Dinner and Dessert at the Big Vegan Potluck!

1 11 2011
Take the Tour, Comment to Win

Well, dear reader, it’s week three, and time for some totally satisfying, delicious vegan main courses and yes, DESSERT!

Welcome to the party a new wave of talented visiting chefs, all of whom bring the magic mojo to their kitchens all across America.

This week, each of the new posts has a FREE BOOK to give away, if you post the winning comment. I am still giving away a book here, so comment by the end of the week and you will be in the running for a FREE BOOK!.

For even more fun, tomorrow you can visit the Chronicle Books website, where I will be guest blogging about the potluck, and the wonderful staff at Chronicle will have posted their own in-house potluck results, for Big Vegan fun ala San Francisco.

Eating plant-based was never so fun, with all these lovely bloggers who have taken the time to post photos and articles. It’s truly a Big Vegan feast, served in bits and bytes.

DAY 3:

Green and Red Spaghetti

Sandra Gutierrez

http://www.sandraskitchenstudio.com/

Bengali Curry of Cauliflower and Kidney Beans

Robin Robertson

http://veganplanet.blogspot.com/2011/11/big-vegan-virtual-potluck.html

Spanish Chickpea Fritters

Julie Hasson

http://www.juliehasson.com/2011/11/big-vegan/

New Potato Rendang with Green Beans

Pat Tanumihardja

http://theasiangrandmotherscookbook.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/rendang-recipe/

Sundried Tomato-Kale Calzones AND

Pumpkin Cherry Bundt Cake

Leinana Two Moons

http://vegangoodthings.blogspot.com/2011/11/double-big-vegan-whammy-calzones-cake.html

Peanut Butter Tart with “Ganache”

Tara Desmond

http://crumbsonmykeyboard.com/2011/11/01/call-it-what-it-is-peanut-butter-tart-with-ganache-recipe/

DAY ONE:

Baguette French Toast Stuffed with “Cream Cheese” and Topped with Apples

Leinana Two Moons

Matcha Scones with Golden Raisins

Caron Golden

Maple Barley Granola with Pecans

Robin Asbell

DAY TWO:

Mango-Jícama Salad with Lime Dressing and Pepitas    

Susan Russo

http://foodblogga.blogspot.com/2011/10/cookbook-review-big-vegan-by-robin.html

Armenian Red Lentil Stew with Sesame Brown Rice

Bryanna Clark Grogan

http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/10/big-vegan-potluck-day-2-armenian-lentil.html

Korean Miso-Tofu Soup

Nancie McDermott

http://nanciemcdermott.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/big-vegan-potluck-with-korean-miso-tofu-soup/

Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jícama Salsa

Jill Nussinow

http://www.theveggiequeen.com/blog/

Please read, comment, and take a moment to scroll through these wonderful blogs. Every one of these writers has great articles, recipes, and books that might just make you a regular reader.

Follow them all on twitter, too. This week we have twitterers Julie Hasson  @everydaydish, @TaraMDesmond, Sandra Gutierrez @sandralatinista, Robin Robertson @globalvegan, and Leinanan Two Moons @vegangoodthings.

Week two’s writers  twitter handles are Susan Russo @foodblogga, Bryanna Clark Grogan @veganfeaster, Nancie McDermott @nanciemac, and Jill Nussinow @theveggiequeen.

Week one’s are Caron Golden @carondg and Leinana Two Moons@vegangoodthings, and of course, me, @robinasbell.

Don’t forget to comment on all the posts if you want to win a copy of Big Vegan. If you are a twitter user, you can also tweet why you go vegan with the hashtag #bigvegan by midnight November 4 to enter to win a copy.





Big Vegan Virtual Potluck Day 1:Breakfast!

18 10 2011

Today is the launch of my big virtual blog tour. Rather than jet around the country, my recipes are being made all over the country by talented bloggers. I hope you will click on Leinana and Caron’s links and visit their outstanding blogs for two more breakfast treats.

Leave a comment at one or all of our blogs, and you will be entered to win a copy of Big Vegan at each one. Go to twitter and tweet your reason for going vegan with the hashtag #bigvegan by November 4 midnight CST, and you will be entered in the twitter contest, too.

Baguette French Toast Stuffed with “Cream Cheese” and Topped with Apples

Leinana Two Moons

http://vegangoodthings.blogspot.com/2011/10/baguette-french-toast-with-cream-cheese.html

 

Matcha Scones with Golden Raisins

Caron Golden

I hope you are hungry, since we have a hearty breakfast to share today.

Maple-Barley Granola with Pecans

As for my breakfast, I picked a recipe that I make often. It’s not the showiest or the most photogenic, but dangit, I love it. I’ve been a connoisseur of granola since my early days working in whole-grainy bakeries, where we often had a house granola. We made it by hand in huge batches, measuring mountains of soft, fluffy oats into a deep container before pouring jug-fuls of liquids over it all. I can remember mixing up deep vats of the stuff, up to my elbows in oats, oil and syrup. We believed in whole grains and didn’t care about fat. The granola was rich, tender and sweet, and usually loaded with nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

Good times.

