Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kim Cooks Veg 4U Blog and MoFo

Hello! I have not yet figured out how to point this blog to the new blogs at

So please come over to the new home of my blog and become a follower there. This month is Vegan MoFo and I will be posting and giving away many cook books this month to my blog followers. I want to make sure those of you who have been following me here will follow me at the new blog and have lots of chances to win vegan cookbooks!!!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blogger Badness - Moved the Blog

Hey Guys. Hope you are having a great weekend so far. Blogger is having a seriously inconvenient issue with their DNS server. If you can see the blog, you are lucky. I have started a new and revamped blog at

Please join me over there for future posts!! Thanks for your understanding.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blog Tour: Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson

I'm excited to be doing my first blog tour! The kind folks at Harvard Common Press invited me to host a stop on the Blog Tour for Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker. Not only am I going to tell you about the book, you will also have a chance to win your very own copy. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post, so make sure to make it all the way to the end.


The first thing that struck me when I received my copy was the beautiful cover. Pictures speak more than a thousand words when it comes to food. The tacos on the front cover made me want to tear into the book. The only other pictures were on the back cover. I do wish there were more pictures because I totally love to drool over my cook books.

Robin Robertson is no stranger the cook book scene. She has written many wonderful vegetarian and vegan cook books. Her experience shows in her writing and organizational style. I've been cooking for decades. But I have to admit, my use of the slow cooker was pretty limited. Using the slow cooker was usually reserved for cooking beans. Robin teaches us that this was the first modern day slow cooker was developed specifically for cooking beans.

The first part of the book is full of tidbits and information on just about everything you need to know about using and enjoying your slow cooker. She offers advice on learning the timing for your specific cooker (which can vary greatly from brand to brand), when to add spices and other ingredients for the best results, the best way to thicken liquids and even a nice reference for vegan proteins used in slow cooking. If you don't want to spend a lot of time reading, she has included highlight boxes for quick reference. Even this old cooking dog learned some new tricks reading the first few sections of her book. Robin has a knack for taking simple pantry friendly ingredients and creating pleasing and hearty dishes.

Now I mentioned earlier that my repertoire for the slow cooker was pretty limited. After reviewing Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker, I have a completely different outlook on the uses of the slow cooker. I can now "bake" cakes when it is 110 degrees outside without heating up my kitchen (no minor deal in Arizona). If you have had bad luck making your own seitan, I highly recommend trying it in the slow cooker. It is virtually fool-proof. Robin provides a basic and easy recipe on page 136 of the book. If you are busy or just like the idea of walking in after a long day and having dinner ready to go, this book is for you.

I tried four recipes, including the seitan I mentioned above. I have my eye on many more. I really want to take a crack at making my own home made catsup or maybe the Slow-Cooker Pho. Oh so many possibilities! Below are a few of the recipes I tried out this week.

Holy Mole Red Bean Chili (pg. 82)

Chili is the quintessential crock pot dish in my opinion. They just go together like peas and carrots to me. This is probably why I made it first. I made it with the TVP option.  It had a nice spice, but seemed to be missing something. I think I would use veggie broth instead of water with this option to add more depth to the flavor. The seitan (that Robin recommended using) probably would have added an added dimension of flavor this could have used. But on a whole it was homey and good. I loved the hint of heat and smokiness the chipotle provided. It was very filling as well. Not midday snacks were needed after a lunch of Holy Mole!

Grandmom Gennaro's Minestre (pg. 54)

Fred picked this one out. He is still on his very low carb regime (for 2 more weeks). I am proud of his accomplishments, but am looking forward to being able to cook beans, tofu, tempeh and seitan for him freely again. This recipe is chock full of veggies! The ingredient list is short and simple. I was able to get everything into the crock pot in about 20 minutes before going to work (this included sautéing the onions and garlic). My crock pot took quite a bit longer to cook this than the 6-7 hour time stated in the recipe, but as Robin points out in her tips, all Crock Pots are not created equal. Mine is an oldie, so it probably needs more time to get up to speed (or temperature in this case).

