Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Sexy Vegan

I recently received a copy of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook to review and I have to say it's been a while since I've been so excited over a new cookbook. First, The Sexy Vegan is hilarious. Sexy, that's up to you to decide, but hilarious, definitely. The intro to the book and to many of his recipes had me LOL'ing. If he weren't so good at cooking vegan, he could consider a career in comedy.

But of course the main reason I'm excited about this book is because of the recipes. They definitely skew toward the "meaty" types, like Tempeh Sliders, Barbecue Ribz, and Seitan Steak & Fries. And there's even a whole section of cocktail recipes, and an entire section for pizza, so what more could you ask for?

The first recipe I tried out was for this Hangover Hash. I was not hungover but I am suffering from sleep deprivation so that counts, doesn't it? I LOVED THIS. It's an incredible combination of quinoa, sweet potatoes, breakfast sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and some other good stuff. SO GOOD. I could happily eat this for breakfast every day.

The next thing I made was this Curry Fried Tofu Salad. I'm kind of on a big-salad-for-dinner kick right now, maybe because the weather is getting warmer and I'm feeling a need to cleanse from the heavy winter comfort foods. Regardless, this one was super easy to make (especially because I shredded/sliced all the veggies in the food processor) and packed with flavor from the curry seasoning and the Thai-inspired dressing.

And I had to make his Lasagna Fauxlognese, seeing as he claims that this is the best dish he makes. This lasagna contains not one but three types of homemade nut-based cheeses, plus a tofu-based "bolognese" sauce. The layers are filled with a cashew ricotta, and then it is topped with walnut-based parmesan sprinkles and a cashew-based mozzarella sauce. I will say this - normally I hate the kind of recipes where you have to make a bunch of other recipes first, and this was one of those, but the end result was really delicious. Really, really delicious. Like, lick the pan clean kind of delicious.

I really like the mozzarella sauce instead of using shreds that don't fully melt. It's genius, really.

I was super impressed with how the dishes turned out, and I have plenty more flagged to test. If there's any criticism, it's with those pesky recipes that include the other pre-recipes (my pet peeve) that you have to make first, but I can't complain at all about the final results. In fact, I'd say the final results were actually pretty darned sexy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

This weekend I made a quick stop in the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. This is the second annual festival, but I didn't make it inside last year due to the 3+ hour line that people were waiting on when we arrived. Fortunately there was a very short wait this year due to a revised ticketing system, and due to the fact that we bought VIP passes to avoid such a problem.

Despite its name, the festival is actually (as far as I can tell) entirely vegan, not just vegetarian. There were plenty of samples for tasting: brands such as Daiya, Teese, Yves, Sweet & Sara, Rescue Chocolate, Coconut Bliss, Cavi-Art, and local restaurants/health food stores like Loving Hut, V-Spot, and Perelandra were all represented, to name only a few of the many vendors. (For a full list of vendors, see here.) Activist groups including PETA, Mercy for Animals, Sea Shepherd, and Compassion Over Killing were onsite, and Herbivore, Vaute Couture, and Compassion Couture were also there displaying compassionate fashion. If all that weren't enough to make your head spin, there were also two days worth of speakers, performers, and cooking demos. It was a bit overwhelming, to tell you the truth, but how amazing to be overwhelmed by such a wealth of vegan displays!

There was an incredible turnout, and from the many snippets of conversations I overheard, I would say that probably the majority of people there were veg-curious as opposed to already dedicated vegans. I heard many comments like, "I can't even tell the difference!" upon sampling a vegan goodie. I think that the festival certainly raised awareness of veganism and I would daresay made converts out of more than a few. Here are just a few of the photos we took while there:

People watching Mercy for Animal's video. Hopefully they decided to go vegan!

One of the many flavors of seaweed-based "caviar" from Cavi-Art. It looks so real!

The lovely Sara from Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallow fame

And Sara's myriad of marshmallows, s'mores, rice crispy treats, and rocky road bites

Wares on display from Herbivore Clothing

Annie from Meet the Shannons modeling one of Herbivore's "Compassion is Invincible" tees

That's my hubby and baby chatting with Leanne from Vaute Couture (wearing her "I Can't Even Look at You in That Fur" tee)

Rescue Chocolate bars

And I forgot to mention the one display that stole the show for me... this Vitamix guy. I've been toying with the idea for some time now of investing in a Vitamix, but I just couldn't make up my mind. Until this weekend. After seeing him demo not just how to make incredible green juices, but also practically instant hot soups AND ice creams, I couldn't help myself. I took the plunge and ordered one! I have to wait ten long business days before my precious machine arrives, which kills all my sense of instant gratification, but I think the wait will be worthwhile. I'm so excited to get Vitamix-ing. Who else has one? What's your favorite recipe to make in it?