Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Veganism 101

I'm hoping lots of folks are pledging to go vegan this year. New Year's resolution time is the perfect opportunity for making the switch, but there's a learning curve for sure. So many new vegans ask me for advice, either in person or through emails or Facebook. And I LOVE giving vegan advice.

But as much as I love dishing out tips, it's hard to know where to start. I don't want to leave anything out. Veganism is easy if you have the right tools and some background basics. But what if someone is starting totally from scratch? There are a number of great books I always recommend — Becoming Vegan, The Vegan Sourcebook, and Colleen Patrick Goudreau's 30-Day Vegan Challenge program (used to be a book, but now it's only online).

But now I have another book in my newbie vegan advice arsenal — The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living. They sent me this book in a bundle with the Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Slow Cooking, which I reviewed a couple days ago. It's also by Beverly Lynn Bennett with co-author Ray Sammartano.

The book is primarily a reference book with info on dairy and egg alternatives, dining out, how to shop for vegan food, nutrition, and myths and misconceptions. There's even a section on what to do when your non-vegan friends invite you to dinner. But there are a few recipes in the back of the book. So I flipped through and found two must-makes — Baked Seitan Roast and Groovy Onion Gravy:

The seitan roast is a basic wheat gluten loaf that's seasoned with onions and garlic and herbs. It's baked in a broth until the liquid is absorbed. Damn tasty. The gluten was a tad tougher than I'm used to, so next time, I'd probably throw in a little chickpea flour for a more tender texture. But still very delicious! And it makes a ton. I sliced the loaf into 14 pieces and froze half of them. They can be served as steaks, as shown here. But you could also dice this up for a pizza or stir-fry.

The gravy was AMAZING!!! Onions are sauteed and then seasoned with veggie broth, nutritional yeast, sage, and other spices. And it also makes a ton. I froze half of my gravy too!

I served the seitan loaf on my new Vegan Dish plate from Jeanette Zeis!! Check out her store on Etsy (but she's on vacay until January 4th)! Also on the plate are vegan mac & cheese made with the Instant Mac & Cheese Mix from Vegan Food Gifts and some sauteed kale that my Granny hand-picked earlier this year, blanched, froze, and gifted to me.

Anyway, back to the book. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living is excellent for new vegans. So if you know anyone giving up meat this January, this might be the perfect gift. The info is good sound advice and the recipes (tempeh sausage and gravy, spicy red bean burgers, New York-style tofu cheesecake, etc.) are simple and delicious!

1 comment:

tamara said...

Bianca - this is kind of random and maybe weird, but I was in Powell's and got to look through your cookbook for the first time. I was so excited to get to read your intro section and flip through the gorgeous photos and tasty-sounding recipes; I've been reading for a long time and I know how hard you worked to develop your recipes and then market the book! Anyway, I just thought it was awesome to finally see it in all its glory. Happy New Year! Hope your cleanse goes well, you inspired me to try one as well!