New Cookbook: Vegan Soul Kitchen

I had read great reviews of “Vegan Soul Kitchen” and even tried a recipe from the book — Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions — last Thanksgiving after reading about it in Vegetarian Times. After hearing that the book’s author, Bryant Terry, was paying a visit to my alma mater, the University of Louisville, we decided to pick up a copy to bring to the event.

While I wish that he could have spoken longer, his hour-long talk was very informative and eye-opening. You could tell that he is a genuinely nice person and obviously very passionate about food justice and about using urban farming to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to what he calls “food deserts.” These are typically poorer neighborhoods that lack any kind of access to fresh produce and therefore rely on packaged and highly processed foods. I highly recommend you check out his web series, “Urban Organic,” in which he discusses these issues in more detail.

Anyway, back to the food. We had a chance to sample a couple of his dishes at the event, including his Citrus Collards with Raisins and Blackened Tofu with Coconut Rice. Both were incredible. I made the Citrus Collards recipe at home and it turned out really well. I also tried to make the Black-Eyed Pea Fritters and, well, I definitely need some practice with those (as well as a proper deep-fryer). The flavor was excellent, but they kept falling apart on me. I’m determined to get them right, though.

I love that he includes a lot of drink recipes in the cookbook. My husband whipped up a batch of the Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Blackberry Limeade and it was incredible! So refreshing and the cayenne added a nice kick.

Finally, I also love that he adds a soundtrack for each recipe. Music and cooking go hand-in-hand for me, so it’s nice to explore new music and new recipes together.

He does have a new cookbook out, “The Inspired Vegan,” that I hope to add to my collection soon.

Have you made any recipes from “Vegan Soul Kitchen”? Any you’d like to recommend?

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Vegan Food Happenings — Holiday Edition

Happy holidays! This season is flying by, isn’t it?

We’ve had a pretty low-key holiday season, which is fine by me. It’s been very low-key in the kitchen, too. We had grand plans of making an elaborate meal for Christmas Eve, but decided at the last minute to keep it very simple, which was nice. Here’s a quick breakdown of just a few of the dishes (mostly sweets) I made over the past week or so.

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles (from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar“)

These cookies have become a favorite in our household. They have a wonderful rich chocolate flavor, a crunchy outside texture and a chewy middle. A pinch of cayenne adds a touch of heat that is a nice surprise.

Caramel Pecan Bars (also from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar”)

These bars are really easy to make and taste just like their pie cousin. So good.

Monkey Bread (from “Sweet Vegan“)

If Paula Deen were vegan, this would be her go-to recipe. You add butter to the dough, then you dunk each dough ball into melted butter and then you pour more melted butter on top once you’ve formed them in the pan. This was the first time I’ve made this recipe and I have to admit, I found the directions hard to follow, which I’ve also found to be true for a few other recipes I’ve made from this book. But despite my frustration with the recipe, it turned out beautifully and was delicious. It was the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning.

Great Smokey Mountain Cheeze (from “Vegan Diner“)

This spreadable cheese was so easy to make and was really, really good. The smoked paprika gave it a wonderful flavor that matched up really well with the sliced apple. I’ll definitely be making this again for a game night snack or for a light lunch of fruit and crackers.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’m planning to make a few new dishes this week while I’m on vacation, so I will post those soon. I’m also planning to make a vegan brunch on New Year’s Day, and I’ll post that, too.

I hope everyone is well!