The Vegetarian Flavor Bible *Contest*!!!

Please note: Contest is closed! The winner is charj, #7. Thank you to all who entered! (I emailed you, Charj, but if I don’t hear back by 2/10/15, a second winner will be chosen.)

2/11/15- Follow up winner is Rusty! I will email you, but if I don’t hear back from you by 2/14/15, a third winner will be chosen!


Before Christmas, I found myself browsing around in a bookstore. I’m not a shopper, but bookstores have never felt like shopping. I’m knee-deep in the new book section and really wondering who buys *all* these crazy titles.. when I see a huge hard cover book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. I cracked it open, and my mouth may have fallen open, too. I can’t say for sure. I debated about buying it, but balked, as I usually do. We continued on our way and a day later, I got an email asking if I’d be interested in a review copy. Hell, yes! And in no time at all, it was in my hands. The author, Karen Page, generously wrote a special blog post for today, which is below. First, let me give you a very abbreviated take on this massive tome.


This book is an encyclopedia, as packed with info as vegan food is with nutrients. Each entry includes a flavor profile, nutritional info, botanical relatives, how to cook it, flavor affinities, and more. Whether you are a beginning cook, or more comfy in the kitchen than anywhere, this book would be an amazing addition to any kitchen.

Good news: You have a chance to win a copy of this book. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what ingredient tends to stymy you in the kitchen. That’s it. It could be one you don’t like, one you’re not sure how to use, or one you’ve always wanted to pick up at the grocery store. US shipping only, please. The contest will close January 21. So after reading Karen’s guest post, be sure to comment! By the way, Karen is truly an expert and has won several esteemed cookbook awards. She knows her stuff and I’m thrilled she is sharing it with  all of us. I’ll leave this post to Karen. Be sure to enter the contest! And don’t forget that our Great Vegan Protein Book is coming out soon!

“So, How Do You Get Your Protein?” Guest Post by Karen Page

After being lifelong omnivores, my husband Andrew Dornenburg and I stopped eating meat in May 2012.  That’s when we started getting asked what we soon learned was the number-one question posed of most vegetarians and vegans:  “So, how do you get your protein?”

This led us on a search for answers.  As The Great Vegan Protein Book had not been written yet, we turned to other sources:  Karen earned a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell in conjunction with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and we regularly visited the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference at where we learned all about the macronutrient content of various foods – much of which was so eye-opening, Karen made sure to include it in her new book THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.

First, we simply wanted to figure out how much protein we should be eating for a healthful diet.  It turns out that the average person needs just 50 to 60 grams of protein per day – yet the average American typically consumes 70 to 100 grams per day, primarily from animal-based sources (e.g., meats, poultry, seafood), a level of overconsumption that correlates with a higher risk of diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.  Because 50 to 60 grams of protein a day can easily be provided by a plant-based diet, T. Colin Campbell’s book The China Study recommends avoiding meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.

“Dietary protein within the range of 10-20 percent is associated with a broad array of health problems [e.g., higher blood cholesterol levels, higher risks of atherosclerosis, cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney stones], especially when most of the protein is from animal sources.”
–T. Colin Campbell, PhD, The China Study

I was fascinated to learn the number of grams of protein contained by different foods, e.g.,

1 large egg = 6 grams
½ cup black beans = 7.5 grams
½ cup black-eyed peas = 6.5 grams
½ cup lentils = 9 grams
1 ounce almonds = 6 grams
1 ounce peanut butter = 7 grams
1 ounce tempeh = 5 grams
¼ cup firm (raw) tofu = 10 grams
1 Burger King veggie burger = 14 grams
1 Shack Shack ‘Shroom (vegetarian) burger = 18 grams

And it was very surprising to learn how much protein I could get from vegetables and grains:
1 medium artichoke = 3 grams
1 cup asparagus = 4 grams
1 cup pureed avocado = 5 grams

½ large bagel = 7 grams
1 cup broccoli = 4 grams
1 cup Brussels sprouts = 4 grams
1 ounce oatmeal (uncooked) = 5 grams
1 medium potato = 5 grams
½ cup quinoa = 4 grams
1 cup spinach = 5 grams
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes = 4 grams

My fascination with protein continued to the point that I decided to include nutritional profiles for most of the ingredients listed in the encyclopedic A-to-Z Chapter 3 of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE. For example, if you look up Eggplant, you’ll see that they are 83% carbs, 10% protein, and 7% fat – and that 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant has 1 gram of protein.

