Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finally, Veganomicon


So, after hearing all about how wonderful it is and reading reviews and experiments in all of your blogs, I finally started making recipes from the highly acclaimed Veganomicon. I had tried the yuca tortillas (which are really quesadillas) that Kate and Robyn made for my party and they were quite delicious, but I hadn't tried making anything myself.

The book had actually been sitting there for about a month before I finally picked it up. And what did I decided to make?

Yep, you guessed it. The famous chickpea cutlets! I really wanted to go against the grain and not make them for a long, long time since they seem to be the talk of the town going from blog to blog to blog. But how could I choose to be rebellious when I just might be missing the tastiest meal to come out of a vegan cook book?


So I made them, just like the book said, with one small exception. I kinda got lemon zest happy and peeled a wee bit too much. You see, I was using the zester my sister had gotten me for my birthday for the first time and I was like a little kid. I couldn't stop. So I think I may have doubled the required amount.

After frying up these babies, the house smelled so good, I was salivating down to my feet. I just couldn't wait to take a bite!

Then it happened. I sunk my teeth into it and I tasted... lemon.

Lemon really isn't bad and tastes quite fine in some things, but this wasn't one of them. The burger was still edible and tasted mighty fine with dijon mustard or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce so we ate them all over a period of a couple of days. Regardless, I've decided to remake them properly this coming weekend and give all of you my real review next week.

The only other complaint I do have, though, is that the wheat gluten made them a little too chewy. Not a great re-heat.

Next I made macaroni salad. I've made tons of these because I LOVE macaroni salad and it's very easy to bring to work. This is the first mac salad recipe that required very little ingredients for the dressing (there wasn't even dijon in it!) and let me just say- it was my absolute favourite mac salad I've tried thus far.


Oh, it may look plain and simple, but it will definitely tickle your taste buds with absolute delight and glee. Who cares if it's not summer time! I urge you- if you have Veganomicon (and we all know you do) make the Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad, pg 91. You won't regret it. Just make sure you let it chill over night because it tastes much better once it's been marinading for so long. Oh, and do be sure to use Vegenaise, the mayonnaise of champions. No other mayo brand will do.

So far, that's been all from the book, but I do plan on making much more from it. Right now I've been experimenting with La Dolce Vegan which, in my opinion, is a hit or miss book. Luckily, most of the recipes are excellent, even in their simplicity.

I made lentil quinoa stew to go with the cutlets and it was beyond delicious. I wasn't sure it would be. The beans were soaking up just about all of the broth, so I had to add more after it was finished cooking.


I know the picture looks like mush, but believe me when when I say the taste was utterly wonderful. I simmered together onions, celery, carrots, garlic, red lentils, quinoa, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and threw half in the blender for a few seconds. After returning it to the pot, I threw in cilantro, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. The tomatoes and oregano are what really made the soup come together. They were bursting with flavour and complimented the lentils and quinoa so well.

For work lunch last week, I made up a batch of 'Sloppy Janes' and tossed it in a whole wheat wrap. While I, personally, don't mind eating it cold, most would probably prefer it warm, right off the stove. I mean, who doesn't remember Sloppy Joes, eh?


I just sautéed some white onions with green pepper and crumbled firm tofu. Add in tomato sauce, chili powder (the more, the merrier), salt, pepper, dijon, maple syrup, brown rice and Worcestershire sauce. Make sure this last ingredient has no anchovis. I like to use Annie's Vegetarian brand, which is actually vegan too. :)

As for the mushroom issue, thank you so much to everyone for their input and information. Elly Blue gave me a lot of useful info that I'll probably be posting about sometime in the near future. The short of it is, don't be scared of mushrooms! They're fungis. Get it? Fun guys? Okay.


mike said...

I still thought the cutlets were awesome. I'm gonna have another one right now!!!


Vegan_Noodle said...

So glad you finally started cooking from v-con... your lemon story made me smile. I am actually usually too lazy to even put the lemon zest in the cutlets...
The macaroni salad sounds like the perfect lunch food. And thanks for posting that soup, I haven't been cooking much from la dolce vegan as of lately and this is a reason to wipe off the dust!

Rage And Love said...

I'm so proud of you for finally experimenting with Veganomicon (<3)! I've only been trying the desserts because I have a huge sweet tooth.
Personally I love La Dolce Vegan...I guess it's because I love Sara, I think the recipes are simple and yet yummy at the same time so I'm not complaining!
And lastly, I will never fear thy mushroom :-)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Haha cute mushroom joke ;o).

