Vegan Eats World Review & Giveaway

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway!When I saw Terry Hope Romero speak at Vida Vegan Con last year, she said that when she’s looking for inspiration in cooking, she ventures outside of the vegan realm. She reads non-vegan cookbooks, studies cuisines from other cultures, looks at restaurant trends and cooking shows. By examining what other people are doing in the world of food, she can take it and put her own vegan spin on it.

Her cookbook, Vegan Eats World, is the perfect example of that philosophy. The cookbook, which came out in 2012, offers a wealth of global options to the tune of 300 recipes. With each recipe she asks, “What if this was a vegan world? How would a culture’s traditional flavors translate to plant-based fare? Sometimes it’s a natural fit with things like vegetable heavy Ethiopian stews and sometimes it takes creative license with things like gyro-roasted seitan.

Her philosophy has certainly benefitted me. One thing I’ve appreciated about Terry’s work over the years is not only that she creates such interesting, multi-dimensional recipes but also that I feel like I get an education in other food traditions. Plus, her cookbooks consistently deliver amazing, restaurant-quality recipes that have expanded my cooking repertoire and my spice rack.

I was a recipe tester for Vegan Eats World, and so it has been a cookbook I’ve been using in one form or another for years now. So when the publisher, Da Capo Press, contacted me about a review of the new soft cover release, I felt more than equipped to handle it! (They are also offering a copy of the book to one lucky reader at the end of this post!)

The cover is different from the hardcover original, but otherwise, everything else inside has stayed the same. It is still loaded with lots of big, colorful photos of mouthwatering food.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (Sauerkraut & Mushroom soup)For the purpose of a review, it seemed like a good excuse to make some of the recipes that have been on my “must try” list since the hardcover book came out. Number one on that list was Sauerkraut Mushroom soup (ShChi). I am an enormous sauerkraut fan, but I had never experienced sauerkraut in soup form. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this Russian-inspired dish!

Terry recommends using high-quality sauerkraut sold in jars in the refrigerated section for this recipe, and so I opted for my favorite sauerkraut from Gold Mine. Even after cooking, I knew it would keep its crunch. The soup is made with mushrooms, leeks, carrots, and celery in a vegetable broth with white wine. I had a chance to use a lot of forgotten spices from my spice rack like caraway seeds and marjoram.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (ShChi - Sauerkraut Mushroom Soup)This soup was well balanced with a mix of flavors that reminded me of drinking a reuben. It was topped with sour dilly cream made from non-dairy yogurt, Vegenaise, garlic, and dill, which added a creamy, cool brightness to the soup. If you’d like to try it yourself, the ShChi recipe is available on Post Punk Kitchen.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (Salad & Dukka)The next new-to-me recipe was for Toasted Hazelnut Crunch Dip (Dukka). I’ve had Dukka in the past, most memorably used as a topping on one of the most delicious hummus platters I’ve ever tasted. Dukka is an Egyptian blend of roasted nuts and toasted spices. I remember how it added a nutty extra dimension to the creamy spread.

The only thing that had kept me from making it was that it seemed a bit involved for something that was only going to be used as a topping. It’s typically served with extra virgin olive oil as a dipping sauce for bread. The recipe involves roasting whole hazelnuts, removing their skins, toasting spices like cumin, fennel, coriander, and caraway, and then grinding them with smoked salt.

After one bite, I was immediately kicking myself for waiting this long to make it! This recipe was so worth the effort, and it makes 1 ½ cups of dukka, which is enough to last a very long time. I had to go back again and again for one more bite of the salty, crunchy mix of varied flavors and spices.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway (Cashew feta)I served it with one of my Vegan Eats World favorites. This Greek Village Salad with Cashew Faux Feta (Horiatiki Salad) is one that I make fairly regularly, particularly in the summer. It’s a tomato and cucumber salad that is topped with raw cashews that have marinated in lemon juice, vinegar, olive brine, minced garlic, and spices. I often make the cashew feta on its own for topping salads. Along with its marinating brine, it makes for a delicious alternative to standard dressing. While it’s not similar in texture to animal-based feta, it has a bite and tang that makes me want to grab a spoon and eat it all on its own. (And yes, I have been known to sneak bites straight out of the refrigerator.)

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - Review & Giveaway!  (gyro seitan)To finish off the salad, I made the gyro-roasted seitan.  It is another beloved recipe in the book.  In addition to being terrific on salad, it’s wonderful in a pita or tortilla wrap with cucumbers and tomatoes or served with roasted lemony potatoes.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - Review & giveaway!As a big fan of all things tangy and garlicky, I fell for hard for this seitan that was roasted with lemon juice, white wine, six cloves of garlic, and spices. It filled the house with so many mouthwatering aromas and made it smell amazing. (I used the white seitan from Viva Vegan for this dish. Not only was it the first seitan I ever made from scratch, it’s also a totally foolproof recipe. I’ve made it many, many times over the years, and it always comes out like a dream.)

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (scrambled chickpea eggs)Finally, I made but’echa. I’d heard great things about the Fluffy Scrambled Chickpea “Eggs” with Shallots from lots of other bloggers. So I was eager to add it to a platter of Ethiopian wots with injera. (The other wots on this platter are from Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian.) I’d never made but’echa before, and so it was totally new to me.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (scrambled chickpea eggs)I had a bit of user error as the recipe involves toasting chickpea flour, removing it from a skillet, then using the same skillet to sauté shallots and chilies with niter kibbeh (infused oil), and finally emptying the skillet again to make a polenta-like mixture with chickpea flour, water, and lemon juice. Our stovetop runs very hot, and after all of that use, the skillet was so warm that the water cooked down immediately and the flour made a very thick roux. I added more water to the skillet, but was left more or less with cooked chickpea dough balls. The flavor was still fine, but I don’t feel like I got an authentic experience of what this recipe is like. I plan on trying it again in the future and switching out skillets when it comes time to make the chickpea flour mixture, so that there is time for the flour to be fully absorbed.

