Vegan Cooking & Cookbooks discussion

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message 1: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Feel free to post here if you need general cooking tips or help using vegan cookbooks, if a recipe you made "failed" and you want help figuring out how to make it successfully, or if you need other help.


message 2: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (last edited Mar 12, 2011 11:24PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
I need some help from more experienced cooks (which undoubtedly is probably everyone in this group.)

I’ve been eating mostly healthfully for the last five months, and have lost nearly half the weight I need to lose, I think.) But I’m considering bringing Earth Balance spread and Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese back into the house to make the macaroni and “cheese” recipe from the book Simple Vegan!: Delicious Meat-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes Every Family Will Love.

This book has one of the more unhealthy vegan mac & cheese recipes I’ve seen (though I would use whole wheat elbow pasta because I prefer whole wheat pasta and also actively work to eat a high fiber diet) but it also looks as though it’s one that would taste more authentic than some other vegan mac & cheese recipes.

It looks as though it’s a very easy recipe, but it calls for puréeing the tofu in a food processor until completely smooth. I don’t have a food processor. I do have a cheap immersion blender that has 9 speeds but no explanation of each speed. I also have an old blender (somewhere) that does have a purée setting.

So, my question is: Do you think I could I get away with blending the tofu and not using a food processor?

Also, the recipe calls for making 7 cups, and I’d like to divide this by 8 or at least 4. I’m not so sure it would make good leftovers and I’d be at risk of eating whatever was made.

Any help, suggestions, etc. is very much appreciated. Thank you!

I know at least one of our group members has made this recipe, but I assume a food processor was used.


message 3: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Lisa, I often use my blender for pureeing tofu. I don't think it makes any difference at all unless it's a large volume. I think the immersion blender would be tricker unless it came with a little container that attaches to the bottom like a long cup.

Would it be easy to cut the recipe into 1/4's? I guess you just have to look at the measurements and see what you think would be easiest. For some of the ingredients it might not matter if you were exactly bang on with the amounts.


message 4: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (last edited Mar 13, 2011 12:05PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Thanks, Lee. I might have to pull out my blender. There's no room in the kitchen to plug it in and use it there, but I can put it on my microwave that's in the hall outside my kitchen. (Yes, I live in a weird place.) I was so disappointed when I realized I couldn't use the immersion blender when my pot, or whatever, was on the stovetop. I don't know if it's safe to use an extension cord. I might have to look into that too.

Also, has anyone made this mac & cheese with the almond milk vs. soy milk?


message 5: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Lisa, I plug my immersion blender right into the little outlet on the stove and blend stuff in the pot all the time. I just make sure the heat is off when I do it. You have to watch for splashing though and make sure the head of the blender where the vent holes are completely immersed or you will splash hot liquids on yourself.


message 6: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Lee, I have no electrical plug close enough to my stove. Actually, I have to check the plug length; it would have to be very long.


message 7: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
That's terrible! Your stove doesn't have an outlet right on top? It must be an old one. I don't know how you cook in your kitchen without a plug handy, I'd go nuts!


message 8: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Lee, I think it might be from the 50s. The temperature dial for the oven shows only about where it's 400 degrees F. The rest I have to guess. I should get a thermometer, I know. My kitchen is horrible, and it's one reason I hate cooking. I don't like spending time in my tiny and ill equipped kitchen. The refrigerator doesn't have crisper drawers for produce either and both fridge and freezer compartments are small. Very little counter space too.


message 9: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
No wonder you don't like to cook Lisa! I'd be having temper tantrums all over the place if I didn't have a decent space to cook in with appliances that worked. I've had some pretty tiny apartment kitchens in the past so I know how frustrating it can be but a stove from the 1950's??? Wow!


message 10: by Gundula (last edited Mar 13, 2011 02:45PM) (new)

Gundula | 279 comments Lisa, if I were you, I would stop using the stove and get yourself a good hot plate. It would likely work better than what you are using now. Does the oven work reasonably well (I just noticed, you said the gauge is stuck at 400).

Like Lee, I would be having temper tantrums (I already have them when I cook), if I could not plug things into my stove (which actually is falling apart as well, but compared to yours, wow).


message 11: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Gundula, It's not stuck at 400; it can be set to any temperature; it's just all the numbers on the dial are too worn to see. There's nowhere in the kitchen to plug in a hot plate. A toaster's plug just reaches. I'd have to have the hot plate in the living room or hall. The stovetop (usually) works fine. And it's gas, and I like gas. But, the fact that I've never had a decent kitchen is one reason I've never spent a lot of time cooking.


Gundula | 279 comments Lisa wrote: "Gundula, It's not stuck at 400; it can be set to any temperature; it's just all the numbers on the dial are too worn to see. There's nowhere in the kitchen to plug in a hot plate. A toaster's plug ..."

Without a good kitchen, cooking is no fun at all, and just a chore. My kitchen is not great, but it's adequate (even so, I still get flustered, I keep bumping my head on the overhanging stove exhaust).


Ginny Messina | 33 comments I agree that it's tough to cook in an inadequate kitchen. On the other hand, I feel like I did some of the best and most complex cooking of my life when I lived in married student housing and had just gone vegetarian. I guess it's because I was so enthused, but I'm amazed now when I think back to the meals I produced with a teeny stove, teeny sink, and no counter space.

And lately, my food processor has been broken, so I've been making hummus (twice a week, because I eat a lot of it) with a pastry blender!It's kind of chunky, but it's good.

Anyway, I used a blender to make the Mac & Cheese in Simple Vegan. And Lisa, I actually made just a small amount of macaroni to try it that way, but then used the rest of the cheese sauce over steamed vegetables for several nights so I could stretch it into healthier dinners. And I used soymilk, but I'm sure almond milk would be fine.

I have to say, though, that the recipe for Mac & Cheese from Isa Moskowitz that I posted on facebook the other day was the best one I've ever had and will probably be the one I use on the rare occasions when I make Mac & Cheese.


message 14: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Thank you, Ginny! I love Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipes and books, but I want to try this one too. Maybe both! Eventually.


Jenny (jenbug26) | 10 comments Hi, I just ordered a bread machine since it seems that finding vegan bread in the supermarkent is not easy. Plus I've always wanted one! :)
I was wondering if there are any recommendations on which recipes are good for making any kind of bread? I generally love all bread.


message 16: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (last edited May 02, 2011 08:47PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Hi Jenny, I have a bread machine but haven't used it for years. I have made vegan breads, mostly whole grain. I know there are mixes.

I just noticed this cookbook, but it's Kindle only:

The Vegan Bread Box by Cathleen Woods

but hopefully some members here can give you some good ideas.

I did a search and found

http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=201.0

http://www.thevegetariansite.com/reci...

http://www.food.com/cookbook/vegan-br...

and many more.

Just key in vegan bread and/or breads and/or "bread machine"

I buy my breads and have an easy time finding vegan breads, but I do shop in health food stores and Trader Joes. My favorite breads are Alvarado Street sprouted whole wheat and sprouted barley; they're sliced breads.

But bread machines are fun. It's easy to make bread with them and you get that same wonder aroma as they bake as if you baked them the traditional way.

I hope some members who've made their breads, especially in bread machines, will share with you the ones they've loved.

Have fun!


Jenny (jenbug26) | 10 comments Thanks for the resources! I'm excited to play with my new toy :)
I do like the Alvarado bread I tried the other day - sprouted whole wheat.


message 18: by Rachel (last edited May 15, 2011 09:57PM) (new)

Rachel (petalpower) | 393 comments I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker. First I tried a lmeon sorbet, which was OK, but nothing to write home about. Then I tried making homemade ice cream using sweetened Mimic creme and vegan chocolate chips. It came out okay, I guess, but not really worth eating since the whole point of ice cream is to have a sumptuous dessert!

Does anyone have an ice cream maker like that and have any tips for making good vegan ice cream? Do you have a knock-out recipe with specific ingredients so I can throw them in there and give it a whirl?

Many years ago, I bought the vegan ice cream cookbook called Vice Cream ... I still have it, and I did consult it, but for some reason I didn't get inspired to make anything from it ... and so I haven't actually made any of those specific recipes yet. Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights

However, if you know of a specific recipe from that book that I should try, please suggest away ... you wouldn't have to post the recipe since I do have the book already!

I would like to make some kind of really decadent peanut butter chocolate ice cream. Or maybe something like a pecan fudge swirl. Or do you suggest I start small and do something simple, first? I am open to any suggestions!

