Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spicy Tempeh and Black Bean Burritos with Lime And a Winner

First, the important stuff: The winner of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook is … Tanya! Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who participated. I wish I had copies to give each and every one of you.

Now for the recipe, oh, and a little back story about how this recipe came about. We have a little coffee shop/restaurant in town that serves a black bean burrito with lime that is quite good. Around the time they first opened, I wasn’t eating a whole lot of beans, especially black beans. For some reason, they just didn’t appeal to me. It was as if my body was telling me, “Girl, you’ve eaten enough beans in your life. Take a break.”

At first the people at the restaurant were more than happy to substitute tempeh for the beans, and I was happy to pay a bit more to get it that way. But after two or three times, they said they couldn’t do it anymore, even when there weren't even any other customers around, so I said, “Okay, hasta la vista, baby.”

Eventually, my desire for beans returned (funny thing, that was just about the same time I’d heard Dr. McDougall give his “Fat Vegan” talk), and I decided to make my own black bean and lime burritos with tempeh, too! The spinach was an afterthought, and is completely optional. In fact, Mark prefers his burritos without the spinach. But they’re tasty either way. This recipe will make 6-8 large burritos.


2 12-oz packages tempeh
4 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs lime juice
½ tsp chili powder, more or less, depending on how hot your chili is, and how spicy you want it (I used chipotle chile powder)
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 tsp lime juice, or to taste
1 10-oz package spinach leaves (optional)
1 large, ripe avocado

1 package large flour or gluten-free tortillas


Place tempeh in a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool, before cutting. While tempeh is cooling, combine soy sauce, lime juice, and spices in a large bowl and gently whisk together. When tempeh has cooled, cut into ½-inch chunks, and add to marinade. Gently mix to coat, and let stand for 10-15 minutes, turning, occasionally.

Place a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add marinated tempeh, and turn occasionally to heat on all sides, for about 7 or 8 minutes. Add black beans, lime juice, any remaining marinade, and spinach if using, and stir to combine. Cover skillet, and allow to heat through.

Cut avocado into thin slices. Soften tortillas on a dry non-stick griddle or frying pan. Spoon tempeh and bean mixture down center of a tortilla, place several slices of avocado on top, and roll up, folding in sides as you go. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook
by Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb
Book Review, Recipe, and Giveaway!

It's a no-brainer: Wanna be healthy? Go vegan! But the truth is, it's very easy to eat an unhealthful vegan diet: Just load up on refined flour and sugar, oils, and heavily processed foods, and you'll be on the fast track to becoming an unhealthy vegan. Sadly, it's a mistake newbie vegans often make. Instead of embracing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, many seek to replace their unhealthful omnivorous diets with vegan versions of their favorite junk foods.

Now don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that there isn't a time and place for veggie burgers, non-dairy milk beverages, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. (Dear readers, you know how much I LOVE my coconut milk ice cream!) But to eat more healthfully, we need to choose whole, organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains as the centerpiece of our diets. And having a collection of plant-based recipes that offer us simple and delicious ways to prepare these foods is essential.

When I heard about Dr. Neal Barnard's latest book, The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook: 125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Jump-Start Weight Loss and Help You Feel Great, it sounded like just the kind of book to get anyone started on the fast track to achieving and maintaining vibrant health. Turn to the very first page of the book, and you'll read, "This book holds the culinary secrets to lifelong health." It's a promise that was fulfilled in the pages that followed.

Let me share a few words about the book's authors: Dr. Neal Barnard has long been one of my heroes and a dear friend. A clinical researcher, prolific author, and founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), he has worked tirelessly for decades as an outspoken advocate for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research. Dr. Barnard is also president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. He generously provided the foreword to my first book, So, Now What Do I Eat? and was instrumental in helping me with the breast cancer prevention legislation I worked on in New Jersey back in the 80s.

Robyn Webb is an award-winning nutritionist, cookbook author and teacher, who has been a passionate advocate of cooking well and eating wisely for most of her life. Because of health problems within her own family, mostly notably diabetes, Robyn learned early on the importance of a balanced, healthful approach to eating. She is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and serves currently as the past chairman of the Cooking Schools and Teachers section.

