Virtual Vegan Potluck, Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, a Guest Post from Chef Ian Brandt

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So, in the last couple of weeks, I had not one but two recipe snafus while trying to put something together for this year’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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First I made a tofu piccata. It was delicious. I photographed it and got it all set up and ready to pre-schedule the post. Then later that night I was flipping through a cookbook I own and saw a tempeh piccata that was nearly the exact recipe. Not wanting anyone to think I plagiarized a recipe, I decided not to post it.

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Then I made a second recipe, this time a lentil, olive and thyme hummus. Conceptually it was brilliant. The execution not so much. If you’ve ever tried to blend lentils as smooth as garbanzos, you may find out instead of getting deliciously creamy, they turn into lentil glue. Blast.

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Thank goodness I had backup! Several weeks ago Chef Ian Brandt and I had met up and discussed him sharing guest post recipes on my blog from time to time. So I called in a favor and Ian pulled through with this fantastic appetizer! A huge thanks to Ian for saving my vegan bacon.

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As you can see, this dish is exquisite, but probably leaves me out of the running for any potluck awards! I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway!

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Chef Ian Brandt

Executive Chef, Owner:  Sage’s CaféVertical DinerCafé SuperNaturalCali’s Natural Foods. All downtown Salt Lake City, Utah locations.

All photos by Somer McCowan of Vedged Out

Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 brick diced tempeh
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup, diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  •  1 head romaine lettuce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno chili, minced and deseeded
  • 1 thumb minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a few sprigs cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling / garnish

What You Do:

  1. In a sauté pan on medium temperature
  2. Put into the pan the oil, tempeh, onions, carrot, celery, garlic, jalapeno and ginger. Saute ingredients till dark brown.
  3. Add tamari and maple syrup
  4. Cut down lettuce into leaves used to wrap the ingredients
  5. Put the reduced filling into a serving bowl and garnish with lime wedges, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro and Enjoy!

Somer’s notes: I made these wraps with radicchio instead of romaine, because, pretty! I made these a second time with tofu instead of tempeh with equally delicious results. My kids ate the tempeh mixture over basmati rice and loved it so much!

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A huge heartfelt thanks to Annie at An Unrefined Vegan for creating and organizing this event, and for Poppy and Angela for being her trusty sidekicks along with other helpers. I’ve been privileged enough to help out with the VVP in years past, but life is just a bit too crazy for me to be on the VVP train right now!

Previous Potluck Posts from Vedged Out:

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If you run into any broken links along the way, (some bloggers show up a little late to the party) here’s a list of the bloggers in the potluck to help you get back on track. Pretty cool to see over 86 bloggers from all around the world flaunting their vegan awesome! Use the buttons below to Go Back to visit Veggie Inspired JourneyGo Forward to see what Glue and Glitter brought to the party.

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Emily Von Euw’s Chocolate Mylk Recipe From 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks! (and a Pre-Release Giveaway!)

Cover Photo

I have a confession to make that I don’t actually own this book, yet! BUT, if it’s anything like Emily’s last book, Rawsome Vegan Baking (review here) I will gaze at it for hours and not be able to put it down. Seriously, her recipes are amazing and her photography is absolutely stunning. So, because I love Emily and her work, I’ve agreed to share a recipe from her book with you here, right before the book is released on the 9th of this month.

Chocolate Mylk

Chocolate Mylk

Chocolate. Mylk. Need i say more?

Makes: 4½ cups (1 L)

Follow the recipe for spiced mylk, adding 1–2 tablespoons (28–56 g) of cacao powder and, if you like, 1 tablespoon (28 g) of maca powder.

Spiced Mylk

  • 1 cup (125 g) raw nuts, seeds or coconut meat
  • 3 cups (237 mL) water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan crystal salt
  • 3–5 pitted dates

Cover the nuts or seeds (if using) in water and let them soak for 6 hours, then rinse and discard the soak water. Blend the soaked nuts, seeds or fresh coconut meat with the all the other ingredients until smooth, frothy and white. Strain through a nut mylk bag or cheesecloth (or leave as is). Store in the fridge in a sealable glass container for up to one week.

Check out these photos of some of the other recipes featured in the book:

Smoothie

 Blueberrylicious Smoothie

Spicy-Avocado-Aviator

Spicy Avocado Aviator

Pink Smoothie

Berry Citrus Blitz

Click to Purchase 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks

Photos and Recipe are courtesy of Emily Von Euw and Page Street Publishing and are used with permission.

In order to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below. Winner will be chosen at random, and an email will be sent to notify them of their prize one week from today. USA residents only.

My Cookbook, The Abundance Diet, is Available Now on Amazon for Pre-Order!

