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Vegan Planet: January 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Spicy Kale Soup

What better way is there to endure an ice storm, than make a pot of soup? Not that I need an excuse to make soup, I just seem to enjoy it even more during nasty weather. There was some kale in the fridge so I decided to make the Spicy Kale Soup from Vegan Fire and Spice. I changed the recipe a bit — I didn’t have red-skinned potatoes in the house so I used Yukon Golds. Then there were some white beans that I wanted to use up so I subbed those for the kidney beans called for in the recipe. I’ve actually made this soup with chickpeas on another occasion and that works great, too. All in all, this is a very easy and versatile recipe — hot and brothy, and perfect for a chilly day. A final splash of sherry takes it to the next level.

Spicy Kale Soup

Adapted from Vegan Fire and Spice.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on the saltiness of your broth)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 bay leaf
5 cups chopped fresh kale
2 cups cooked white beans
Splash of sherry
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cover, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, broth, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the kale and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Add the beans and a healthy splash of sherry and simmer just until heated through. Taste to adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Serves 4

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Fun with Leftovers

We had out-of-town company over the long weekend, so I had been cooking up a storm. Afterwards, I discovered my refrigerator filled with little containers of leftovers from the meals we enjoyed. There wasn’t enough of anything to “heat and eat,” but enough to provide lots of starting points to create several new meals. Here are some examples:

I had just enough leftover dressing and other ingredients to recreate Sunday night’s Caesar salad (the sprinkles are dulse flakes):

The vegetables from a leftover Roasted Vegetable Tower (see March 31, 2008 post) were transformed into roasted vegetable fajitas:

A few cups of leftover rotini were tossed with what was left of a vegetable tian and topped with panko crumbs for a yummy casserole:

Here’s a rice pilaf made with cremini mushrooms and fresh thyme:

I combined leftover cooked rice noodles that didn’t make it into a soup with some stray veggies for this noodle stir-fry:

Did you notice that there were no leftover desserts?

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Saturday, January 17, 2009


A Thank You and a Clarification

In my excitement to announce Gary’s pick for the contest winner, I signed off before I had a chance to say: Thank you! I am overwhelmed by the wonderful comments and good wishes you’ve sent my way. I am truly grateful for all your kind words about my blog, my cookbooks, and my new website. It all means so much to me. I look forward to another great year of blogging right here on my Vegan Planet blog.

Now for a clarification: This blog will remain my blog — it’s not going anywhere! It is only my website that has changed to

We have dear friends visiting this weekend and I’ve been cooking up a storm. I’ll try to remember to take some photos and post about the food next week.

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Friday, January 16, 2009


Gary Picks a Winner

Well it wasn’t easy. First I had to convince Gary that choosing a contest winner was more important than his nap.

To make the drawing as fair and random as possible I printed out all the comments and cut them into strips. I placed them upside-down (so Gary couldn’t read them) -- although he managed to flip over a few anyway!

Gary examined them carefully (as you can see in the photo below), the winning criteria being whichever slip of paper he actually bit into. The first clear bite-hole would result in the winning entry (kind of like a “hanging chad”). And yes, we have a winner: congratulations to: katiejo !!! (katiejo: please e-mail me with your mailing address and I’ll get a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice out to you right away.)

And to Jane’s new rescued kitten William: despite my efforts to have Gary remain unbiased, he did read a few of the comments and after reading yours he has persuaded me to send you a cookbook, too. So, we have a second winner: Jane – please e-mail me your contact info, too, and keep taking care of all those kitties!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My New Website and Blogiversary!

I have two great reasons to celebrate! Today is the one-year anniversary of my blog (where did the time go?)… AND….on this auspicious day, I am also pleased to announce the birth of my gorgeous new website! Global Vegan Kitchen is officially up and running.

The new url is: and this site replaces, which will vanish sometime next week. Be sure to place the new URL in your favorites and bookmarks.

The new site was designed by my friend, long-time vegan, and interactive multimedia designer, Mark Sutton. I’m very excited about the new design and would love to hear your comments. Check it out and let me know what you think.

