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Hearts Afire Valentine Menu + Cookbook Giveaway

For Valentine’s Day this year, I’m going to shake things up with a hot and spicy menu. If you like spicy food as much as we do, than my Hearts Afire menu may appeal to you. (If hot and spicy isn’t your thing, I’ll be posting more traditional menu ideas in a few days.) But if you want to spice things up for Valentine’s Day, check this out:

~ Hearts Afire Valentine’s Day Menu ~
Four of Hearts Salad (romaine hearts; artichoke hearts; hearts of palm; heart-shaped beets) with Fiery Lemon Vinaigrette
Chipotle Glazed Comfort Loaf with Blazing Cauliflower
Potato-Beet Rosti with Jalapenos
Chocolate Cheesecake with Cherry-Red Pepper Glaze
[or] Cherry Bomb Pie

For the salad dressing, I’m adding a splash of sriracha to a lemony vinaigrette. The main dish is the Comfort Loaf from Vegan on the Cheap, but made in a heart-shaped pan using dark red kidney beans and studded with bits of jalapeno. It’s topped with a chipotle ketchup glaze. I also encircled it with a frill of chipotle mashed cauliflower.

Another fiery heart in this menu is the Potato-Beet Rosti made with jalapenos and roasted in a heart-shaped pan. The basic recipe is from the Valentine’s Day menu in Party Vegan.

For dessert, the Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake from Party Vegan with one spicy twist — instead of topping it with a cherry glaze, the cheesecake is topped with a glaze of red pepper jelly. Wowza.  If cheesecake isn’t your thing (is that possible?) you can instead make this Cherry Bomb Pie — I made this one with three kinds of cherries (fresh, canned, and dried) and stirred in some red pepper jelly for a spicy jolt.

Later this week, I’ll post a more traditional menu for Valentine’s Day along with the cheescake recipe and some other thoughts for the occasion.  

Now on to the Cookbook Giveaway
As my special Valentine to you, I’m giving away a copy of my cookbook, Vegan Fire and Spice. Just leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your plans for Valentine’s Day.
For a second chance to win, link to the giveaway from Facebook, Twitter, or your blog and then post a second time to let me know you did. The contest closes Sunday night, 2/13. The winner will be announced on Valentines Day, Monday, February 14.  ENTER NOW!!!

P.S. If you already have Vegan Fire and Spice, enter the contest anyway — you can always use a second copy to host your own giveaway or to give as a gift! Right? Spread the spice!

La Befana and Party Vegan Giveaway!

While many of us know today is the feast of the Ephiphany or “trree kings,” as they used to say back home, today is also La Befana day.

LaBefana is an old woman of Italian folklore who delivers gifts throughout Italy on the night before Epiphany. La Befana is usually portrayed as an old lady wearing a black shawl and riding on a broomstick. She is often depicted as smiling, carrying a bag filled with gifts, and covered in soot because, like Santa Claus, she enters houses through the chimney, leaving toys and candy for the good children and coal or garlic for bad children. She is also said to sweep the floor before she leaves a house. Much like leaving cookies and milk for Santa, Italian families typically leave a glass of wine and a small plate of food for La Befana. In some regions, the food includes broccoli and sausage (!).
Just in case the legend is true, I made some pasta with broccoli and vegan sausage so I could leave a snack for La Befana, along with some good Italian wine – a crisp vernachia from San Gimignano. I don’t mind if LaBefana leaves me garlic (who can’t use more garlic?) instead of candy, as long as she sweeps my house before she leaves!

Cookbook Giveaway: In honor of LaBefana, I’m giving away a gift to one lucky someone – a copy of my latest book, Party Vegan! Much more than a “party” book, Party Vegan is filled with great recipes and menus for everyday meals as well as special occasions throughout the year, from a guy-friendly Super Bowl party to a New Year’s Eve appetizer party.
To enter: leave a comment at the end of this post.
For a second chance to win: link to this post from your blog, Facebook, or Twitter and then leave a second post, telling me you did so. That’s it! I’ll choose the winner at random (using Random.org) on Wednesday, January 12 at midnight EST. The winner will be announced here on Thursday, January 13.

Fun with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always liked to play with my food.  Like most kids, I liked to make mashed potato moats for the gravy but that soon escalated to stirring ketchup into mashed potatoes until it was just the right shade of pink and then festooning it with a necklace of green peas.  When I was a bit older, I made an entirely blue dinner.

It should be easy to understand, then, why having a wealth of Thanksgiving leftovers is an especially fun time in my house.  The day after Thanksgiving we enjoyed the obligatory let’s have “another one just like the other one” with a delicious instant replay of the previous day’s feast.  But then, the rest of the leftovers were mine for the creating.

Creation #1:  Yuba-Wrapped Thanksgiving Rolls. (photo above) I wrapped leftover seitan, stuffing, white and sweet potatoes, and green beans in small sheets of yuba and cooked them in a skillet with a little oil to brown.  I then finished them up in the oven while I made a dipping sauce with leftover cranberry sauce combined with ginger, soy sauce, and sriracha.  All I can say is, “Wow!”

Creation #2:  The Leaning Tower of Thanksgiving. I stacked layers of all the Thanksgiving dishes into one mighty tower and surrounded it with a cranberry-port wine sauce made with leftover brown gravy, cranberry sauce, and a generous amount of port. To serve, I sliced it right down the middle and arranged each half, cut side down on a plate with more of the luscious sauce. Leftovers never tastes so good.

