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Monday, March 14, 2011

Chew on This: Vegan Brunch!

I'm back in action! I've recovered from last week's wisdom tooth extraction for the most part, and I ate my first solid food meal on Saturday morning. For about seven days I stuck to a liquid and soft food diet, which forced me to get quite creative towards the end of the week:

  • I made mashed sweet potatoes by roasting 4-6 sweet potatoes until tender in a 450 degree oven, then removing the skins and blending them with 1 tbs. mellow white miso, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and 2 tsp. cinnamon. This mash makes up the top layer to NYC Candle Cafe's Paradise Casserole, but it is delicious on its own! I also sauteed ripened plantains in coconut oil and mashed those for another sweet, yet healthy sidedish.
  • I turned this black bean hummus recipe into a black bean mash by cutting the amount of lemon juice and cumin in half to make it less pungeant and more appropriate as a sidedish.
  • I adapted this recipe for So Healthy Chocolate Mousse by using 3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tbs. agave nectar, omitting the orange zest, and including 2 soaked medjool dates and 1 tsp. raw coconut oil combined with about half of a dark chocolate bar, melted. I used Green & Black's Espresso dark chocolate, which gave the mousse a nice depth of flavor.
To celebrate my transition to solid foods on Saturday, I cooked up a vegan brunch with Danny. We attempted our first tofu scramble by following the recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance, adding spinach at the end. It was not nearly as delicious as the tofu scramble I tasted at 3 Brothers Pizza, but it was worth repeating. Next time I would add extra onion and reduce the amount of cumin and nutritional yeast (I have an aversion to cumin and cilantro, but I'm trying to develop a taste for both). I also baked skillet corn bread from Veganomicon in my cast-iron skillet. I added sweet corn kernels and used spelt flour in place of all-purpose flour. The corn bread had a subtle sweetness and held together nicely. (It's seriously adddictive...I ate most of the loaf myself in 2 days!) I served the cornbread with Earth Balance and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Lastly, I prepared some sweet-and-sour aduki beans, which I had made once before by following this  recipe for black eyed peas. I considered including tempeh bacon and hash-brown potatoes in my brunch, but I didn't have the ingredients on hand and I try to avoid using too much soy in one meal.


A year or two ago, I would have spent most of my recovery glued to the Food Network. However, I recently discovered that vegan cooking is developing a strong representation in online videos. Since subscribing to Spork Online, I have found several other similar projects:
  • Vegucating Robin - chef Gavan Murphy, aka "Healthy Irishman," teaches Robin Quivers about vegan cooking in short online episodes
  • I'm Vegan - a series of short documentary profiles that feature vegans from all walks of life
  • The Post Punk Kitchen - Isa Chandra Moskowitz taped this cooking show in her small Brooklyn aparment prior to the release of her now-famous cookbooks
  • Heavy Metal Vegan Cooking - the male version of the Post-Punk Kitchen
  • Everyday Dish - I found these free vegan cooking videos on YouTube, but the website offers a subscription service similar to Spork Online.
  • Vegucated - "a guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it’s all about"; due to premiere in spring 2011...look for screenings near you!
  • You can find a ton of other vegan cooking shows by doing a Google or YouTube search!

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