the taste space

Vegan Blueberry Blintzes + Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking GIVEAWAY

Posted in Book Review, Desserts, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on June 30, 2015

Vegan Blueberry Blintzes + Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking GIVEAWAY

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Our house is still in shambles a week after our move. With 3 days off work, I thought we’d be near completely unpacked but it is anything but. The kitchen appliances are working but my pantry is still dissembled, packed in quite a few boxes. I am thinking of sharing some of my simple meals, but until then, I’d like to talk about a new cookbook, Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking.

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking GIVEAWAY

This cookbook is about mastering the classic meals, vegan-style, while also attempting to teach you how to save money in the kitchen. Borne of a time when Annie and Dan Shannon were dealing with infertility and mounting costs, they have put together their favourite recipes while trying to keep their budget low. [Of note, nothing like buying a house to make you feel poor!]

The recipes are both creative yet classic. Instead of plain waffles, they share a recipe for banana churro waffles. Instead of classic tabbouli, there is a lemon-tahini fattoush inspired salad which mixes Middle Eastern flavours together. The Korean Kimchi BBQ burgers (see below) are also fusion cuisine in its finest.

I made the red lentil soup, which was homage to every red lentil soup they have eaten and tinkered with their slow cooker jambalaya to make it in the pressure cooker. They were very good, if not subdued in their spices. The red lentil soup reminded me of my Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Sizzling Mint, with a swap for fresh mint which changes the flavours.

I have chosen to share their vegan blueberry blintzes with you, instead.

Rosemary Chickin Dumplin Stew_credit Annie Shannon

Classic crepes are not vegan, with reliance on eggs for their supple texture. I have shared a few non-traditional crepe-like recipes before (raw chocolate banana crepes and raw grasshopper crepes). This is my family’s traditional recipe and while that one was with Nutella and kiwis, it was not uncommon for my family to fill them with cottage cheese, cream of wheat and eggs and top it with a blueberry compote and serve them as blintzes. We would eat them for dinner as they were mostly savoury despite the fruit.

Instead of cottage cheese and eggs, this recipe is more dessert-style. Or breakfast/brunch-style. The filling is sweeter with a base of vegan cream cheese and tofu and topped with fresh blueberries and a sprinkling of sugar.

It would have been nice to see a recipe that didn’t include vegan faux cheese, especially if one of the cookbook’s aims was to offer cheaper recipes. However, I can appreciate the shortcuts to help make delicious foods faster. The cookbook has plenty of recipes with pantry staples but a sizeable minority call for specialty ingredients. As an example, the Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger recipe calls for 2 cups of Lightlife Gimme Lean Burger or Match Vegan Meats Burger and store-bought kimchi. The cost was $2.68/burger and I wonder how much cheaper it would be to use plain (and uber cheap) TVP instead. Of note, that same recipe has a recipe for homemade Asian-style BBQ sauce which looks great.

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger_credit Annie Shannon

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me how you like to save money in the kitchen. The winner will be selected at random on July 9, 2015. Good luck!

Other recipes from Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking spotted elsewhere:

Simple Korean Kimchi BBQ Burgers

Rosemary Chicklins and Dumplins Stew

Tuesday Night Dinner

Yankee Doodle Macaroni

Rustic Pesto and Heirloom Tomato Tart

Cinnamon Peach Skillet Rolls with Peach Glaze

PS. I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch and Meat Free Mondays.

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Homemade Vegan Butter + Homemade Vegan Pantry GIVEAWAY

Posted in Book Review by janet @ the taste space on June 11, 2015

Homemade Vegan Butter

Guys, I am so excited to tell you about the latest adventures in my kitchen.

My title spoiled the surprise, but yes, I made vegan butter.

In my home. Without any dairy.

And it was ridiculously easy.

5 ingredients only. 4 if you ignore the salt.

Blend it and then let it solidify.

Creamy, melty, butter. Drippy and oozy. All vegan.

 

Homemade Vegan Butter
Full disclosure: the butter was mostly solid but a few seconds in the microwave brought it to its glorious self. Perhaps if we had a toaster with warm bread, we wouldn’t have needed the extra help.

The recipe is from Miyoko Schinner’s latest cookbook, The Homemade Vegan Pantry. She revolutionized at-home vegan cheesemongering with Artisan Vegan Cheese and she is breaking ground again with this book. My weekend was such a pleasant playground in the kitchen. First, I tried her homemade barbecue sauce, which was to-die-for. The perfect merriment of salty, tangy and sweet barbecue sauce (my liberties were omitting the chipotles in adobo and swapping in blackstrap molasses) and making her unribs. Holy moley, they were yummy.

Homemade Vegan Pantry

Next, and super simple, we tried the butter. Rob agreed. It tasted like butter. Despite adding the salt, it was not a strong component and tasted unsalted to both our palates. We both agreed that, indeed, it was glorious butterless butter. Pictured both on the cover of the cookbook as well as below, you can appreciate how beautiful the cookbook is, too.

Glorious Butterless Butter

 

I must admit, I wasn’t sure I would be too keen on making kitchen staples, but I kind of want to make everything in the cookbook.  There are condiments and I have my eye on the recipes for 3 different types of mustard (Remember that mustard tasting party? Homemade mustards are the next level in mustard party land). Next, Miyoko has replicas of dairy staples (think thick yogurt, flax seed egg whites and oil-free melty cheeses). She has many recipes for soup stocks and bouillon. You can even pull together a complete meal with some of her faux meat recipes (unribs, unpork, veggie dogs, etc) and also how to make your own tofu and tempeh. Need a sauce for your fake meats? How about a 15-minute rustic pasta sauce or a spinach and caper sauce. Want a side of bread? She includes recipes for focaccia and pumpkin dinner rolls. And not to forget about dessert, her homemade baking mixes are all sweet to allow the ease of making vegan cakes, cookies and brownies at all times of the day. Not sure how to use your butter? How about lemon curd, custard or caramel sauce?

Homemade Vegan Butter

This is definitely how you would stock your whole foods kitchen, all from scratch. The ingredients are standard in vegan cooking, although the lecithin may be a bit cumbersome to find. I use lecithin as an emulsifier to make The Best Chocolate Truffles.

Want to try a lecithin-free vegan butter recipe? This one here looks great, too. Of note, the recipe in Miyoko’s cookbook is different than the recipe she has shared previously; notable for the lack of acid/vinegar.

Happy buttering!

Homemade Vegan Butter

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US (sorry to all my non-US readers). To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me which kitchen staple you would like to learn how to make. The winner will be selected at random on June 20, 2015. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch.
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Sweet and Salty Tahini Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on June 5, 2015

Sweet and Salty Tahini Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

I wait patiently for the few weeks every year when local asparagus finally makes its way to my kitchen. A late start to spring, and perhaps an early start to summer, meant I had to wait a little bit longer. Asparagus is cheaper than our beloved broccoli, at least right now, so we’ve been stocking up. Stalking up, is probably more correct. HA!

Sweet and Salty Tahini Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

This was a simple salad completely worth sharing. It is multi-component, but each part is simple and completely malleable to what you have in your kitchen. I picked quinoa as a fluffy base to the salad and seasonal roasted asparagus as my green. It is topped with candied nuts and seeds, oven roasted with maple syrup and everything is balanced with a tangy lemon-tahini dressing. Avocado would have been a nice accompaniment, too.

Sweet and Salty Tahini Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

The recipe is adapted from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to EatOriginally published in Britain, it was updated for a North American audience. The cookbook is vegetarian with plenty of vegan or vegan-friendly recipes, and I love this cookbook so far. The recipes highlight vegetables with seemingly simple ways to create meals without being boring. She has worked with Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi, if that gives you an idea of her recipes: flavourful unique combinations with a touch of simple.

Sweet and Salty Tahini Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

Recipes from A Modern Way to Eat  spotted elsewhere (I found many of them!):

Any night of the week pizza
Autumn roasted root panzanella
Avocado and lemon zest spaghetti
Banana, blueberry and pecan pancakes
Brown sugar meringues with sticky apples and pears
Butterscotch chocolate chip blondies
California miso, avocado and lima bean salad
Cardamom and carrot cakes with maple icing
Celeriac soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage
Cherry and rose water macaroon tart
Cherry poppy seed waffles
Double chocolate cloud cake
Double greens and filo pie
Elderflower and pistachio cake
Farro with roasted leeks and smoky-sweet romesco
Figs with sticky date dressing
Full of greens fritters
Goodwill rainbow pie
Honey-roasted radishes
Huevos rancheros
Laura’s herbed green quinoa
Lemon-roasted feta with traffic-light tomatoes
Lemony lentil with crispy kale soup (totally on my to-make list)
Light tart of butternut squash and kale
Lime and chipotle black bean tacos
Maple peanut California wraps (totally on my to-make list)
The New Eggs Benedict with a Healthy Hollandaise
Overnight bircher with peaches
Pan-dressed noodles with crunchy cabbage and crispy tofu
Raw brownies
Raw thai citrus crunch salad
 
The really hungry burger
Roasted spring vegetables with watercress vinaigrette
Seeded pistachio and squash galette
Strawberry poppy seed crisp
Sweet potato quesadillas
Sweet red onion and hazelnut pizette
Tomato and coconut cassoulet (totally on my to-make list)
Turkish fried eggs

PS. I am sharing this with Eat Your Greens, No Croutons Required and Meat Free Mondays.

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Almond Butter Fudge + Delicious Ella Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Desserts by janet @ the taste space on May 29, 2015

Almond Butter Fudge + Deliciously Ella Cookbook Giveaway

Rob thought it was a (not so) silent cry for help when I said I hadn’t been to the gym for over 2 months. I was hoping I would have good news to share. We ended up going to a spinning class together last weekend but sadly, it was another week without mid-week gym action. I am going to try to go to the gym before work next week, so we’ll see how that goes.

While I feel 90-95% back to my regular self, I know I am getting better when I want to return to the gym and more importantly, eat all the desserts. No stranger to freezer fudge (I loved this cinnamon almond freezer fudge), this was a quick snack to stash away until my next chocolate craving. Simple ingredients including dates, almond butter, coconut oil and cacao powder, this was basically like eating a raw vegan chocolate cheesecake from the freezer. However, it was already the perfect consistency the minute you removed it from the freezer. No thawing required. I mistakenly forgot to line my container with parchment paper, so it was a bit more difficult to remove my fudge from the container while still maintaining a semblance of prettiness. Afterwards, I returned the pieces back to the freezer and I had easily accessible nibbles.

Almond Butter Fudge + Deliciously Ella Cookbook Giveaway

The recipe stems from Ella Woodward’s first cookbook, Deliciously Ella. You are probably already familiar with her wildly popular blog of the same name, Deliciously Ella. Not to be confused with Naturally Ella who’s name is actually Erin and who also writes cookbooks (confusing, I know). In any case, Ella has shared over 100 plant-based recipes (nearly all gluten-free and all with whole foods ingredients) brimming with photos from nearly every recipe. With her simple approach to coaxing natural flavours out of the foods, this is a very approachable cookbook and her writing style is equally non-threatening. The cookbook is divided into the major pillars of plant-based ingredients: grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, smoothies and juices. While it is a good way to think about approaching a balanced meal as a vegan, I wish the index were more thorough. Imagine not having the Key Lime Pie listed under Lime in the index. Yet it was included under avocados, probably because it was filed in the Fruit chapter. I look forward to eating my way through this cookbook and this freezer fudge was an excellent place to start.