This is my 20th Vegan Mofo post!  I’m excited that I made it this far, considering what a crazy-busy month this has been.  Tomorrow, Vegan Mofo ends with the announcement of the winner of my Party Vegan giveaway.  If you haven’t entered yet, do it now — contest closes at midnight tonight!

Spicy Corn Fritters with Corncob Jelly + A New Cookbook Contest!

If you follow me on Facebook, you may recall that a couple weeks ago I saw corn cob jelly for sale and had to buy a jar — I mean, who wouldn’t, right?  Of course, once I got the jar home I had to figure out what to do with it.  Enter:  Spicy Corn Fritters! 

I sometimes serve corn fritters with a little maple syrup, so I knew that corncob jelly would probably taste good, and I was right.  What really put these babies over the top, though, was adding a bit of heat to the fritter mixture.  I added some chipotle chili powder and a little cayenne, but you could also add minced chipotles in adobe or some other kind of chile.  As for the corncob jelly itself, well, the taste of corn is barely perceptible.  It’s a lot more fun just looking at the jar!
Now for the moment all y’all have been waiting for:  my special weekly Vegan Mofo cookbook giveaway!  This week the prize is a copy of my cookbook Vegan Fire and Spice. 

To enter the contest: leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your favorite spicy food — it could be a single ingredient or condiment or an entire dish.

The contest closes midnight EST on 11/22.  Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Tuesday, 11/23.

Flashback Friday: Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast

For Fridays during Vegan MoFo I’m writing about recipes from some of my very early posts that are of particular interest.  This week it’s my recipe for Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast.  Why?  Well, for one thing it’s the MOST visited post on my entire blog, secondly, it’s slow cooker season, and third, if you’ve missed out on this before, then you’ve really been missing something.  (Unless of course, you don’t like seitan, then you probably don’t care. Although you could certainly make pot roast style vegetables and add some tempeh or beans, right? Or maybe you’d like the recipe for this Pot au Feu.  The recipe calls for seitan, but you can use sauteed tempeh or cannellini beans instead:

My original pot roast recipe (top photo) appeared in my slow cooker book, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Since that time, I’ve done several adaptations, including Vegan on the Cheap where you’ll find a regular seitan pot roast recipe as well as a personal favorite, Corned Seitan and Cabbage.  (The corned seitan is ideal for vegan Reubens)  Here’s a photo: 
I also like to occasionally change things up, pot-roast wise, and cut the seitan into smaller chunks before adding to the slow cooker.  I think that may give it a bit more flavor from being more exposed to the broth and veggies.  For more of a “stew” effect, you can even cut the seitan into bite-sized pieces. 
Regarding slow-cooker cooking times, I can’t stress enough how much time variance there is among the different slow cooker models. The best advice is to get to know your own slow cooker and adjust accordingly. You may have to “lift the lid” a couple times to test for doneness until you are familiar with your cooker and how long it takes for things to be done.

CONTESTS! CONTESTS!

There’s still time to enter to win a copy of Vegan Unplugged here. (The contest closes Monday at midnight and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.)

And at Vegan Appetite, Tami is giving away a copy of my book, Party Vegan.  Check it out!  Tami also posted some great recipe photos and review of the book.

And so ends the second week of Vegan MoFo!

Tapenade-Stuffed Peppadews and Cookbook Giveaway

I have a super-busy today today. For one thing, today I’m a guest on the Jazzy Vegetarian radio program. Tune in today at 1:15 Eastern time for some of my favorite party planning tips and the recipe for Sherried Mushrooms from Party Vegan.

No matter how busy, there’s always time to make an easy appetizer that can be assembled in seconds, right? Take these Tapenade-Stuffed Peppadews, for example. If you enjoy surprising your taste buds with several flavors at once, you just might like these little peppadew chiles stuffed with tapenade. I happened to have a little tapenade leftover from Halloween and a few of those adorable peppadews in the fridge, so what else could I do but stuff the tapenade into the peppadews?

In addition to being cute as a button, these zesty little appetizers pack a flavor wallop. The burst of flavors you get include sweet-spicy, salty, and just plain delicious. If you’re not a fan of peppadews or tapenade, then you can cherry tomatoes and stuff them with something else — but then you’ll have to call them something other than “Tapenade-Stuffed Peppadews.”

Vegan Mofo Giveaway #1:
Today is the first of a series of my Vegan MoFo Giveaways. To be automatically entered in next week’s drawing for a copy of my book, Vegan on the Cheap, just leave a comment at the end of this post that answers this question: What kind of stuffing would you put in a peppadew (or cherry tomato)?
A winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org generator) and announced on Tuesday, November 9.

Good luck in the contest!

Cookbook Giveaway x3

That’s right!  Three, count ‘em, three vegan cookbooks are being given away on Vegan Unplugged to celebrate the three year anniversary of my hubby Jon’s publishing company, Vegan Heritage Press.
I’ll be back later this week with a food post, but for now, I just wanted to let everyone know about this great contest.  Enter to win a copy of your choice of Vegan Unplugged (written by Jon with recipes by me — quick and easy pantry recipes ready in 15-minutes or less), American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes (a compendium of amazing comfort food recipes), or Vegan Fire and Spice (my cookbook of spicy and savory recipes from around the world).  Head on over to Vegan Unplugged and enter now!