The Lusty Vegan is a new book aiming to bridge the gustatory and sexual divides between vegans and omnivores. Billing itself not just as a cookbook but also "a relationship manifesto for vegans and the people who love them," The Lusty Vegan was authored by Ayinde Howell, a lifelong vegan and executive chef, and Zoe Eisenberg, a longtime vegan and writer who declares that her favorite topics are "food and sex."
It's as much an advice book as it is a cookbook; as neither Howell nor Eisenberg have ever dated a vegan, they've become experts on inter-palate partnering and its inherent challenges, among them cooking together, dining out, cohabiting, meeting your partner's family, and holiday dinners. Setting aside judgment for passion, they share tales about navigating their way through their own love lives as they sidestepped potential minefields (or sometimes landed squarely in them).
The biggest issue for vegans dating omnivores is that while omnis can partake of vegan food, the reverse isn't true, so how do two people with such different diets share their lives? The answer: by preparing vegan dishes that are so delicious, anyone should be able to enjoy them without lamenting the absence of meat or dairy. Thus, among the book's 80 recipes appear such flavor-forward dishes as Jambalaya, Kung Pao Tempeh, Mexican Hot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries, and Breakfast Andouille Sausage with Biscuits (the latter two recipes are below). Also, with the holiday season upon us, the holiday menu section of the book is particularly appropriate. It includes eight vegan recipes that sound deliciously indulgent, including Seitan Wellington, Quinoa-Cranberry Wild Rice Skillet Stuffing, White Mushroom Truffle Gravy, and Savory Shiitake and Parmesan Bread Pudding. Check out The Lusty Vegan for a lively examination of the possibilities for love and passion between two people with widely divergent eating habits.
Mexican Hot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 3 minutes | Serves 2 to 4
1 (3-ounce) block semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped or grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound strawberries, cleaned
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, stirring with fork or whisk so it melts evenly and doesn't burn. Add the cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. When fully melted, remove from the heat to prevent burning.
2. Holding the strawberries by the stem end, dip them in the melted chocolate, coating them on each side.
3. Place the dipped strawberries on the prepared cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set the chocolate, or until ready to serve.
Breakfast Andouille Sausage with Biscuits
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Serves 2 to 4
You can prep the sausage a day or two in advance, and the biscuits are pretty quick as well. They can also be made in advance and frozen, then defrosted when you need them.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons vegan butter, very cold
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup Lightlife Gimme Lean vegan sausage
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon gumbo filé powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Grapeseed or safflower oil
1/2 cup julienned green bell pepper
1/2 cup julienned red onion
1/2 cup vegan cheese shreds
Raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor)
1. Biscuits: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a fork, mix in the cold butter until it becomes the size of small peas. Slowly add the milk, gradually stirring until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
2. Place the dough onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll the dough out to a 1-inch thickness. Cut the biscuits with a large cookie cutter or the top of a juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all the dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place the biscuits onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
3. Sausage: In a large bowl, break up the sausage. Add the Cajun seasoning, paprika, minced garlic, black pepper salt, file powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Mix well. Take 1/4 cup of the sausage mixture and form into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Repeat until all patties are formed. It should make 4 patties.
4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup oil until hot and shimmering. Fry the patties for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer the patties to paper towels to cool. Reserve the oil in the skillet.
5. Reheat the skillet with the oil from the sausage over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté until caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a spatula to push the onions and peppers into four piles large enough to cover the sausage patties and sprinkle the top of each veggie pile with 2 tablespoons of cheese, allowing it to melt. Using a spatula, place the vegetables and melted cheese on top of each sausage patty. Serve with hot biscuits topped with butter and jam, if using, on the side.