Almond Butter Fudge + Deliciously Ella Cookbook Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me what you like most: grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, smoothies or juices. The winner will be selected at random on June 10, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Deliciously Ella spotted elsewhere:

Baked apples with coconut cream
Banana ice cream
Black bean and kidney bean chilli
Carrot, orange and cashew salad
Classic carrot cake
Coconut Thai curry with chickpeas
Easy avocado chocolate mousse
Key lime pie
Lentil, zucchini and mint salad
Mexican quinoa bowl
Oaty smoothie
Stuffed Cremini mushrooms
Sweet potato brownies
Sweet potato pancakes
Warm winter salad
Zucchini noodles with Avocado pesto

PS. There is still time to enter giveaways for Richa’s Vegan Indian KitchenPlant-Powered Families and Crave. Eat. Heal. (more…)

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on May 26, 2015

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

Guys, I am super excited to share this cookbook review with you. It is Richa Hingle’s first cookbook: Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I am sure she needs no introduction, her blog focuses on drool-worthy vegan eats but her heart is in making vegan versions of Indian dishes. Her photography is nothing short of stunning (see above and below, both of the mango tofu curry) and her recipes are excellent. Many of her testers have been gushing over her book for some time, so I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy for my review.

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

Richa’s book is an excellent foray into Indian cuisine. In all honesty, I usually skip over the beginner introductions in cookbooks but I always found them incredibly important when learning how to cook Indian food. As an example, the names of beans can be so confusing with different names in different locations. With Richa’s slant to the North American kitchen, you can figure out that urad dal is also known as split and skinned black lentils, which is different than mung dal which is split and skinned petite yellow lentils. There are recipes with more easier to find to find ingredients but she relies heavily of traditional procedures and ingredients for authentic taste (tempering, fermenting, spice blends, etc). However, she also uses ingredients like tofu and tempeh to substitute the sometimes meat-laden classics.

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

The recipes never seem to end. Richa has structured her cookbook to cover breakfast (Chickpea Flour Pancakes and Savory Oats Hash), Small Plates and Snacks (Savory Lentil Pastries [Baked Dal Kachori] and Spiced Roasted Tofu and Vegetables [Tandoori Tikka]), Sides and Dry Vegetable Curries  (Cauliflower Potatoes [Gobi Aloo], Cauliflower and Peas in Spicy Curry [Gobi Mutter Masala]), Lentils and Beans (Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry, Restaurant-Style Masoor Dal Tadka), One-Pot Meals and Casseroles (Mung Dal Kitchari, Quinoa Cauliflower Biryani), Main Dishes (Restaurant-Style Navratan Korma, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Makhani Gravy, Malai Kofta, Chicken-Free Balti), Flatbreads (Avocado Naan, Spicy Chickpea Flour Flatbread), Desserts (Pistachio Almond Ice Cream, Gluten-Free Gulab Jamun) and a chapter for chutneys, spice blends and other basics.

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

I have made a few recipes and they have all been fantastic. The one I wanted to share with you was especially enjoyed by Rob. Mango Tofu Curry. I looked through my archives and I had no idea how many mango curries I have shared previously:

Green Mango Curry

Mango Curry with Toor Dal (Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango) — probably my favourite of the bunch

Mango Chana Masala

Spicy Thai Mango Tofu Curry with Vegetables

Mango Curry Chickpea Salad Wraps

This is definitely different than the others.

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

I used frozen mango which I pureed which leant subtle sweetness to the savoury backdrop. It was a very saucy curry amongst the tofu and we enjoyed it with some parathas. Rice or another type of bread could also work.

Mango Tofu Curry + Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway a Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook to a reader living in the United States. My international readers are eligible to win a copy of the Bonus Recipe Bundle pdf (15 more recipes!). To be entered in the random draw for the book or ebook, please leave a comment below telling me which Indian dish you like the most (and please let me know if you are not from the US). The winners will be selected at random on June 5, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen spotted elsewhere:

Fudgy Cardamom Squares

Masala Lentils (Sabut Masoor)

Mom’s Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets

PS. There is still time to enter giveaways for Plant-Powered Families and Crave. Eat. Heal.

PPS. I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.

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Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas + Plant-Powered Families Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Sides by janet @ the taste space on May 22, 2015

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

In addition to not (almost) blogging, you know what else I have not been doing?

Exercise. Going to the gym.

It has been over 2 months since I have stepped into my gym. For years, I was a morning gym-goer, opting to wake up early and work out before heading to work. After I moved back from Texas, I switched it up to go after work. I knew it was a recipe for disaster, but it worked out well during the winter. In due time, I think I will meander back to the gym but enjoying this relaxed phase to the max.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

I have slowly ramped up my digestive system back up to its mostly normal high-fiber self, and spent this weekend making (and eating) all the chickpeas. One of the easiest ways to eat chickpeas (after hummus, of course), is to roast them. I really liked these salt and vinegar roasted chickpeas, and this batch was a tangy balsamic version with a touch of maple. They roasted up, shrinking in size, but gained a savoury outer crust. Snack on them as they are, or add them to your next salad.