In the years since, I’ve had plenty of time to experiment with granola. I’ve even written about it for Taunton’s Fine Cooking, who published my piece on granola as a holiday gift years ago. I wrote granola recipes for Veggie Life, too, once upon a time.

One of the things I really like in granola are chunks. Adding some flour and other ingredients that will stick together and create slabs of granola is one of my fave tricks. That makes the best granola for eating with your fingers. It’s almost like cookies, broken up in a bowl of milk. To achieve this, I add some flour and either protein powder or gluten flour, and some liquids to hold it all together.

That extra protein will help carry you through to lunch, along with the high-fiber, nutrient dense whole grains. Pack a baggie of this granola just in case you need a snack-it’s great just eaten as is.

Maple-Barley Granola

Oats reign in the cereal world, but did you know that barley has more of the heart-healthy starches that make oats the recommended grain? Beta-glucans are a kind of starch that lowers cholesterol, and barley has more of them. It also makes a hefty, tasty rolled flake that you can make into a delicious granola. If you can’t find rolled barley, you can use rolled oats.

Serves 16

2          cups/170 g rolled oats

2          cups/170 g rolled barley flakes

2          cups brown rice crispies

1          cup/115 g pecan pieces

½         cup/60 g whole wheat flour

½         cup/40 g vegan protein powder or gluten flour

1          cup/240 ml maple syrup

½         cup/120 ml canola oil

2          tsp vanilla extract

½         tsp salt

Ready to mix

1. Preheat the oven to 300° F/150° C/gas 2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, barley, rice crispies, pecans, flour, and protein powder . In a large bowl or a blender, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla, and salt. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets and spread the oat mixture on the pans.

2. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the granola with a spatula and bake for 20 minutes more, until it is lightly toasted. Cool the granola on the pans completely on racks, then transfer to airtight containers or zip-top bags.Keeps for a couple of week, tightly closed, or put it in the freezer for a couple of months.

Toasty Crunchy Granola





It’s Almost Here! The Big Vegan Virtual Potluck and Book Giveaway

14 10 2011

Dear Readers, it is a very exciting day. The planning for this has been in the works for a while, and I’m just thrilled to be able to announce the first day of our virtual potluck.

What is a virtual potluck, you ask?

Well, thanks for asking. For the next three weeks, a host of talented, wonderful bloggers are going to be posting dishes that they made from my new Book, Big Vegan. Each of them will also be hosting a giveaway of the book, so if you visit their blogs and comment, you may well win a FREE copy!

On each successive Tuesday, we will be posting and linking to a series of blog posts, culminating in a final post on the Chronicle Books webpage, linking back to all the blog posts from the potluck over the three weeks. Chronicle will also be doing a potluck within their office, and posting on November 4.

If you really want to win a copy of Big Vegan, you will have lots of opportunities, just by visiting these great blogs and making comments, but we are not stopping there. Another giveaway will be going on on twitter-just tweet why you decided to go vegan with the hashtag #bigvegan. You must tweet by midnight CST on November 4th to be considered.

Of course, you can order Big Vegan anytime, in case you are not one of the lucky winners.

I hope you enjoy these tasty blogs and tweets, I’m really proud of the plant-based cuisine that we are sharing with the internet world. This is a group of such wonderful chefs, writers and bloggers that I know you will want to visit and follow their work in the future, as well.

DAY 1 Post October 18

Maple Barley Granola

Robin Asbell

Robincooksveg.wordpress.com

Baguette French Toast Stuffed with “Cream Cheese” and Topped with Apples

Leinana Two Moons

vegangoodthings

 

Matcha Scones with Golden Raisins

Caron Golden

http://www.sandiegofoodstuff.com/2011/10/robin-asbells-big-vegan-blogger-potluck.html

DAY 2 October 25


Mango-Jícama Salad with Lime Dressing and Pepitas    

Susan Russo

http://foodblogga.blogspot.com/

Armenian Red Lentil Stew with Sesame Brown Rice

Bryanna Clark Grogan

http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/page/3115952.htm

Korean Miso-Tofu Soup

Nancie McDermott

http://nanciemcdermott.wordpress.com/

Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jícama Salsa

Jill Nussinow

http://www.theveggiequeen.com/blog/

DAY 3 November 1

Green and Red Spaghetti

Sandra Gutierrez

http://sandraskitchenstudio.com/

Bengali Curry of Cauliflower and Kidney Beans

Robin Robertson

http://veganplanet.blogspot.com/

Spanish Chickpea Fritters

Julie Hasson

http://www.juliehasson.com/

Sundried Tomato-Kale Calzones AND

Pumpkin Cherry Bundt Cake

Leinana Two Moons

vegangoodthings

Peanut Butter Tart with “Ganache”

Tara Desmond

http://crumbsonmykeyboard.com/





Starstruck! Cooking for Sexy Celebrities

19 06 2011

John Fugelsang, Stephanie Miller and Hal Sparks

As a fan of the Stephanie Miller Show, a political comedy radio show, I was excited when I heard that she and her collaborators, Hal Sparks and John Fugelsang, were bringing their Sexy Liberal Show to Minneapolis. I have been a long-time listener and a fan, and follow the many careers and tweets of all these talented people. I also knew that Hal Sparks is a vegetarian, and probably doesn’t get great veg options when headlining comedy clubs across the country.

