And welcome to this very food-filled edition of yesterday’s Try Something New Tuesday adventures. I’ve got lots to say, so let’s cut straight to the chase!
1. Recipe of the Week. Summer is winding down and so too are the number of meals I’ve been enjoying outside. However, just because the temperatures are falling doesn’t mean that burger season is over.
When it comes to veggie burgers, I can distinctly remember the first time I tried a store-bought one. I can’t remember the brand but what I do remember is taking it out of the box and wondering what had gone on during its manufacturing that made it come out looking perfectly circular fake-meat hockey puck. This was in the early days when some of the options available today weren’t around, and taste-wise it certainly wasn’t anything to boast about.
Since then I’ve played with several homemade veggie burger recipes, many of which have been dry, tasteless failures. However, a few weeks ago I came up with a really tasty combination – sort of a falafel in burger form – that gets plenty of flavour from roasted red peppers, garlic and fresh herbs. To keep it from becoming as hard as a rock, I made a chia egg using 1 tbsp chia seeds and 3 tbsp water.
The result was these Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers which held together beautifully. They became a lovely golden shade on the outside, stayed moist on the inside, and tasted far better than the processed burger I tried years ago that tasted like the cardboard box it came in. If that’s not enough reasons to give them a shot, they’re baked in the oven so even as summer slips away, you can still enjoy them without needing to fire up the outdoor grill.
2. Simple Recipes for Joy by Sharon Gannon. Say hello to the newest cookbook in my collection.
As you can see, I’ve already attacked it with Post-It notes. You’ll find most of my cookbooks in this state.
Not long ago, I was contacted by the publisher of Sharon Gannon’s new book, Simple Recipes for Joy and asked if I’d like to receive a copy to review. I never turn down a source of inspiration for healthy, delicious plant-based recipes and happily accepted. The book arrived in the mail at work for me last week, and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to ditch the project I was working on at the time to browse through it.
Having never heard of Sharon before, I was eager to learn more. Her story is a really interesting one. With plenty of experience learning from yoga gurus in India, she and a man named David Life founded the Jivamukti Yoga Method. In 2006 they opened Jivamuktea Cafe as a natural complement to their yoga school. From what I understand, Jivamukti yoga has 5 main tenets: scripture, devotion, kindness, music and meditation. There are 6 different types of class and they have centers established worldwide.
As for the Jivamuktea Cafe, it’s located in NYC. Sharon is also quite the chef and has extensively studied the link between diet and our mental and spiritual well-being. The cafe is known for its nourishing, delicious plant-based dishes made from organic, non-GMO foods, and upon first glance at the menu, I was instantly hungry! Lucky for me, I don’t need to travel to NYC in order to enjoy some of the dishes because it looks like several of them are included in Simple Recipes for Joy.
In true Angela fashion, the salads chapter had me most interested. There are several to choose from, most of which are very basic. I decided to try the Spicy Tempeh Salad, but rather than topping it with tempeh croutons as recommended, I decided to try Sharon’s Spicy Tempeh, which is apparently one of the recipes she’s asked for most at Jivamuktea Cafe.
The salad was a mixture of carrots, tomatoes and mesclun mix, but I added some cucumber for some extra colour. The tempeh cubes were sauteed with minced garlic and onions, dried herbs, chili flakes, and a little soy sauce which I swapped out for tamari to keep things gluten-free. They looked like this:
And once I tossed some of the tempeh on top of the veggies, this was my lunch:
I packed it up and took it to work with a small container of Sharon’s basic dressing so that the flavour in the tempeh could shine through. I could have done with a wider variety of vegetables in this bowl, but the spicy tempeh was definitely the star. It was just the right amount of savoury and spicy, and I *may* have polished off the leftover bits last night while making dinner. 😉
Simple Recipes for Joy is due to be released this month, and it’s a book I can see myself referring to for new ideas and meal time inspiration. The recipes are simple but very flavourful, and Sharon explains how to prepare even the most basic things such as grains and beans. You’ll need a few items that you might not own right now (like hijiki seaweed and miso) for many of the dishes, but there are plenty of ways to use them. You won’t be stuck with a cupboard full of foods you’re never going to use again! Vegan or not, I think it’s a good book for anyone looking to enjoy more whole foods without having to make elaborate meals with tons of ingredients.
Now it’s over to you! Tell me…
- Did you try anything new yesterday?
- What was the last great book (cookbook or otherwise) that you read?