Plant-Powered Families review + giveaway

The recipe is from Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook. No stranger to her lovely recipes (Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew, Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls, and Orange Red Lentil Soup with Coriander and Star Anise), her latest cookbook is focused on family-friendly recipes, catering to the (oftentimes) picky requests of children. She said these chickpeas were often requested by her children, and I could see why.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

This is undoubtedly her prettiest cookbook yet with all photographs by Nicole Axworthy (you can see her favourite recipes form the cookbook here and her photo of the chickpea nibbles at the bottom of the post). Indeed, the recipes span the entire day with breakfast recipes like Almond Zen Granola, Savory Chickpea Omelets and Pumpkin Snackles. Lunch options include salads with tofu feta, “magical” applesauce vinaigrette, mild cheesy dip and the simplest marinated baked tofu I still want to make myself. Dinner themed recipes include soups/stews like Pumpkin Lentil Soup and Apple Lentil Dal, pizzas/pasta including Polenta Pizza Crust and Hummus Tortilla Pizzas, and Burgers/etc such as Sneaky Chickpea Burgers. Like her previous books, dessert is not forgotten with puddings, creams, sauces, cookies, bars, energy bites, frozen treats, cakes and fruit-based desserts all represented.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas

All of her recipes use plant-based whole foods as ingredients. She has tried to make them more nut-free, a common problem when feeding children going to school. As someone who owns a few of Dreena’s cookbooks, I feel like it is only fair to mention that this is an oil-free cookbook (not necessarily low-fat) and you may recognize some recipes from her previous cookbooks. Some are the same (ie, the umami burgers and blondies from Plant-Powered 15) and other recipes seem similar but have been modified to accommodate nut-free options (ie, her Nicer Krispie Squares) or oil-free options (ie, her Sniffle Lentil Soup). There are definitely new recipes, too, which are true to her signature kid-friendly style.

Dreena's Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas (aka Chickpea Nibbles)

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me which vegan food your family loves to eat the most. The winners will be selected at random on June 5, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Plant-Powered Families spotted elsewhere:

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers

Baconut

Blueberry Lassy Muffins

Cheesy Caesar Dressing

Cinnamon French Toast

Crazy Brownies

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip

Creamy Vegan Fettuccine

No-Bake Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl

Polenta Pizza Crust

Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Red Lentil Hummus

Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans

Sticky Almond Blondies

Ta-Quinos

Umami Almond, Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers

White Bean Guacamole

PS. I am sharing this with No Waste Food Challenge and Bookmarked Recipes.

PPS. There is still time to enter this giveaway for Crave Eat Heal here.

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Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on May 19, 2015

Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Cookbook Giveaway

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!

Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Cookbook Giveaway

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, HealYou 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.

CRAVE EAT HEAL_Final CoverOnly

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.

Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Cookbook Giveaway

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.

Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Cookbook Giveaway

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.

Butter Lettuce Wedge Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Dressing + Eat Crave Heal Cookbook Giveaway

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:

Baked Almond Butter and Apricot Oatmeal

Buckwheat Noodles with Spicy Almond Sauce

Butternut Squash Queso

Carrot Cake Pudding

Carrot Ginger Turmeric Steamer

Cauliflower and Potato Wraps with Tahini Dressing

Cherry Pomegranate Refrigerator Jam

Date-Nut Truffles

Double Chocolate Berry Good Cookies

Lemon-Coconut Spirulina Balls

No-Bake Breakfast Cookies

Raw/Not Raw Vegetable Barley Bowl

Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheese (aka Vegan Boursin)

Zucchini, Apricot and Almond Salad

PS. There is still time to enter the giveaway for Superfood Juices here.

PPS. I am sharing this with Meat Free MondaysSouper Sundays, No Croutons Required, Vegetable Palette and My Legume Love Affair.

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Green Apple Kale Juice + Superfoods Juices Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Drinks by janet @ the taste space on May 12, 2015

Green Apple Kale Juice + Superfoods Juices Cookbook Giveaway

I may have returned back to work full-time but slowly rekindling my interest in eating and blogging. Post-op, I found I had very little appetite but once I had enough energy, I was pretty excited about what I wanted to experiment with: juicing. With a tender digestive system (I always found this an all-too-common description amongst HLBs, albeit completely relevant in my case after a surgery), I knew I needed lots of nutrition without fibre overload. Green juice to the rescue.

I inherited my grandmother’s old juicer and must admit that I have only made homemade juice a handful of times. These past few weeks the old juicer was a real trooper. I also learned it was incredibly hard for me to juice kale and greens, although perhaps the hardest part was juicing the stem because once I stopped that, it went much smoother. I also found it easier to juice a lot at once so that I only had to clean the juicer once. With a quick shake, the juice lasts a few days in the fridge.

I played around with a few juices from Superfood Juices and my favourite was this green juice with kale, cucumber, celery and green apple. Yes, I even included the celery since it was not too much and it added a savoury hit to the juice. Beautifully balanced, light and not too sweet. It was lovely.

The juices in Superfood Juices are unique, yet approachable. Fruits and vegetables themselves are superfoods and this book aimed to include extra “superfoods” as well, such as coconut water, maca, cacao powder, acai berry powder, and also (more unusual) sea buckthorn berry juice, mangosteen juice, aronia berry juice and noni juice. This specific green juice also called for spirulina which I omitted without problems. There are suggestions for substitutions (like swapping unsweetened cranberry juice for aronia berry juice) but they are usually highlights to a recipe and could easily be omitted.

