You know Rob is a keeper when he doesn’t kill you when it is time to pack. And a) you have essentially doubled your cookbook collection while in Houston (although I limited myself to 10 books for my move) and Rob is now packing your heavy books; b) while you should be packing, instead you are cooking the last of the bits in the refrigerator, so I am still net loss worth for packing. And then there’s c) please don’t pack my cookbooks I still want to review! Eventually I had to give in…. and help pack. And thankful that most books I receive to review come in electronic form.
Especially after making my own e-cookbook, I have grown to appreciate digital books. They have their pros and cons. They are easier to search, but not as fun to read. I miss the ability to curl the pages and find new random recipes. Although they are definitely easier to move. They also allow me to write posts in the airport.
Afro Vegan is Terry Bryant’s new cookbook. A lover of good food, he has managed to fuse soul comfort food with gourmet twists. His muses vary from Caribbean soul cuisine, Southern US down home cooking and African menus. Pecan cornbread with dukkah? Sweet plantain and Fresh Corn Cakes? Peanut Pumpkin Fritters? Jamaican Patties Stuffed with Maque Choux? Spinach Peanut Sauce? Trust me, it all sounded good to me, I was sad I haven’t had enough time to explore it.
While a bit more complex than my weeknight meals, there are more simple and more elaborate dishes. Delicious and innovative all-round. I loved, loved, loved my version of his Southern black eyed peas, I shared it before the book was even released to the masses. Now I am sharing another great soup, which I simplified by skipping the dumplings. This black bean stew, inspired by the Brazilian feijoada, is more tomato-heavy than my previous versions, but still nice and hearty and simple enough for an easy meal.
Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living anywhere (except maybe the moon). To be entered, please leave a comment here, any comment. I will randomly select a winner on July 30, 2014. Good luck!
Recipes from Afro-Vegan shared elsewhere:
Black Bean and Seitan Stew
Reprinted, with permission, from Afro-Vegan
Bryant says: Brazil has the most people of African descent outside of the African continent itself, and African culture continues to thrive in the country’s music, religion, and food. This stew is inspired by feijoada, which is considered the national dish of Brazil. My version pays homage to the close to 4 million enslaved Africans brought to Brazil by the Portuguese between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. While some argue that feijoada is a modified version of a slow-cooked casserole from Portugal containing beans and meat, legend has it that feijoada was created by enslaved Africans, who used the rice and bean rations that they were given as a base and augmented them with discarded parts of pigs (ears, feet, snouts, and innards) to add more heft. This meatless version gives a healthy nod to that rich history.
I don’t cook with seitan often, but I use it here to provide the heartiness feijoada typically gets from beef and pork. If you are sensitive to or intolerant of wheat or gluten, you can substitute panfried tempeh for the seitan. Serve with white or brown rice, Muscovado‑Roasted Plantains (page 62), Collards and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic (page 78), and Citrus Salad with Arugula (page 71).
1.5 cups black beans, sorted and soaked in water overnight
6.5 cups vegetable stock, homemade (page 42) or store-bought
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 ounces seitan, cut into 1⁄2-inch‑thick medallions (I used this)
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries, toasted (see sidebar, page 9) and ground
1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Salty Lemon Cream with Parsley (page 146), for serving
1. Get the beans started by draining them, rinsing them well, and draining them again. Put the beans, stock, and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown and quite soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the bell pepper, scallions, tomato sauce, tomato paste, allspice, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Stir the vegetable mixture into the beans and continue cooking the beans.
5. After the beans have been cooking for 1 hour, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and cook the stew, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes more, until the beans are just tender. If necessary, add a little stock or water if the stew is too thick.
6. Combine the cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper in a small bowl and stir with a fork. Put the vinegar in a separate small bowl. One at a time, dip the seitan medallions into the vinegar, then roll them in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated. Set the coated pieces on a plate.
7. Line a plate with paper towels. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the seitan and fry until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 11/2 minutes on each side. Transfer to the lined plate to drain.
Serve with 4 to 5 pieces of seitan on top, garnished with the cilantro with the lemon cream alongside.
Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Paige Green