Some of my other favorite recipes in Vegan Eats World include:

The Savory Baked Tofu is my one of my top choices for Asian stir-fries. Pineapple Fried Rice with a Thai Kick is a fabulous restaurant-quality recipe that is also terrific with rice noodles instead of rice. (Just toss the noodles with a smidge of sesame oil after draining to avoid clumping.) The seitan tibs simmered in berbere and wine (seitan tibs w’et) is full of richness and umami and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at an Ethiopian restaurant. The Artichoke Skillet Paella with Chorizo Tempeh Crumbles was also a big hit at our house.

These items are still high on my to-make list:

Preserved lemons, potato pierogies with fried onions, yogurt naan griddle bread, steamed barbecue seitan buns (char siu seitan bao), scrambled tofu breakfast bahn mi, French socca, and crispy plantains with chocolate mole dip.

One final note, several people have mentioned having difficulty finding recipes in the index. A person on the Post Punk Kitchen forum made an expanded version of the index that is good for referring to or even for printing out and keeping in the book for easier searching.  (You’ll have to scroll down just a bit to see where to download.)

Would you like to get a copy of Vegan Eats World for yourself? Now is your chance!  Da Capo Press is offering one copy for readers in the U.S. Good luck!

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of Vegan Eats World for review, but the opinions are completely my own.  This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

Congrats to Kelly G. for winning the Everyday Vegan Eats Giveaway!

Ethiopian Wots from Vegan Eats World

As Vegan Mofo was drawing to a close, one of the things that excited me the most was thinking about cracking open some of my newest cookbooks.  At the top of the list – Vegan Eats World.  I’ve written about Terry Hope Romero’s last solo cookbook endeavor, Viva Vegan, many times over on my blog.  In fact, it’s gotten to the point that her name has become synonymous with “Mmm” in my house.  If I’m trying a new recipe and my husband asks who created it, and I say Terry Hope, he’s instantly counting down the minutes until dinner.

Living in a small town after spending many years in a food mecca means that our options have become considerably more limited restaurant-wise.  The downside to that is that I sometimes end up cooking when I’d much rather go out.  The upside to that is that I sometimes end up cooking when I’d much rather go out.  Over the time we’ve been here we’ve saved money by cooking at home, and I’ve become a better cook.  Things that I wouldn’t have bothered to learn how to do if I was still living in Los Angeles have become second nature.

Sometimes when I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner, my husband and I will play “what if.”  What if we were in Los Angeles?  Where would we go for dinner?  Then I base the evening’s meal on that particular craving.  There is one flaw in this game.  Nine times out of ten, David says that he’d eat at Rahel Ethiopian, the all-vegan restaurant in Little Ethiopia.  Well, hey, me too, but unless a person has made spice blends ahead of time and infused oil/vegan butter in preparation, it’s not exactly a quick meal.  (If you’d like to find out more about Rahel, you can read all about it on my review.)

So I took the opportunity when David was out of town for work last week to get started on the spice mix, infused oil, and stews (wots) while he was away.  I figured a home-cooked Ethiopian meal would be a fun surprise when he returned.

First, I followed the recipe in Vegan Eats World for the berbere spice blend, which involved cutting open cardamom pods to use the seeds from inside, toasting cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, and cloves, and grinding it with other spices in the coffee grinder.  (I cut back on the cloves to two instead of six, because I’m not crazy about them.)  In the end I had two standard-sized spice jars filled with berbere for future use!

To make infused oil (niter kibbeh), onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, and cloves went into a pan with oil & vegan butter.  After releasing the flavors into the oil, the contents of the pan are poured through a metal strainer, leaving just the flavorful oil behind.  The oil keeps in the refrigerator for months, meaning that the next time a Rahel urge strikes, I can run to the kitchen instead of  the computer to look up airplane ticket prices.

Terry has several Ethiopian recipes in VEW, and one of them, Cauliflower and Green Beans in Berbere Sauce, is open to variations.  While it’s listed as using green beans and cauliflower, it can be made with any combination of collard greens, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, or carrots.  I decided to make that dish twice – once with collard greens and once with cauliflower and carrots.  It came together easily with all of those signature Ethiopian spices.

For a third stew, I made Seitan Tibs simmered in berbere and wine (seitan tibs w’et).  This dish is made with seitan coriander cutlets, which I steamed instead of baking.  I’d never had anything like this dish at an Ethiopian restaurant since it’s based on a meat dish.  With lots of spices and a long simmer with red wine, this dish has flavors that are reminiscent of French cuisine but with an Ethiopian twist.  Both David and I were blown away by the deep, rich, and complex flavors.  This is a dish that impresses.

For the injera to scoop the wots, I made the injera from Vegan Lunch Box that I’ve made several times, but there is an Ethiopian-style crepe recipe in Vegan Eats World, along with a few more Ethiopian dishes to try in the future.  After stuffing ourselves with injera & wots we were almost transported to Little Ethopia, and we didn’t even have to fight traffic on the 405!  Next step, figure out how to grow my own sun-drenched beaches, palm trees, and mountains, and I’ve got it made!

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