The recipes are enticing: honeydew mint chia fresca, mandarin ginger kombucha spritzer, kale martini, warm spiced fresh cider, carrot maca juice, but also seemingly impossible combinations like carrot ginger ice cream or chocolate-mint noni soft serve. A few more down-to-earth options are present too: strawberry rhubarb juice, cantaloupe ginger juice and celery greens juice.

Green Apple Kale Juice + Superfoods Juices Cookbook Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the continental United States. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite juice flavour combination. The winner will be selected at random on May 20, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Superfood Juices spotted elsewhere:

Berries and Cream Juice

Carrot Maca Juice

Spectrum Juice (Carrot, Beet, Apple, Kale, Lime)

Spinach Pear Juice

Sweet Potato Protein Juice

Watermelon Goji Berry Juice

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes and Simple and In Season.

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Vegan Bigos (Polish Sauerkraut Stew) + Great Vegan Protein Book GIVEAWAY

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on April 24, 2015

Vegan Bigos (Sauerkraut Stew) + Great Vegan Protein Book GIVEAWAY

Lest you think I have bounced back from my surgery in record and couldn’t wait to go back into the kitchen, I am working on some sharing some special meals prior to our trip. Truthfully, my appetite has taken a while to bounce back and we suspect my standard vegan diet contained too much fibre for my (at-the-moment) delicate gut.

As we move towards spring produce, this quick and easy stir fry with mushrooms, cabbage, sauerkraut and soy curls is delightful with a hit of fresh dill. The recipe is from The Great Vegan Protein Book and was originally called “Cabbage-n-Kraut with Seitan” but I alternated the main protein source, swapping seitan for soy curls. After a taste test form Rob, he told me I had just made a vegan version of the national Polish dish, Bigos, traditionally known as a Hunter’s Stew with different kinds of meat simmered with cabbage, sauerkraut and mushrooms with a touch of tomato. Score!

Vegan Bigos (Sauerkraut Stew) + Great Vegan Protein Book GIVEAWAY

For those concerned with protein sources as a vegan, The Great Vegan Protein Book helps by tackling that question directly. Main vegan protein sources, legumes/beans, whole grains, nuts/seeds, tofu/tempeh and seitan are highlighted in the recipes. Ingredients less often thought as protein-dense, such as nutritional yeast and including vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are also highlighted making recipes that are quite diverse. There are also snacks and desserts, including a No-Bake Choco Cashew Cheesecake with 9 g protein per serving.

Vegan Bigos (Sauerkraut Stew) + Great Vegan Protein Book GIVEAWAY

All recipes include the protein content of each dish, although no other nutritional information like total calories which is a shame. Certainly the dishes featuring tofu, tempeh and seitan contain the most protein. Examples include Tempeh Banh Mi (41 g protein/serving), Higher Protein Sausage (86 g protein/sausage), Sesame Seitan Super Salad (55 g protein/serving), Pecan-Crusted Seitan Cutlets with Brussels Sprouts (51 g protein/serving), Braciola (68 g protein/serving) and Homestyle Potpie (47 g protein/serving). There is also a Beans and Greens Bowl with 23 g protein/serving and the BBQ Lentils with 12 g protein/serving.

Personally, I like to plan my meals around some sort of vegan protein. Once you figure that out, the rest of a balanced meal naturally takes place. Beans will contain protein and carbohydrates, tofu and nuts contains protein and fat, etc. Rounded out with some vegetables, this is how I try to craft my eats. This book is welcome to my cookbook collection with its varied and balanced meals.

Vegan Bigos (Sauerkraut Stew) + Great Vegan Protein Book GIVEAWAY

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan protein and how you like to cook it. The winner will be selected at random on May 1, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from The Great Vegan Protein Book shared elsewhere:

Apple Breakfast Farro Burrito (with a giveaway, too)

BBQ Lentils

Seed and Nut Ice Cream

Unicorn Tacos (with a giveaway, too)

High protein seitan recipes shared here previously:

Vegan Chorizo Sausage

Seitan Sausage Buns

PS. I am sharing this with Cooking with Herbs, Bookmarked Recipes and Vegetable Palette.

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Cocoa Jerk Tofu Tacos + Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on February 14, 2015

Cocoa Jerk Tofu Tacos + Cookbook Giveaway

Happy Valentine’s Day!

While the blogosphere blows up with desserts, here is a fun way to add even more chocolate to your meals. Cocoa jerk tofu tacos. No stranger to brightly flavoured jerk foods (e.g. Jamaican Jerk Plantain Soup and the ever classic Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Wraps), I have never seen it with the addition of chocolate.

The recipe is courtesy of Superfoods for Life, Cocoa which is a vegan cookbook devoted to adding more chocolate to your meals. The book explains the health benefits of chocolate and shows you ways to incorporate it into your breakfast, lunch and dinner, including desserts (obviously). Sweet and savoury.

This has been my favourite recipe so far, and I probably would not have tried it had Sayward not raved about it. The perfect balance of tangy, spicy (not too spicy) with flavourful spices (allspice, oregano, cinnamon) and the raw cocoa powder merely lent a deeper flavour. This did not taste like chocolate. It was also really simple to put together, with a quick marinade mixed in a baking dish which was then baked altogether. I served it as tacos with a spoonful of mashed avocado but Matt also recommends eating it with a side of rice, beans and/or plantains. Rob doesn’t like onions too much, so if you are like him, reduce or replace the onions with more bell peppers.

Cocoa Jerk Tofu Tacos + Cookbook Giveaway

It took me awhile to review this cookbook because I quickly realized it is hard to eat chocolate so often. Even with the savoury meals, sometimes I got tired with my leftovers prematurely so I had to space them out. I will also admit was not that adventurous to try all of Matt’s suggestions yet (bana ghanoush with cocoa powder, cocoa coleslaw, choco-spinach lasagna). However, it just goes to show you how novel some of these recipes truly are.

