V Is for Vegan by Kerstin Rodgers [Book Review + Giveaway]

V is for Vegan_9781849496780 (1)

Kerstin Rodgers is a celebrated food writer and chef, who’s attributed to launching supper club/pop-up scene in the UK back in 2009. Known by her moniker, MsMarmiteLover, she shares her food experiences, recipes and stories from all over the globe. Last year, she published a vegan cookbook in the UK called V Is for Vegan. Now released this year in the US, this cookbook delivers on world flavors with insights with an interesting spin…Kerstin isn’t vegan.

Now now! Before anyone goes on a culinary witchhunt, understand that a book like this is pretty major! Kerstin IS vegetarian and has written this book not just for vegans to up their cookery skills. It’s a book for everyone, whether you’re looking to cut your meat and dairy intake, are vegetarian looking to transition or just want some new recipes to try.

What Kerstin has put together is not only a cookbook; it’s a resource. In the very beginning of her book, she outlines what being vegan means. While I don’t agree that vegan cooking is harder rather than being different (but I get what she’s saying), she provides an understanding of what veganism is and the impacts of today’s western diet (not just the Standard American Diet) on the food system. I also appreciate that she notes the global influences and openness that comes with vegan cooking. She answers many common & basic questions people have about going vegan. With that knowledge, readers can take their first step in connecting with the concept/philosophy of a vegan lifestyle.

Now let’s talk about the food, because that’s why we buy cookbooks, right? While Kerstin noted that vegan cooking is harder, her recipes are pretty simple. The recipe titles and accompanying photos may sound and look intimidating, but it’s really all about how you put these dishes together. In fact, I’ll take book on how to plate vegan food beautifully from Kerstin herself (Next book? PLEASE!), because these dishes are so drool-worthy from her colorful melange of hummus recipes to the Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole Tacos with Grilled Calcots (see recipe below)

The only question we have for Kerstin is… “So, when are YOU going to go vegan?”

We actually are quite honored to review this cookbook, and even moreso that Kerstin is allowing us to share one of the recipes from V Is for Vegan: Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole Tacos with Grilled Calcots! Looks beautiful, right?

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Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole in Tacos with Grilled Calçots
Serves 4
From the book: "In Oaxaca, they have all kinds of mole, a kind of paste or thick sauce—yellow, green, red—but a chocolate mole is one of the most unique. This chocolate mole with smoked tofu is as satisfying as any meat dish. Calçots are a Catalan dish of very young leeks simply broiled, slightly blackened and dressed with olive oil. A great combo for tacos. The typically Oaxacan sauce will make double the amount you need for the tofu, so either freeze half, or if you have more guests, double the amount of tofu. You can serve this as tacos or just as a stew with rice."
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Ingredients
  1. 2½ Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. Generous 2 oz [60 g] vegan dark chocolate
  5. 8¾ oz [350 g] whole tomatoes
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin
  7. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  8. ¼ tsp ground allspice
  9. 2 dried ancho chilies
  10. 2 dried chipotle chilies
  11. 2 Tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  12. 1¾ cups [170 g] blanched or ground almonds
  13. 2 Tbsp strong agave nectar
  14. 14 oz [400 g] firm smoked tofu, drained and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes
  15. 1 pack of calçots, young leeks or scallions, trimmed
  16. 14 corn tortillas
  17. Sea salt
To serve
  1. Slices of avocado
  2. A fistful of alfalfa sprouts
  3. Sprigs of cilantro
  4. Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the chocolate, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook slowly over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the chilies.
  2. Meanwhile, split all the dried chilies and discard the seeds, then briefly toast the chilies in a dry skillet until soft. Place in a 1 pint [½ L] heatproof pitcher with the vegetable bouillon powder. Fill up the pitcher with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Put the almonds, the chili and stock mixture, the cooked sauce, agave nectar, and 1 Tbsp salt in a powerful blender. Starting on a low speed, process together, increasing the speed as you go, until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a deep, wide skillet.
  4. Add the tofu cubes to the sauce and poach until the tofu expands slightly and the sauce is bubbling but not boiling.
  5. In the meantime, roast the calçots, young leeks, or scallions in a dry skillet or directly over a flame, turning them, until soft and slightly blackened around the edges (this makes them sweet).
  6. To serve, place some of the tofu pieces and the chocolate mole in the tacos and fold so that the opening is upwards. Tuck in a leek or scallion and a few avocado slices. Top with alfalfa sprouts, the calçots, and cilantro. Season with salt and squeeze over some lime juice.
Notes
  1. Recipe posted with permission from the publisher, Quadrille.
Adapted from V Is for Vegan
Adapted from V Is for Vegan
The Food Duo http://thefoodduo.com/

Want to make some gorgeously delicious yet easy to make recipes by MsMarmiteLover herself? Enter for a chance to win a copy of V Is for Vegan right now! (U.S. residents only – SORRY!)

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Winner to be announced on #VeganFoodChat on Sunday, April 24, 2016, happening at 8pm ET/5pm PT!

Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow [Book Review + Giveaway]

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Scroll to the bottom to enter our cookbook giveaway to win your very own copy of Vegan Under Pressure!

Wow! It’s been a year since we reviewed Jill Nussinow’s Nutrition Champs! Now, The Veggie Queen™ has a new book, released in January 2016, celebrating what’s she known for…PRESSURE COOKING! We’re very excited to share this book with you, as we have fallen in love with pressure cooking in our home. Read more

Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease [Cookbook Review + Recipe + Giveaway]

You may already be familiar with Laura Theodore from her national PBS series, Jazzy Vegetarian. Not only is she a vegan chef and television personality, she’s also a radio host and a singer (that’s where the “jazzy” is). This October, Laura released her latest cookbook, Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet. Read more

Vegan Bowls by Zsu Dever [Review + Recipe + Giveaway]

Vegan Bowls Cookbook

In 1979, Steve Martin wrote and starred in the hit comedy film The Jerk. About midway through the movie, Martin’s character shares a “pizza in a cup” dish with his new girlfriend. At the time the film was released, the idea of a meal in a cup or bowl seemed comical, at least in the U S of A. Perhaps he was onto something, as bowl meals are becoming increasingly popular and can be found in many restaurants, both chains and independents. Heck, even diners offer one-bowl meals these days.

Zsu Dever Cookbook Author

The beauty of one-bowl meals is that you can enjoy a complete micro-feast that includes a starch, protein, and veggies, all snuggled into that bowl. And leave it to the talented Zsu Dever, author of Everyday Vegan Eats and the blog Zsu’s Vegan Pantry, to put together such a book! Vegan Bowls: Perfect Flavor Harmony in Cozy One-Bowl Meals is a cookbook for everyone. Even those most stubborn and dismissive ominvores will find this delightful book irresistible. From familiar comfort meals, such as a Paella Bowl, to bowls that stretch the imagination like the tempting Rueben Mac and Cheese Bowl, Vegan Bowls offers something for every palette! The recipes in Zsu’s fun book are simple as 1-2-3 and most call for ingredients that are easy to find and or that you may have in your home already.

Vegan Bowls Cookbook

You’ll be hard pressed to find a recipe book more thoughtfully written with an economy of words than this. Zsu covers all bases and also offers a quick guide for equipment, an ingredient glossary, and all of the proteins, grains, oils, spices, herbs and seasonings that you’ll want to have on hand. Another kudo for Zsu’s celebration of all things vegan-in-a-bowl, is that most of the meals take 30 minutes or less. So you and or your loved ones can enjoy a bowl-o-goodness in less time than of an episode of Scandal. The sumptuous photos within this bowly compendium, were taken by Zsu Dever herself. Yes, she’s also a darn good photographer!

Paella Bowl - Vegan Bowls - Zsu Dever

Vegan Bowls, is the type of book where you can flip through the pages, stop anywhere and it will be a winner! And what’s awesome is that we got to stop at the Paella Bowl to share Zsu’s recipe with you. After the recipe, scroll down to enter our giveaway for a chance to win your very own copy of Vegan Bowls!

Winner to be announced during #VeganFoodChat on Wednesday 11/04/15

SCROLL DOWN SEE WHO WON!

Paella Bowl
Serves 4
The saffron threads are responsible for the beautiful orange-yellow color of this dish. Once the rice and broth are added, the dish is no longer stirred. It cooks uncovered while the rice absorbs the broth. As the rice cooks, it develops a flavorful crust on the bottom of the pan called socarrat – a welcome result of not stirring the rice. Using a nonstick pan will prevent the socarrat from forming, but the dish will still taste great. (Recipe from Vegan Bowls, copyright © 2015 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)
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BROTH
  1. 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  2. 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  3. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
SAUTÉ
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 5 artichoke hearts, quartered
  3. 1 medium yellow squash or zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  4. 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  5. 1 small Roma tomato, coarsely chopped
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  8. 2 cups frozen lima beans or edamame, thawed
  9. 1 cup paella or Arborio rice
GARNISH
  1. 1/2 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
  2. 1 jarred roasted red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  3. 1/4 cup minced parsley
  4. Lemon slices
BROTH
  1. Heat the broth, paprika, salt, and saffron in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
SAUTÉ
  1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichoke and squash and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the bell pepper, tomato, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans and lima beans. Add the rice, spreading it evenly over the vegetables. Add the broth, taking care not to disturb the rice too much, but ensuring that the rice is submerged in the broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the rice is al dente, about 14 minutes. Arrange the squash and artichoke hearts on the paella and continue to cook until the rice is tender and the broth is absorbed, about 4 minutes longer.
GARNISH
  1. Scatter the peas over the paella, arrange the strips of pepper on top of the paella and sprinkle with the parsley. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 5 minutes before serving. Serve in bowls with lemon slices.
Adapted from Vegan Bowls
Adapted from Vegan Bowls
The Food Duo http://thefoodduo.com/
CONGRATULATIONS NATALIE C! 

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