I would love to have an outdoor party this summer and surprise my omni friends with some homemade vegan ice cream!

BTW, I don't think they make the exact same ice cream maker any more, the same as what I have, but the one pictured here is very similar:

http://www.cuisinartwebstore.com/deta...

If you've had success making vegan ice cream with a different type of ice cream maker, by all means, speak up. I am definitely open to trying a different ice cream making device. I don't know if my lackluster results are caused by the ingredients, or the machine I'm using, or something else. All feedback / suggestions are welcome!


message 19: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: " Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights "

Rachel, I haven't made any recipe from any of them but in addition to Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights (and many vegan ice cream recipes in general vegan cookbooks) there are also two other vegan ice cream cookbooks I know about: Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love and The Vegan Scoop: 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream that Tastes Better Than the "Real" Thing. There may be more. I've also noticed that many vegan ice cream recipes do not require an ice cream maker.


Rachel (petalpower) | 393 comments BTW, Lisa, I hear you on the kitchen woes! I feel for you!

This reminded me of my times in college. I was quite the gourmet chef in our dorm room. We did not have kitchens because we were all expected to pay thousands of dollars every semester for the cafeteria food. But I decided to save a ton of money and make healthier food in the dorm room. The only cooking implements I had were a microwave and a very small crock-pot. NO STOVE OR OVEN AT ALL. I didn't have any counter space, I just had a chopping board where I cut up all the vegetables, etc, on top of my desk. (And it was a small desk!)

Lisa do you have a crock-pot or slow cooker? The one I had was very small, and it was perfect for making full meals for one person. Actually, it would be enough for one meal for the evening, and another meal for tomorrow.

So if you want to get cooking, but your kitchen sucks ... I'm thinking a slow cooker may be just the right thing ... so you can start trying some fun recipes again.


message 21: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (last edited May 15, 2011 10:59PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Thanks, Rachel. I do have a good stovetop and I can make certain things in my oven (such as baking garnet sweet potatoes, roasting garlic, etc.) I do plan to get an oven thermometer. I have a rice cooker somewhere and a pressure cooker too. Just haven't used them for ages. I can't bake cakes, etc. and make certain things, but I need those like a hole in the head anyway. I'm making some pretty good stuff on my stovetop. I do have a microwave also (in the hallway, but oh well) but I try to not use it often. If I get an oven thermometer I should be back to full functionality.


Rachel (petalpower) | 393 comments Lisa, I'm really glad to hear that your kitchen is not nearly as bad as what I was imagining .... at least your stove top does work. But I hope your landlord has a heart and will update your kitchen ... I think it's terrible that he/she has waited so long to update it. But I know how things are in San Francisco ... landlords don't want to make anything nice because they want to get rid of their current tenants and instead rent to some high roller. :( Anyway, I hope things get better, and if not, kudos to you for managing just fine with the kitchen you've got!


Jenny (jenbug26) | 10 comments Lisa wrote: "Rachel wrote: " Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights "

Rachel, I haven't made any recipe from any of them but in addition to [book:Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dair..."


I keep looking at the Lick It! ice cream book. I have it on my Amazon wish list. I don't have an ice cream maker and am a little intimidated to try making it without one. But ice cream is one of my biggest vices!


message 24: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Jenny, From what I've seen of many of the vegan ice cream recipes, in the "ice cream" and "general" vegan cookbooks, making ice cream sans machine seems as though it would work well. I know sorbets work perfectly but if a vegan milk (almond, soy, etc.) milk is used too, I'd think the creamy consistency could be achieved.


message 25: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Pia, Thank you so much for all these tips!

I do think using bananas, cashews, and certain other ingredients definitely helps give a creamy consistency.


message 26: by Rachel (last edited May 18, 2011 03:06PM) (new)

Rachel (petalpower) | 393 comments Thanks Pia, this is the kind of thing I'm looking ... suggestions for specific rave recipes from certain cookbooks ... and also tips on how to make the ice cream better ... including things that are not outright mentioned in the cookbooks.

I believe I purchased that Ani's Raw Food Desserts cookbook for my brother ... I will see if he still has it.

Any other ideas, Pia or anyone else??


message 27: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
I would like to try making vegan ice-creams as well. I have an attachment that fits on my kitchenaid stand mixer to make ice-cream but haven't used it since I've been vegan. Thanks for all the tips Pia. The recipes you mention from Ani's Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats sound great! I'll check that out from the library. Summer is coming and I'm sure my family would appreciate some cool, healthy treats!