Apple Walnut Cake (pg 244)

This cake was very pantry friendly and easy to make. The batter was very thick with nice warm spices. I cooked it in my 4 quart round crock pot. Sadly the crock pot cooked very unevenly. One side got a bit burnt and the other side was not cooked enough. This is a good way to test your crock pot for even cooking. That said, even with the uneven cooking the cake was not a total loss. It was still pretty tasty and fairly moist. I am guessing it would be really good in a properly working crock pot. Fred has requested I make this again when he can eat carbs. He loved the flavors. I thought it was so cool to be able to bake a cake without turning on the oven!

So now dear readers it is time to talk about how to score your very own copy! It's simple really. First, if you are not already a follower of the Veg-in-Training blog, please become one, because to win the book you must be a follower of the blog. Easy peasy right? Then make a comment on this post by midnight MST today, September 8th, 2012. Make the post slow cooker related if you can (optional). That's all you have to do to enter. The winner will be selected at random and announced here tomorrow. Please make sure to check back tomorrow to see if you have won! Good luck!

***Sorry to all of the international readers, this one is for US residents only.***

Congratulations to #27 Ilene Klang!!

Ilene, you are the winner of Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker. Please contact me at vegintraining at g mail dot com with your mailing address so the publisher can mail you your copy. Congratulations. You are going to love all of the wonderful recipes. Happy slow cooking!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hatch Melt on Marbled Rye

Last night as I worked to bag and freeze my green gold (aka Hatch Chiles), my Food Saver took a dump. Tonight I got home to a brand new Food Saver (thank you Fred). Fred gallantly headed first to  Costco then Bed Bath and Beyond to find a replacement. Not only did he score, but the very nice cashier gave him the 20% discount even though he forgot his coupon. Nice!! We also had a $50 gift card from some of our lovely friends. What could have been a kitchen tragedy actually turned out to be an "up with people" moment.

When I arrived home tonight, I knew I had a bit of a task ahead of me. It was time to bag up those delicious spicy chiles. Before digging in, I felt the urge for a sandwich. Not just any I had scored some fabulous marbled rye yesterday. I love the stuff. This called for a melt. Not just your average every day melt. That would not do as I surveyed my giant pan of green chiles. This one would have to be a spicy melt. Here is how it went down...

First I thinly sliced some sweet onions. I tossed them into my iron skillet with a touch of oil and some Southwestern spices I had left over from who knows what. I then diced up a hatch chile and sauteed that along with the onions. Then some thin sliced seitan had to go in the pan and saute until just golden. The marble rye slices were sprayed with a bit of oil on one side. One slice went in oil side down. A couple of tablespoons of shredded Daiya went on to the bread. The seitan mixture was placed on top of that. Then I found just a smidge of some leftover sriracha vegannaise was dolloped on the stack. Next the last piece of bread. The melt was cooked until the bread was perfectly crunchy and golden brown. I don't have to tell you...well yes I do. The combination of the succulent filling, the ooey gooey Daiya, the spicy mayo and chiles perfectly complimented by the beautifully grilled bread was sheer joy! I love when bits of this and that turn into a great meal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hatch Chile Season is Upon Us

Every year it's the same thing. I get all tingly in the tummy and the tongue. My inner New Mexican comes to life and I anxiously await the coming of the Hatch Chiles like a child waiting for Santa. Well my friends, today was like Christmas morning. The Sprouts Markets in my neighborhood had the REAL Hatch Chiles from New Mexico for only $.69 per pound.

Fred heard a rumor that several of the local grocery stores were selling chiles grown in Mexico as "Hatch" chiles. Well anyone knows New Mexico Hatch chiles are grown from magical seeds in magical soil. The chiles we purchased were confirmed to be US, New Mexico grown. Score. Now for years I have been buying my chiles from a small market that roasted them for me, but sadly charging a rather outrageous price; a price I was more than willing to pay for my precious chiles. This year I bought them fresh. I had planned on roasting them on my grill when I remembered a random conversation I had with a co-worker/friend a while back. I remembered him saying he had a roaster. As luck would have it, he still had it and Fred picked it up from him this morning. What transpired was a fun night of roasting, enjoying a Mexican beer and some pool time. Oh yes, then there was the tacos!

Here they are waiting for me to throw them in the roaster.

Here is the roaster waiting for the chiles.

Perfecting my roasting technique. This needs to be an annual event/party!

Ready for packaging. We freeze 'em and use them all year long.

