What a weekend, guys! Rob always complains the May long weekend is fraught with rain but this year, the rain was pushed away by all the sun. (We even managed to dry some clothes outside!)
It was a glorious long weekend and it was nice that my body was as eager to move around too. Rob and I spent a lot of time visiting family and friends, and the majority were stopping by our friends unannounced simply because we were in the neighbourhood. The stars were aligned because someone was always home for our impromptu visits. Score!
I finally have my cooking mojo back although my blogging mojo is still lagging behind. With the nice weather, I am drawn more to walking in my ‘hood instead of sitting in front of my computer. One thing that has helped to get me cooking again is the multitude of fabulous vegan cookbooks hitting the shelves. One of them is Annie Oliverio’s new cookbook, Crave, Eat, Heal. You have probably met Annie through her blog at An Unrefined Vegan where we she shares plant-based recipes without refined ingredients. Her cookbook has the same philosophy and aims to show that there should be no deprivation. All of your cravings are answered.
Annie’s cookbook is broken down into 13 chapters, each focusing on a different craving: carbs, chocolate, comfort, cool, creamy, crunchy, green, junk, salty, spicy, sweet, tart and warm. I am used to the traditional setup of cookbooks organized by course or season, but this was unique. Oftentimes, I do have cravings for something with chocolate, or something crunchy, and this would be a different way to find something satisfying to eat. With this warm weather, of course, I ventured into the “cool” cravings. There were coolers, smoothies and popsicles. Even a sweet potato pie and apple pie spice ice cream that looked phenomenal (and totally happening next weekend). But I decided I needed something a little more substantial and dove into the butter wedge salad.
After my surgery, I was on a liquid diet for nearly a week and when I finally improved, all I wanted was to bite into something. Here I was biting and actually cutting into my meal. It has been a long time since I actually used a knife and a fork for a meal, and of all things, it was to cut my wedge of lettuce.
Perhaps Annie missed out on potential “cut into your meal” cravings, because I could understand missing this not-so-fun meal normalcy. In any case, the knife and fork allowed me to experience every part of the salad with each bite: crisp lettuce, subtly sweet/soft pear, salty/meaty tempeh bacon, creamy avocado and a creamy/cool sunflower peppercorn dressing. I used a peppercorn dressing base which made for a very intense dressing but it was well balanced with the remainder of the salad.
The recipes in Crave, Eat, Heal span sweet and savoury and most are accompanied by Annie’s photographs. Her recipes are nearly all oil-free (not necessarily low-fat), mostly gluten-free, and without processed foods like white sugar. Her photo of the salad can be seen below.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the Crave, Eat, Heal cookbook to a reader living in the United States. My international readers are eligible to win a copy of the ebook Crave. Eat. Heal. Outtakes. To be entered in the random draw for the book or ebook, please leave a comment below telling me what you crave most often (and please let me know if you are not from the US). The winners will be selected at random on May 30, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from Crave, Eat, Heal spotted elsewhere:
Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheese (aka Vegan Boursin)
PS. There is still time to enter the giveaway for Superfood Juices here.
Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing
Adapted, slightly, from Crave, Eat, Heal
Annie’s note: This take on a classic salad reminds me of many family dinners eaten out at The Brown Derby: a big, crunchy wedge of lettuce topped with a creamy dressing and sprinkled with salty bacon. My version subs tempeh for bacon and adds a little sweetness with fresh pears.
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (roasted sunflower seeds were fine!)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. dried chives, or 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
(I substituted the pepper, salt, chives and parsley for 1 tbsp Penzey’s Creamy Peppercorn Dressing Base)
2 large heads butter lettuce, cut into quarters (I used 1 mega huge head)
2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 large avocado, sliced (Janet’s addition)
Tempeh bacon, crumbled or chopped (exclude if going for 100% raw) (see recipe below)
1. Add the sunflower seeds through the salt in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth. Add the chives and parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate. Set aside.
2. Place two butter lettuce wedges each in four bowls. Divide the pear slices, the tempeh bacon and the dressing between the bowls. Serve.
Total Time: 15 minutes
Suggestions: If the dressing is too thick, add water, a little bit at at time, to get the consistency you like.
Reprinted, with permission, from Eat, Crave, Heal
Annie’s note: I’ve made this so many times I can practically do it in my sleep – but I never get tired of the salty-smoky flavor. It’s lovely on salads, alongside tofu scramble, or tucked in between thick slices of tomato, avocado, and arugula.
1 8-ounce (227g) package tempeh, cut into 16 pieces
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
3/4 tsp ground black pepper (Janet’s note: I omitted)
1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes (I used dried onion granules)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I used garlic granules)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. In a 9 x 9-inch glass baking pan, whisk together everything but the tempeh slices. Add the tempeh slices and turn to coat evenly with the marinade. Let the tempeh rest for about 15 minutes.
3. Bake the tempeh for 30-45 minutes, turning once. If the marinade evaporates, add a splash of vegetable broth and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Tempeh should be a deep brown and beginning to crisp at the edges. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Makes 16 slices.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Suggestions: If you like your “bacon” thinner, cut the tempeh into 32 slices. Keep in mind that it will cook faster, so watch closely when baking – and you’ll need a bigger baking pan.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.