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that my cookbook title, The Abundance Diet is available for pre-order on Amazon now! The release date is June 2nd 2015! TAD Cover FINAL 11-5-14 (2)

This groundbreaking cookbook is designed as an extension to my hugely popular original Green Smoothie Challenge and is for anyone who wants to take control of their health and weight through whole plant-based foods. The 28-Day Diet Plan includes an (optional) bonus juice feast to kick start your weight loss and health journey. The plan includes over 100 delicious recipes (all gluten-free) and is customizable to suit individual tastes.

The beautiful cover design and photography inside have been done by my dear friend Ann Oliverio of An Unrefined Vegan! Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be showing you some of those photos as well as sharing some of the recipes from the book before its release! I can’t wait to share more with you!

Love,

Somer

Smoked Coconut Gouda (Part Deux) and the #Cheesegate Incident

Cheese

It’s all about the cheese. The most popular posts on my blog are all to do with cheese. Cheese is one of the last things that people who want to go vegan struggle to give up. Often, it’s the food that even die-hard vegans miss the most. Store bought vegan cheese, up until most recently, has mostly been a sad and plasticine substitute.

Until vegan cheese extraordinaires Miyoko Schinner and Skye Michael Conroy entered the cheese scene a couple of years back, most of us didn’t know that vegan cheese could taste any good, or melt, or even pass as not only as an acceptable substitute for dairy cheese, but as an exceptional real vegan cheese that stands up to any dairy counterpart.

Hence, I’ve been developing unique vegan cheese recipes for almost as long as I’ve been blogging.

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So, I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when a friend of mine brought to my attention that an Internationally Published Vegan Magazine recently featured my original Smoked Coconut Gouda recipe in a Special Vegan Cheese feature they are running for the Holidays.

What did surprise me though is that this magazine had printed my recipe without my express permission. Their article claimed the recipe was adapted from my site, but the ingredient list was the exact same and the directions were only very carefully reworded, but with the same end result. That doesn’t even come close to what my understanding of what an adaptation is. Also, if you’ll look to the right hand side of my toolbar, you’ll notice that I’ve always had a copyright statement on my site, which should have given the magazine a pretty good clue that they ought to obtain my permission before publishing my recipe.

In the beginning, I was pretty upset about it, as stealing content from my site is not in any way a form of flattery to me. Also, this magazine made a profit off of using my recipe for one of their headlines for which I never saw a penny. I contacted the company to voice my concerns and they told me they “don’t have the time to contact every blogger with a brief mention in their magazine, and that most people they feature are grateful for the free mass publicity they receive.” To me, these kind of ethics, especially within a vegan company who you would expect to have a stronger moral compass stinks. Almost as much as a smelly ripe cheese. If you want to read more about that incident, it all unfolds on my personal and business facebook pages.

Cheese Toasty 1

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about this particular recipe in quite some time and seeing it again in print made me realize that the original cheese recipe didn’t melt as well as I would have liked, that the steps in the recipe were too complicated and that perhaps I was using too many ingredients to achieve the end result.

In other words, the #cheesegate incident caused me to retool the Smoked Coconut Gouda. Lucky you. This new version has just 8 ingredients (excluding water), and comes together in less than 10 minutes flat for hands on time. Also, you’ll be surprised to find that it doesn’t actually taste anything like coconut. So, allow me to introduce:

Smoked Coconut Gouda 1

New and Improved Smoked Coconut Gouda

  • 1 (13.66 ounce) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegemite, Marmite or my friend Kittee’s Vegan & Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Kappa Carrageenan
    (see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Method: 

In a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk, water, Vegemite, Marmite or Kittee’s Vegan Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, kappa carrageenan, tapioca starch, liquid smoke and sea salt. Whisk together the ingredients until completely smooth.

Heat the saucepan to medium heat on the stove top and cook while whisking constantly for 6-8 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is glossy. Watch the cheese carefully, if you over cook the mixture too much, it may become oily and separate.

Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and quickly whisk in the apple cider vinegar.

Pour the cheese into a small container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like using a round or square glass Tupperware, or my tofu press container.

If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then put the cheese in the refrigerator to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the cheese from the mold and use it wherever you would use dairy cheese. This cheese is great for cutting into cubes or slices and snacking with crackers, or grated and melted over a pizza. I especially love it for broiled cheese toasties.

Notes: While this recipe is based on my original Smoked Coconut Gouda and is entirely my own, I plainly confess that I’m standing on the shoulders of vegan cheese giants and have used the cheese making methods that both Miyoko and Skye Micheal (both mentioned above) employ in creating their vegan cheese recipes. For them, I thank them for their vegan cheese genius and for paving a more delicious and melty way for the rest of us.

Kappa carrageenan is a product made from natural seaweed, however, it’s a controversial ingredient for some people. I’ve done my research and have decided that I’m fine using it on occasion. If you do not wish to use this ingredient, you can substitute 2 heaped tablespoons Agar Agar Powder instead of the kappa carrageenan and follow the recipe in exactly the same manner. The cheese should still taste equally delicious, as well as still be able to be sliced, shredded and cubed, but it will not melt nearly as well.

Update: some of my readers have had some difficulty with the cheese setting up properly, this is likely due to the cheese mixture being under cooked, or forgetting to add the vinegar at the end of the recipe (which helps to firm the cheese). I’ve increased the cook time slightly above in hopes that everyone will get good results and a nice firm cheese! If for some reason your cheese doesn’t get nice and firm, don’t fret! It can still be used like a spread for grilled cheese sandwiches, on crackers, etc. It will also still melt very nicely.

Farmer's Lunch Feastt

If you make the cheese and love it as much as I do, please respect me and the time I put into creating unique recipes by not sharing the print recipe on your own site, Facebook post or page, but by simply linking back to this post when sharing on social media. For Instagram use the hashtags #VedgedOut and #SmokedCoconutGouda

Love,

Somer & All the Vegan Cheese

All New “Nakd” Snack Bars From Natural Balance Foods! Gluten-Free, Vegan and made from 100% Whole Foods. Plus a Special Sample Offer for Vedged Out Readers.

As a blogger, one of the fun things I get to do is try new products on occasion. While I can’t accept every offer in my inbox, once in a while I get an offer I can’t refuse. These Nakd Snack Bars had me at hello!

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Nakd

Plus, they are rather flattering, don’t you think?!? Talk about a product making you feel special! ;)

Nakd Snack Bars are made by Natural Balance Foods, an exciting British company that recently launched in the U.S. They specialize in snack bars that are made of 100% natural ingredients, and are both vegan and gluten-free. Wins all around!

Natural Balance has a special offer for Vedged Out readers. You can get your own sample case of these bars pictured above for just $9.99 with free shipping. That’s 40% off their regular price of $16.99. So go ahead, click on the link below and nab your own box.

$9.99 Sample Case of Nakd Bars

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I’ve tried to taste as many of the flavors as possible, so far, all have been delicious, with the cocoa orange being so tasty it makes my socks go up and down. Some of these bars have just 2 whole food ingredients and most of the bars have less than 5 ingredients. My children have been fighting over them for lunch box snacks and my husband asked if he could take the whole case to work. Looks like I need to get everyone their own box! Enjoy yours!

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Love,

Somer

Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, Bumbleberry Cobbler and Rustic Bread Pudding from Julie Hasson’s Newest Cookbook, Vegan Casseroles! Plus Review and Giveaway Extravaganza!

Vegan Casseroles

I don’t even know where to begin. A few years ago, I developed a profound hatred of casseroles. Probably because at about that same time I had just gone vegan and shortly after that life changing decision, I attended a recipe swap where nearly every recipe exchanged was a casserole recipe. These casseroles were all oozing with loads of butter, cheese, meat, sour cream, gelatinous cream of something soup from a can and more cheese. The kind of dishes that heart attacks are made of.

Julie Hasson

Then in September, I saw a post Julie Hasson had on Facebook about her new book Vegan Casseroles. My inner Mormon heart leapt with joy. (Mormons are almost as famous for their casseroles as they are for their devout love of green jello). Could I possibly enjoy casseroles again without the compilation of nightmarish ingredients above?!? The answer is a resounding yes, Yes, YES!

Pale Ale Stew 2I made this Pale Ale Stew on page 39. We took it camping in freezing weather. It was absolutely delicious and warmed us through and through!

Julie, like a vegan superhero, has recreated each and every casserole I can imagine with plant-based ingredients that are simple to make, have short ingredient lists, yet don’t skimp on flavor. This book is a comfort food lover’s dream!

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Nava Atlas’ Plant Power Cookbook. Plus her Guide for 7 Simple Meal-Planning Strategies for the Plant-Based Kitchen, Review, Hummus Wrap Recipe and Giveaway

PlantPower_HC

Nava Atlas‘ latest beautiful book, Plant Power is a heavy and sturdy hardcover. It reads like a compelling and sweet beginner vegan textbook with everything you need to know about going vegan. Recipes range from the best of the vegan basics to delicious and flavorful ethnic cuisines. There’s something for new vegans and seasoned vegans alike on every page. It is as much a tool for plant based education as it is for harnessing the power of plants in your kitchen.

Today Nava is sharing her Guide for 7 Simple Meal-Planning Strategies for the Plant-Based Kitchen below and a Hummus Wrap with Grains and Greens from her book. (more…)