To add some fizz to the festivities, I’m giving away a cookbook! Just leave a comment on this post, and it will automatically be entered in a drawing for a free copy of Vegan Fire and Spice. (If you already have it, I’ll send you one of my other books.) My cat Gary will choose the winner.

Thanks to all of you for helping to make my first year of blogging a wonderful experience!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009


Salt of the Earth

Here it is well into the new year and I’m still having fun with my favorite Christmas gift: a jar of Himalayan Salt, given to me by a dear friend, which makes it all the more cherished. Not only does this salt have a wonderful flavor, it’s also super fun to use! Apparently, Himalayan salt is available in smaller crystals that you can grind in a spice mill, but the kind I got is in the form of big pink rock-like chunks that come with their own adorable little grater. How cool is that? Can you imagine going to a restaurant and whipping out your own chunk of pink salt and little grater? Okay, I’d never actually do that, but I am still having loads of fun with it all on my own!

I’ll leave you now with a couple photos of test recipes for my 1,000 Vegan Recipes cookbook.

Broccoli and White Beans with Potatoes and Walnuts:

And this is a yummy spinach salad with Fuji apple, figs, and toasted almonds:

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Cheap Thrills

After two years of hard work, I’m thrilled that my new cookbook, 1,000 Vegan Recipes is finally in the capable hands of my publisher. It comes out later this year — I don’t know the publication date yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Containing 1,000 recipes, this book will be nothing less than a historic event — the largest collection of vegan recipes ever in one volume!

Now that I’ve completed that daunting but enjoyable project, I have turned much of my efforts to my next pride and joy: Vegan on the Cheap. I think everyone will agree that the time for this book has come. With the economy in a slump and everyone looking for ways to save money, I’m excited to be working on a cookbook devoted to recipes and ideas for eating cheaply (and well). I’ve just finished the first draft of Vegan on the Cheap, and the recipe testing begins soon. I don’t know the publication date of this book either, but I’ll let you know when I do. In the meantime, you’re sure to be seeing some tester photos in the coming months.

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Friday, January 2, 2009


A New Year’s Tradition

I never thought of myself as superstitious, but I guess I must be. When I moved to Charleston, South Carolina in the 1980s, I discovered that Southerners eat a special dish on New Years Day for good luck in the coming year. Hoppin’ John is made with black-eyed peas and rice and served with collard greens. Ever since my first encounter with this delicious tradition, I’ve made it every year without fail, and I’m always glad I do. It’s a great-tasting, comfort-food meal that always tastes “just right” on New Years Day after what is usually a week of rich holiday indulgences. Although, when topped with vegan sour cream and generously doused with Tabasco, it tastes anything but repentant.

Sometimes, I cook the black-eyed peas from scratch and use fresh collards. Other times, when I’m too busy to cook, I make a quick version using canned black-eyed peas and frozen chopped collards. Either way, it makes a satisfying dinner and the leftovers are even better the next day.

The collard greens are traditionally served on the side, but I like to cook them, chop them, and stir them right into the Hoppin’ John. A splash of Liquid Smoke adds a nice smoky nuance. I serve my Hoppin’ John in bowls with the vegan sour cream and a bottle of Tabasco at the table so you can add as much of either or both as you like.

Here’s my quick and easy version for you to try — but don’t wait until next New Year’s Day. It’s good enough to eat any day of the year.

Hoppin’ John with Collards
Use fresh or frozen collard greens for this recipe. If unavailable, substitute kale or other dark greens.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups water or vegetable broth
3 cups cooked or 2 (16-ounce) cans black-eyed peas
3 cups chopped cooked collard greens
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegan sour cream, to serve
Tabasco sauce, to serve
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and water or broth and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste (the amount of salt needed depends on the saltiness of your broth or if you use water). Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
2. About 15 minutes into the cooking of the rice, stir in the black-eyed peas.
3. When the rice is cooked, stir in the cooked chopped collards, Liquid Smoke, and black pepper. Add more salt, if needed.
4. To serve, spoon into bowls and accompany with vegan sour cream and Tabasco sauce at the table.

Serves 4

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