spring. My husband is currently working from home (about a year now) and I am pursuing a computer science degree. That's about it - in a nutshell.

Future Events

I'll begin posting more in the coming weeks, as I am testing out a few things in the kitchen. Since going back to school, I just simply do not have the time to spend in the kitchen that I used to; there is just so much that needs to get done!

I preach balance all the time and part of that compromise involved pulling time away from the kitchen. There is family to be with in the midst of all of the chaos and that is more important than how fancy a meal can be. Occasionally, yes, all the time, no.

I *had* been cooking two meals a day (all by myself for the most part), but now, with this plan, the meals are divvied up more evenly among the family members. I thought the plan might be of interest to some folks.

Review - Kitchen Creativity* by Karen Page

As I teased above, if you are interested in cooking the food you eat, I want to share with you Karen Page's new book, Kitchen Creativity. You might remember that I reviewed Karen's last book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, and I absolutely adore it! Happily, I can't recommend her newest book enough.



Very briefly, the book is:

"..Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg's latest book [is] an exploration of the culinary creativity of the world's best chefs, and profiles Chefs Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones of LA's Crossroads alongside award-winning chefs from the world's best restaurants like NYC's Blue Hill, Daniel, and Le Bernardin"

It is about being creative in the kitchen, in both small and significant ways. This is a very simplistic description, but extremely accurate. The best part of the book is that the authors explore all the dimensions and paths to becoming more creative in the kitchen, but they do it in such a way that you can choose how intensely you want to pursue this creativity.

Karen and Andrew break it down, step by step, and give you the tools you need to accomplish the goals you set yourself. You can either learn bits and pieces - such as how to season food or how to pair flavors, or you can follow their plan from Stage 1 (Mastery), to Stage 2 (Alchemy), to Stage 3 (Creativity), on your way to becoming a chef.

The book is divided into two parts, Part I: The Creative Process in the Kitchen and  Part II: A World of Infinite Culinary Possibilities: The Lists. Let's explore these a bit.


Part I: The Creative Process in the Kitchen 

This is the part where you learn how the creative process works and how to implement it. Based on the three stages I mentioned above, you are given the map from novice to expert. Along the way you learn how to master the fundamentals of cooking, how dishes we call classics today, were avant garde yesterday.  You will learn how flavors play well together and what makes a  proper flavor profile. Finally, you will learn how to cook with all your senses and how to create dishes yourself.

Part II: A World of Infinite Culinary Possibilities: The Lists

The second part consists of lists. But the lists aren't just lists; they are recordings of changes the world has seen, with ideas and opportunities to explore them or just delve deeper into a rabbit hole.

Within this part you will find lists of seasonal ingredients, seasonal dishes, mocktails, sensitivities and aversions, trash-to-treasure dishes, holiday dishes, nostalgia foods, salt-baked foods and even super bowl foods!

Giveaway

I fear that I really am not doing justice to how amazing this book is!

*Kitchen Creativity, (although not vegan or vegetarian), is one of those books that contains such important information, that to ignore it because it is not exclusively vegan would be a shame. Note that the book is not animal-centered and while there are featured quotes from non-veg chefs, there are no in-your-face animal ingredients. For example, I searched the list for "chicken" and, while there is "chickpea water", there is no list for the former. Karen is newly vegetarian and you can tell that is so by the content of the book.

How about owning a copy yourself? Karen and Andrew are offering to give a copy to one lucky US resident. The book is a beautiful, hefty, hard cover volume, reminiscent of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.

Enter for your chance to win! Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

blta grilled cheese

Since we love grilled cheese in this house, we decided to add "grilled cheese" to the bi-weekly menu rotation. This also means that we will be coming up with unique grilled cheeses in the future since there is no way we could stand making grilled cheese every other week and be happy with the lack of variety.



As you may know, three of the five people in the family are back to college now (the fourth is heading to USC in the spring) and that means fast, easy and tasty meals are on the menu - and that also means everyone helps out with the cooking (at least one person, once a week - besides me).

This past week we had BLTA Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado - all on a grilled cheese sandwich. Really, this can only be good.

I used my bacon recipe from Everyday Vegan Eats (AMAZON) because it is STILL my most favorite bacon recipe hands down and it freezes really well so I make a huge batch and pull out what I need when I need it. Toss it in the air-fryer and have crisp, crunchy, amazing vegan bacon.