Once you’re confident you’re getting the right amount of protein, the next important step is to make those ingredients taste absolutely delicious.  And by providing you with lists of the herbs, spices, and other seasonings that will best enhance the flavor of any plant-based ingredients you might want to cook, THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE puts 576 pages of inspiration right at your fingertips!


An Introduction… and a Contest!

It feels like we’ve been kind of in a holding pattern waiting for The Great Vegan Protein Book to come out… when BANG… it’s coming out in January!

protein book 72

Yes, you read that right. Proteins. It’s like a call and response thing. You say ‘vegan’ and all the nonvegans  say ‘protein?’. Well, I’m here to tell you that we can all be done with that. Celine and I joined forces again, and we’ve got you covered. With this book,  you can show them by cooking for them. It’s packed full of wonderful tasting, easy-to-make, protein-rich recipes (each recipe states how much protein it has), as well as information on just how much protein we actually need.

Just what is in the book? Great recipes to get your day started with protein, as well as dishes to power you right through to dinner. We’ve got soups, stews, salads, side-dishes, main dishes, appetizers, and more! Let’s hope we can put the big question to rest once and for all, and with all kinds of amazing proof to sway the omnis.

The new book is coming out in January. If you pre-order it, you will be eligible to win a copy of either Whole Grain Vegan Baking or Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. All you have to do is comment on this blog post that you have pre-ordered the book. We are doing this on the honor system because 1. we trust you (duh) and 2. no more scanning/emailing. All you have to do is post to this blog entry. Two winners from my blog (and from Celine’s, GO!) will be drawn randomly in January when the new book comes out. So for four of you of you, it will be a two-fer! Good luck!

Be sure to pop over to Celine’s blog to enter, too. Please note: US and Canada shipping only. Sorry!

Vegan Croissants… in Cleveland!

Whew… where has this year gone? It’s flown by faster than ever! So before we get one day closer to the end of the year (how is that even possible?), let me announce the winner of OATrageous Oats, by Kathy Hester. Congratulations to #9, Clare Reece-Glore! I will try to contact you, but please email me, too, in case my email gets derailed.

It’s a great time of year to win the oat book, and it’s also a great time to be vegan in Cleveland. How’s that for a segue? I’m going to start adding posts showing you just how awesome it is. Over the past few years, Cleveland Culinary Launch  has been helping new food businesses get up and running. Of course, they aren’t all vegan, but most of those that have vegan options, are really incredible. So incredible that we’ve made them our first and second stops at farmers’ markets to be sure we don’t miss out. More to come on these businesses. Although not from the CCLK, the first amazing vegan food find I’m going to share with you is Metro Croissants.

Metro CroissantsApricot Danishes, fresh from the oven

That’s right. Vegan croissants. In Cleveland.

Debbie, the baker and owner,  is a regular at several markets in the area, and is often contributing to the vegan events who put out a call for food. Since the markets are wrapping up for the year, we placed an order for frozen danishes (we fill them and bake them out home) to try to get us through the winter. If you happen to see vegan croissants at Gypsy Beans (we’ve never been, have you?) or Phoenix Coffee, scoop them up. You’ll be glad you did.

If I knew what I was doing with hashtags, this one would be #CLEVEGN! Watch for more. And share your finds with me, too!


OATrageous Oats Review and Contest

A whole book on oats? I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical, but  just a bit. After all, Kathy Hester knows her stuff and if she thought the humble grain was worth a whole book, she’d make it clear why. My first impression of the cover was a good one: with a lot of white area, it’s kind of stark (in a good way) but the brown grains in the corners are warm and inviting. Cracking the book open was a big surprise. It has a lay-flat binding! I wish every cookbook did. I had no idea just what I was missing. I’m used to weighing one side of a book down on my counter to keep it open, but this is so convenient. All this is great, but it’s the food that really matters……so on to OATrageous Oats!


The introduction not only includes the methods to cook all kinds of oats, but also notes about how to make the book work for specific diets, such as soy-free, gluten-free, and no added oil. The first chapter contains staple recipes to help get you started. Think gravy, cheese sauce, oat milk yogurt and chocolate sauce, to name a few.

Chapters 2 and 3 go together well: Warming Oats for Fall and Winter, and Cooling Oats for Spring and Summer. Warming Oats has pancakes, waffles, scones and lots of creative ideas for breakfast oatmeal. Cooling Oats has shakes, smoothies and a variety of overnight oats. Who wouldn’t love to wake up to Blackberry Mojito Overnight Oats?