And I definitely think you did the right thing by jumping on the chickpea-cutlet bandwagon. I mean, if so many vegans are doing it, it has to be good, right? Hopefully your "remake" will turn out fabulously :o).

Alec said...

Holy crap all that food looks good. We just made our first V-con recipe the other night- Quinoa with pineapple and cashews - cha ching! It was delicious. Looking at your post I think I will be submitting to peer pressure to make those cutlets next.

Worcestershire sauce has anchovies? Doh! I almost wish I didn't know that as I love making bloody Marys with worcestershire sauce on holidays. I'm gonna have to dish out for Annie's brand now. Speaking of Worcestershire sauce- I wonder how the average non-Mass person says it. I always pronounce it like the Mass city with a 'shire' at the end of it. I wonder how out of staters say it?

Ruby Red Vegan said...

I've never thought of eating sloppy joes in a wrap! That sounds excellent and probably less messy than on a bun (that is, if the tortilla is wrapped well...). Thanks for the Annie's tip! I was wondering who made vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

Your cutlets look gorgeous! Mine definitely did not look like that - but I'm guessing that's because you're a much better cutlet-shaper than I am and maybe because they look different when you bake them. (They do heat up great in the microwave if they're baked, though.)

And about Ener-G egg replacer - I've heard that it can taste powdery, and I really like flax as an egg replacer because of its lovely omega-3s! Egg replacer powder is perfectly fine nutritional-wise, but other things (bananas, flax...) I think have more nutritional benefits. But I would pick egg replacer powder over a real egg any day!!!

Theresa said...

So, a mushroom walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender looks at him and says, 'we don't serve mushrooms in this bar'. The mushroom looks shocked and says, 'Why not, I'm a fungi!'

Ahhhhah. Your food looks so much better than my joke.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to feel like I'm the only vegan on the planet who hasn't made those chickpea cutlets yet- And they look so good, too! That recipe is definitely on my "to-make" list... If only I had enough time to actually make some headway on that list!

Judy said...

Mmmm, everything looks so good. I love Vcon, I have made quite a few things from it, and I have to say, try the Spicy Eggplant Soup. It is so good. Oh, and the Spinach Noodle Kugel - yum!

Kenike said...

i don't fear the mushroom, but i do dislike them!

and i still haven't made the chickpea cutlets, though i do now have v-con. someday! :)

Liz² said...

zomg, the Sloppy Jane wrap looks amazing! I know what you mean about wanting it on a big ol' classic soft bun, though... I might have to bump this one higher on my to make list, come to think of it!
And that stew looks so yummy, I love the ingredients list!

Kang Doy's Bloggy Blog Blog Blog said...

Those cutlets would be perfect with white rice! Are those sloppy Janes get messy when you eat them?

'They're fungis. Get it? Fun guys? Okay.'

That reminds me of the time you picked me up on Saturday night for my birthday (the second time we went out) and you said 'hey cool kid' and Mike said you sounded like a mother trying to be cool with her teenage friends! LoL!

Rural Vegan said...

I've still not made the cutlets either, I think my vegan card is going to be revoked if I don't make them soon. I'll definitely try the macaroni salad though, that looks delicious!

Veg*Triathlete said...

Oh, YUM. I'm totally jumping on that chickpea bandwagon, as soon as the bookstore calls to tell me my copy of the book has arrived :-) I can't wait!!!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Just to go on (more so) about the chickpea cutlets, since everyone else is, I do adore them - but baked. Definitely baked. I made them a couple times pan fried when first testing, but then once I tried baked, I knew I preferred it. I also like to play around with the spices, and use a touch of lemon juice instead of rind.

Anyway, enjoy the book!

Seitan Wörshipper said...

I hope I will some day also have that Veganomicon... Everyone exept me have that fantastic book! Gah! OK, I`m trying to calm down.. ;)

Your resent cookings looks again delish! I like that wrap-thing! My next cooking plan is to make some chinese/japanese steamed dumplings, I maybe fill them with tofu,spring onions and so on..

Happy new year and keep on cooking also in 2008! ;)

vko said...

Ah yes, I am guilty of not having made anything from my V-Con yet...but I will!

Those sloppy joes look so tasty. Now I need to get those chickpea cutlets...

Bonnie said...

Chickpea cutlets were the first thing I tried from Vcon, too! only I didn't put any zest in at all because I don't have a zester and don't really know how to turn the lemon into zest easily without one. Anyway, thanks for the recommendations, I'm gonna check out that Mac Salad recipe. It looks quite delicious in your picture!

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