My Mad Foray into Vegan Cooking


Thanks to a very fortuitous introduction, I recently met the author of this excellent Cookbook, For the Love of Vegan Cooking, Deb Gleason.  She and her lovely partner came over for a garden tour and we had some wide-ranging discussions on cooking and gardening, with a focus on Hawaii, where they have just bought a home. It was only while talking to them that I discovered they were vegans.  Ah well, so much for my Lilikoi shortbread bars.  

Additionally, it came out that Deb was an author, not to mention "a former Homicide Detective, turned certified holistic nutritionist."  From dealing with death to better living, you might say.

Not to say that I have any plans for changing over to vegan cooking.  However, having that repertoire available is very helpful, for everyone these days. I'm sure we're not the only ones who have recently met  vegans.  Rather than be stymied over what to fix them for a meal or simple appetizer, I now have some delicious choices handy.  Actually, it was the second time this has happened in the past year.  Both times I broke out some of my Limoncello.  And, chips are vegan.  

From the Publishers: "With more than 100 delicious plant-based recipes, For the Love of Vegan Cooking will show you that veganism is not a rejection of culinary abundance, but instead a celebration of flavors, textures and tastes that are sure to delight. For the Love of Vegan Cooking puts the power of real, healthy food in your hands with comforting and deeply nutritious meals, desserts, drinks, and snacks that will make your mouth water in the best way. This book also includes two bonus sections to tickle your creative juices. Learn how easy it is to make creamy and delicious cultured cashew cheese, and to brew your own fizzy, probiotic packed kombucha.":

Not to mention, her gorgeous photography!  So, choices are always good, beginning with what to cook for myself and Bob, in order to give Deb's recipes an immediate, practical application.  

The Crispy Potato Skins with Walnut Meat, Mango Salsa & Cashew Sour Cream was a perfect choice, as there are really four recipes involved, as you might notice from the title. I was especially eager to try making some cashew sour cream.  

It sounded so good, creamy, yet nutty.  And, it was.  As well as being easy, peasy!  Toss 4 ingredients in the blender and ka boom! Sour Cashew Cream.

The next item on the menu was Walnut Meat.  Composed of walnuts, olive oil and some seasonings.  Another very quick fix in the food processor. Toss and process. A tasty filling that would also be excellent in my Pacific Spinach wraps.

Then there was Deb's Mango Salsa, just right for all the ripe mangos, which I've had on hand since the beginning of our Hawaiian mango season.  And the extra will be perfect with my curry tonight.

Finally, you bake the potato, crisp up the skins, stuff with walnut meat and top with the salsa, sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.  I used culantro as it is a tropical perennial, an herb growing pretty continually around here. 

Sooo good!  We both enjoyed our potatoes, and all the delicious components as well.  What a great texture, flavor and color combination!  Now there are some other intriguing recipes in this book that I want to try.  Deb's Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Spinach Ricotta and Cashew Cream.  Oh Boy!  And, the Peanut Powered Pad Thai.  Then the desserts!  How about a Chocolate Fudge & Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream Pie?  I could go on and on, as so many of her dishes look absolutely too tempting.  Deb's beautiful photography certainly helps.  It's stunning!

Other goings on include finally getting (to the top of the stack) Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club. What a hoot!  I really enjoyed that one.  Currently reading: The Shooting at Chateau Rock, by Martin Walker.  It's been awhile, so like joining up with a group of old friends. Lots of good food in his books. I've finished a new batch of Creme de Cacao, which didn't come out quite as well as my last one.  Should have crushed the nibs a bit more.  Got a big jug of dill pickles going yesterday and fenugreek sprouting..  

And on the animal front: Battling wild pigs!  The gate and fence keep them from our gardens, but they tear up the lawn along the road.  Loose chickens who demolish my young seedlings, and the goat nearby with PTSD. It's being bottle fed after the mother was killed by dogs.  On a sadder note, our cat, Lovey, approaching 95 in human years, is about at the end of her hanging in there....  She's going at her own pace. My week. Cheers to Prince Philip, he had a long life!

I'll be linking this post with the April edition of Foodies Read Challenge, hosted by Heather, with Deb Nance for her Sunday Salon, and with Weekend Cooking, hosted by the Intrepid Reader, Marge.


Deb said...

What an absolute treat to read your review of my cookbook! You chose one of my favourite recipes to try and I am so happy to know you enjoyed it. I love making that simple cashew sour cream and using it on tacos and nachos/burritos or anything that could benefit from a nice cream on top.

"Veganizing" comfort food dishes is what I love to do and both of my cookbooks are all about that. When we can be easier on the planet and the animals we share it with while maximizing nutrient density and not giving up flavor its a big win!

Thanks Claudia!

Deborah Gleason

Debra Eliotseats said...

It's always great to meet the author! I think I could most definitely be vegetarian but vegan? I must have cheese! :) Great review, Claudia.

Heather said...

This sounds excellent. I cook mostly vegan and it isn’t so hard once you get used to the common substitutions.

Beth F said...

Those potatoes look delicious! How great to have met the author. I'm going to see if I can find this at my library so I can explore it before I buy. I am not vegan, but -- as you said -- we all now have vegan friends and relatives and it's good to have some nice recipes on hand for when they visit.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Sharing some of the ways to easily make the ingredients for vegan cooking makes me change my thoughts about this way of cooking from lamenting the loss of the nonvegan foods to being intrigued about the substitutions.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I am not a vegan, but that potato looks and sounds delicious.

stacybuckeye said...

You've made me very hungry! Those look so tasty. I do think it's important to have some go to recipes for special diets and allergies. Yum :)

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

I am not vegan, but the food sounds (and looks) delicious!

Jinjer-The Intrepid Angeleno said...

Everything on that potato looks delicious and I imagine it would be equally delicious on a sweet potato! Yum!

Imagine having to keep out wild pigs and goats!

So sorry to hear about your kitty.

Heather G. said...

Those all look amazing! Ideally I would love to go vegan for ethical reasons. But I do not have the energy to make twice the meals since my husband has made it very clear he would have nothing to do with it! But I try to throw in a few meatless dished throughout the week when I can! I love a good cookbook that is simple and yet delicious. Thanks for sharing!

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

How fun that you got to meet the author of this cookbook. I am not vegan but I do like to have some recipes available for my friends who are.

Marg said...

How fun to get to meet the author and then get to try the recipes!

The food certainly looks appetising.

Tina said...

That's a greta review. Love the recipes you shared here!

Claudia said...

I'm with you Debra, got to have my cheese. And eggs. And bacon:)