Thursday, April 4, 2013

How It All Vegan! in April

"Get happy, go vegan!" reads the back cover of the April VegCookbook Club pick, How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet. I forgot how joyful and fun this book is. It's a great selection for spring, a time of growth and renewal. 

This book is also an excellent gateway for newbies to plant-based diets, with its easy recipes, powerful personal testimonials, and loads of "Veganism 101" info. There are even sections on making natural household cleaners and beauty products. And a chapter on feeding kids, featuring silly recipes like "Fart Sandwiches" and homemade play dough.
I do wish the cookbook had photographs of the food, in addition to those kitschy black-and-white photos of 1950s-era homemakers. However, even without glossy pics, the DIY aesthetic from the book's handmade zine beginnings conveys a lot of energy.

In fact, I first remember finding Kramer and Barnard's cookbooks in an anarchist book store and thinking that they were so punk rock. These were books to start the revolution! Yet they were also suitable to share with loved ones due to the authors' totally pleasant, non-threatening, and self-deprecating style. (Well, they are Canadian.)

I also learned the term "vegan police" here and continue to resist joining that police squad. So, yeah, there are some recipes in the book that call for honey. But just swap maple syrup or agave; no biggie.

Here's what I've made so far:
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
This truly spicy vegetable and bean burger is simple to throw together. You sauté veggies and then add them to mashed beans, bread crumbs, and spices. I did swap mushrooms for the corn. The hardest part was keeping the patties from falling apart. It felt like they could use some type of binding ingredient. Packing each cooked patty into a pita helped them hold together. I also added watercress and the spread below.
Sunflower Seed Avocado Spread
It's been a while since I played with avocado. This recipe kind of gilds the lily. I don't think avocado needs sunflower seeds and tahini. It's got enough healthy fat and flavor going for it, straight up. Also the turmeric gave the spread a sallow hue. This recipe made a lot; so I'm saving some for burritos later in the week. 
Faux Feta
My Mom is a fan of this recipe. So I made it after her fashion, in a wide-mouthed Mason jar. Basically you flavor tofu (cubed or crumbled) with oil, vinegar, and dried spices. Due to poor planning, I ran out of basil. So I added dill, which is another fresh-flavored dry spice that perked up the marinade. I don't think this tofu trick would satisfy real feta enthusiasts but it works for me. It's excellent atop salads.


breathelighter said...

This was such a nice way to highlight what is happening in the VegCookbook Club. I'm a part of that, too, and haven't done a very good job of presenting info on my personal blog. Thank you for reminding me to do so!

It took me awhile to get the book, so I'm already behind this month. I'll need to make up for lost time this weekend! :-) Happy cooking! Debra

Lydia Paterson said...

It took me awhile to locate a copy too. The one I got is from the library and it is much loved.

Looking forward to seeing what you make from it!