Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thanks for being so patient!

...and the winners are: (winners chosen at random using the random number generator on

"I love mine baked then topped with margarine and seasalt and fresh cracked black pepper...hands down my fave starchy food! Yum! The po boy looks so good! Def gonna make for my family!"


"Because I've had them SO recently and I LOVE them, I'd say sweet potato chips! OMG. Well... maybe not more than Susan's Sweet Potato Casserole (from OMG sweet potato bliss! :)"

I am making the best attempts to email you, but if you see this first, email me!  joni at justthefood dot com with your snail mail address so I can ship out your bookie books as soon as possible!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas that almost wasn't...

Happy day after Christmas everyone!  I hope you and all of yours had a relaxing, fun, and food-filled, cruelty free holiday.  For those of you living in flood and weather stricken areas, my heart and thoughts go out to you.  I hope you are safe and not too much damage was done.

Here in Orange County, California, we are just not used to this kind of weather.  And in the area where I live, well, the ground just couldn't take any more rain!

Thanks to the hard work and determination of the firefighters, neighbors, volunteers, family, and friends, the majority of the damage in my neighborhood was relegated to the roads.  A few houses and cars didn't fare as well, but as far as I know, no person or pet was seriously injured.

This is the road/bridge out of town near my house. 4 hikers went missing, but they were found, cold and wet, but okay on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday...same road.  I have seen a few news stories that state 2 persons were killed on the roads during this storm.  My heart goes out to the families of those that lost loved ones.


At the entrance to the road into my neighborhood...the mud pile was over 6 feet high!  Thanks to the quick hardwork of the county, the bulldozers were able to clear a path out (and in!) even though I was too scared to drive through.  I opted to park down the way at the elementary school and hike home through the mud.

This is a picture from Downtown Laguna Beach, across the street from where I work.  This water was pouring over the street into our parking lot.  I've never seen anything like it.

Most of the roads in and out of my house, and to my work have been closed for most of the week.  Turning my normally 45 minute commute into a 2 to 3 hour ordeal in each direction.

Add in the fact that the electricity would go in and out every couple of hours during the whole week, and well you can probably imagine that I didn't get to do much of my holiday baking or cooking this year.

Thankfully, we were able to head out of town and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families and forget about the mess for awhile.

Maybe New Year's will be dryer...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Po'Boys (and a holiday giveaway!)

Less than a week until Christmas!?!  Oh my gosh.  I am not even halfway there...not even a quarter way there.

So before I get all caught up in the rush of it all, let me give my present to you...a new recipe featuring my favorite tuber, the sweet potato!  And if you leave a comment (here on the blog, not on facebook or twitter) telling me your favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes, I will pick 2 of you at random, Wednesday night at 8pm, Due to weather related issues, the giveaway has been extended, and I will do the drawing on Wednesday December 29 at 8pm, to receive a copy of Celine and my brand spankin' new book The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  CONTEST NOW OVER

Okay, to the food:
Sweet Potato Po' Boy...

Sweet Potato Po'Boys
If I ever opened a lunch truck or diner, it would be made up solely of gourmet sandwiches and a variety of macaroni salads. This sandwich would definitely be on the menu. Not a traditional Po’ Boy by any sense of the word, it is inspired by the fried seafood sandwiches made famous in Louisiana. Now a true Po’ Boy would be a foot long, so these ones are considered “shorties” and if you decide to use the highly recommended pile of Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, well then you can consider your Po’ Boy “dressed.”

As always, a deep fryer works best here, but if you don’t have one, a pot filled with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of oil will work just fine.

For the Sweet Potatoes:
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (14 g) cornflakes, crushed
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Fennel Marmalade:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 bulb fennel, sliced in a thin julienne (reserve the leaves for later use)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
pinch salt
2 tablespoons (42 g) agave nectar

For the Aioli:
1/3 cup (75 g) vegan mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon (2 g) chopped fennel leaves (reserved from the bulb above)
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Vegetable oil for frying
4 (6-inch, 15 cm) french rolls
1 recipe Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, below, optional, but highly reccommended
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).
To make the sweet potatoes: Slice the sweet potato into thin rounds, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. You can peel your potatoes if you choose, but we like ours with the skin on!

Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To make the Fennel Marmalade: While potatoes are cooking, add olive oil to a pan and heat over low heat. Add fennel, garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt.
Slowly cook until very soft and tender, and just beginning to caramelize, About 15 minutes, stirring occasionaly.
Add in agave and toss to coat. Crank up the heat and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring constantly, until caramelized, sticky, and browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the aioli: Whisk ingredients together. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Finish the sweet potatoes: Preheat your oil to 350°F (180°C). Place milk in a shallow dish. Add flour, cornflakes, Old Bay, and cayenne to a resealable plastic bag and shake to combine. Dip one round into the milk to coat and then add it to the bag. Repeat until you have about 5 rounds in the bag. Shake to coat the potatoes with the flour mixture. Carefully add to the coated potatoes to the hot oil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat until all potatoes are fried.

Assemble the Po’ Boys: Spread a layer of aioli on each half of the french roll. Pile 1/4 of the sweet potatoes on the bottom half of the roll, and top with 1/4 of the Fennel Marmalade, add a heaping pile of the Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, if using. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 Po’ Boys

Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw
*Gluten Free

*Quick and Easy
This coleslaw is a great side dish on it’s own, but it really takes the Sweet Potato Po’ Boys to a whole new level. You can make this ahead of time, but if you do, keep the dressing separate and toss together just before serving.

For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups (162 g) shredded carrots
1/2 cup (80 g) raisins or dried cranberries, optional

For the peppercorn dressing:
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain soymilk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (112 g) vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coursely ground or cracked
1 tablespoon (2 g) fresh chopped fennel leaf
1 tablespoon (13 g) sugar
salt to taste

To make the slaw: Toss together the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
To make the dressing: Add soymilk to a small mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice and allow to sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.
Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
Toss dressing with the slaw and serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, December 5, 2010

FOUND: A Mo Betta Chedda!

After much investigation, some tasty (and some quite disgusting) I am finally ready to post my results for the best tasting vegan cheddar alternative.

Here are the contestants.
The Contestants

I tested each cheddar in 3 categories.

Cold, as is, right out of the package, on a cracker.
(I was lucky enough to have a helper test this one.  Dominic, my 10 year old nephew helped with this taste test)

Meltability and stretch, on pizza.

Mixability and creaminess, in macaroni and cheese.

Each cheese was scored on taste compared to "real" cheddar, creaminess, and overall taste and texture, and I also gave info on availability and cost.  Scores were based on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best.

The results: (Click on the image to take you to Flickr wher you can make it larger and easier to read!)

Mo Betta CHedda Results

In addition to the results above, I will add that I most commonly buy Daiya, Wayfare, and Sheese.  Once testing was over, I threw away the Vegan Rella, Rice Vegan and Soy Vegan.  I would never, ever, ever buy those again.  I'd rather just go without, or make my own from scratch. 

And to be fair, the best mac and cheese (using fake cheese) was made last night using the leftover Daiya, Teese, Sheese, Vegan Gourmet, plus Tofutti Sour Cream, Tofutti Cream Cheese, Silk Creamer, and Earth Balance.  I know, ridiculous.  I did it in the name of research.

I would also like to add, as I did before, that I was only testing CHEDDAR flavors, and, in my opinion, the best imitation cheeses out there are not cheddar replacers...Dr. Cow (any flavor), Sheese Blue Cheese, Wayfare Hickory Smoked Spread, and any of the nut based home made cheeses out there blow all of these out of the water!

A Winner!

And the winner is...LAZYSMURF!  I sent you an email, so send me your addy and I will send you your book!

2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni