Tuesday, April 01, 2014

More Quick-Fix Vegan
Review and Giveaway

Ever since the publication of my first book, So, Now What Do I Eat? The Complete Guide to Vegetarian Convenience Foods, readers have thought of me as the Queen of Quick and Easy. And that's just fine by me, because when it comes to cooking, I'm all about quick and easy.

However, my diet has evolved over the years. I no longer rely heavily on transition foods: meat, butter, and cheese analogs, processed and prepackaged foods that are the ultimate in convenience. My preferences now lean towards more nourishing, healthful, whole foods. I love every second I spend in the kitchen preparing delicious, healthy meals. But the reality of life is that I spend the bulk of my working time outside the kitchen, and sometimes it's almost dinner time before I realize that it's time to make dinner! So on those all-too-frequent days, I look to tasty whole-food recipes that can be put together in a snap. In this regard, Robin Robertson has been a lifesaver. Her earlier book, Quick-Fix Vegan, which I reviewed back in 2011, has become an invaluable friend.

Robin's latest book, More Quick-Fix Vegan, delivers 150 flavorful new recipes that take no more than thirty minutes of hands-on time to prepare. I could not wait to dive in!

Although many of my friends often rave about Vietnamese banh-mi sandwiches, I have never tasted one. Flipping through the pages of More Quick-Fix Vegan, I noticed that Robin included a couple of intriguing variations, and the recipe for Banh-mi Bowls called out to me. Made with crunchy toasted croutons, homemade marinated tofu, crisp, fresh vegetables, and a rich sweet and spicy sauce, it sounded intriguing. The dish came together very quickly, and was so scrumptious, even my finicky husband approved. We loved this meal so much, I think you will, too, so make sure you scroll down to the end of this post, and grab the recipe!

The recipe for Red Kidney Bean Loaf with Barbecue Glaze piqued my curiosity. Red kidney beans are not at the top of my list of favorite beans, so I had to step outside my culinary comfort zone a bit to try this recipe. I'm so glad I did, because I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. While the loaf was baking, our home was filled with such a delicious aroma that we could hardly wait to dig in. I think that if the end result had been anything less than spectacular, we would have been disappointed. But our taste buds were very happy, because this dish is sensational. The red kidney beans gave this plant-based "meat" loaf a very unique and unexpected flavor.

At the supermarket the other day, I noticed the selection of Passover foods that had taken up residence on an endcap display. I looked longingly at the containers of coconut macaroons I adored as a child and looked forward to with great enthusiasm every year at this time. If not for the egg whites, Manischewitz Coconut Macaroons would actually be vegan. I did leave the store with quite a hankering for something coconutty like a macaroon. And then I discovered Robin's recipe for Piña Colada Balls in More Quick-Fix Vegan. I love the tropical taste of piña colada, and this recipe even has a dash of rum! It was so quick and easy to put together, and so sweetly delicious, I really had to restrain myself from overindulging. I have lovingly renamed this delectable recipe Passover Sex on the Beach.

Thoughtfully included within the pages of More Quick-Fix Vegan are recipes for making your own homemade "convenience" foods like vegan sour cream and baked marinated tofu. (Perfect for a convenience-and-whole-food-loving girl like me!) And there are four pages of metric conversions and equivalents, which, because of all the crazy package downsizing, I'm finding more and more useful all the time. Like all of Robin's books, More Quick-Fix Vegan is jam-packed with a bounty of delicious recipes that you will want to make over and over again. From scrumptious Mediterranean Tofu Scram-Bowls to elegant Cavatappi and Broccoli with Creamy Artichoke-Walnut Sauce to the adorably named My Thai Sundaes with Green Tea Syrup and Berry Fool-ish, the recipes in More Quick-Fix Vegan will be a wonderful addition to any foodie's cookbook collection.

And now's your chance to win your very own copy of More Quick-Fix Vegan ! I'm giving one away  to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below, and follow the Rafflecopter prompts.* Your comment is the only mandatory entry requirement. To earn additional entries, you can also follow any of the other steps. May lady luck be shining down upon you, because I know you're going to love this book!

Reprinted with the kind permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC, here is the recipe for Banh-Mi Bowls from More Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson ©2014:

4 (½-inch thick)slices Italian bread or 8 slices French baguette
1 large carrot, finely shredded
½ English cucumber
2 cups finely shredded cabbage (I used Napa)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I omitted)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced scallions
1½ tsp grated fresh ginger
1 (8-oz) package baked tofu, cut into thin strips
3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 to 2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp natural sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler on both sides, turning once. Remove from the oven and cut the toasted bread into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the carrot, cucumber, cabbage, and cilantro. Drizzle on the sesame oil and toss gently to combine. Divide the vegetable mixture among serving bowls and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, scallions, and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the tofu and 1 tablespoon of the tamari and mix well to coat the tofu. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons tamari with the hoisin, sriracha, sugar, and vinegar, stirring well to blend. Arrange the reserved toasted bread on top of the vegetables in the bowls. Top with the tofu mixture and drizzle each bowl with the sauce.

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