What a cool book!
I was so delighted to receive a review copy of Miyoko Schinner's latest title: The Homemade Vegan Pantry. Miyoko is just amazing -- you all know that her yogurt recipe from her last book Artisan Vegan Cheese, absolutely changed my vegan life. I always have a double batch of that yogurt on hand in my fridge. I've also made and loved many of the cheeses and other recipes from AVC. And Miyoko is also the force behind those beautiful vegan cheeses from Miyoko's Creamery -- we got to sample all of them at the VidaVeganCon, which was such a joy. The boxes are beautiful, and the cheeses are even more amazing. (I've got a post about her cheeses coming up soon) At VVC, I attended a really thought-provoking panel called "The New Vegan Economy" -- a term that Miyoko had coined. Miyoko was one of the speakers on the panel and it was positively inspiring to hear her talk about her vision for changing the world through the highest quality of vegan products. GO, Miyoko!!
The Homemade Vegan Pantry is an absolutely beautiful book -- it's laid out perfectly, the font is beautiful, the paper quality is great... There aren't pictures for every recipe, but the pictures that are in the book are gorgeous and motivating. The array of recipes inside is staggering and will fill you with waves of DIY enthusiasm. Sauces and condiments, salad dressings, cheeses and yogurt, soup and broth concentrates, loads of seitan recipes, baking mixes, and MORE. In addition to all these amazing pantry staples like Butterless Butter, Homemade Pancake & Biscuit Mix, and Tomato Skin Pesto ~ there are also many recipes throughout the book to put these homemade elements to use.
I am so stoked to have this book as a reference in my vegan cookbook library. In many cases, I will turn to this book for help making vegan substitutions that are not easily purchased (like Vegan Fish Sauce, Almond Feta, or White Chocolate). Other recipes just seem really fun to try making at home: such as Dijon Mustard, Not-tella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, or Peppy Unpepperoni. And in plenty of other cases, I'll turn to this book for delicious meal ideas: Cream of Broccoli Soup Concentrate, Roasted Tomato Risotto, and Unribs. Plus, the joys of the desserts chapter!
Nineteen veggie burger patties. Long since gone! Time for another batch
The Real BurgerThis was the first recipe I tried from The Homemade Vegan Pantry. It had been a while since I'd made homemade veggie burgers, summer was here, and I was in the mood. I didn't really realize that the recipe said it would make 18 patties before I got started ... but I actually got 19 out of it! The recipe came together easily and quickly (especially since I cheated and bought the pre-cooked brown rice from Trader Joes: in direct violation of the homemade ethos of this book). The burgers are packed full with every known vegan source of umami: tomato paste, miso, mushrooms, and so on!
Yummers wants that corn.
I had my parents over for burgers and corn, and we all enjoyed the burgers! Because the patties are already baked in the oven, they just require a simple re-heating in the pan before serving. I simply panfried them with a tiny spritz of oil and a dash of salt and pepper. The patties were quite delicate the day I made them, but I found that they held together much better in the days after. I guess that's often true with seitan-y things (these have wheat gluten in them too), that they firm up after some time in the fridge or freezer.
Fortunately, there were many patties left over, so I froze them, and slowly enjoyed them for easy, tasty, satisfying lunches.
Canadian Yuba "Bacon"Yowza! This is by far the most exciting and interesting vegan bacon I've ever had -- and I MADE IT! How cool is that?? Once I'd made the yuba (see further below), the rest of this process came together very quickly and easily. I just panfried my marinated yuba strips with a tiny bit of spray oil, and they still came out perfectly. Just like Miyoko says in the recipe, the texture of the yuba really lends itself to a bacon substitute, because it is a little bit thick, a bit chewy, and then the cooked bits had some crunch. This was SO fun to eat. I made it on the 4th of July when my parents came over for dinner... and I just happened to have only 4 veggie burger patties left in my freezer. So...
Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger
I present you with one of the most delicious things EVER. This was a homemade Real Burger patty cooked with a slice of the Tomato Cayenne Chao Cheese from Field Roast, plus the homemade yuba bacon, plus a giant slice of heirloom tomato, caramelized AND raw red onion, crunchy lettuce... and a too-small bun that was just barely up to this monumental task. We all love love love love loved this meal so much that I am already going to have to make more burgers and more yuba bacon. I declare this my official meal of Summer 2015. I was quiet delighted with myself.
Veggie Burger Fixin's
At Miyoko's suggestion, I also caremelized a huge red onion (in that little white bowl) and that was a great flavor contribution to the burgers. Don't all the burger goodies look beautiful and summery?
Fresh Yuba (Tofu Skin)
Before I could make that amazing bacon, first I had to make the yuba. I've had store-bought yuba before, and I really love it... but I had no idea it would be so easy to make. It was really fun and weird (and time consuming!). You have to wait patiently while the thin skin forms on top of the barely simmering pan of soymilk (picture #2) This is a good time to read or goof off on instagram or do something else in the kitchen; then you carefully remove each newly formed yuba sheet and pile it on top of the others (picture #3 - wild looking!!). For the bacon, I folded my stack of yuba in half again (picture #4) for more substantive strips before soaking them in the marinade.
What fun! I used to be a real feta fan - and since it's been about 15+ years since I've had any feta cheese, I was really eager to try this recipe! It was really easy to make - and the recipe is already posted up online over here at Nava Atlas's blog. I made a half-batch and set my cheese up in a loaf pan rather than an 8x8" dish. I got four good slabs of cheese out of it (as you can see, one of them is already missing from this picture!)
I tasted the feta after a few days in the fridge and found it much too salty - I think maybe because I had made a half batch. So, I poured out about half the brine and added extra water to dilute it. A few days later, I tasted the feta again and it was much more to my liking. My husband tasted it too and suggested using some brine from a jar of capers for extra tang, which was a great idea. That really added some nice flavor to the feta!
tomato & cucumber salad with fetaI used some of my feta on this beautiful salad, and many other salads like it. I love having a smooth, rich and salty cheese to add to salads like this. And the joy of having made the feta myself and knowing just what's in it!
spanikopitaI also used some of my homemade feta in this glorious spanikopita that I made last weekend with my pal. (That delicious dinner has a separate post coming soon!) The feta was an absolutely lovely contribution to the stupendous filling we made, and I would definitely use it again. I have one and a half pieces of my feta left, and I want to think of something special to do with them. Any suggestions?
Cultured Butterless Butter
I also made a batch of the Butterless Butter - which is made with refined coconut oil and a few other ingredients. There are a few variations offered in the book, and I decided to use some of my homemade yogurt and make the cultured Butterless Butter. It's really nice on toast - though I think next time I will add a little bit more salt, since I like my butter a bit more salty. I also look forward to using this baked goods - both from this book and other books. As you can see, I made it in small silicone cupcake molds. These are really easy to pop out and wash, and also then I have the butter already portioned into more manageable sizes. It put one in the fridge, and all the others in the freezer - awaiting future baking projects!
GIVEAWAYGreat news! Miyoko's publishers at Ten Speed Press are letting me offer a copy of this wonderfully unique book to one lucky reader in the U.S. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment here on this blog post and let me know about some thing that you love to make from scratch at home, or something you've only ever made from scratch once, or something you've always wanted to try making at home but have yet to tackle.
I'll pick a winner one week from today, on Friday July 31st.