PPK Cookbook Challenge – Vegan Diner

Image from Amazon

 

 

 

I’ve been told you should never apologise for blogging absences or poor photos so I won’t do either. I have been cooking but lots of testers and repeats, and my love hate relationship with my camera is rapidly turning into a hate hate one.
Anyway, I decided to join in with the PPK Spring Cookbook Challenge to spur me on to use some neglected cookbooks and to give me an incentive to get back into blogging. The aim is to try and cook 6 dishes from each book, which were chosen by a highly elaborate voting system. I jumped in a few weeks into the challenge with Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson. I’ve had the book since it came out and like many of my books, I had an initial flurry of cooking with it but it’s been sitting on my shelves ever since.
I started the challenge with the jambalaya, which I’ve had pencilled in for a long time.

It was very easy to make and made loads, so it’d be great for a crowd or when you need leftovers. We ate it for lunch for a good few days, and it stayed tasty. I used the top amount of Creole seasoning and it gave it a good level of heat. It was so easy that I had time to whip up a side of spiced roast cauliflower to serve alongside it.

Next up – biscuits and gravy. I used to make them quite a lot using various recipes, mostly from Vegan Brunch. They aren’t eaten inĀ  this country at all, so I’d forgotten about them until my recent trip to Chicago, where we ate a superb version. I really don’t know why we haven’t embraced them as a nation as they’re an excellent breakfast.


I tried hard not to overwork the dough for the biscuits but I think I must have because they didn’t rise much and were a bit dense and tough. The gravy though was superb, lovely and savoury and rich and I’ll certainly make it again. Others with a lighter hand then mine may enjoy the biscuits but I’ll try another recipe next time.

The next recipes I chose for the challenge were the Greek tofu scramble with the breakfast potatoes. I had them in the evening but they wouldn’t be too difficult to knock up on a bleary eyed morning.


Neither recipe is anything revolutionary but they worked together very well. I find it hard to dislike tofu scramble in any form and this one is very tasty – I especially liked the kalamatas and spinach in it. The potatoes were crispy with tasty bits of browned potatoes and garlic.

Finally I made the smoky soy curls. I’ve used soy curls a few times before and never found them especially thrilling but this recipe gets so many rave reviews that I decided to have a go at it. My favourite way to eat almost anything is in a sandwich so I threw them in between 2 slices of lightly toasted bread with mayo, spinach and tomato. They were very easy to prepare and I liked the texture a lot but I could definitely taste the soy through the flavourings and it wasn’t very pleasant. These weren’t bad but I wouldn’t make them again. I think that’s more about my dislike of soy curls than the recipe though as everyone else seems to love them.

Incidentally, you can just about see why my husband complains so much about my bread slicing technique!

So that’s 6 new recipes tried for this challenge with generally good results. Previous recipes I’ve tried are: chilli, smoky mountain cheese and garlic dill bread, sloppy Joes, onion rings, horseradish potato salad and smoky potato scramble. I still want to try some of the seitans, especially the pastrami style. I like this book, nothing I’ve made is earth shattering but it’s very reliable, the recipes aren’t complicated and the results are good. I’m definitely looking forward to Julie’s pizza book when it’s released too.
Next the cookbook challenge moves on to Chloe Coscarelli’s two books. Unsurprisingly I don’t have the dessert one but I’ll be picking out some more savoury recipes from the first book, and hopefully blogging about them!

Food Network Friday – Bacon corn muffins with savoury cream cheese frosting

This choice was partly from me and partly Tami. She was casting around for ideas and I suggested a muffin, because it fitted in with her new project and because I don’t bake enough and need prodding.

I’m not confident enough to freewheel when it comes to baking, so I cast around the internet for ideas. I was partly thinking that I’d do some version of the cornbread in Veganomicon, because I know I like it, and I found that someone else had already done it.
I added in some bacon bits and smoked paprika to the dry mix, but something went wrong because the mix was not at all the right texture going into the oven. It was much too firm but I couldn’t add more liquid because the polenta had absorbed the rest and was a lump. I didn’t have any more ingredients so I put them in the oven anyway.

I was quite prepared to throw them away and started to look around for something else to serve with the chilli, but they came out not as badly as I’d feared – not a soft moist muffin, more like a rock cake, but edible with a faint hint of smokiness. I wish I’d stuck with my initial preference and done a version of the corn muffins from Vegan Bakesale, but I live with a corn hater. For the frosting, I used sour cream which I flavoured with chopped green onion ends, hot sauce, agave and a few more bacon bits. It was loose so I just drizzled it on top.

The chilli in the background is from Vegan Diner. I hadn’t made this version before and I liked it. It went from a pile of ingredients to being dished up in about 20 minutes, and was a nice tasty dish to serve up with the rock cakes muffins.