Cocoa Jerk Tofu Tacos + Cookbook Giveaway

I wish the cookbook was organized more intuitively for finding the recipes, but I cannot determine the method to their madness. I think they are organized based on health benefits (ie, preventing stroke, diabetes, etc). The chapters are labelled as such: Heart-Healthy Cacao: Little Bean, Lots of Benefits and Cacao on the Brain: From Stroke Prevention to Cognitive Function.

Here is a sample of the recipes shared elsewhere:

Aztec-Style Chocolate Drink (Two Ways)

Chocolate-Cocoa Za’atar Pesto Balls

Cocoa Mango Lassi

Coconut Shortbread-Double Brownie Delight

Raw Chocolate Carrot Cake

Rich Chocolaty Vegetable Tarts

Tamarind Chocolate Chili

Cocoa Jerk Tofu Tacos + Cookbook Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite unusual way to enjoy chocolate. The winner will be selected at random on February 22, 2015. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with Vegetable Palette.

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Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl + Keep It Vegan Review+GIVEAWAY

Posted in Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on February 3, 2015

Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl

Full disclosure: In the fall, I had a full-blown case of cooking ennui. It probably evolved from a combination of immobility from my fracture, beginning my new job and the stress of starting to plan for our wedding.

I ended up buying a lot more prepared foods than ever before. At the farmer’s market close to our house, they would sell flavoured tofu and would easily at least 2 packets per week. My favourite was the miso-flavoured tofu. They also have a sweet and sour one, but miso was the best. When I tried this recipe for “sweet and sour marinaded tofu” is was a close approximation to the miso tofu (and not sweet and sour). Go figure. A bit more salty but you only notice it if you eat it cold from the fridge. Added to a bowl of vegetables and some quinoa, you have a seriously delicious and balanced meal.

Sweet-and-Sour Marinaded Tofu Veggie Bowl + Keep It Vegan Review+GIVEAWAY

This recipe is courtesy of Aine Carlin’s new cookbook Keep It Vegan. Another blogger that I have been following for a while, it is my pleasure to share her recipes with you. She blogs at Pea Soup Eats and her British influence is obvious throughout her book of comfort vegan foods: Morning Oat Jacks, Shepherdess Pie with Sweet Potato Topping, Chana Masala, Mexican-Style Lasagna, Red Lentil and Spinach Lasagna, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple, Chocolate Chestnut Pie, Summer (Bread) Pudding, and Banana Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sauce Sundae. Her recipes are approachable without too many esoteric ingredients (beyond what is normally found in a vegan pantry) but she also includes unusual and creative ideas like Bloody Mary Bruschetta, Breakfast Brownie with a Strawberry Bottom, Rosemary-and-Pear-Stuffed-French Toast and even Sweet Potato and Kiwi Soup.

Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl

Rob made the Hole Mole Black Bean Chili which was excellent, although we skipped the chocolate part. And we snuck in some leftover tamarind chickpea curry from Vegan Without Borders. But is was still excellent.

Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl

But these tofu bites were spectacular. A strong-flavoured miso-based marinade infused the tofu for a few hours and then they were lightly pan-fried for a delicious crispy crust. It reminded me of old-school vegan eats (aka this classic tofu dish dubbed Sweet and Sour, Hot and Spicy Tofu) and I added it to a bowl of almost roasted red peppers, sliced avocado, quinoa, arugula/spinach and hemp seeds. Basically, another version of a Dragon Bowl with the vegetable remnants from my fridge. Astute readers might realize a lot of the ingredients were leftovers from the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hemp and Orange. :) If you have extra marinade, it could be used to drizzle overtop but I let mine soak into the leftover tofu.

Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl

The photo below is the one from the cookbook. Feel free to cut the tofu into bigger slabs and serve with the green bean salad, as suggested.

Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl + Keep It Vegan Review+GIVEAWAY

 

Recipes from Keep It Vegan spotted elsewhere:

Baked Eggplant with Lemon-Infused Couscous

Bloody Mary Bruschetta

Carrot Cake Bites

Crusty No-Knead Carrot and Courgette Bread

Fudgy Brownies

Hole Mole Black Bean Chilli

Indian Spiced Tacos with Mango Salsa

Macaro-no Cheese with Crispy Kale

No Bake Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake

Pea and Lemon Risotto with a Mint Oil Drizzle

Rosemary and Pear Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed mushroom burgers and dijon-coated potato wedges

Super Green Smoothie

Winter Squash and Couscous Salad

Sweet-and-Sour Marinaded Tofu Veggie Bowl

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan comfort food. The winner will be selected at random on February 12, 2015. Good luck!

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hemp and Orange + Greens 24/7 Review + Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Salads by janet @ the taste space on January 27, 2015

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hemp and Orange

Wowzers, have you ever seen such a pretty salad before?? Filled with all things green (spinach, arugula, Brussels sprouts, avocado and hemp seeds), you feel almost virtuous for eating it, too.

The salad is courtesy of Jessica’s new cookbook, Greens 24/7. As a fellow Canadian, I have been following her blog, Cupcakes and Kale, for years. I highly recommend her High Protein Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta and was eager to eat my way through her cookbook.

