Vegan Ethiopian test kitchen

Happy New Year, everyone! I know things have been quiet around here lately, but behind the scenes things have been busy-busy. For one thing, I've been recipe testing for the awesome and adorable Kittee Berns - if you remember the fearsome pirana dish I made during VeganMoFo2013, the chickpea fish are her very own invention! She's coming out with a vegan Ethiopian cookbook, and it is going to be amazing. Here's a little sneak preview of some of the delicious dishes I've tested so far.

This is a life-changing recipe. I can't tell you what it is yet but I promise you won't be disappointed.

I'm pretty sure there's nothing vegans love more than mac and cheese.

Look at these colors! Just as tasty as they are vibrant.

And who doesn't love a dumpling? Someone who isn't invited for dinner, that's who.

Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen is available for pre-order!

I had a ball testing out recipes for Joni Marie Newman's upcoming cookbook: Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen! It's been really interesting cooking a little differently than how I usually do and it's been fun to flex my culinary muscles and see the process of recipe development. As a bonus, I got to meet Joni in person at VVC, which was wonderful - she was incredibly nice. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon now! Here's a sneak preview from my own little kitchen.

I made a lot more sauces than I usually do. 

 

what's the collective noun for jars of sauces? 

I also made a lot of noodle bowls.

faux pho broth

But then, I really love noodle bowls.

purple cabbage, black sesame seeds, noodles

There's one recipe in particular that became an instant household favorite.

pasta, roasted red peppers, amazing vegan cheese sauce

These are just a few highlights - being a roving, freelance, forensic recipe tester was a great experience.  I hope I get the chance to do this again and I can't wait to see the final product!

 

mac & cheese, please

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In further adventures in recipe testing, I tested a recipe for vegan mac & cheese that came in pretty handy this week when my poor omnivorous sweetheart came down with a terrible bug and had to stay home from work. This was the requested lunch and I was happy to oblige. Vegan mac & cheese that's so omni-friendly it's comfort food on sick days? Indeed! 

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te amo, aguacate

avocado, you're the one for me

Recipe testing has been pretty interesting! I've been learning a lot  since I have to follow the recipe exactly - for science! - and not improvise by skipping or changing steps or switching up ingredients. I didn't think I was a crazy free-wheeler in the kitchen or anything, mind you. 

When I saw a tester recipe that included avocado in a sweet application, I was a goner. My omni sweetheart says I'm forever putting sweet things in savory dishes and savory things in sweet dishes. 

Of course, once my omni sweetheart tasted a paleta de aguacate y limón, it was like the heavens parted. It turns out there was a devious plan and a secret hope that it would not be very tasty and I would be cured of at least one savory dessert inspiration. But we were both blown away  - it was so creamy, so lush, so tart. The very next week the gentleman I buy avocados from (2 a week) at the farmers market was selling 10 avocados for $10, so my path was clear.

 

I can't give you the tester recipe for the avocado dessert, but I can give you the recipe for those long-ago avocado paletas.  It's the same as Fany Gerson's in her awesome love-letter to Paletas, but I doubled up on the lime juice and added the zest in as well. They are ridiculously good.


paletas de aguacate y limón doble

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 small ripe avocados
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 limes for zest and lime juice

 

You'll need a zester, a small saucepan, a blender, and popsicle molds and sticks. Zest (first) and juice (second) your limes and allow the lime juice to sit while you complete the remainder of the recipe.

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. 

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a blender, along with the cooled syrup and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Add the lime juice and zest and blend just until combined.

If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, snap on the lid, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

paletas de aguacate y limón doble

I can't give you the recipe for the tester avocado dessert - but I can show you a picture! Feast your eyes on the verdant tart below. 

top secret 00recipe - her avocado's secret service!

and now for something completely different

a secret tester recipe, plus some wilted sesame peashoots, which are good with everything

Big news, everyone! I've signed up to be a tester for Joni Marie Newman's upcoming book!

I'm excited about this for a few reasons – I'm really interested in the recipe testing process, I'd like to hone my cooking skills to a razor edge so I can be a wizard in the kitchen, and Joni created the recipe for the most delicious tofu salad in the entire world. Even my omni sweetheart loves it.

I can't share the recipes with you yet, but I've been taking some pictures along the way. I'm thrilled to be involved behind the scenes!