I may not have promoted it here but I am a complete fan of Happy Cow. When travelling, I consult the reviews (and then leave my own) to find the best vegan eats around the world. Not only across Canada and the US, I chronicled my eats while travelling in Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Colombia and South Africa. Rightfully so, there are zero entries for Madagascar.
In any case, I was thrilled when I heard that Eric Brent and Glen Merzer were creating a cookbook featuring recipes from top-rated vegan restaurants, The Happy Cow Cookbook.
The neat part of this compilation was each restaurant’s profile, highlighting their popular and favourite dishes, important lessons as a restaurant owner/chef, and the future of plant-based food movement. Each restaurant shares one, two or more recipes, along with some photographs. As expected with a compilation, the recipes vary with respect to level of difficulty, recipe instructions and photographs. On the whole, the recipes seem solid. Millenium’s Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon is way too complex for me to recreate, but makes me want to visit this San Francisco eatery. There is also a recipe for Coconut Tofu and Blackened Tempeh with Grapefruit Yuzu (courtesy of Green in Tempe, AZ) that definitely beyond my reach. However, Lettuce Love Cafe’s Tempeh Reuben looks easy to recreate at home, as well as Netherlands’ Veggies on Fire’s Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce.
The book is ordered alphabetically, based on the name of the restaurants, which makes it difficult to find recipes. However, the breadth of recipes seems vast with little repeats (although you will certainly find many recipes for vegan cheese!). Recipes vary from Kimchi Nori Maki Rolls and Peruvian Leftovers Pie to Avocado Apple Tartare with Walnut Bonbons to Chicken Fried Tempeh and Carrot Cake with a Vegan Cream Cheese frosting. Sadly, what I was most disappointed, was the abundant use of vegan substitutes (ie vegan cream cheese, sour cream and Vegenaise), although that probably helps prep time for restaurants.
While I have never been to Peacefood Cafe, I was itching to make their “Award-Winning Chickpea Fries” which is basically an Indian-spiced baked fry made with chickpea flour. They were quite easy to make although I regret adding the bay leaf to the spice mixture. It became a predominant flavour and bothersome since I didn’t grind it to a fine powder. I didn’t make the Caesar Dipping Sauce as the recipe perplexed me. I was not sure why there was fermented bean curd in the sauce without directions to pulverize it with a blender. In any case, the recipe below is as seen in the book. Enjoy.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me what your favourite vegan-friendly restaurant is (and where). Bonus entry if you share your link to your review on HappyCow. The winner will be selected at random on November 7, 2014. Good luck!
PS. HappyCow Cookbook recipes spotted elsewhere:
Beet Salad with Shallot-Thyme Dressing (from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, PA)
Cherry Royal (from Veggie Grill in Hollywood, CA)
Granada Chai (from El Piano in Malaga, Spain)
Kimchi Nori Maki Roll (from Real Food Daily in West Hollywood, CA)
Moroccan Tajine (from SunCafe Organic in Studio City, CA)
Nutloaf (from Wayward Cafe in Seattle, WA)
Pasta with Pumpkin Curry Sauce (from Counter Culture in Austin, TX)
Pickled Beets (from Zen Kitchen in Ottawa, ON)
Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon (from Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, CA)
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Cream (from True Bistro in Boston, MA)
Quinoa Tabbouleh (from Chaco Canyon in Seattle, WA)
Raw Lime Parfait (from Plant in Asheville, NC)
Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Cauliflower, Garlic and Mashed Potatoes with Porcini Mushroom Gravy (from Peacefood Cafe in New York, NY)
Skillet Cornbread (from Cornbread Cafe in Eugene, OR)
Spicy Cha Cha (from The Loving Hut in Houston, TX)
Swiss Bircher Muesli (from Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte, NC)
Other recipes from restaurants I have made:
Candle Cafe’s Paradise Casserole with Black Beans, Millet and Cinnamon-Miso Sweet Potato Mash
Fresh’s All-Star Salad
Fresh’s Miso Gravy
Gorilla Food’s Strawberry Bliss Up Shake
Live Organic Cafe’s Raw Pad Thai
Peacefood Cafe’s Raw Key Lime Pie
I am sharing this with the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.
Award-Winning Chickpea Fries
Reprinted, with permission, from The Happy Cow Cookbook
5 cups water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast powder
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 tablespoons blended spices*
1.5 cups chickpea flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
*To make the spice blend, mix together a pinch of each: ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, chili, fenugreek seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, bay leaf, fennel, and onion flakes, or use a commercial Indian spice pack. Janet’s note: I would omit the bay leaf next time!
1. Combine water, nutritional yeast, dried fenugreek leaves, and shredded unsweetened coconut. Stir and mix well, and set aside in a bowl. In a heavy pot, pour in olive oil and add minced garlic and ginger; saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add blended spices and saute for another minute, and add mixture in the bowl. Then add flour. Stir constantly to keep mixture from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Stir about 20 minutes until the thickness of the mixture resembles cookie dough. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Transfer mixture to an oiled cookie sheet, spread evenly, and let it cool in refrigerator overnight. To serve, cut mixture into 3 x ¼ rectangles, then deep-fry them in preheated oil or bake them in an oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 35 minutes until they are golden brown. Serve immediately with our Caesar Dipping Sauce (see recipe below).
Caesar Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons tofu sour cream
4 tablespoons Vegenaise
1/2 piece fermented bean curd*
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.
*Available at Asian markets