GREENS 24/7 review and giveaway

All her recipes include something green. Lots of leafy greens, but also cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, nori, spirulina,and celery. They span the gamut from drinks (Cherry Kale Quencher Smoothie), breakfast (Green Goddess Granola), sides (Cool Ranch Kale Chips), soups (Lemony Miso Soup with Chinese Broccoli), salads (Mediterranean Broccoli and Barley Salad), green mains (Ginger Bok Choy and Sweet Peas with Miso-Glazed Tofu, Samosa Burritos with Peas) and the ultra creative green desserts (Brownies with Spinach, Spinach Ginger Cookies, Lemon and Parsley Olive Oil Cake and Cabbage Strudel).

Suffice it to say, if you are looking for ways to eat more greens, this is your cookbook. My favourite recipe so far has been the Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli, Swiss Chard and Hummus. We both also enjoyed the Creamy Spinach Curry with Tofu Paneer. However, I had prettier photos for the salad, so that is what I am sharing today. :)

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hemp and Orange

No stranger to raw shredded Brussels sprout salads (see this Maple-Dijon Brussels Sprouts Salad), this is yet another way for me to eat eat one of my favourite vegetables. I chose to thinly slice them instead of using the food processor which made for cute mini cabbage creations in the salad. The vinaigrette was simple and allowed the produce’s own flavours shine with a faint sweetness from the juicy clementines.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hemp and Orange

One of the great things about this cookbook, are the pretty photos of nearly every recipe.The photos were done by Jackie Sobon (check our her teaser portfolio from the cookbook here). This is the photo from the cookbook below and the Superfood Salad in the rear.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hemp and Orange Recipe courtesy of Greens 24/7

Recipes from Greens 24/7 spotted elsewhere:

Green Juice without a Juicer (with a UK giveaway)

Mediterranean Broccoli and Barley Salad (with a giveaway)

Mushroom and Spinach Galette (with a giveaway)

Shredded Rainbow Salad with Lemony Avocado Dressing

 Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite green ingredient and how you prepare it. The winner will be selected at random on February 5, 2015. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with Souper Sundays.

PPS. Check out my giveaway for Vegan Without Borders going on now.

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Jackfruit Vegan Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce + Vegan Without Borders Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by janet @ the taste space on January 24, 2015

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

See below for the worldwide (!!) giveaway.

I don’t pay attention to food trends, mostly because I have learned I am usually ahead of the pack! Quinoa before the masses. I was talking about amaranth in 2010! Kale and cauliflower, I have you covered… Although I am still waiting for the world to catch on to the love of beans.

Anyways, Bon Appetit top prediction for 2015 is gyros.

Vegans need not fret. I am presenting to you: jackfruit vegan gyros for 2015.

Gyros sound finicky and complex. They are probably confused mostly in their pronunciation (hint: it sounds more like euro).

And yes, I also think jackfruit is looking to be the next culinary trend (and humble-brag alert, I’ve been eating jackfruit since 2012).

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce + Vegan Without Borders Giveaway

This recipe is courtesy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders. A very prolific author, this particular cookbook has focused on mostly authentic vegan recipes from around the world. The cookbook is divided into sections based on geography and highlights recipes from Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Greece, Eastern Europe, British Isles), The Americas (United States, Mexico, The Caribbean, South America, Africa, The Middle East, India, and Asia (China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Southeast Asia Islands).

The recipes, so far, have been solid. They are earmarked as gluten-free, soy-free, low oil/no oil and quick and easy. Because Robin has tried to maintain authenticity to the dishes, there are a bit more convenience foods as ingredients than I like (sour cream, cream cheese, etc) but you could definitely try substituting homemade versions, too.

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

These gyros, though, were fabulous. The jackfruit had an excellent texture, similar to pulled pork and the flavours were bright and fresh. Because I didn’t have yogurt or sour cream on hand, I made my own version of tzatziki which complemented the pita well. I opted for a tofu base since I thought the meal needed an extra hit of protein.

As leftovers, once I ran out of the pita, this was also excellent as a quinoa bowl, with the jackfruit and veggies piled high and a generous serving of the tzatziki overtop.

Jackfruit Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
Recipes from Vegan Without Borders spotted elsewhere:

Baked Eggplant Fries

Bibimbap

Chickpea and Kale Wat

Cucumber and White Bean Ceviche

Farinata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

Injera

Mango Rice Verrines

Pina Colada Squares

Pissaladiere

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

Seitan Jagerschnitzel

Szechuan Bok Choy

Tzatziki Sauce

Umbrian Lentil Salad

Vegetable Paella

Vegetable Tagine

Watermelon Paletas

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite cuisine (Thai, German, etc). The winner will be selected at random on February 1, 2015. Good luck!

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Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Desserts by janet @ the taste space on December 18, 2014

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Cookie time! Raw no-bake cookies!

A gingerbread cookie, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon and cloves with a touch of mesquite with a base of almonds and caramel-like dates. Topped with a lucuma-maple frosting, not too sweet, just perfect. It was uncanny how it definitely had the flavour of gingerbread (hello fresh ginger!) without any molasses.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Usually a raw cookie means ridiculously easy but I went for the more ornate cookie + frosting option. I used the tops of Mason jars as my cookie cutter to keep things simple, but feel free to cut out all the crazy shapes you desire.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

The cookie comes from a new cookbook, Raw Cookies by Julia Corbett. One might think it was all about raw cookies. True, all the cookies are raw. But not vegan (there is raw butter and honey in some of the recipes) but there is quite a variety of options. The cookies are broken down into coconut-based cookies (eg, Coconut Macadamia Shortbread, Lemon Poppyseed Coconut Cream Cookies), cacao-based cookies (eg, Pecan Fudge Caramel Bites, Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Chocolate-Topped Crunchy Peanut Cookie Bars), nut-based cookies (eg, Hazelnut Sugar Cookies, Salted Ginger Chewies and Jungle Buckeyes), seed-based cookies (eg, Ayurvedic Sesame Treats, Pumpkin Seed Spumoni), raw butter based cookies (eg, Raw Butter Snickerdoodles), Fruit-Based Cookies (eg, Wild Berry Jam Linzer Cookies) and Frostings (eg, White and Dark Chocolate Frostings).