Besides oats for breakfast, and in cookies, of course, a lot of us grew up on granola. Chapter 4 is Granolas and Bars for Breakfast and Beyond. Both sweet and savory recipes are here. Bourbon-Scented Pecan Granola would be an ideal holiday breakfast, or a fantastic gift.

Chapter 5 is Satisfying Soups and Stews. This chapter is packed with hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare. We tried the Mushroom Ginger Congee and it had a lot of flavor, especially for a quick-to-make soup. The  Creamy Butternut Squash Oat Soup would be a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving meal.


In Chapter 6, Savory Oats for Lunch and Dinner, we found loads of recipes to bookmark. It’s packed with stir frys, scrambles, gnocchi, loafs, burgers, steaks and more.

Chapter 7, Delightful Desserts, will not disappoint. From Old Fashion Mix and Match Oatmeal Cookies to Turtle Oat Truffles and Dreamy Dark Chocolate Oat Cream, there is lots of satisfaction for those with a sweet tooth.

While you’re thinking dessert, why not add an oat-based beverage on the side? Chapter 8 has creamers, liqueur, and even Oatchata, the traditional Mexican drink.

Catnip Kitty Treats

When I saw Catnip Kitty Treats in the last chapter, Beyond the Dining Room: Other Uses for Oats, I couldn’t resist making them. They were a big hit with our cats. And if you have dogs instead, there are recipes for dog treats, too. If you’d prefer a little pampering, you’ll find a recipe for a soak, and also for a scrub.

If you want to win a copy of OATrageous Oats, just leave a comment on my blog telling me one of your favorite ways to eat oats. One winner will be randomly chosen on Friday, October 24th. US shipping only, please.  I’m leaving you with photos of our kitties enjoying their treats.



Vegan Tacos Review and Giveaway!

Contest is closed! The winner is #29: Amy  Wagar Cinch!

I was super excited to be included in the blog tour for Jason Wyrick, and his new book, Vegan Tacos. I was even more excited (if it’s possible) when the review copy arrived in the mail. Wow. No, wait, WOW!

Vegan Tacos Cover

The cover immediately grabbed me, and when I saw it was shot and styled by the awesome Erin from Olives for Dinner and her husband, Jeff, I wasn’t surprised. A lot of times, I’m tempted to skip over introductions and read them later (give me the recipes already!), but in this case, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a fantastic explanation of why Jason wrote this book, and sucks you in. Tacos 101, the first chapter, is almost a ‘how to use this book’ overview, as well as a history of the taco. I particularly like that Jason gives the region for each taco, it’s heat index, and ways to make the tacos quickly or even low-fat. Chapter 2, Essential Ingredients and Equipment gives you all the basic info you need to create the recipes in the book. The chile section is indispensable, detailing the properties of all the different chiles and even offering substitutions. I know I’ll turn to this again and again. It also gives information on how to panfry the chiles, rehydrate them, and more. We happen to love spice, but for those of you who don’t, Jason explains how to turn down the heat. The chapter wraps up with info on other ingredients and helpful equipment. I’ll admit to being intimidated by chapter 3, Tortillas, Masa, Nixtamal, and You. I’ve made regular flour tortillas before, but I didn’t even think I liked corn tortillas. I couldn’t be more wrong! I still need practice – I only made them for the last recipe I tried – but they are really easy to make. A little harder to perfect, but that’s ok. I see a lot more of them in my future.

The second part of the book contains all the recipe chapters, starting with a few basics such as Mojo do Ajo (garlic oil) and Flattened Seitan. I had a tough time getting my seitan as thin as the recipe stated so I cooked it longer, but the end result is unlike any seitan I’ve ever had. I plan to keep some in my freezer with my other “regular” seitan at all times.

Tacos de Asador translates to “Tacos charred over an open flame”. Outside of the seitan and mojo de ajo, the first recipe I made was from this chapter. The layers of flavor in this taco were truly mind-melting. From the fiery yet flavorful habanero salsa, to the simple guacamole, to the tangy onions, down to the depth of flavor in the seitan, we were absolutely hooked. One thing to note: I made this using the indoor oven variation, which calls for 4 hours of baking. Next time, I’m going to only bake it for 45 minutes or so. The longer baking resulted in a really chewy (almost jerky texture), which might be the way it’s supposed to be, but I think we’d like it baked for a shorter time.

