4.01.2011

Cookbook Challenge II - Viva Vegan!

Viva Vegan!

Growing up in south Florida, I've always had a penchant for Latin American food. Whether it was a crispy pressed Cubano eaten in a friend's car on the way home from school, a warm pot of Arroz con Pollo or a steaming cup of café con leche to get my morning (or evening) started Latin American food permeated my childhood. When I went vegan (and left south Florida), I found it really difficult to find the same flavors, textures and tastes I had grown up loving, as Latin-American cuisine relies heavily on animal products, especially meat. Dinning out provided only slim pickings, as many obvious "vegetarian" dishes actually contained animal products - chicken stock in the rice, lard or pork in the beans, sour cream in the guacamole (now, that one is just an abomination!), etc. I sort of forgot about all the foods of my youth...that is, until Terry Hope Romero, co-author of Veganomicon & more, came out with Viva Vegan!

Curdito (Salvadorian Marinated Slaw), Yellow Rice with Garlic, Quick Red Posole with Beans

I'm a one-pot meal kind of gal, so the fact that I decided to make three separate dishes proves something about how exciting Viva Vegan! is. Earlier in the day I made Terry's Annatto-Infused Oil (aciete de achiote) which went into the Yellow Rice with Garlic. Like most cooking oils, the annatto oil will last forever, so don't worry about using it all right away. The Yellow Rice with Garlic brought back so many memories of the Vigo-brand bags of yellow rice my mom makes, and the oil lent such a bright and beautiful color! I topped the rice with a Quick Red Posole with Beans - which is actually a ritually significant and traditional stew in pre-Columbian Mexico. It mainly consists of stewed tomatoes, beans and hominy and was really comforting. I'm not crazy about tomato based things - soups, stews, sauces, etc. - but this was really nice over rice and with a few garnishments. To lighten things up, I made Curdito, a Salvadorian slaw. I loved this! It was super fresh, crisp and light. Dressed merely in vinegar (I used apple cider) and oregano, there is little to mask the sweetness of cabbage and carrots or heat from the jalapeno.

Empanadas!!

Empanadas are so wonderful! Who wouldn't love a warm, flaky hand pie full of savory goodies? These were ridiculously easy to make, as the dough was brought together using a food processor. After letting the dough rest for several hours, I made Terry's Creamy Corn-Filled Empanadas which were (unsurprisingly) awesome. My filling did appear to sink, or my dough rose too much while baking, hence the large gap in the photo below. When I make these again, I'll be sure to poke a few holes in the dough to allow all that steam an escape route.

Empanadas Humitas (Creamy Corn-Filled Empanadas)

Yellow Rice with Garlic, Caraotas (Venezuelan-style Black Beans), Latin Shredded Seitan

I think I made yellow rice about three times this week. Above it's topped with Caraotas (Venezuelan-style black beans) and Latin Shredded Seitan. The beans were wonderful with the addition of brown sugar - something I've never tried before, but will definitely add on a regular occasion. The Latin Shredded Seitan was made using Terry's Steamed Red Seitan recipe, red bell peppers and spices and completed the meal perfectly. Some of my seitan was a little undercooked to start, but it crisped up nicely in this recipe.

more Caraotas!

More Caraotas! Matt and I ate the leftover beans with two, yes TWO, green vegetables.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Capers

Upfront we've got some Swiss Chard with Raisins and Capers. I wasn't sure whether I was going to love this dish, or hate it. I love raisins, capers and swiss chard, but would they all get along for my sake? They sure did! Sweet, tangy and earthy are a winning combination in my book. This recipe was also some of the prettiest greens I've eaten. In the background is a scoop of Brazilian Braised Collards (subbed in for kale). I liked the bitterness of the collards mixed with onion, garlic and a few splashed of liquid smoke, but next time I'll try this with kale.

We're coming to the end of the cookbook challenge! This was actually the last week of meals, as all that's left is a dessert cookbook - Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar! I'm  not sure if I'll  be thoroughly participating, but it's worth a shot!

6 comments:

  1. Great photos of the food! I have this cookbook, but haven't made much from it yet. I think I made one thing and that was some baked tofu. After seeing the delicious food that you made, I see I need to dig into it. Everything you made looks awesome! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow, that plate of yellow rice, shredded seitan & beans looks SO good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
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    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,

    Vincent
    petitchef.com

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  4. Mmm everything looks so good! Especially those Empanadas

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gauri Radha गौरी राधा6/29/2011

    The empanadas and rice dish look so appetizing!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,

    petitchef.com

    ReplyDelete