Use commercial cheese or make your own, but if using commercial block cheeses, use a mix of different brands to get a melty, gooey vegan cheese that isn't over-powering in flavor.

Have at it - make grille cheese a regular addition to your menu and you can customize it and have lunch on the table in record time.







BLTA Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices bread
Vegan butter
Vegan mayonnaise or 1 small mashed avocado
4 slices vegan swiss cheese or other vegan cheese
12 slices vegan bacon
Lettuce
Tomato

1. Butter one side of each bread slice. Spread mayo or avocado on the top slice of each sandwich.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, add the slices of buttered bread, top with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and add the top slice of mayo-ed (or avocado-ed) bread (butter side up). Cover with a lid and cook until the bottom slice of bread is golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Flip the sandwich and cook, uncovered, until golden brown. Reduce heat if the bread is cooking too fast.
4. If the cheese is not melted, add a tablespoon of water to the skillet, tip the skillet to avoid making the bread soggy, cover with a lid and cook until the cheese is melted. Serve.



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

cordon bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is a popular dish of ham and swiss cheese wrapped inside a chicken breast, which is then breaded and fried. We can do better than that, though, so here is an easier (and kinder) Cordon Bleu.


This sandwich is presented on a homemade bun with a slice of seitan that has been seared. The seitan is topped with smoky seitan that is thinly sliced and then is topped with vegan Swiss cheese. The final addition is a maple-mustard sauce that is as delicious as it is easy to make.

While this sandwich comes together in as little as 15 minutes, including the sauce, there is no denying that most of the work is done beforehand: seitan, bread and cheese, if making it homemade. However, once you have all the components, it is a snap.

This is one of those sandwiches whose total is so much better than the parts. In fact, as you are making your various kinds of seitan, keep this sandwich in mind to use up any leftovers.






Cordon Bleu Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches

Sauce:
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 thin slices vegan ham
4 vegan scallopini or seitan slices (about 1/2-inch thick)
4 slices vegan swiss cheese or other vegan cheese
4 kaiser rolls or burger buns, split and toasted 

1. Sauce: Combine the mustard, oil, vinegar, maple, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste, in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ham slices and cook until golden brown. Set aside. Add the vegan scallopini and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown and flip. Add the reserved slices of ham, three to a scallopini and a slice of cheese. Add a teaspoon of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook until the cheese melts. 
3. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the buns. Add a cordon bleu stack and top with more sauce. Add the top of the roll and serve immediately. 


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.








vegan meatball sub

I've always had a soft spot for a terrific meatball hoagie. Native Foods has a great vegan meatball sub that at least one family member gets whenever we go, but I only get to snag a bite of. I decided it is time to make one at home.


We have at least one sandwich for lunch during the week and since sandwiches are supposed to be on the faster side, I just used store-bought vegan meatballs, but you can, of course, make your own. I've been making so many different components of meals that I just wanted a bit of a break.

As it is, I made the rolls at home and you can, too, if you have a Fridge Dough.



This sandwich has two sauces, but you can pick one or the other to do if you don't feel like making two different ones. If you make the red pepper sauce only, double or triple it for 4 sandwiches.

I added oven-roasted tomatoes to this sandwich and I have to tell you, I was eating them right off the baking tray; they are good! If yours cools by the time the sandwich assembly comes, heat them a bit in the oven or make sure your sauce is pipping hot - it will warm the tomatoes, too.



I'm getting the family ready for the fall, since I am going back to school, too, so I've streamlined the menu and we now have two week rotations of lunch and dinner ideas that can be customized so we don't get bored.

For example, for lunch on week 1 we have:

Sunday- Tofu Scramble
Monday- Cup of soup and simple sandwich
Tuesday- Salad
Wednesday- Sandwich
Thursday- Mom's pick
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Veggie Dogs

As you can see, for example, the tofu scramble can be further customized into Migas, Hungarian Scramble, Benedict, Frittata, etc. The Veggie Dogs can be California Dogs, Chicago Dogs, Potato Dogs, etc. You get the idea.

Next order of business is to announce the winner of The China Study Family Cookbook giveaway! The winner is: RunLonger45! Congratulations! Contact me so I can get you a copy of the book!!







Vegan Meatball Sub
Makes 4 subs

Tomatoes:
2 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt

Red Pepper Sauce:
3 large roasted red peppers (jarred is fine, but freshly roasted is better)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt
1 tablespoon garlic oil*

Tomato Sauce:
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Sea salt and black pepper

Other: 
4 (5-inch) crusty rolls, split and toasted
20 vegan meatballs, semi-thawed, if frozen
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 cup shredded vegan cheese 

1. Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F (or air-fryer to 335-degrees F). Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch wedges and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the basil and sea salt and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the sheet pan and set aside. Add the meatballs and another tablespoon of garlic oil and bake the meatballs until golden on one side. Flip the meatballs, add the cheese, cover the meatballs with a cake pan and bake until the cheese melts. Add the bread to the baking sheet to toast while the cheese melts, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not burn the bread.
2. Red Pepper Sauce: Add the peppers, broth, herbs, salt (to taste) and oil to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the sauce ingredients in a standard blender before heating.
3. Tomato Sauce: Add the tomato sauce, oil, herbs, sugar and salt and black pepper (to taste) to a small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Season to taste. 
4. Assemble the sandwich: add the meatballs to the split rolls (with the melted cheese), top with the tomato sauce, add a few slices of roasted tomatoes and add a few tablespoons of the red pepper sauce. Serve immediately. 

* If you don’t have garlic oil, use 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 garlic clove, minced, for each tablespoon of garlic oil. 

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

smothered burritos

Smothered Burritos, wet burritos and enchilada-style burritos are all about the same thing: large enchiladas that are covered with red, green or white sauce. The filling can be varied, and they can include roasted vegetables, potatoes, vegan meats, vegan grounds, etc - limited only by your taste and imagination.

These burritos are just a springing board for you. Take this idea and run with it!

My burritos are filled with vegan chicken (I used Tofurkey slow roasted, this time), cumin rice, vegan cheese, cilantro and scallions. Traditionally, refried beans are also an addition.


In my mind, the appeal with smothered enchiladas versus traditional enchiladas is the speed: it is faster to roll up four burritos than to roll up a dozen small tortillas. In addition, enchiladas are still baked for about 30 minutes, but these are just broiled to melt the cheese.

In order to keep things easy and fast, you can use canned enchilada sauce, or you can make the one in the recipe, since you have to make the rice anyway.

Use the Instant Pot or a rice cooker to cook your rice, making it a hands-free affair.

Again, with my son having IBS I opted for brown rice tortillas, no beans, green parts of the scallions, and rice that is fresh and warm. The sauce is also pretty mild because I ground dried California chiles for the chili powder, but you can always up your spice.

The family was quite happy with these and I was happy because it was ready in about 35 minutes, including the broiling.

And...

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for The China Study Family Cookbook! Enter HERE.






Smothered Burrito
Makes 4 burritos

Cumin Rice:
1 cup dry long grain rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper
Water, as needed

Red Sauce (or use a 20-ounce can vegan enchilada sauce):
1 tablespoon neutral oil
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup tomato paste (not concentrate)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Filling:
2 tablespoons garlic oil or olive oil (optional)
2 cups chopped seitan, or vegan chicken strips (Tofurkey or Beyond Meat)

Other:
4 large fajita tortillas (or even bigger)
1 cup refried beans (optional)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
Vegan sour cream thinned with a few tablespoons of water
Shredded lettuce
Sliced black olives

1. Rice: Add the rice, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, to taste, to a rice cooker. Add the required amount of water. Cook the rice according to appliance directions. Keep warm.

2. Red Sauce: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste darkens, about 3 minutes. Add the chili and cumin. Mix well and add the broth slowly, whisking with a whisk to prevent lumps. Add the salt, bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.

3. Filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the seitan or vegan chicken until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste.

4. Warm the tortilla directly over the stove, about 10 seconds. Do not burn. Warm them so that they don’t crack when folded.

5. Place the tortilla on a work surface. Add 1/4 of: the seitan, the beans (if using), the scallions, and the cilantro. Add a large scoop of the rice (about 1/4) and a tablespoon of cheese to each burrito. Fold up the bottom flap, then fold the right and left flaps and roll up the burrito. Add them to a broiler-safe pan. Smother with 3/4 of the sauce and add the remaining shredded cheese. Broil until the cheese melts.

6. Place each burrito on a plate and garnish with lettuce, olives and sour cream sauce. 



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


new orleans vegan shrimp bbq

I've always wanted to try a New Orleans BBQ shrimp dish, but because the ingredients to one is so basic - shrimp, butter, spices and lemon - I was leery of giving it a go.

