One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cookbook Review: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

When Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar showed up on my doorstep I was absolutely ecstatic. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is one of my favorite dessert cookbook’s and is always great in a pinch and I was hoping for the same go-to quality from Isa and Terry’s new adventure. I started with the classic cookies and worked my way up to the more adventurous. The Chocoalte Chip Cookies were bakery perfect. The taste was a bit different than what I’m used to in a chocolate chip cookie (likely because Isa and Terry use canola oil instead of Earth Balance like I usually do) but they were still soft, chewy and yummy – perfect with a big glass of cold almond milk. Next, I baked up some Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Cowboy and Cowgirl cookies for the Atlanta Bake Sale for Haiti. I spent 2 hours in the kitchen baking up pan after pan of cookies. Everything appeared great until the next morning when I went to try the Cowboy and Cowgirl cookies. They were hard as a rock, completely inedible and unfortunately had to be trashed leaving me with just the Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles to sell at the bake sale. Thankfully they turned out amazing!

There was just the right bite of cayenne and the cinnamon-sugary sweetness of the crust was amazing. They were also the quickest of the 4 cookies I tried from the book to make. They completely sold out at the bake sale so I think that means they are an official hit. I usually try to make at least 10 recipes from a book and give you guys my top 5 when reviewing, unfortunately, my waistline just couldn’t take another batch of cookies so I had to stop at four. However, I still highly recommend this book. The Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles alone are worth it. Some of the cookies on my “must try” list are:

Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops
Pignoli Almond Cookies (although the ingredients are expensive)
Rocky Roads
Sweet Wine Biscuits with Sesame
Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (because who doesn’t want cookies for breakfast)

A special thanks to DaCapo books for providing me with a review copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Scramble

I’ve been eating some variation of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Puttanesca scramble for breakfast almost every day for the last 4 months or so. This morning I was ready to branch out into a world full of new scramble recipes. I thumbed my way through Vegan Brunch looking for a good scramble recipe and decided to give Isa’s Basic Scrambled Tofu a try. But, true to form. I only loosely stuck to the recipe. The end result was a savory scramble that will be my new favorite for months to come.

Roasted Red Pepper Scramble

2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
½ small white onion, sliced thin
1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend cumin, thyme and salt together in a small cup and set aside.

Warm oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until they become soft, about 5 minutes. Stir often to ensure that garlic doesn’t burn.

Add cubed tofu, roasted red pepper and spice mix and stir until tofu is well coated. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove scramble from heat source and stir in nutritional yeast. Season with pepper to taste and serve.
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