Farrah | 212 comments I am guessing this is a good place for this inquiry...although I was thinking of starting an ingredient thread...

So after my love affair with Miso Eggplant I found a recipe for it to make at home. It calls for Sweet Miso and bought a small tub of it at Whole Foods this weekend. Although it lasts till 2013 I want to find other recipes for sweet miso paste.


So before I start the google search and poring over my cookbooks (which I will gladly enjoy later)...anyone have any favorite recipes using sweet miso paste?


Farrah | 212 comments Need some help with a recipe...I am hoping someone can advise. I am thinking of making a pumpkin lasagna for my group of non-vegans saturday.

What brands of lasagna noodles don't use eggs?

I have a recipe for a pumpkin alfredo sauce I might use OR just mix pumpkin in with the tomato sauce. But my problem is what else to stick between the layers. I am having a moment of cook's block. I was thinking of slicing some eggplant really thing, sauteeing it and putting it in between with a little tofu ricotta and a either pumpkin alfredo or pumpkin marinara.
And top with a little dayia mozz?

How does that sound?


Rachel (petalpower) | 393 comments Yes! Sounds yummy.


message 31: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Farrah wrote: "What brands of lasagna noodles don't use eggs?"

Gosh, there are many. Most pasta companies such as Eden and Whole Foods and many others have vegan eggless, and sometimes whole wheat and alternate grain, lasagna noodles.


message 32: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Farrah, I have three brands of lasagna noodles in my cupboard and none of them have eggs. It's just like regular pasta so you shouldn't have any problem. :-)


message 33: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
I have 3 packages of frozen kale in my freezer and realize I don't know the difference between frozen and fresh. I've made fresh. I love the stuff but I find washing more than a bit of a pain. There might be basic instructions on the package, but has anyone used frozen kale? Can you please tell me what I can and can't do with it? I assume chips are out? I assume soups are in. Or, should I just steam it and then use it wherever cooked kale can be used. Any ideas? Thanks. If I can do various things with the frozen, I'll probably continue to buy it.


Gundula | 279 comments Lisa wrote: "I have 3 packages of frozen kale in my freezer and realize I don't know the difference between frozen and fresh. I've made fresh. I love the stuff but I find washing more than a bit of a pain. Ther..."

I actually find cooking with frozen kale easier at times. I generally just add it thawed (or almost thawed) into the soups and stews I am making (but because it is not fresh, I usually wait until about the last third of the cooking time to add the kale because I do not want it to overcook or lose too much of the nutrients). You can definitely also use kale frozen and add it at the beginning of the cooking process, but I find the flavour a bit fresher etc. if I add the thawed kale later in the cooking process (and I usually add a bit of nutmeg, I like the flavour it gives the kale).

I also wonder wether using frozen kale for blended smoothies would work better than using fresh (I have not had that much success with making fresh kale smoothies). I was actually wondering wether combining apple juice, carrot juice and frozen kale in a blender would make a good smoothie.


message 35: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Thanks, Gundula, for the tips and ideas you bring up. I also don't like my greens or any veggies overcooked.


Gundula | 279 comments Lisa wrote: "Thanks, Gundula, for the tips and ideas you bring up. I also don't like my greens or any veggies overcooked."

With greens, I would rather have them slightly raw or even mostly raw than overcooked.


message 37: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "With greens, I would rather have them slightly raw or even mostly raw than overcooked."

I sometimes enjoy them raw, but I prefer cooked, though barely cooked, so yes, I add them in near the end when I make soups and stews.


message 38: by Gundula (last edited Oct 13, 2012 08:52AM) (new)

Gundula | 279 comments Lisa wrote: "Gundula wrote: "With greens, I would rather have them slightly raw or even mostly raw than overcooked."

I sometimes enjoy them raw, but I prefer cooked, though barely cooked, so yes, I add them in..."


