Book Report: Veganize It! + Cookbook Giveaway + Bonus Recipes!

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*** THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER! THANKS FOR THE GREAT EMAILS ***

If you have been following me here for some time you know that I like to veganize recipes – traditional recipes, my mother’s recipes, recipes I see in the New York Times and on cooking shows. I usually end up subbing a few ingredients – and boom! – vegan stuffed peppers, vegan stuffed cabbage, vegan stroganoff, vegan latkes, vegan risotto, etc., etc., etc. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Let’s face it, how many new recipes can there really be. Everything is just a variation of something else anyway, right?

And that is why I am totally LOVING this new cookbook by Robin Robertson. It’s called Veganize It!  and there are 150 easy, recognizable, doable recipes that cover everything from basic pantry staples to complete meals. I am telling you, I have not been this excited about a cookbook in a long time. Why? Because I have gotten really good at reading recipes and knowing whether or not they are going to work. I can just tell based on the ingredient list, the method and the timing. There have been many recipes lately from which I have taken the main idea – most of the ingredients and what the end result is supposed to be – and figured out my own method to make it.

But, with this book, I can say with confidence that every recipe works. And because Robin is such a skilled recipe developer – she has written 20 cookbooks – she keeps the instructions simple and easy to follow. And not only that, she offers options that are not only creative but customizable. Plus, the food is regular. Do you know what I mean? Think burgers, bacon (4 kinds!), meatballs, jumbalaya, scallops, fish sticks, pot pie, and vegan versions of sauces, condiments and dressings.

Here is also why this book is so smart. You can make the individual parts of a recipe and then you can compile them into an entire dish! It took me a few times through the book to get that. And if you are already making your own staples like me, you will get some new ideas to take what you are doing to the next level.

I am giving away a copy of Veganize It!
To enter, email me at:
lisasprojectvegan at gmail dot com
by end of day Friday, March 17th,
and tell me why you should be the owner of this new  book.
US residents only, please!

I have earmarked so many recipes to try but I have already made a few. I started with this Palm-Crab Imperial. I never had the seafood version of this but now this old classic become one of my new favorites! It is a mix of hearts of palm and artichokes seasoned with Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce and lots of other goodness baked and topped with breadcrumbs. Oh my vegan goodness!

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Then I made the Best Bean Burger, which calls for vital wheat gluten, an ingredient I have never used before. I have seen recipes over the years that call for it but I was always afraid to try it. But with this book, I knew it would work and voila. A hearty, firm, veggie burger!

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Next I made Marinated Baked Tofu. It is soooo good! Sweet, garlicky and noochy.

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This is view of the top of the tofu straight out of the oven.

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Then I flipped the tofu over and ate one right off the tray!

Then I made this Roasted Cauliflower Piccata. The sauce could not have been easier and I didn’t even serve it over the mashed potatoes that the recipe suggests because it was superb on its own!

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I got permission to reprint the recipe for the piccata and all of the homemade parts including vegetable broth, butter, mashed potatoes, sour cream and nut milk. Make this now!

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER PICCATA (SERVES 4)
When you cut a head of cauliflower like you would a loaf of bread, the resulting slabs can be roasted and served as delicious steaks. My favorite way to season them is with a luscious lemony piccata sauce and mushrooms atop a serving of creamy mashers.

1 head cauliflower, cored
Olive oil, for cooking
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 scallions, minced
⅓ cup dry white wine or vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade (see below)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoons capers, drained
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons vegan butter, store-bought or homemade (see below), chilled
1 recipe Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives (see below), for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil two large rimmed baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Place the cauliflower on a cutting board, cored-side down, and use a long serrated knife to cut it into ½-inch-thick slices, as if you were cutting a loaf of bread. Arrange the cauliflower slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets and brush with a little olive oil or spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast the cauliflower until tender and nicely browned, 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a large metal spatula about halfway through.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the sauce. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and scallions and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers and cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces slightly. Just before serving, add the parsley, then stir in the butter to melt it into the sauce.

To serve, spoon a serving of the mashed potatoes onto each plate and top with a cauliflower steak. Spoon the sauce on top.

VEGETABLE BROTH (MAKES ABOUT 8 CUPS)
Homemade broth is more economical than buying ready-made vegetable broth and requires very little effort. This is a low-sodium broth that is suitable for any of the recipes in this book. Mushroom and parsley stems add depth of flavor. Keep them on hand for making broth by saving the stems from mushrooms and parsley as you use them and keep them stored in airtight containers (I use zip-top freezer bags) in the freezer. That way, you’ll always have some on hand to make broth.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed
10 cups water
6 carrots, coarsely chopped
6 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 cup mushroom stems or 2 dried mushrooms
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley stems
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, cover, and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the water, carrots, celery, mushroom stems, parsley stems, thyme, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to medium. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the broth is well flavored, about 30 minutes. Strain the broth into a large bowl using a colander. Press on the vegetables in the colander to release as much liquid as possible. Discard or compost the vegetables. Strain the broth using a fine-mesh strainer.

Store the broth in airtight 2-cup containers so they are easy to use in recipes. The broth will keep well for up to a week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

EASY VEGAN BUTTER (MAKES ABOUT 1½ CUPS)
Be sure to use refined coconut oil to avoid giving the butter a coconut flavor. If making homemade butter is not your thing, try Earth Balance Buttery Spread, available in most supermarkets.

Note: For a firmer texture, add 1 teaspoon soy lecithin liquid or 2 teaspoons soy lecithin granules to the mixture.

¼ cup plain unsweetened almond milk, store-bought or homemade (see below)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ cup refined coconut oil
¼ cup grapeseed or sunflower oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the milk, vinegar, salt, and turmeric and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Heat the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until it is just melted. Let it cool slightly, then add it to the mixture in the blender or food processor, along with the grapeseed oil. Blend until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Transfer to a container or butter mold and refrigerate to set and firm up, at least 1 hour. Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks or wrap tightly and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

MASHED POTATOES WITH SOUR CREAM AND CHIVES (SERVES 4)
You can make delicious veganized mashed potatoes by simply swapping out the dairy butter and milk for nondairy versions, or you can go all out and add some vegan sour cream and minced chives.

2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
⅓ cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk, store-bought or homemade (see below), heated
1 tablespoon vegan butter, store-bought or homemade (see above), softened
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons vegan sour cream, store-bought or homemade (see below)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and mash with a potato masher. Mix in the milk, butter, and salt. Add the sour cream and chives and continue to mash until all of the ingredients are well mixed and the potatoes are smooth. Serve hot.

CASHEW SOUR CREAM (MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP)
This plant-based sour cream delivers a creamy texture and a just-tart-enough flavor. Use it to top baked potatoes or in any recipe calling for sour cream.

¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained
⅓ cup plain unsweetened almond milk, store-bought or homemade (see below)
2 tablespoons rice vinega
1½ tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
⅛ teaspoon salt

Combine the drained cashews, milk, vinegar, melted coconut oil, and salt in a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a container, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill and thicken before use. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

NUT MILK (MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS)
Almond milk is my favorite all-purpose nondairy milk, although you can use cashews in this recipe, if you prefer.

1 cup almonds or cashews, soaked overnight, then drained
3 cups water
Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or a nut milk bag.

Transfer the milk to a glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid and chill until ready to serve. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from VEGANIZE IT! © 2017 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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