Then I got The Gentle Sea Cookbook by Skye Michael Conroy (the Gentle Chef) and had my excuse to drown homemade sea food in vegan butter.


This is not a review of the book, but I do have to say that I am loving the recipes from it, so far. I made the Whitefysh Filets for a visiting friend from Norway (who loves seafood) and he liked it! I was very thrilled because he is my daughter's friend (and therefore young) and therefore is quite opinionated about food, especially vegan food. Which means that he was exactly like my kids: a bit picky and not in love with vegetables.

As a quick overview of the book, Skye offers 7 sea foods (shrimp, lobster, whitefish, tuna, scallops, calamari, and clams). He also has a few recipes for caviar, lox and the like. In addition, the book has plenty of recipes for cooking with the sea food you create.

The recipes need a few odd ingredients, but they are available on Amazon, at the least: agar, glucomannan powder, pickling lime powder, kombu and wakame.

For my sandwich, I sauteed my shrymp in garlic oil and added white wine, broth, paprika and lemons. Once you have the shrimp, this is a super easy sandwich to make.



The bread is homemade 100% sourdough rolls (my son has IBS and Jo Stepaniak recommends this in her book Low-Fodmap and Vegan.), but if you don't have homemade rolls (no reason why not if you use my Fridge Dough recipe) get rolls that are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

In case you aren't ready to dive into making your own shrimp (it's actually very easy) then use seitan or cubed tofu. Baked tofu would be the best way to go, but I'm not picky - unlike young adult.

And then, you don't even have to make it into a po' boy - just use the bread to soak up the sauce as you dive into all the goodness.





New Orleans Vegan Shrimp BBQ
Serves 4 

2 tablespoons garlic oil (or olive oil)
16 to 20 (1-inch) vegan shrimp (I made my own using The Gentle Chef’s recipe)
1 teaspoon paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced (if not using garlic oil)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth or seaweed broth
1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lemon, sliced
Fresh ground coarse black pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons vegan butter

Other:
4 crusty rolls, toasted first then split
Vegan mayonnaise
Scallions
Tabasco sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the vegan shrimp and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and garlic, if using, and cook another minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the broth, worcestershire sauce, scallions, oregano and lemon. Add plenty of black pepper and season with salt. Add the butter. 
2. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Toast the bread, split it almost through, add mayo, shrimp with some sauce and scallions. Pass the tabasco at the table. 


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


"the china study family cookbook" + giveaway


Ever since I earned my certificate in Whole Foods Plant Based nutrition, I've been excited about about WFPB cookbooks, and so when BenBella books approached me to review the new China Study Family cookbook, I couldn't resist. 



Del Sroufe has written his fair share of WFPB cookbooks, but I think this one is by far the best of the bunch. To make sure this book had recipes that were indeed family-friendly, I cooked up a few things:

First, I dug into the healthy portion of the book: salad. I made the Cobb Salad, and since it is so easy to customize it, this definitely falls into the family category. On top of being kid-friendly, it is cook-friendly, too. It was an easy recipe to put together. 


However, it is a Cobb Salad - meaning that it has multiple components - so I had to make the Mushroom "Bacon," which was actually easy,  and the "Buttermilk" Dressing, which had a reasonable amount of ingredients that are simply blended together. 

I added extra work for myself by seasoning and roasting the chickpeas alongside the mushrooms and roasting the corn in a dry pan (no oil needed) to bring out some of its sweet flavor. Extra work, yes, but I was in the kitchen anyway.

Then I decided to make one of the two frittatas in the book: Chilaquiles Frittata


This was another successful dish, one that the family really loved. The filling was easy, there is no crust (another easy) and the Queso Sauce and Corn Chips needed for the recipe were easy, too. I served it with salsa and extra garnishes.

A comment on the chips: they are great but I didn't use an entire recipe (of 12 tortillas made into chips) for this one dish, as the recipe indicates. I just filled up the pie pan with the crushed chips before mixing it with the filling. 

Then I made the Johnny Marzetti casserole, an Ohio favorite.

  
The Marzetti needed Cheese Sauce and Spicy Breakfast Patties. I really love the cheese sauce in this book and, in fact, have made both versions a few times now. 

The Spicy Breakfast Patties are made with millet and they worked beautifully and tasted great, too.


My verdict is that this book is one of the better WFPB books on the market; it is easy, relatively quick (it always take some time to cook from scratch) and everything I tried worked as it promised and tasted great. 

Because I loved the Cheese Sauce, I asked the publisher to be able to share that recipe with you and let you decide what you think. The recipe is below!

In addition, I am hosting a giveaway for the book! This one is open to US and Canada residents. Thank you BenBella! 

To enter for your chance to win just leave a comment and make sure I have a way to contact you. Contest ends July 31 and I will announce the winner in the post after the the 31st. Good luck!! 








Cheese Sauce

This healthy cheese sauce is perfect for both kids and grown-ups, alike. This is perfect for Nachos, Grilled Cheese or Mac and Cheese. (From The China Study Family Cookbook copyright © 2017 by Del Sroufe. Used by permission from BenBella Books, Inc.)

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups finely diced russet potatoes (about 1 medium potato)
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons raw cashews
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1.      Combine the potato, bell pepper, onion, and cashews in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
2.      Combine the potato mixture, reserved cooking water, tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, arrowroot powder, and sea salt in a blender. Process on high until everything is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


vegan fish cake num pang

There's banh mi and then there's Cambodia's version of the perfect sandwich: num pang.

They both have a lot in common, but there are a few subtle differences, as the owner of New York's Num Pang describes in his interview HERE, including the subtle differences in bread, ingredients (fresh vs. leftover) and toppings.

I wanted to try making it for myself and I chose to make a vegan fish cake for the bulk of this sandwich.

I was inspired by the Jazzy Vegetarian's (Laura Theodore) Not So Crabby Cakes recipe, which I took for a test run last year and simply adored!

For this version of fish cakes I used tofu, bread slices, hearts of palm and dulse.


The toppings are homemade chili mayo, pickled carrots, cilantro and cucumber slices.

If I could have made homemade bread using my Refrigerator Dough aquafaba recipe, this sandwich would have been even better, but as it was, it was pretty fantastic.


You can air fry these babies or pan-fry them, as you wish, but don't skip on the toppings - they really do make this sandwich authentic and amazing.

And now for the winner of the Vegan Air Fryer cookbook, by JL Fields: it is the comment made by....

Natalie Cartledge! Congratulations! Contact me at zsu at zsusveganpantry dot com.








Vegan Fish Cakes Num Pang
Makes 4 sandwiches

Pickled Carrots:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup grated carrot

Fish Cakes:
3 slices bread
3/4 container of firm tofu, pressed 10 minutes
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm
1/2 cup parsley
2 scallions
2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dulse
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Zest of 1 lime
Panko crumbs, as needed

Chili May:
1/2 cup firm tofu
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Other:
4 crusty burger buns, toasted
Sliced cucumbers
Cilantro

1. Carrots: Combine the sugar, vinegars, water and salt in a mason jar. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Add the carrot and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
2. Cakes: Add the bread to a food processor. Pulse until ground. Remove and set aside in a large bowl. Add the tofu, hearts of palm, parsley, scallion, ginger, oil, coriander, dulse, cornstarch and zest to the food processor. Pulse into a coarse grind. Add to the bowl with the bread and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to firm up for 20 minutes. 
3. Sauce: Combine the tofu, water, garlic chili sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small blender. Blend until very smooth, adding a little water if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat or preheat the air-fryer. Divide the fish cakes mixture into 4 portions and press into a patty. Dredge the cake in panko crumbs and fry in oil or air-fry until crisp.  
3. Assemble the burgers: bottom bun, sauce, cilantro, cucumber, cake, carrot and top bun. Serve immediately. 


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.



mediterranean burger

Happy Thursday! A bit of recap: if you haven't yet entered to win The Vegan Air Fryer cookbook by JL Fields, why not enter now? Contest ends June 26, 2017, and is open to US residents. Enter HERE.

This week's sandwich is another burger, but this one features a homemade patty. I was in the mood for something Greek or Mediterranean and something with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. And speaking of air fryers, you can pan fry these or air fry them.


This version of Mediterranean Burger (as I am sure there are quite a few!) features a tzaziki type of sauce, meaning it is yogurt and cucumber based.

The patty is made with white beans, kalamata olives, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and oregano. It features a lot of those familiar flavors from the region. It's actually a simple burger to put together.


The binding is dried bread crumbs and I was pushing the envelope in this case because I wanted to see how much is too much crumbs. It turns out the limit lies between a half cup and three-quarters cup, depending on the moisture of your beans. If you add too much the burger goes from being too soft to being so dry that it crumbles.