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

I will admit, I was excited to try the cocoa-based cookies first but many recipes called for cacao paste. I have some cacao butter hiding in my pantry but not cacao paste. So until I locate the paste, I settled for trying the fun raw gingerbread cookies. I changed a few things, like adding in some dates to help it stick together. Although by the time the cookies had solidified, the cookies were very firm, so I may have added the dates too prematurely. I also used fresh ginger (and lots of it) because I only stock the good stuff. I find the flavours of fresh and ground ginger to be quite different, so definitely add to taste. Apparently I have a very high tolerance for ginger. Bring it on!

I also really liked the contrast with the luscious frosting. I didn’t add any ginger to it, to counter the cookie base, but it worked out well. Mine was slightly lumpy because I mixed it by hand but it only bothered me after taking the photos, not while eating it.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

 

 

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite holiday dessert. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2014. Good luck!
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Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili & JL’s Vegan Pressure Cooking Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on December 16, 2014

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili

Need a great idea for a gift? How about a pressure cooker along with a new cookbook.

Pressure cookers are not so scary. In fact, they are pretty awesome.

I have mentioned it only in passing, but Rob gifted me a pressure cooker for my birthday and I have been experimenting with it over the past few months. At first, I was experimenting with cooking different beans and grains. It felt awesome to think “I want some cooked chickpeas” and an hour later, after adding the dried beans to the pressure cooker, I had myself some chickpeas. The no-soak required beans has alleviated my freezer congestion (I oftentimes freeze leftover beans) and made me more creative in the kitchen.

First of all, let me not mislead you: Pressure cookers need time to come up to pressure. In my machine, it takes 20 minutes. So while it may seem incredible that you only need to cook black eyed peas for 6-8 minutes, that is in addition to a 20 minute warm up and more minutes cool down (unless you release the pressure manually). I have an electric machine, so that benefit is that it does not need a burner on the oven and you can safely walk away while it does its thing. The downside is that it does not come up to as high a pressure as the stovetop ones, which is what most cookbooks cater to. Also, any recipes that all for sauteing need a separate skillet. There are pros and cons of each, as JL points out in her fabulous new cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking (available online now! it arrived early!).

JL's Vegan Pressure Cooking

In addition to her approachable FAQ on how to begin pressure cooking, she also has a host of recipes to start you on your new pressure cooking journey. She answers your looming fear: How can I avoid blowing up my pressure cooker? as well as Why do cooking times vary? Which pressure cooker should I buy? and How does an electric pressure cooker differ from a stove top pressure cooker? She has reference tables for pressure cooking vegan staples (vegetables, beans and grains) and her recipes are categorized similarly.

In her Beans and Grains chapter, she includes basic recipes like Italian lentils but also (slightly) more involved recipes like Dill Long-Grain White Rice; Oat, Amaranth and Carrot Porridge and Cinnamon-Curried Chickpeas. In her Soups and Stews chapter, her recipes span Chik’n Lentil Noodle Soup, very Veggie Split Pea Soup and Tofu Chickpea Artichoke and Potato Soup. Personally, those looked like one-pot meals to me, but JL has even more one-pot meals in chapter four including Gingered Adzuki Beans, Greens and Grains; Vegan “Bacon” and Cabbage and Soy Curl Mac ‘n Cheese. If you thought this was all beans and grains (yes, all the beans are dear to my heart), she also has a chapter for meal helpers and veggie sides which highlights recipes like steamed kabocha squash, savoury root vegetable mash, rosemary and thyme Brussels sprouts, and jackfruit and sweet potato enchiladas. Chapter six is for sauces and dips, and JL has a trick for her pressure cooker hummus and other savoury options like dal dip and ginger-cinnamon white bean gravy. And when you thought there was nothing more to make in the pressure cooker, the last chapter is for dessert! JL uses beans in a coconut-gingered black bean brownie but also includes recipes that rely more on the pressure cooker such as easy applesauce and peachy butter.

I think you know may understand why I may want another pressure cooker. I want to make all the things. Thankfully, I have had the cookbook for a while and managed to squeeze out a new recipe each weekend. In theory a pressure cooker may help me cook more often, but old habits die hard and I like my weekend batch cooking. Thankfully, I was able to share my favourite recipe thus far: JL’ Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili. Only after I got the photos, did I realize it was from her cover. Good choice, JL, good choice. Also it is a good thing I am not your photographer. ;)

In any case, I even added JL’s suggested 2 cups of celery and as a confessed celery hater, it was still very good. I still really liked it. The tomato sauce was deliciously savoury and worked well with the black eyed peas. This recipe, like nearly everything in the cookbook, could easily be adapted to use without a pressure cooker. You would just need to wait a bit longer. With that being said, I really think this is a good, solid vegan cookbook, pressure or no pressure cooker. I love its focus on quick and easy cooking featuring whole foods.

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili

Recipes from Vegan Pressure Cooking found elsewhere:

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Curried Mung Bean Stew

New World Székely Goulash

Quinoa-Millet-Pea Bowl

Umami Anasazi Beans

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have a pressure cooker (and if so, your favourite thing to make in it). A bonus entry for a second comment telling me about your favourite recipe by JL. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2014. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with this week’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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