So, I decided that I should cook for them when they came. I called the radio show, and called the station that broadcasts them, AM950, and let them know I would love to make sure they were properly energized and nourished for their show. Luckily, Robin at the station knows who I am, and I got the call the night before from their tour promoter, Roland. It was on, and I needed to get it together, fast. Food for 10 people, vegetarian with some fish for Stephanie.

I was a little nervous. As you may know, I have spent years as a private chef, making fabulous food for the fabulous. But this was different.

As an avid listener to the show, I  hoped had a feel for their tastes. Steph likes stinky cheese and sushi. Hal is a vegetarian who doesn’t drink. John is a former vegetarian who now eats just a little meat on occasion. All of them live up to their billing as sexy liberals by staying in great shape. But what if the people I thought I knew so well from hours of listening were all fake? What if the compassionate, smart people I admire were really just characters, created for an underserved slice of the radio market? I tried to imagine Steph staggering in and kicking over the table of food, or throwing her phone at my head. Hal, drunk, insulting anyone who crossed his path, Could John Fugelsang actually be a judgemental jerk, too stuck up to even talk to a lowly caterer and fan?

I had about 24 hours to get my meal together, so I set to it. Here is the menu I prepared:

Avocado Tofu Sushi with Quinoa-Sushi Rice and Ume Plum

Smoked Trout -Asparagus and Pea Shoot Handrolls, with Pickled Ginger, Wasabi and Shoyu on the side

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Samosas with Tomato Chutney (from the New Vegetarian)

Wild Rice and Berry Salad (From the upcoming Big Vegan)

Edamame Hummus with Pitas and Baby Carrots (From Big Vegan)

Tomato Basil Salad with Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette in Bibb Cups

Thai Deviled Eggs (From The New Vegetarian)

Assorted Local Cheeses (Camembert, Bleu, Cheddar) with Rhubarb Maple Compote and Crackers

Double Chocolate Cookies (From Big Vegan)

Rhubarb Streusel Bars (From Big Vegan)

Espresso Hemp Energy Chunks (From Big Vegan)

Cherry Almond Energy Bars (From Big Vegan)

It was actually great fun cooking while looking forward to the show. I’m a big believer that laughter is as important to your health as healthy eating or exercise, and here I was cooking for three of the people who make me laugh on a regular basis. I hoped that I could give them just a tiny bit of the energy back that they give to me every day.

We loaded up the food and arrived about an hour and a half before the show was to start.

Me and the food, BACKSTAGE!

My sister, Rachael, and my husband, Stan helped me carry in the food and set up, and we all waited expectantly to meet the headliners. Soon, John Fugelsang appeared, after finishing the sound check. He was so friendly and down to Earth, talking with us in between setting up his playlists and going over his material. He ate a few bites of a few things, and we posed for this picture.

Yes, that is John Fugelsang, the Ecclesiastical Mook

For a former MTC Vee-jay, he acted more like a kind host than a celebrity diva.  He went back to his preparations, and we waited. We opened the wine, I rearranged the napkins.

Finally, Ron, the big bucks behind the Stephanie Miller Show and several other syndicated radio shows, came in with Ms Miller. She was gracious and surprised, as they had just eaten at the hotel and she could not eat a bite. Stephanie is a devotee of spinning and P90x, and she is a tiny, fit woman who completely works a pair of low-cut pants. She hugged me and took time to talk for a moment, and then her manager, Ron, ate wild rice salad, and few deviled eggs, and some sushi, and he pulled in anyone who came by to rave about the food. He was actually really funny and appreciative, too. Some big time pols dropped by, hands were shaken, a few cookies were consumed. Finally, about 15 minutes before the show would begin, Hal Sparks arrived. Rock star that he is, it was like meeting an old friend, and we talked about the food and the show and politics until it was time to go. I showed him the ziplocs I had brought so that he could take energy bars for his next workout. And he wasn’t stuck up or drunk at all.

I know, I am shamelessly starstruck!

We hustled out of the backstage underground and went to our seats. The show was screamingly hilarious, as we had expected. The three comics took turns, each doing a set, and then the three sat together and talked to the audience. The front couple of rows got to stay and meet the stars, and we all milled around, taking pictures and shaking hands.

Fabulous Vegetarian Hal Sparks

So, a good time was had by all, and I hope the rest of the food was eaten by the backstage crew. It’s so good when you meet someone you really admire, and they don’t let you down.

If only they had been more hungry.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers