Book Report: Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe + Molten Chocolate Cake Recipe + Cookbook Giveaway

Vegan Holiday Cooking CVR


The Vegan Holiday Cookbook is finally here!

I have a copy to give away!

This is the newest cookbook from my friends at Candle Cafe. I got to test many of the recipes and it is a truly spectacular book.

It’s gorgeous. Just look at that cheese plate on the front cover! It is hardcover but it doesn’t have one of those dust jackets that always manages to get lost. Instead, the information is printed right on the inside of the front and back covers. Also, it lays flat on the counter which is helpful while cooking.

The recipes are wonderful…and not just the ones I tested. And we are not just talking religious holidays here. There are recipes for Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl, and Cinco de Mayo!

I had the opportunity to talk to Joy Pierson, one of the authors of the book, one of the founders of the Candle restaurants, and my good friend.

LDA: I love the holiday choices because they are not the typical religious ones. How did you come up with that idea?

JP: We are always looking for a chance to celebrate and bring family and friends together. This selection of holidays came from our guests and staff through the years. These are the events that all the people that have passed through our doors at Candle Cafe, Candle 79 and Candle Cafe West wanted recipes for.

LDA: What is your favorite recipe and why?

JP: My favorite recipe in the book is the Seitan Brisket. In the book we serve this dish for Passover, but it’s really a perfect roast that would shine as the centerpiece of any special occasion. But it’s the most meaningful to me because it was inspired by my Grandmother’s recipe which we reinvented so it is plant-based and bursting with all the traditional flavors of the holiday. My Grandmother’s recipe can live on to keep bringing families together while improving the health of the individual and the planet all at the same time.

LDA: What should every home cook have in their kitchen?

JP: My favorite tool in the kitchen these days is the hand mixer or immersion blender. It has so many functions, is easy to use and it’s just plain fun.

Now, let’s talk about the recipes. How about sweet potato latkes with almond crème fraîche, crispy black bean tacos (which I LOVE), and braised cranberry-orange tofu?!

One of the most delightful recipes is for a molten chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and it had to be the first recipe I made from the book. It could not be easier! Super delicious and really impressive. Can’t wait to spring this one on friends and family.

And you can too but I only have ONE cookbook to give away!

Write to me at l i s a s p r o j e c t v e g a n @ g m a i l . c o m by the end of the day and tell me why you should be the new owner of this cookbook!

You must include your mailing address. Please note that this giveaway is open to United States mailing addresses only.

Even if you don’t win the cookbook, you can at least make the molten chocolate cake recipe! These little cakes are moist and delicious and the little molten centers are surprisingly wonderful.

This recipe serves 6.

Raspberry Coulis *
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed if frozen
1 cup unrefined sugar
2 cups water

* Personally, I think 3 cups of raspberries is way to much for 6 cakes. I cut the recipe down and used only 1 cup and I had just the right amount.

Chocolate Cakes
2/3 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
cup unbleached all-purpose flour
cup natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt

3/4 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar, to dust

To prepare the coulis, combine the raspberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat,stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.Strain the mixture into a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil 6 cups of a standard muffin tin.
Combine ½ cup of the soy milk, the oil, maple syrup, sugar, and vinegar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixerfitted with the whisk attachment at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour and cocoa powder and beat untilincorporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining soy milk, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until incorporated.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups so they are all three-quarters full. Put 2 tablespoons of chocolate chipsinto the center of each cake and gently press them down with your fingers, until they are covered by the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the batter is puffed but the center is not set.

To serve, flip the muffin pan upside down onto a board to unmold the cakes. Transfer the cakes to dessert plates, dust withconfectioners’ sugar, and drizzle with the raspberry coulis. Serve warm. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

VHCC Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis image p 44 copy

 The picture from the book.


 The picture from my kitchen!

Lisa’s Greatest Hits: Rounding up My All Time Favorite Recipes

What a great month of food it has been! I have been blogging for 3 1/2 years and it has been great scrolling through old recipes…some I even forgot about and will certainly go into the rotation, ASAP. I was even highlighted on the Vegan MoFo roundup last Thursday. What an honor!

So here it is…the final roundup of Vegan MoFo 2014. These are my greatest hits…the recipes that get the most play in my kitchen. They are easy, go-to recipes that have become our family comfort food. Enjoy!

1. Enchiladas. This dish is all about the sauce. I like to make a big pot and freeze it in batches so I always have it on hand. The filling can be tempeh or black beans. Whatever is inside, it is delicious every time!


2. Guacamole. This is my signature 5 ingredient guacamole: avocado, onions, cilantro, lime and salt.

3. Mexican Mash Up. Sweet potatoes, corn, red peppers, lime juice. With or without black beans!

4. Hummus. To me, there is nothing better than hummus and mashed avocado together. On toast, on a bagel or on a salad.

5. Curried Coconut Red Lentil Soup. I always have the ingredients on hand. It is filling and delicious.

IMG_03496. Vegetable Coconut Curry. My version of curry in a hurry! The green peas are the protein in this wildly easy and flavorful dish.

IMG_47127. Tempeh Dinner. I make some variation of tempeh with a vegetable and a starch at lease once a week. Pictured: Tempeh, Broccoli & Yellow Rice Pilaf. See tempeh roundup.

IMG_38578. Tofu Dinner. Ditto to what I said in #4 but tofu. Pictured: Grilled Tofu with Squash and Summer Corn. See tofu roundup.


9. Chickpeas. Two ways. It is all about the flavors.

 Moroccan Chickpea Stew


Chickpea Stir-Fry

10. Meatless Meatballs. What more can I say? A childhood favorite veganized. Freeze extras for easy weeknight meals.

11. Habanero Hot Mac ‘n Cheese. This is the best cheese sauce I have made to date. With the hot peppers (jalapeños work great too) or without.


12. Polenta Pizza. I love to top a polenta pizza crust with my homemade sauce and favorites like spinach, mushrooms, artichokes.


13. Cauliflower Steaks. Just the funnest idea for “steak!”

14. Paella. Another great flavor combo!

15. Macadamia Nut Cheese. Just wonderful!


16. Corn Fritters. Because I love them.

17. Spinach Pie. I have started to add artichokes and lots of lemon juice and wow!

18. Oatmeal. My husband’s favorite.


19. Applesauce. This batch came out bright pink but it varies from this pink to that typical applesauce color.

20. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. My most perfect cookie.


Tempeh Roundup

I love tempeh. It’s another vegan “protein” and, like tofu, it works great on Blue Plate Specials.

I buy Barry’s Grown in Brooklyn Homemade Tempeh. If you can find someone local who makes tempeh, buy it. But if you need a good brand from the store, buy Soy Boy. It is organic and non-GMO and out of the store bought brands, it was our favorite one.

1. Honee BBQ Tempeh. Made with Bee Free Honee. Great on tofu too.


2. Tempeh Lemon Broil. Love the name. Love the flavors.

3. Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh. Crunchy and delicious.


4. Tempeh Bowl. This marinade is made with tahini, tamari miso and garlic.


5. Braised Tempeh. Love this one!


6. Breaded Tempeh. Cutlets or sticks.

IMG_0386Breaded Tempeh Cutlets

Breaded Tempeh Sticks

7. Cajun Tempeh. It’s all about the flavors.

8. Tempeh Souvlaki. Again, all about the flavors. Can’t get enough of this one.

9. Tempeh Tacos. Make the same thing with lentils.

10. Chili Lime Tempeh. Check out the Mexican rice and avocado salad.

11. Maple Glazed Tempeh. Basic marinade: tamari, maple syrup, and sunflower oil.

12. Basic Marinated Tempeh. My original marinade: tamari and maple syrup.

13. Tempeh Fajitas. A favorite around here!

14. Tempeh Bacon. Save the best for last!

Tempeh Bacon & French Toast

ALT: Avocado Lettuce & Tempeh Bacon Sandwich


Tofu Roundup

Tofu is a great vegan “protein” and is very versatile. It takes on the flavor of a marinade almost immediately and can be grilled, baked, breaded, or pan fried. I serve it on what I call a “Blue Plate Special” because it is an old restaurant name for the daily special that had a protein with vegetables on the side.

Many of these recipes are similar but that is kind of the point. Easy ingredients pack a lot of flavor. Plus, check out the side dishes because they are just as important as the tofu!

1. Grilled Tofu.


Grilled Tofu with Millet Pilaf & Roasted Carrots


Grilled Tofu with Summer Corn & Grilled Zucchini

 Grilled Tofu with Piri Piri Sauce

 Tofu Satay

 Tofu in Green Sauce

 Lime Grilled Tofu Over Sweet Potato Corn Mash

 Cilantro Lime Grilled Tofu

Lime Grilled with Warm Corn & Peach Salsa

 Lemon Thyme Grilled Tofu

Lemon Parsley Grilled Tofu Over Classic Succotash

2. Crusted Tofu.


Almond Encrusted Tofu

 Tofu Milanese

Pistachio Crusted Tofu

 Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Gravy 

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Mixed Mash Potatoes

3. Pan Seared Tofu.


Pan Seared Tofu with Cherry Shallot Confit

 Lemon Sage Tofu

 Pan Seared Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce

Lemon Thyme Tofu

 Lemon Tofu

4. Crispy Tofu.


Crispy Tofu with Broccoli & Pineapple in Spicy Brown Sauce

Crispy Tofu & Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Black Rice & Quinoa

Crispy Tofu with Red Peppers & Pineapples

 Crispy Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Tofu Sticks with Tartar Sauce

Crispy Fried Tofu & Mac ‘n Cheese 

5. Baked Tofu.


Baked Tofu Cutlets (Oil Free)


Baked Mustard Tofu

6 .Tofu Scampi. One of my favorite ways to use tofu to veganize a classic. This dish is all about the sauce.

7. Tamari Marinated Tofu. This tofu shows up in what I call Friday Night Bites. It’s an easy way to use whatever is leftover at the end of the week with an easy marinated tofu.


8. Orange Balsamic Glazed Tofu. Yum.

9. Tofu & Cashews in Brown Sauce. Asian inspired.

10. Tofu Paprikash. When Harry Met Sally!

11. Breakfast Tofu. Outstanding flavor combo.

12. Tofu Scramble. My basic scramble can be made with or without oil. Make it Mexican or with pesto!



Bread, Tortilla & Cracker Roundup

To me, there is nothing better than homemade bread. Right out of the oven. And homemade crackers. And homemade tortillas. Once you go homemade, you can’t go back.

1. Rustic Bread. And then turn it into crostini or panzanella.

2. Corn Bread. Great any time of year. Working on a new Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing. Post coming soon!

3. Pita Bread. So much easier than I ever thought possible. And impressive!

4. My Grandma’s Banana Bread and Date & Nut Bread. Tastes just like my Grandmother Joan made it. I love impressing my Father and my Uncle with these. They turn into two little boys! I have also posted variations to the banana bread like zucchini banana bread, pumpkin banana bread, and banana walnut bread.

5. Vegan Challah. Holla! Then turn it into French Toast.

6. Raisin Walnut Bread. Very old school vegan from The China Study Cookbook.

IMG_27817. Chapatis. Indian tortillas.

8. Homemade Flour Tortilla. We can’t eat these fast enough.


9. Homemade Corn Tortillas. Ditto.

IMG_122210. Chef Chloe’s Goldfish Crackers. So much fun to make.

IMG_251511. Gluten-free Crackers. Love these.