The first thing I decided to do with them? Tacos baby!!

Seitan Hatch Chile Tacos

Makes 8 tacos

Taco filling

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
2 large hot green chiles (preferably Hatch) roasted, peeled and diced (approx 1/3 cup)
8 oz seitan, diced small
1 tablespoon medium chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 cup water

8 crispy corn taco shells, prepared per package directions
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
1 large avocato, diced
Taco sauce or salsa of choice (I use Tapatio hot sauce)

In a 10 inch non-stick or iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and green chiles and saute until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add diced seitan and saute until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add all dried spices and agave nectar. Stir until well combined and saute until just fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add water. Simmer until liquid is gone, about 5-7 minutes. Turn heat off.

While taco filling is cooking, bake taco shells according to package directions. Add about 2-3 tablespoons taco mixture in each taco shell. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocados.   Sprinkle with hot sauce or salsa. You can also dollop some vegan sour cream on top if that's how you roll. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Free Cooking Class at Whole Foods 9/15/12

I'm super excited to announce a free cooking class and demonstration at Whole Foods Scottsdale.

This is my first time demonstrating at Whole Foods. They have a beautiful Wolf kitchen that is just waiting for me to whip up some vegan goodness. I'm ridiculously thrilled to have such a great opportunity.

The class will be held at 1pm on Saturday, September 15th. Space is limited to the first 50 people, so please reserve your spot soon. It's free, vegan and delicious, so I suspect it will fill up quickly. To reserve a spot, you can email Lisa at Whole foods or you can sign up at the Sub Zero/Wolf Kitchen Counter at 7111 E. Mayo Blvd.

**There is one item missing from the menu. I will be making Sloppy Chipotle Joses as well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review - Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day

First of all I must admit, I am a big fan of Tamasin Noyes author of Vegan Appetite blog and American Vegan Kitchen and have had the pleasure of testing for her on more than one occasion. I was excited when I learned it was a collaboration with Celine Steen of Have Cake Will Travel blog and co-author of 500 Vegan Recipes. I've enjoyed quite a few of her yummy recipes in the past. That said, I am also pretty straight forward in my opinions about cook books (even if I am partial to those writing them.).

I have been anticipating the release of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day for quite some time. I got in on the very end of testing, so only tried a few of the recipes before the book came out. They were all very tasty and enticing, but I wondered if a sandwich book would really excite me as some other books have. When I opened the package I was first impressed with the photos on the cover. We eat with our eyes first. The photos on the cover and inside made my mouth water. Good sign.

Fred is still on his very restrictive diet, so I felt a tad bit guilty making sandwiches with all of their carby bread glory, but I had to do it in the name of research. There is such a great variety of flavors and styles of sandwiches to choose from, that the reader may have a hard time deciding where to start. I had no such problem, because there was one sandwich that I swear was created just for me: The Something Blackened This Way Comes (pg. 118). The name is a cute twist on the book by Ray Bradbury. I loved his books in high school, so I loved the name right off. I love anything blackened, so I knew this had to be the first one I made. 

OK, seriously, I expected this to be very flavorful. I expected to like it. I did not expect it to be the mouthgasm it was! I had frozen some of Tami's seitan cutlets a few weeks ago, so I had them on hand. This made prep a snap. It just hit me! This combo is reminiscent of a chicken sandwich we had at a restaurant I worked at years ago...but vegan and soooooooooooo much better. I loved the heat of the blackening spice and the sriracha spiked mayo. The cool cucumber/green tomato relish was just perfect with the spice and the creamy mayo. Served on a crispy ciabatta roll, it was ridiculously good. It was hard to stop at just one. 

While this is now my current fav, I also highly recommend the Two Tomato Tango (pg. 126) and the lunch box friendly Protein Happy Quinoa Wraps (pg. 74). 

I love the into where Celine and Tamasin make sure to mention that the recipes are just a starting point. they encourage the readers to play and modify to their tastes. For the ambitious there are recipes for home made breads, but options to use pre-made. The one criticism I do have about this book is the type face the publisher chose. For those of us whose eyes are getting "more mature", the type face is just a bit light and can be challenging to read at a distance. It's going to be hard to make my next selection, but the Ban Mi has piqued my interest. If you love hand held meals and fun variations on Americana and beyond, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!