Author Archives: lacy j. davis

Cooking For A Vegan Lover’s cookbook club: Veganomican Recipe #1 – Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing

Admittedly, I tend to take on too much. As I sit here, at the end of my first week of the second term of graduate school,  contemplating whether or not it is appropriate to use a dirty kitchen towel as a snot rag and starting to prepare my first recipe review for Cooking For A Vegan Lover’s Cookbook Club I know: I have a very precarious balance of things going on, and it is possible that this one tiny little added thing (the commitment to carefully follow a set of directions written by someone else and review the outcome) might just be the thing that forces me to fall into the abyss of productivity and never come back.

Alas! I could not resist. I love vegan cookbooks, I can spend hours perusing the culinary isles of a book store thinking of the possibilities. I have the propensity to make substitutions in my ingredients based on what I have on hand, or to add spices based on my tastes (namely, more salt, bragg’s liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, cumin, and sriracha) but to me there is something both scientific and fancy about letting someone else do the dictation. It inspires a leap of trust in the process of creation-something I am not entirely used to but have grown to relish.

The first book on the queue is Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomicon. This is perhaps an obvious choice  as the sheer size of this behemoth of a cookbook gives it a seminal  Joy Of Cooking feel but it is not the size of the book alone that gives it it’s reputation. Isa’s recipes (in my experience) are almost without fail. It is clear that she actually tests each one, and that there is care and attention to detail in the creation. Each recipe is approached with consideration and flair. Despite the fact that I hate to flock with the masses, I must say: Moskowitz is one of the best vegan cookbook authors I have invited into my kitchen. Of course, there are less obvious choices, but this certainly makes sense as a start.

I wanted to approach a recipe that I could produce using primarily local and seasonal ingredients. I tend to love salad at all times of year but sometimes the bite of a cold vegetable chills me to my core and leaves me feeling cold for the duration of the day. For this reason Isa’s Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing really caught my eye.  It was still a salad packed with greens but also had the added benefits of a starch (sweet potatoes in this case) and a warm dressing. I knew I had to try it.

I had red onions on hand but no shallots, which presented a bit of a challenge. Usually I will say “Feh! What’s the difference?!” and use what I have, but in an attempt to glean some sort of accuracy I acquiesced. I bit the bullet and went to the grocery store. With a new shallot purchase in hand I forged on: this recipe must be made in it’s entirety!

 

 

 

First, the instructions asked to prepare the beets by roasting them whole for an hour or so and then letting them cool to slice. The sweet potatoes were prepared by slicing and boiling. Both the beets and potatoes came out lacking a little something that I think could only be textural. The lack of oil used made the textures all blend together. My advice is to slice the potatoes and beets together, (1/2 inch slices should work), to spray with olive oil, and roast them in the oven. This would take a ton of time off of the recipe (sliced beets roast incredibly quickly, whole beets not so much), reduce dishes, and add some crisp to parts of the potato for more textural variety.

The dressing was a warm amalgamation of dried fig, white wine, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and spices. The result was incredibly rich, and offset the bitterness of the greens well. One caveat: the amounts called for in the recipe produced a relatively insane amount of dressing. I found that putting the leftovers on sandwiches,or boiling the mix in a big pot of lentils made for creative culinary exploration with what was left but one could easily half the recipe and do without the experimentation. The flavors are so strong that a little really does go a long way.

 

 

 

All in all, the premise of the recipe is simple: roast veggies, chill, simmer dressing, blend, mix together and I found myself a bit surprised that I had critiques when it came to the outcome of the taste. A few things I will say: The layout and instructions were very clear and concise, the ingredients were simple to find, the final product was satisfying to snack on. A bit of streamlining in the process of roasting could help exponentially as it would take this recipe from being a delightful seasonal accompaniment to any meal to  FAST delightful seasonal accompaniment to any meal. I would certainly make this recipe again but next time I will add my own techniques into the mix. A little Sriracha on top wouldn’t hurt either.

 


Recipe here.

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TIME MANAGEMENT FOR ANARCHISTS.

A paradox: As radicals we find that a forty hour a week office job simply will not meet our desires for passion, for organization that is of the utmost importance, for creativity, or for a desire to create a love of what we do.  We resist corporate culture in order to focus on our own projects and yet for me, a malaise tends to occur. It’s true, I don’t want a boss but I absolutely need accountability. Thus, time management for anarchist meetings are born.