The burger has some delightful pops of flavor because of the minced sun-dried tomatoes and olives and it gets a hefty kick because of the garlic in the sauce. Enjoy!





Mediterranean Burger
Makes 4 burgers 

Tzaziki Sauce:
1/2 cup shredded cucumbers
1/2 cup vegan unsweetened yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

Patty:
1 3/4 cups cannellini beans
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup kalamata olives
4 halves sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (not panko)

Other:
4 burger buns, toasted
Sliced tomatoes
Slices red onions
Baby spinach

1. Sauce: Squeeze the moisture from the shredded cucumber using your hands. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, tahini, herb, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste, a small bowl. Mix well and set aside. 
2. Patty: Add the beans, garlic, parsley, olives, tomatoes, oregano and salt and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until only a few beans are left discernible. Remove to a bowl and add the breadcrumbs. Set aside for 5 minutes and check if you need to add more crumbs. Don’t add more than a few tablespoons more. Season to taste. Form the mixture into 4 patties that fit your bun and air fry or pan fry. 
3. Assemble the burgers: bottom bun, spinach, onion, tomato, burger, sauce and top bun. Serve immediately. 


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


cappuccino ice cream

A new thing with me: every week I am going to try to make some kind of sweet or desert for the family. This is a big step for me because I'm not one with a sweet tooth, but after a few decades of living with these folks, I now realize that they might be endowed with the taste for sweets.

Last week I made Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Everyday Vegan Eats, my first cookbook. This week I made ice cream. I made aquafaba ice cream and it is creamy and delicious! I tweaked a recipe from my book, Aquafaba and made, as per requested, Cappuccino Ice Cream.

The original version is Chocolate, and the recipe can be found HERE. It is on my publisher's site.




This version is soy based. Because I know there are people who are allergic to soy, people who are allergic to nuts and people who've just about had it with everything tasting like coconuts, I've included three versions of ice cream in my book, each with its own base: soy, cashew and coconut.

It is highly, HIGHLY important that you warm up your ice cream before eating it. If it is too frozen, it will not have the proper texture of creaminess. Leave it out about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature and the size of the container.

I store my ice cream in 1-cup containers that are about 3/4 full. The smaller containers are ideal because they are individual servings and you don't keep thawing and re-freezing the ice cream, which creates ice crystals. I got mine HERE.

Here is the recipe of the cappuccino ice cream in pictures:

(1) After cooking the base and whipping the meringue, temper the base by folding in a large scoop of meringue:


(2) After tempered, add all of the meringue and fold to incorporate well:


(3) Chill this overnight. After chilling, mix it gently because separation is normal:


(4) Add the mixture to an ice cream machine:


(5) At this point it is amazing as is, as soft serve, and you should enjoy it if you can:


(6) Or you can freeze it:


(7) If frozen make sure to warm it to the proper temperature before enjoying:






Cappuccino Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart 

Although this ice cream hardens in the freezer, it will soften perfectly after a few minutes out of the freezer because of the addition of glucose syrup. If you’d like to omit the glucose syrup, add three more tablespoons sugar to the base. 

Cream Base
1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3 cups plain unsweetened soymilk, divided
1/2 cup lightly packed mashed firm tofu, rinsed before mashing
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
5 tablespoons nondairy butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated organic sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee granules (regular or decaf)
2 tablespoons glucose syrup or light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Meringue
1/3 cup aquafaba (see Note)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated organic sugar

1. Cream Base: Combine the starch with 1/4 cup of the milk to form a slurry and set aside. Combine 1 cup of the milk, the tofu, cinnamon and psyllium husk powder in a blender. Blend until very smooth. With the blender running, add the melted butter in a slow, steady stream to emulsify.
2. Transfer the tofu mixture to a medium saucepan. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups milk, sugar, coffee, glucose syrup, and salt to the saucepan. Stir well with a whisk and bring to a boil over medium heat, making sure all the cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Add the starch slurry and reduce to a simmer, gently stirring until slightly thickened. Remove the cream base from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the cream base to a medium bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Meringue: Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk, whip the aquafaba for 10 seconds. Using a balloon whip attachment, whip the aquafaba on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the aquafaba can hold stiff peaks and is climbing the side of the bowl. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the course of 3 minutes and continue to whip until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 more minutes. 
4. Add a large scoop of the meringue to the cooled cream base and mix well. Add the rest of the meringue to the tempered cream base and fold to mix thoroughly. Chill in the refrigerator until completely cold, about 8 hours.  It is normal if the cream base has separated somewhat overnight. Gently mix the chilled base and, using an ice cream machine, churn the cream as instructed by the manufacturer.  Enjoy it as soft-serve immediately or transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze. Allow the ice cream to soften 10 to 20 minutes before serving if completely frozen.

