Earlier this week, I finally got a chance to try recipe in Joni Marie Newman's new book Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen.
I'd had my eye on this Sloppy Joe Pho for some time (more on that in a few).
In fact, I've been eating Sloppy Joe Pho leftovers all week with plans to do a little Fusion Food post tonight. And then today, I stopped by Imagine Vegan Cafe to grab some lunch takeout to bring back to the office. I parked my car, and I was talking on my cell to a co-worker. A black car pulled up behind me to park in the next available spot on the little neighborhood street that runs beside Imagine. I glanced in my rearview, more out of habit than curiosity. And who should I see? Joni Marie Newman!
Joni lives in California, and she's on a cross-country book tour for Fusion Food. And she just happened to be passing through Memphis on her way to her next signing in Pennsylvania. She'd actually Facebook messaged me a few days ago to let me know she'd be in town if we wanted to meet up for drinks, but I never saw the message. Yet there we were in the same place at the same time. Strange, right? And totally rad!
Of course, I had to stay and have lunch with her rather than getting takeout. We caught up over Imagine's gooey vegan cheesesticks. Joni and I have been on several panels together at Vida Vegan Con, and I just love her to death.
It also just so happens that her books are among the most cherished on my cookbook shelf. Joni likes to eat the stuff that I like to eat. Her new book Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen is filled with so many amazing recipes that it was really hard to pick one to try first. The Sloppy Joe Pho was just what it sounds like — vegan sloppy joe filling (made from TVP, ketchup, and seasonings) served in a noodle bowl with homemade vegan pho broth. It's topped with cilantro, scallions, jalapenos, and sriracha. Such a fun twist on a noodle bowl!
There are so many more inventive recipes to choose from. I have a long wish list for things to make from this book: Thai Peanut Chicken & Waffles, Tamale Shepherd's Pie, Indian-Spiced Pumpkin & Jackfruit Chili, Bean Ball Bahn Mi Sandwiches, Aji Potato Samosas. And of course, there's dessert: Mexicannoli (a sweet Mexican twist on cannoli with cinnamon and cardamom), Red Bean Modak (Chinese red bean paste meets the Indian rice flour dessert), and Sesame Pine Nut Brittle to name a few.
There's also a recipe for Ya Ka Mein, also known as "Old Man Sober" because it's said to be the perfect hangover food. The Ya Ka Mein is actually on the cover of the book, but I made it last year when Joni published the recipe on her blog, Just the Food. It's a ramen bowl with seitan chicken and a vegan tofu egg!
If you're on the East Coast, Joni might be coming your way soon! She's hitting up a few more cities before she ends at New York City Vegetarian Food Festival. Here's a list of her upcoming stops.