With the intention to inspire and encourage, we meet weekly to outline goals, hone focus, and retain accountability to our causes and our peers. Whether discussing training schedules, meal plans, press relations, creative endeavors, or academic goals – we meet, we outline, and we move forward. For the love of our precious time and the community we intend to serve a dedication to productivity thrives!

Here is proof:

Matt works best in a Christmas themed onesie.

Credit for the idea goes to the comic Time Management For Anarchists!

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Tofu Sauce

[This is the first post- of many!- by Lacy J. Davis. She’ll be a regular contributor to True Love Health. She’s got a lot of great things to say about food, health, veganism, exercise and adventure. You should be as excited as me to read what she has to say! -Matt]

I am weird about food. This is a fact that many of my friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and acquaintances have noticed and commented on and one that becomes painfully apparent in social and business food situations alike. I am vegan, I am allergic to wheat, but most notably-I am picky. It’s just a fact.

There are very few restaurants that I rave about. I consider myself quite the epicurean and delight in many aspects of creating my own meals. Most of my meals are calculated. A balance of protein, carbs, fats, and vegetables is acquired; a variety of colors, shapes and textures are represented; and an attention to the origins of my ingredients is finely honed. While eating at restaurants can be a wonderful sensory experience, it also can stand as a painful reminder: how often have I paid too much for a plate of food that lacks love in its preparation, uses lifeless produce (if any at all) and leaves me with a full belly but a bored palate? While I have learned that relinquishing control of the exact size and shape of my meals can be beneficial, I still much prefer to imbue my meal with a certain attention before it is consumed. I rarely stray from my home at meal time but when it comes to my out – of – the – house foods of choice I will go to great lengths to acquire them.

Matt compromises with me when it comes to my food particularities. As a result, on his recent birthday adventure (a 50-mile round trip bike ride to Redondo Beach) he suggested dining at The Green Temple . This is a place that is pretty suited to my tastes (a focus on whole foods and a balanced plate) and despite being a bit more expensive than we would like, it boasts a little something that we could not help but love: a delightful side known as tofu sauce.

While the name of this delectable treat may sound like a joke- “What do vegans eat?! Rocks and tofu sauce all day?!” – the taste is anything but. It is creamy, cheesy, alfredo-y. It is simple, savory, satiating, delightful. I couldn’t exactly place why I loved this delicious cream that covered my steamed vegetables and baked potato lunch so much but one thing was certain- I did.

My tofu sauce experience took place in September, and when I returned to Southern California this December a bike ride to the tofu sauce temple of the world was at the top of my to-do list. Many factors stood in my way: The sky clouded over and misted. Matt grimaced at a 50-mile bike ride for sauce in crappy weather. (I would have done it, I swear to God!) Despite my taste buds’ desires I knew that the stormy winter season of LA (a horrible week long affair!) had won this time. I’d have to make the sauce on my own.

A quick search for “tofu sauce recipe – Green Temple” produced this recipe:

  • 3/4C Almond or Safflower oil
  • 3/4C Water
  • 1/4C Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 2T Brewer’s Yeast
  • 1/4t Kelp Powder
  • 1/4t Spike Seasoning
  • 1/4t Basil
  • 1/8t granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2t lemon juice
  • 1 1/2t wheat-free Tamari
  • 16 oz firm tofu, rinsed well

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Serve warm or cold over anything.

(I especially loved the suggestion to serve this sauce over anything. SO right on.)

I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t have kelp seasoning on hand. and ¾ cup of oil seemed a little extreme. I modified:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 3/4C Water
  • 1/4C + 1.5 t wheat free soy sauce
  • 2T nutritional Yeast
  • ½ t Zatar Seasoning (I figured, it was around so why not?!)
  • 1/4t Basil
  • 1/8t granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2t lemon juice
  • 28 oz firm tofu, rinsed well

You may notice that I nearly doubled the tofu recommendation and halved the liquid. This google search induced recipe was so thin it was like water! My Alfredo equivalent could never be so skimpy.

My final verdict: my sauce was just as decadent and divine as the original. While I didn’t get the benefit of a nice ride in, I did avoid the weird cold sweat that occurs when pushing the bike hard in damp weather. I added steamed veggies and a baked potato to the mix just like the original and probably saved about 80% of the price by making this healthy wholesome meal at home. Not only that- I also got to eat seconds.

(Yup, That’s a full block of tofu in a blender. Now all of your non-vegan friends can laugh at us.)

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