I’ve taken such a liking to gardening since we moved in that I have a hard time tearing myself away from the tiny backyard at all anymore. If it wasn’t for the paper wasps, I’d probably set up a tent there.
My parents visited us for a couple of months (we even got to spend the holidays together for the first time in well over a decade, yay!) and introduced me to the joy of growing my own stuff. I can’t stop planting vegetables, citrus trees (because California), berries, and more. Not to mention scrubbing dirt out from under my fingernails. So far, my thumbs are greener than I feared. Flashbacks to those dreadful moments when all my succulents moved on to a hopefully better life.
Here are a few updates in the form of a bullet-pointy list because you know those are the best kinds of lists.
• My pal Joni and I have a new cookbook coming out in the summer, Vegans Go Nuts. It’s already available for preorder with a publication date of June 2016. I’ve been turning to it repeatedly for quick, healthy, super tasty meals and am quite excited for this title to be hitting the shelves soon. I’ll keep you posted with upcoming developments and events surrounding its release.
In the meantime, please enjoy the sneak peek recipe below with crunchy tortilla chips or pita chips on the side. Considering it’s only Chaz and me versus the world, we generally tend to appreciate smaller yields. If you have more mouths to feed than we do, thumbs up to doubling the recipe. Plus if you like milder foods, either halve the amount of jalapeño or nix it completely.
PS: I highly recommend the 101 Cookbooks za’atar blend, made from scratch with fresh herbs. I often use thyme and oregano in combination.
And just because it’s a question I frequently get asked, I’m adding a tiny list of personal favorite recipes from each book mentioned in this post. Sounds terribly self-absorbed, I know.
Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Go Nuts:
1. Vietnamese Peanut Tacos
2. Creamy Cashew Miso Oats
3. Moroccan Pilaf with Pomegranate Walnuts
4. Pad Tahini
5. Thai Fried Wild Rice with Sriracha Lime Cashews
• We’ve also been in a frantic sandwich mood lately over here, so my poor copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! looks like it needs to retire somewhere peaceful, and take comfort in the fact that its Amazon Kindle ebook alter ego is on sale throughout the month of March for $2.99.
Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:
1. Carnitas Sandwiches
3. Pav Bhaji
4. Chickpea Shawarma
5. Razz-elnut Spinach Sandwiches
• Speaking of books that I constantly turn to for recipes: I had the pleasure (and anxiety, because me + interviews = yikes) of chatting with Brian Patton about The Great Vegan Grains Book on his Sexy Vegan Radidio show. Note that I’ve used my pressure cooker again after recording this interview, and I live to tell the tale. Thanks for the impetus to get over my pressure cooking qualms, Mister Patton.
Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Great Vegan Grains:
1. Split Pea and Artichoke Rice Mujaddara
2. Einkorn Paella
3. Creamy Amaranth Polenta with Marinara
4. Ras el Hanout Millet
5. Cracked Wheat Koftas
Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup with Roasted Pepitas
From the upcoming Vegans Go Nuts, published by Fair Winds Press
1 large red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 small jalapeño pepper
1 generous cup (157 g) frozen corn
3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini paste
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
2 3/4 cups (650 ml) vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
Scant 3/4 cup (110 g) diced red onion
1 tablespoon (10 g) za’atar blend
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (11 g) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (110 g) drained fire-roasted diced tomatoes or any diced tomato
Garnishes: Dry roasted pepitas, fresh cilantro leaves, tortilla chips or pita chips.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Place the whole peppers on a medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until soft and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to make sure the peppers don’t burn, and flip to char both sides.
At the same time, place the frozen corn in an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan, and roast until lightly browned for about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
When done, place the peppers in a glass bowl fitted with a lid to steam for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and discard their seeds and core. Mince the jalapeño, and chop the other peppers into bite-size pieces.
While the peppers and corn are roasting, whisk the tahini with the water in a small bowl. Whisk into the broth.
Place the oil and onions in a large pot. Sauté on medium-high heat until quite fragrant and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and add the za’atar, tomato paste, and garlic, toasting for 30 seconds. Deglaze with the lemon juice. Add the peppers and corn, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered 15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with garnishes of choice.
Yield: 4 servings