When I was a kid, I wanted to be Blossom! I wore the colorful leggings, oversized tees, ties, vests, and floppy hats. In small-town Arkansas, that definitely made me the weird kid. But I was always cool with that. I never wanted to fit in or be normal, thank god. I was always comfortable in my own skin. I'm sure positive, fictional female role models like Blossom, Punky Brewster, and Claudia from The Baby-sitters Club had something to do with it.
Anyway, fast forward to a few years ago when I learn Blossom actress Mayim Bialik is vegan! Yes! She is one of us! I'll confess that I haven't gotten into her current show, The Big Bang Theory, but I should probably Netflix the whole series from the start. Until then, I can get my Mayim fix by cooking dishes from her new cookbook, Mayim's Vegan Table.
Mayim has two vegan boys, so this book is geared toward easy meals that kids will love. I'm a big kid at heart, so that's perfect for me too. There are lots of veganized comfort staples — Mac N Cheez, Daiya-Style Pizza, Vegan Reuben Sandwiches, Veggie Chili, No-Fail Vanilla Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cake.
And since Mayim is Jewish, she's also included some traditional recipes that, while considered comfort food to those who grew up in the Jewish faith, are more like fun, new foods to me. There's Non-Dairy Kugel (a creamy pasta dish), Tzimmes (roasted root veggies and onions), Mandel Brodt (Jewish biscotti), and lots more.
I opted to try Mayim's Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich with Do Chua and Sweet Sauce.
According to the recipe intro, this was inspired by the banh mi sandwiches served at UCLA when Mayim was in college. After Blossom, she earned a degree in neuroscience! Loved this sandwich. It was so simple. First, I made the Do Chua — pickled daikon and carrot — by kneading the veggies with salt and then covering with vinegar and sugar. It's that simple!
And the rest of the sandwich is just plain, unseasoned tofu (but baked would work here nicely), Vegenaise, and a homemade gingery sweet 'n' savory sauce. The recipe didn't call for cilantro and sriracha, but I think those things are necessary for a banh mi, so I added them. I used a ciabatta baguette for my bread. This was sooooo good. In the words of Blossom's brother Joey, I give this sandwich a "Whoa!"
I also tried Mayim's Hummus. I had a potluck to go to a few weeks back, and the folks are all omnis. Nothing goes over better with a mixed crowd than hummus. Mayim's recipe is basic (just chickpeas, oil, lemon, tahini, garlic), but she gives ideas for add-ins. I kept it simple and stuck with the recipe. And then I served it with fresh rosemary and olive oil bread from the Kroger bakery. The hummus was lovely, and since I used a giant hunk of elephant garlic, mine was super-duper garlicky.
If you have young vegan kids, this book is perfect for you. But it's great for anyone looking for simple recipes with only a few (easy-to-find) ingredients.