You know it has been a great vacation when you get back and kind of forgot where you left off from life.
No kitchen meals buffered in my head. I even forgot one of my passwords at work.
Rob and I returned late Saturday so that we could regroup on Sunday. I forgot what was in the kitchen but thankfully found a sweet potato and carrot to make a quick batch of Gena’s Easy Lentil, Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry (omitted the ginger and used Penzey’s new curry powder – The Now Curry – which was spicier than their Sweet Curry Powder – but lent a nice complexity to the dish).
Then Rob and I worked on our main goal: raking our leaves. Apparently the City of Toronto mechanically picks up the leaves (ie, they do not need to be in the bags) in certain areas where there are lots of leaves. They only do it once a year and it was right after we returned. How awesome is that?
I am excited by the sheer number of vegan cookbooks being published and Roberto’s latest cookbook,Roberto’s New Vegan Cooking, now out for a few months, was a nice foray into healthy, flavourful whole foods meals.
His recipes are simple yet elegant and this salad would be a wonderful addition to any holiday spread.
I have been infatuated with beets (although you wouldn’t know it by my latest blog posts). I became really excited about beet carpaccio (after adoring this portobello carpaccio earlier) but after I roasted the beets, I was too excited to eat the salad, that I chopped them into regular slices. The miso-ginger dressing was strong but paired so, so well with the bitter arugula and slippery, tender roasted beets. I added some toasted sunflower seeds for a bit of crunch.
Roberto’s cookbook, Roberto’s New Vegan Cooking, is not very similar to his first cookbook which utilized a lot of fake meat products. This cookbook centres around mostly quick and easy meals and his Mexican-American favourites (check out the recipes for a Mexican Meatball Soup aka lentil albondigas soup and pulled BBQ sandwiches made with napa and celeriac) and his classical French culinary training (blanquette de vegetables, cassoulet) shine through. There is even a recipe for (vegan) croissants and vegan kaiserschmarrn, an Austrian dessert pancake/crepe typically filled with eggs and milk. While he doesn’t say Arnold, he states he served it to the most famous Austrian-born body-builder/actor/politician ever. Neato! Kitchen staples, including almond bacon bits (just almonds, oil, liquid smoke and salt!), roasted tomatillo salsa, bread and butter pickles, pickled cauliflower with lemon and chili (ok, that one just sounds so awesome) and almond feta cheese can help you to create awesome meals.
Of note, a few of the main entrees call for some meat substitutes, which definitely makes the chef’s job a bit easier but one could also make those, too (case in point: vegan chorizo).
This would be an excellent beginner book for vegan cuisine but I also think more experienced cooks would find something they want to try, too.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to THREE readers living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me what you plan to make for upcoming holidays (or if you aren’t cooking, tell me what you’d like to eat!). The winners will be selected at random on December 1, 2015. Good luck!
Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula and Miso Dressing
From Roberto’s New Vegan Cooking by Roberto Martin. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015
Author’s note: I’m just going to say it: OMG do I love beets. They are crazy good for you and one of the most colorful vegetables you can serve. They’re also pretty versatile; this is just one of many ways to serve beets in a salad. Use this preparation as a guide and enjoy all colors and sizes with any dressing you like.
5 medium beets (any color)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups organic baby arugula
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 batch Miso Dressing (see below)
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds (note: this was a Janet addition)
Unless you want to look like Dexter, you’ll want to wear rubber gloves when preparing beets because they can stain your hands. They also tend to stain wooden cutting boards but chill, it’s not permanent: the stain disappears after a few washings.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Trim, wash, and dry the beet tops. Save the tops for another salad or wilt them as you would spinach. Cut and discard the root ends and wash the beets well. Rub the beets with the olive oil and place them on a foil-lined sheet tray. Cover the beets loosely with foil and bake them for 30 to 45 minutes or until they can be pierced easily with a skewer. Uncover and remove the beets from the oven. Allow the beets to cool completely while you make the dressing.
3. When the beets are cool, rub the skins off with a paper towel. Using a knife or mandolin, slice the beets crosswise as thin as possible. This salad can be made in advance up to this point and held in the fridge until needed.
1. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with about 4 tablespoons of Miso Dressing.
2. Arrange the beet slices equally on large salad plates. Distribute an equal amount of arugula on each plate in the center of the beets and season the greens with salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of dressing over beets as well and serve immediately. This salad can easily be served family style on a large platter, as well.
Author’s note: This dressing really is the finishing touch on the Beet Carpaccio with Arugula and Miso Dressing (page 126), but it’s also a great dressing for any tender green lettuce like red leaf, butter lettuce, or baby romaine. If you’re new to miso, it’s a traditional Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans (trust me, it’s much tastier than it sounds) that adds a salty-sweet kick. You can find miso in most natural grocery stores and Asian specialty markets.
2 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons organic brown sugar or agave syrup (Janet’s note: I used maple syrup)
1/4 cup shiro miso (Janet’s note: I used white miso)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium bowl whisk all the dressing ingredients together and season with pepper.
2. Pour into a glass jar or other container (if you have a small mason jar handy you can put everything in the jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake vigorously); chill before using.
The dressing will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
Makes 1 cup.
Note: I bought my own copy of the cookbook. I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Contest Rules: No purchase necessary. Contest period begins Tuesday, November 17, 2015 and ends Tuesday, December 1, 2015. For US and Canadian residents only. Approximate retail value $32.50. Enter by writing a comment answering the prompt for a chance to win. Entrants must supply a valid email address. Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours.