Aye ya! I can’t believe it’s taken me all of summer and most of autumn to get this cookbook review up. Back when the summer season was new and full of potential laid-back days, I received from the publisher a review copy of the updated 10th anniversary edition of Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
I was so excited to cook from the new version as I never got around to trying the original version, I was off to a strong start only to petered out as the days got longer and now shorter. And so here we are, better late than never.
The first recipe I tried is the Corn Chowder page 58, when fresh corn overran the farmer’s market (frozen corn would work as well). I got a loaf of bread to soak up all the corny goodness. Then I wished I had gotten a round loaf to make a bread bowl, it’s certainly thick enough for it. Since I’m not a fan of bell peppers, I sub out the red bell pepper for a couple of celery stalks.
As I always seem to gravitate towards Asian flavors, it’s no surprise I made the Asian-style variation of Scrambled Tofu page 13. Plus it means I can have breakfast for dinner, just by topping white rice with the tofu scramble and serving with a side of quickly stir-fried Chinese greens.
I like curry. I like tempeh. I like mango. But I never thought to combine all of them into Curried Tempeh-Mango Salad Sammiches, page 102. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the flavors meshed together.
Once upon a time, I tried making pad thai at home. It was just okay, for years afterwards, I resigned myself to only eating it in Thai restaurants. So it’s high time to give it another shot. Even though the Brooklyn Pad Thai page 189 is not authentic, it’s just as good. Even better than at a restaurant as I can put whatever I want in it, like more than two pieces of broccoli and no worries about fish sauce.
I managed to find the last of the asparagus for the season at the local farmer’s market to make Green Garden Puree page 146. So refreshing and light. I used as a dip but it’s also delicious as a filling or topping.
I didn’t initially plan on trying another noodle dish. But seeing that I still have quite a few stalks of lemongrass leftover from making the Brooklyn Pad Thai, I made the Lemongrass Noodle Bowl with Mock Duck, page 177. The broth is one of the better ones I’ve tried, pack full of flavor, I could just sip it as a drink. For the mock duck, there’s a recipe in the cookbook to make your own seitan or use the canned mock duck found in Asian supermarkets. I went with the canned, I’m lazy like that.
Of all the recipes I’ve tried so far, my favorite is the Brooklyn Pad Thai which the publisher has generously shared below. Don’t be like me and take ten years before giving the recipe or the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance a try.
Brooklyn Pad Thai
1 pound rice noodles
For the sauce:
6 tablespoons tamari
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sriracha
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate or freshly squeezed lime juice
For the pad thai:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 medium-size red onion, cut into thin half-moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass
2 cups bean sprouts
8 scallions, sliced into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 small dried red chiles, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges for serving
Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions. Run them under cold water to cool completely.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce.
Begin cooking the pad thai: Heat a large, nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil into the pan and heat, then quickly add the tofu. Stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until the tofu is crisp on the outside. Remove from pan and set aside.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil into the pan and sauté the red onion for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and lemongrass, and stir-fry for 30 more seconds. Add the sauce and, when it starts to bubble (should bubble within a few seconds), add the noodles. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, and chiles. Stir for 30 more seconds. Transfer to serving plates and garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.
From the book Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2015.
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