The bulk of the book contains simple recipes for eating healthfully and enjoying every bite. But it also includes many thoughtful tools that will help you revolutionize your kitchen and your life, easily and effortlessly. You'll learn the science behind making health-promoting food choices and how to make your foods fit your health and weight-loss goals. You'll discover all the essentials for stocking a vegan kitchen and even a recipe for making your own vegetable broth.

Many recipes include a wonderful little "Did You Know" sidebar, with tasty tidbits of information about the dish or one of its ingredients. I learned a lot of neat little culinary morsels from reading these boxes! For example, did you know that you can use your rice cooker to cook quinoa or that you can use chickpeas to make brownies? Nutritionals are thoughtfully provided for each recipe, and I noticed immediately that the recipes in this book are consistently low in fat and calories (even the desserts!) But after tasting several dishes, I quickly learned that they are also high in flavor!

Since in my mind, there are few foods more beautiful, sweet, rich, and juicy than fresh pineapple, the recipe for Tempeh Burgers with Pineapple Salsa caught my eye. The tempeh is first bathed in a tasty ginger-citrus marinade, then pan-seared and topped with a delightfully fresh and fruity pineapple and mango salsa.

Mixed Vegetable Curry with Whole Wheat Couscous blended together two of my favorite spices, coriander and cumin, with a medley of colorful vegetables. The little brown bits you see are zereshk, (European barberries), which are like tiny, sour, currants or grapes. They are high in vitamin C and added an interestingly sharp contrast to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots.

What I really liked about the Udon Noodles with Shiitake and Button Mushrooms is that this dish is quite tasty either hot or cold. And it's so simple and quick to prepare, you won't get overheated in your kitchen making this dish, even on a day as hot as the day I made this:

Following is the for recipe Udon Noodles with Shiitake and Button Mushrooms from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Press. Copyright © 2010.


1 8-oz package udon noodles
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs black bean sauce
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 cup thinly sliced button mushroom caps
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp chopped toasted almonds


1. Cook udon noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat 1/4 cup broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Put in the garlic, onion, and black bean sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add the carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the mirin and cook until it evaporates.
4. Add the remaining 1 cup broth and the soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Gently add noodles and toss to combine.
5. Serve noodles topped with scallions and almonds.
Note: In the photo above, you'll notice that I added a cup of spinach and 1 cup of shelled edamame to the recipe.

The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook is the perfect book for anyone who wants to eat more healthfully and deliciously. It has become a cherished addition to my own collection of vegan cookbooks, and I will be buying many copies to give as gifts to family and friends. Right now, I have an extra copy of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook to give away to one lucky reader*, who will be selected at random. To enter to win this wonderful book, please follow these three simple steps:

1. Follow this blog. (There's a link in the upper left corner of this page.)
2. Leave a comment on this post. (Receive an extra entry if you tell me what your motivation for becoming vegan or your inspiration for exploring a vegan diet is!)
3. Unless you know that I already have it, please include your email address in your comment, so that I can contact you when you win!

If you'd like to earn extra entries, you may do so by either tweeting about this contest or posting it to your facebook page with a link back to this post. Thank you for visiting, and good luck!

*Contest is open to all entrants with U.S. postal addresses.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things and A Winner!

I was admiring my growing collection of cookbooks this morning and decided to snap this photo to share while announcing the lucky winner of the free copy of The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East. It's by no means my complete collection, and I realized after shooting it, that most notably missing are The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, Nonna's Italian Kitchen, and Vegan Soul Kitchen, three more of my highly cherished go-to books.

 Did you happen to notice how The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East is cleverly wrapped in shades of saffron just like a Tibetan Buddhist monk's robes? I just love that!

And the winner is ... Amanda of Amanda's Domestic Adventures! Congratulations! And hearty thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Do get yourselves a copy of The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East.  You will love it!