Note: Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using. 



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

"the vegan air fryer" + giveaway

The Vegan Air Fryer cookbook is here! Air fryers have become quite the rage and everyone from Becky Striepe of Glue and Glitter to JL Fields (the author of this new cookbook) has been frying up amazing dishes using little to no oil.

Even I have an air fryer (or two) and I, too, have been wondering when a vegan cookbook will hit the shelves. As it turns out, my publisher, Vegan Heritage Press, published the first vegan air fryer cookbook, written by JL Fields of JL Goes Vegan site: The Vegan Air Fryer [Amazon, B&N]


I have a very fancy air fryer (combo dehydrator, toaster oven, proofer, etc.) from Breville (thanks to in2insight!!), so I was very excited to see what kind of recipes JL created.

Fries, of course, would top anyone's list of things to make in an air fryer, and JL delivers with her Seasoned French Fries (page 44). The fries are made using fresh potatoes and a few seasonings. They come out beautifully crisp and delectable.

Since I am using a combo air fryer I had to up the temp on my oven and increase the time a bit, but this has nothing to do with JL's recipes, and everything to do with my oven. If you have a Breville Smart Oven, keep that in mind, but otherwise follow the recipe and you should be golden - very much like the fries.


JL has a few potato recipes in the book, which is not really a surprise since potatoes are perfect to cook in the air fryer. So, I couldn't resist making another potato recipe, this time these gorgeous Hasselback Potatoes (page 90).


And then there are recipes to accommodate sides such as those potatoes or Onion Rings (page 80), Cheesy Dill Polenta Bites (page 74), Balsamic Herbed Tomatoes (page 68) or Fried Avocado (page 53).

Such recipes as Mongolian Tofu (page 104), Tempeh Kabobs (page 110), Baked Spaghetti or this Chick'n Fried Steak (page 128), adds to your repertoire of cooking main-worthy meals in your air fryer.


No air fryer cooking is worth its weight in salt if it does not have a great selection of appetizers and snacks. The Vegan Air Fryer cookbook has those in spades. It includes Vegetable Egg Rolls (page 40), Jalapeno Poppers (page 47), Air-fried Pretzels (page 57) or Buffalo Cauliflower, below, (page 72).


The book is full of recipes to use in the air fryer, including many familiar ones that I, for one, was looking forward to seeing in such a book. And then there are more creative recipes to make in your fryer, such as Breakfast (Pan)cakes (page 26), Szekely Goulash Pastry Bites (page 52), Corn Dogs (page 116) and Doughnut Holes (page 20).

How about you take a recipe for a spin, and how about that recipe being the Doughnut Holes I just mentioned? Try the recipe and then enter the contest to win your own copy of The Vegan Air Fryer by JL Fields. Contest is open to US residents and will end June 26. Please leave a comment to enter and BE SURE I have a way to contact you. If I can't, I will choose another winner. Good luck!

Photo by Michelle Donner.





Doughnut Holes

These air-fried doughnut holes are fun to cook -- and eat. Enjoy them for breakfast or as a snack. They make for a great dessert, too. (From The Vegan Air Fryer, copyright © 2017 by JL Fields. Used by permission. Photo by Michelle Donner.)

2 tablespoons cold nondairy butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, divided
1 tablespoon Ener-G brand egg replacer powder or your favorite vegan egg yolk replacement
2 tablespoons water
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain or vanilla nondairy yogurt
1 to 2 spritzes canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar and mix well, using your hands until
clumps form. In a small bowl or cup, whisk the egg replacer with the water. Add it to the butter and sugar and mix well. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Fold in the yogurt. Mix until a dough is formed.

Roll pieces of dough into 18 (1-inch) balls and arrange them on a large baking sheet or piece of parchment paper.

Grease the air fryer with the oil. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F for 3 minutes. Transfer the doughnut holes to the air fryer basket. Cook for 8 minutes, shaking halfway through the cooking time. 

Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon on a plate. Roll the hot doughnut holes lightly in the cinnamon sugar before transferring them to a baking rack to cool.

Makes 18 doughnut holes