May 14, 2012

vine and dine + blue plate special wheat-meat loaf

Back for another round of Vine and Dine. We are finally cooking something from Tami Noyes' first cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. This makes me happy. On top of getting to pair wine with AVK (did anyone really need any excuse, though?), the ladies somehow managed to choose a recipe that I had not yet made from the book. Although I had before made a wheat-meat loaf from AVK, Southwestern Wheat-Meat Loaf, this was new territory for me. Just goes to show you that you can love and use a cookbook and still have undiscovered treasures within it. 

This was a delicious and easy recipe to make (once you have the seitan). Homey and comforting. My only addition to Tami's written word was ketchup. I couldn't resist! Sorry, Tami. Even my kids gave me a funny look, but in the end the tomato did ketchup to their taste-buds. (Sorry, again :)

The whole family enjoyed it. This was most likely the first Vine and Dine that the kids loved as well as we did, so double thanks to Vegan Appetite for picking a kid-friendly dish. However, I am not sure that my kids can be called 'kids' much longer; both teens (16 and 15) are officially in college. Community college, tis true, but Mikel is now a full-timer heading to University of Southern California for their film school and Catt is looking to get her Associates by the time she is 17. With these credentials, they are no longer allowed to act like kids and whine about their dine. (I'm on a roll - stop me now!)

Naturally the Blue Plate Special Wheat-Meat Loaf was served up with traditional Mashed Potatoes and Homestyle Gravy. Felt like we were sitting in a diner! Do diners serve Frey wine? 

Speaking about the wine, one Frey was not enough for us, we went all the way from the white to the red. I love red wines (in fact, David and I have decided that we will be staying with reds from here on) and I love Frey vineyards, if for no other reason than that it was the first wine that came to our attention as being vegan, more than a decade ago. Loyalty, you could call it. I am sorry to say that we were not too impressed with their Merlot. And since we weren't that impressed with their Natural White either back a few weeks ago, it might explain why my hubby was reluctant to post a review about that one.

However, he did manage to put something together for this Merlot and here it is below.

We paired the 2009 Frey Vineyards Mendocino Merlot with the American Vegan Kitchen’s Blue Plate Special Meatloaf and this merlot is a velvety complex wine with the nose of cherry, pear and blackberry combined with earthy undertones and a touch of spice.  I thought the wine would go better with spicier fare and partaken with the meatloaf it seemed wanting.  I guess had I added some “Heat” to the loaf, the wine would have been more satisfying but I was happy with our selection, none the less, just not ecstatically so.


Apr 20, 2012

tester - catch up

I am taking the opportunity to catch you all up on what I have been doing recently since it is so glaringly obvious that it isn't blogging!

As you know, last year I was testing for Tami's Grills Gone Vegan cookbook, which is yet to be released, but I keep hoping it will be out for summer grilling. From those delicious-days-gone-by, I tested dreamy recipes such as:

Tami's Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Seitan Salad with Nuts and Fruits
Grilled Leek Spread

And then Tami asked me to test for her sandwich cookbook, co-authored with Celine Steen, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, which has a September 1 release date. I am so excited! This will be the definitive vegan lunch/sandwich book. So amazing:

Two Tomato Tango

Tofu Pomegranate Pockets

Sushi Wrap
Surprise! (Is anyone, really?) These two mad-cappers are at it again! This time creating a  whole grain baking book. Yes, again, I couldn't resist. My time is valuable and I wouldn't want to test anything that I didn't find worthy, or frankly, for any cookbook I wouldn't purchase myself, so when Tami asked if I was interested, well, for sure! 
Whole. Grain. Baking.
 I believe I have at least 4 cookbooks on my shelf on the subject, and not any one I go to as a resource. Either the book is not actually "whole grains" or it isn't vegan (and baking, as we know, is a science, not an art: difficult to ad-lib) or just plain sucks.

Needless to say I was intrigued. Turns out, these women are truly using whole grains: oat, barley, amaranth, rye, corn, wheat, name it, they use it. And, get this, it tastes great! Even my kids like the goodies I've made. 

Here are some teasers:

Wheat Wonder Crackers

Pizza Your Way

Olive Round
Delectable, right? And I haven't even gone down the sweet route, yet!

All this has been horrific on my hips, but I am not done, yet.

While testing for Tami and Celine last year, I was also doing a bit of cooking for Robin Robertson's up-coming slow-cooker cookbook. As an ubber-busy mom, this was another one of those cookbooks that I found a wealth of value in. I applied for testing when Robin posted the need on her blog and she accepted. This book, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, is slated for an October release. Just in time for the holiday onslaught, when we could all use a bit of a break after all the holiday preparation during the day; nice to have dinner ready. Well, that describes my entire year, excluding the holiday factor. Can you relate?  

Here are a few pics of Robin's recipes:

Root Vegetable Bisque

Seitan Posole

Lentil Chickpea Curry

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
That's right. All from a slow cooker.

Last month I got the opportunity to test for Robin again. This time a One-Dish cookbook. I have her first One-Dish Vegetarian Meals cookbook and love it. I figured this would be another cookbook I test for that wold benefit me more than the chef. 
Right again. 

Here are some of the pictures from this new book:

Potato Salad with Avocado Dressing

Jamaican Spinach and Red Bean Soup

Bulgur and White Bean Bake with Cabbage and Tomato

One-Dish meals mean there are no sides needed - it is a complete meal in one dish. Great idea and certainly a headache saver. 

There you have it. Hopefully some of these books will be available for you to get your hands on. In the meantime, rest assured that whatever cookbooks I receive as compensation for testing these recipes, will all be up for grabs in upcoming blog contests. 

Until next time, keep eating well.