P.S. Have you heard about Giveaway Scout? It's a search engine that allows users who subscribe to receive updates on the latest giveaways. It sounds very interesting. I must check it out!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway:
The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East
by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray

As soon as I heard about The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East, I couldn't wait to get my hot little hands on a copy. But wait a minute ... did I hear that right? 150 Asian-inspired recipes I can prepare in 30 minutes or less? Am I dreaming? A sharp pinch and a quick skim through the book's 200+ pages of recipes for delectable dishes from Afghanistan to Viet Nam, tells me that I am holding the key to much more than curry in a hurry; it's more like accelerated culinary nirvana.

Indian, Thai, and Iranian foods are among my favorite cuisines and hold a very special place in my heart and at my table. I own several wonderful cookbooks that exclusively feature recipes from these far-away lands. But to have just one book filled with near- and far-Eastern Asian recipes that can be prepared in as little time as it takes to get take-out is nothing short of a godsend.

I am already a huge fan of the authors' best-selling book, The 30 Minute Vegan. Could they possibly outdo themselves with another collection of 30-minute recipes? The minute I honed in on the recipe for Vanilla Cardamom Rose Lassi on page 38, I quickly realized they had.

I suppose it would have been lovely to sprinkle a few rose petals on top, but I couldn't resist placing this rose bud on Mark's glass for an extra touch of romance. Not that this beverage wasn't already romantic. The most enticing ingredients combined to create a creamy drink that was intoxicatingly fragrant and passionately luscious. I substituted So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir for the coconut milk yogurt suggested in this recipe, with palate-pleasing results. "Suggested" really is the key word in ALL of this book's wonderful recipes. In both 30-Minute Vegan books, authors Reinfeld and Murray encourage readers to experiment, tweak, and otherwise have fun playing with the recipes. While many authors invite readers to create their own recipe variations, in an almost magical way, Reinfeld and Murray truly inspire such creativity.

Like a mystery novel page-turner just waiting to be devoured, Taste of the East excited my curiosity and taste buds. With dishes like Tibetan Dumplings, Tempeh Vegetable Korma, and Arame Lotus Root Sauté, it was agonizingly difficult choosing the next recipe to sink my teeth into. Thoughtfully, Taste of the East is organized by country of origin, not only by course, so you don't have to wait to get to the end of the book to get to the dessert recipes. Within each section, the recipes are listed in the order you'd find them on a menu, from appetizers to desserts. Each section starts with a glossary of ingredients unique to the country's cuisine, and sprinkled throughout the book are helpful boxes with Thoughtful Chef's Tips and Tricks. (What do you do if you tear your nori in the middle of making a sushi roll?) Highly useful appendixes include Preparation Basics for everything from toasting spices, nuts, and seeds to roasting tofu and tempeh.

In the spirit of sweetness, (and because I have absolutely no problem with eating dessert first), I dove straight ahead into these two enticing recipes—Mango Custard Pudding from China and Black Rice Pudding from Thailand.

If you like coconut milk, you'll love these desserts. Both were decadently rich, creamy, and sweet.

After satisfying my sweet tooth, it was time to explore more serious fare. Inspired by the red lentil dal I enjoyed so much at Ananda Village a few weeks ago, I decided to try the Indian Dhal and paired it with the recipe for Coconut Spinach Rice.

Agonizingly difficult-to-choose quickly transformed itself into incredibly delicious-to-eat. And true to the book's title, once I had all of the ingredients assembled, both dishes went from stove to table in 30 minutes.

Next, I wanted to become reacquainted with a dish I'd only eaten once many years ago. Indonesian Gado Gado is a delightful medley of both raw and cooked vegetables served with a sassy peanut sauce dressing. Although the dish is traditionally made with cooked potatoes, I used yams instead, which together with roasted tempeh, red cabbage, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, red onions, scallions, tomatoes, and cucumbers created a vibrantly delectable fusion of flavors. The dressing blended peanut butter, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, maple syrup, and tamarind paste together and was the perfect accompaniment.

To get my Thai on, I decided to try a dish I've never had before, Sweet Soybean Sauce With Noodles, better known as Pad Siew. This simple dish made with a soy-sauce marinade and stir-fried vegetables is surprisingly tasty. Among the ingredients is a fish-free sauce (the recipe is in the book!) which substitutes for the traditional fish sauce used in many Thai dishes. It's an optional ingredient in this recipe, but I really do think it added a little pizazz to my Pad Siew. And I appreciate having an alternative to fish sauce on hand for all of my other Thai cooking.

