Once upon a time, there was a food truck in the city called The Cinnamon Snail. It served super creative vegan street food – sandwiches with the super creative sauces and multiple toppings, cinnamon snails and donuts – and the line was always down the block. I always tried to find the truck on rainy days because the line would be shorter or on Fridays when it parked right downstairs from my husband’s office on Park Avenue. We would buy the whole office lunch and donuts!
Last year, I got to take a cooking class with the man behind the madness, Adam Sobel. I went to the Cinnamon Snail’s industrial kitchen and learned how to make super spicy buffalo cauliflower, mac ‘n cheese, a chocolate pie and plant milk. It was a great experience and I loved the recipes, cooking and food. But what I loved more was following Adam around the kitchen and asking as many questions as I could possibly think of. He was totally cool and almost all of his answers contained the word “yummy” which makes him the most lovable vegan chef out there. This man is totally dedicated to his mission to bring great food that happens to be vegan to everyone and anyone.
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the truck is no longer. The good news is that Adam wrote Street Vegan so now we get to make some of his masterfully tasty recipes at home. From breakfast to soup to mains to sides and desserts, this book is packed with great ideas like yacon and cherry pancakes, beer battered French toast, assorted nut milks, chickpea crab cakes, broccoli beer soup with sunflower chorizo (brilliant!), maple barbecue tempeh, kimchi, and tons of over the top desserts and donuts, and a whole chapter on the Snail’s secret sauces.
But it is more than a cookbook. It is totally entertaining and full of juicy (!) anecdotes from the truck days including the big challenges and the amazing successes of the truck. The truck won awards each year it was running and it served victims of Hurricane Sandy. For free. Amazing.
I have lots of vegan cookbooks. There is a kind of vegan cuisine that has arisen over the last few years and many of the newer cookbooks have published recipes in that vein. But this book is different. It is super creative and filled with flavorful ingredients that are unusual and new to me. I can’t wait to get going and start making some of these dishes. This morning I am going to whip up some yacon pancakes for breakfast!
In the meantime, Adam and his publishers gave me permission to reprint this amazing recipe for maple-roasted kabocha squash so that you can see how wonderful, creative and flavorful the recipes are and make you want to run out and get this book ASAP!
Kabocha is a fantastic winter squash, with a flavor somewhere between acorn squash and pumpkin. The pretty, bumpy outer skin is perfectly fine to eat once cooked, so go ahead and use the whole thing. If you can’t find kabocha, substitute acorn squash (discard the skins).
Makes about 3 cups
3 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ medium-size (about 3 pounds)
Kabocha squash, cut into very thin 3- to 4-inch strips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.
Combine the tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup, sesame oil, nutmeg, cumin, and coriander in a mixing bowl, then turn the slices of squash in the bowl to coat them evenly in the mixture. Evenly lay out the squash slices on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the squash for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.
Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reprinted from Street Vegan: Recipes and Dispatches from the Cinnamon Snail Food Truck. Copyright © 2015 by Adam Sobel. Photos by Kate Lewis. Property of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.