Tacos with Yucatecan-Style Barbecue Sauce (with Pickled Onions, Chopped Guacamole, and Dog Nose Salsa)

The next chapter is Tacos de Guisados, which means stewed fillings. From here, we tried the Tacos with a Durango Stew. As with most (if not all) recipes, Jason includes options for using seitan, beans, or vegetables. These also wowed us. The recipe uses two kinds of chiles in a tomato-based sauce. We opted for the seitan in the filling, and it all balanced perfectly with the fresh toppings, spiked with the Taco Guacamole Salsa. We topped this taco with the Chiles de Arbol Salsa, which I can’t recommend enough. We will always have some of this in our refrigerator to add flavor (and heat) to loads of dishes. I didn’t get nearly the yield the recipe states, but that could be due to pepper size.

Tacos with a Durango Stew, Taco Guacamole Salsa, and Chiles de Arbol Salsa

In Tacos de Comal – that’s sauteed fillings to us – we tried the Sonoran Tacos first. This was the most “American” taco to us. The photo for this one has disappeared, but you can get the recipe below.

From the same chapter, we tried the Bricklayer Tacos. These just might be my favorite in the book… so far. It was too hard to choose between seitan and mushrooms, so I used half the amount of both. The headnote refers to a “maple and salt hack” which I couldn’t find. So I added a bit of maple syrup, a bit of tamari (I know.. sacrilegious…) and bit of liquid smoke to achieve a slight “bacony taste”. The taco also uses jalapeños in the tomato-based sauce and just screams flavor. Take a look!

Filling for the Bricklayer Tacos

Chapter 8 is Tacos Dorados (Rolled tacos, fried golden crisp) Surprisingly, I have yet to try recipes from this chapter and also the basket tacos (chapter 10), the Fusion Tacos (chapter 13) and the desserts (chapter 12). But I will soon. Only so many meals…. so many times to have tacos!

Los Otros Tacos (other tacos), chapter 9, includes Michoacan-Style Carnitas. While all the dishes are easy to make (and most have components you can make ahead), this one was especially fun. The recipe uses orange slices in the sauce (I opted for the dark beer variation). The pulp of the orange just disappears into the sauce, which seems like magic to me. It’s the little things, right? The sauce is crazy good, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need the optional shortening. We topped this one with a little cabbage and onion that was dressed with a chile de arbol mayo mixture. It gave a simple yet spicy crunch to the taco, which already had a complex, incredible sauce. Since I still had some beer left, we had these with the Drunken Salsa, which is probably Jim’s favorite salsa we’ve tried. This is also my first attempt at corn tortillas!

Michoacan-Style Carnitas with slaw and Drunken Salsa

From chapter 11 (Tacos Mananeros or Breakfast Tacos), we tried the Breakfast Tacos with Poblano Strips, Mojo Scramble, and Pinto Beans. We used black beans in this instead of pintos, and these were such a satisfying way to start the day! The green olives played off the chile powders in ways I never would have guessed. We had the Mojo de Ajo Potatoes on the side- and so should you! They didn’t make the photo though.

Breakfast Tacos with Poblano Strips, Mojo Scramble, and Beans

Parte Tres is Toppings, Sides, and Drinks, which includes all the amazing salsa and guacamole recipes, side dishes, and even a variety of beverages, both alcoholic and not!

The bottom line on this book is that Jason Wyrick knows and loves tacos. The book is jam-packed with information, recipes, and experience, to help you make the best tacos you’ll ever have. It’s the kind of book that will quickly get worn from use, and you’ll love it more with each recipe you make. I know I am. I have at least another dozen recipes already marked.

Can’t wait to get started? Check out these other recipes- act fast, they might have giveaways, too!

Lazy Smurf features Hominy and Seitan in Roasted Garlic Cascabel Sauce

Vampire Tacos at Vegan Main Street

Vedged Out has Mushroom Tacos

Sonoran Tacos over at Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Tacos de Guacamole from Vegenista

Veggie Girl shared the Grilled Lime Margarita recipe

Want to win your own copy? Leave a comment on this blog telling me something about tacos. The winner will be drawn randomly on 9/24. Shipping to the United States and Canada only, please. Thank you to Jason Wyrick and Vegan Heritage Press for the contest. Good luck!

One last thing: don’t forget to enter my freekeh contest, too!