A gourmet store (Picone's) in Dundas sells these absolutely scrumptious raw vegan foods made by a local vegan cook (very expensive, but nice as a treat). They have wonderful desserts, but my favourites are their raw almond burgers (an almond patty, with tomatoes, sprouts and vegan mayonnaise, wrapped in a large fresh kale leaf instead of a hamburger bun).


message 39: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (last edited Oct 13, 2012 09:47AM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
We have a restaurant across the Bay (t's a chain actually but this one is closest to me) that has a choice of breads and two of the choices are a blanched collard or a bed of romaine. I always get the whole wheat bun though, and their black bean burger. Sans vegan mayo because I don't like mayo. I love their sweet potato fries too. They are not fried/they're air baked, and they have homemade catsup for them, and they taste just like fries. They do have salt.

http://natures-express.com/menu/

The place is 100% vegan so when it says cheese or tuna they mean the vegan versions.

If I'm ever in your neck of the woods, I'd definitely go to Picone's!


Gundula | 279 comments Lisa wrote: "We have a restaurant across the Bay (t's a chain actually but this one is closest to me) that has a choice of breads and two of the choices are a blanches collard or a bed of romaine. I always get ..."

Well, Picone's is not a vegan store (it's Italian based so they sell lots of Italian sausages etc), but it is the only place I have been able to find these raw vegan freshly made foods. I wish I had gone shopping early enough to purchase some of the vegan burgers, they usually sell out very quickly.


message 41: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Gundula, Well, it's nice when places have vegan options.

I really don't enjoy eating out of non-vegetarian kitchens, and prefer vegan, but I know many vegans who are fine eating at mixed/traditional places, and do so regularly. I will if there are no veg*n places around or if it's someone else's special occasion. Last weekend I went to a friend's father's 99th birthday party at a "regular" restaurant, but they have a few vegan things and will make things off the menu too, so I did eat.


message 42: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Gundula, I heard there was a raw, vegan restaurant opening in Dundas! Do you know anything about that?


Gundula | 279 comments Lee wrote: "Gundula, I heard there was a raw, vegan restaurant opening in Dundas! Do you know anything about that?"

I have not really been paying attention, but if that is true, it is most likely going to be run by the same woman who makes the raw vegan meals and snacks for Piccone's. Sure hope that they also have take out.


message 44: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Wouldn't that be fantastic?


Gundula | 279 comments Lee wrote: "Wouldn't that be fantastic?"

I should check this week (the owners of Picone's will likely know more).


Gundula | 279 comments Lee wrote: "Wouldn't that be fantastic?"

Yes, the lady who is now selling her raw vegan meals at Picone's in Dundas, is, in fact, busy getting her raw vegan restaurant going (I talked with Sharon, one of the owners of Picone's today and she was saying that the restaurant/shop is supposed to be opening later this month, but that this might be delayed because the city is being anal about things, what else is new). I've also heard that it will not only be a raw vegan restaurant and shop, but that there will also be cooking classes offered.


message 47: by Melissa (last edited Oct 17, 2012 07:07PM) (new)

Melissa | 27 comments I'm going to be in SF all of next week, I'm going to try very hard to get over to where that restaurant is! I'll be staying in the Mission, traveling mostly by bicycle, so Berkeley would be a field trip. Also, I'm going to this Miyoko Schinner event, so if any of you are in the Bay area and want to come, we can say in-person hellos and eat vegan cheese!


message 48: by Lee, Unrepentant Eggplant Addict (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 1023 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "Lee wrote: "Wouldn't that be fantastic?"

Yes, the lady who is now selling her raw vegan meals at Picone's in Dundas, is, in fact, busy getting her raw vegan restaurant going (I talked with Sharon,..."


Wow! That's great news! Thank-you for asking about it. Gundula, you're lucky you live so close! I'll have to come over and meet you there sometime.


message 49: by Lisa, Vegan Cookbook Reader (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 1864 comments Mod
Melissa wrote: "'ll be staying in the Mission"

There are some great vegan restaurants in the Mission, including Gracias Madre and Cha-Ya. Also, you really should try to get to Millennium; reservations are a must. There are many places right in San Francisco, and there are many good East Bay places too, including Nature's Express, Shangri-La Vegan, and Souley Vegan. There aren't as many places in Marin as there are to the east or the south. I still desperately miss Miyoko Schinner's restaurant Now and Zen, which was one of my favorite ever places and also the favorite of several omnivorous friends. The best meal I ever had was a Thanksgiving meal there.


Melissa | 27 comments Oh yeah, I know, I've got it all planned out. :-)


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