Whether you want to impress your friends and family with your cooking prowess or you just enjoy eating great Asian cuisine, get yourself a copy of  The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East. It will inspire and delight you and awaken the creative culinary genius within you.

Right now, I have an extra copy of The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East to share with one lucky reader*, who will be selected at random. To enter to win this fabulous book, please follow these three simple steps:

1. Follow this blog.
2. Leave a comment on this post. (Receive an extra entry if you tell me what your favorite Asian-inspired dish is!)
3. Unless you know that I already have it, please include your email address in your comment, so that I can contact you when you win!

If you'd like to earn extra entries, you may do so by either tweeting about this contest or posting it to your facebook page with a link back to this post. Thank you for visiting, and good luck!

*Contest is open to all entrants with U.S. postal addresses.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Vegan Waffles with Blueberry Topping

Did you notice the change from "Coconut Milk Kefir" to "Cultured Coconut Milk"? No matter the name, it's still the same delicious drinkable "yogurt." And I love how creative foodies keep finding new ways to enjoy So Delicious. So I was delighted when a reader alerted me to Jenna Nichols' /Endeavors in Domestic Art blog, and asked me to veganize her recipe for waffles made with So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir. (Ooops! I mean Cultured Coconut Milk!) I had just half a bottle of the vanilla flavor on hand, so I tried making them this morning for breakfast. By the time I landed on Jenna's post, another reader had already suggested veganizing the recipe by using Ener-G Egg Replacer and Earth Balance in place of the eggs and butter. That's exactly what I did, and it worked perfectly!

Jenna's gorgeous photo of her waffles with blueberry topping inspired me to go out to the garden and grab a handful of blueberries so I could make a delicious topping for my own waffles. Thank you for the inspiration, Jenna! And thank you, Helen, for letting me know about Jenna's wonderful blog and recipe. These are my waffles, and what follows is my vegan version.


2 cups unbleached wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp evaporated cane crystals
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk (I used Vanilla flavor)
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 4 TBS water
4 Tbs Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla


Lightly coat waffle iron with canola oil or spray. Whisk together egg replacer and water and set aside. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together and combine well. Then add wet ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine. (Batter will be on the thick side.)

Spoon about one fourth of the batter onto the waffle iron and cook until ready. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes 4 thick waffles.

Blueberry Topping Ingredients:

2 handfuls blueberries
2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 Tbs evaporated cane crystals
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 dashes of cinnamon (optional)


Heat all ingredients in a small saute pan over medium heat, stirring frequently
until blueberries turn dark in color and begin to release their juice. If you prefer a thicker topping, you can add 1 tsp arrowroot towards the end of cooking time. Serve over waffles.

I think this dish would make a sinfully delicious dessert served with Purely Decadent Made with Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean ice cream! How do you enjoy your waffles?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Red, White, and Blueberry Parfaits

Summer is my favorite time of year in Oregon. Sweet, juicy peaches and nectarines tempt me at the Saturday Farmer's Market. And just in time for the 4th of July, my raspberry and blueberry bushes start bursting with life!

And while I can eat fresh, ripe berries by the bucketful, it's also sweet fun to create pies, muffins, scones, cakes, pudding, and ice cream with them. So for a tasty close to our weekend barbecue, I'll be serving these delectable little parfaits. You'll want to make the mousse and cashew creme ahead of time, so they have time to chill. Enjoy!

Raspberry Mousse Ingredients:

2 12.5-oz. packages silken tofu
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (thawed frozen raspberries will also work)
3/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
3 tsp. vanilla extract


In food processor, whip tofu until smooth. Add berries, agave nectar, and vanilla and blend for another minute or so. Pour into a container with lid, and chill for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

Cashew Creme Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Using a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Chill before serving.

When ready to serve, assemble parfaits by layering raspberry mousse and cashew creme. Top with fresh blueberries. Makes 8 servings.