Linda Long is an outspoken vegan. She got tired of going out to dinner and being served an uninspired selection of vegetables as her entree. So she took action—and asked top chefs from around the country to come up with a more creative solution. They rose to the occasion to create Great Chefs Cook Vegan, a beautiful book of masterpiece vegan recipes. Chefs included: Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, and Michel Nischan, to name a few. I thought Chef Gabriel Kreuther’s recipe for Warm Watermelon Salad with Tomatoes, Crushed Pistachios, and Aged Balsamic, would make a refreshing summer offering.
Dairy-Free in Dessert Land
Pastry Chef and instructor Fran Costigan (aka The Diva of Dairy-Free Desserts) boasts that her vegan desserts are indistinguishable from traditional ones. When I saw the photos of the over-the-top three-tiered cake she made for her daughter’s wedding (whose guests were none the wiser), I was impressed. Check out her cookbook, More Great Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, for tons of ideas on vegan desserts. You may never go back. www.francostigan.com
Tortilla Chip Upgrade
Move over corn chips, Beanitos is here to become your new party staple. They’re high in fiber and protein, and pack in the vitamins and minerals. Using a proprietary method, beans are combined with whole grain rice or whole brown flaxseed, then baked, and flash-fried in vegetable oil and finished with a touch of sea salt. In case you were wondering, this process allows you to eat Beanitos without the usual side effects. www.beanitos.com
As a rule, I try to stay away from using sauces from a jar, but in a pinch, it’s good to have something special on hand. Vegans, get ready to have your socks knocked off, with this lovingly made pesto. Organic tofu and some extra salt make up for the lost Parmesan. Sauces ‘n Love prepare their sauces in a way that would make an Italian grandmother proud: by hand chopping, checking every ingredient, then blending the flavors slowly in small batches. Though preservative-free, the sauces will stay fresh for five to six months refrigerated. www.saucesnlove.com
If you are a vegan, and other household members are not, this item is a must-have. Zayka knives are made from an extremely dense material called Zirconia (yes, like the fake diamonds). They rarely need to be sharpened, and are chemically inert, so no associations with meat would remain, even on a molecular level. I was attracted the minute I laid eyes on the beautiful white blades, but the real test was in the use. Because the ceramic does not stick to food, the blade literally glides through, creating a sensual, satisfying experience. These knives are extremely lightweight, and work best for slicing. Despite their hardness, they can chip, so should not be used for tough jobs like hard chopping, or cutting through frozen foods. www.zaykastore.com