Friday, November 14, 2014


Best Blog Tips

Fabulous new book by the gorgeous and talented Julie Hasson!  A must for every vegan household!

I do not pay this compliment loosely!  I have many vegan cookbooks (and non-vegan, too) and love the odd recipe in just about each of them.  But very few of them have so many "possibles" flagged that will no doubt be made many times, because they are so simple to make and mouth-watering-ly tempting, and I am confident that the recipe will turn out as advertised. I know Julie and I'm very familiar with her work.  She is a perfectionist and you can be sure that her recipes will not only work, but taste wonderful!

I made two of Julie's casseroles for a casual dinner with two friends.  Both casseroles (and a veggie dish of my own) were done and ready to serve within 1 1/2 hours of starting, with time to get changed, and I had not even previewed the recipes or assembled all the ingredients beforehand.  

I heartily recommend "Vegan Casseroles: Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies, and More", even if you aren't a vegan! (It would make a great holiday gift.) Besides the tempting recipes, Julie has shared many handy tips and ideas, gluten-free variations, and basic recipes that you can use in your own creations, such as gravies, sauces, salsas, cheesey things, homemade "Bakin' Bits", Smoky Soy Curls, and my favorite, Buttery Crumb Topping (recipe below) which is so tasty and crunchy!

It was difficult to choose the two dishes for this blog tour post from the list I was given, but, in the end, I think I made excellent choices because my guests were not shy about seconds and even thirds! I had all of the ingredients in my pantry or refrigerator for these dishes, even the truffle oil, a gift from a friend-- a fact which also helped me decide what to make.

Julie is graciously sharing these recipes from her new book, so, without further ado, here are the recipes I made (with some of my own photos) -- I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Serves 4
Reprinted with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Sometimes you can never have enough truffle–or macaroni. This dish is for those times. It has a very rich flavor, with a creamy truffle sauce, steamed cauliflower, and a panko topping. If you happen to have a fresh truffle, you can go crazy and shave a few ultra-thin slices into the sauce before baking.

8 ounces dried macaroni noodles (Note from Bryanna: I didn’t have any macaroni, so I used bowtie pasta/farfalle)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 recipe Almost Alfredo Sauce (recipe follows), using the truffle variation
Truffle salt or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Double recipe Crumb Topping (recipe follows)
Truffle oil, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease 9 x 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until tender. When the pasta is about 2 minutes away from being done, add the cauliflower to the boiling pasta water. You want the cauliflower to be just fork-tender and the noodles to be al dente. Drain the pasta and cauliflower well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the prepared sauce to the cooked macaroni and cauliflower, mixing until the pasta is coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the macaroni into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned, and the casserole is heated through. Remove from the oven, drizzle the top of the casserole with a little additional truffle oil, if desired, and serve.

Variation: To make a straight truffle mac casserole, simply omit the cauliflower.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free macaroni, such as brown rice macaroni, as well as gluten-free breadcrumbs in the topping.

Makes about 3 cups

21/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained (Note from Bryanna: Since I was doing last-minute cooking, I soaked them for 10 minutes in boiling water—worked fine, even in a regular blender.)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons oat flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
11/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon granulated onion

In the jar of a blender, combine the soymilk, water, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, oat flour, cornstarch, salt, and granulated onion. Blend the mixture at high speed until completely smooth and no bits of nuts remain. If you don’t have a big blender, blend the mixture in two batches.

Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking continuously. Once mixture comes to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cook, whisking continuously until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Tip: Use a good-tasting unsweetened soymilk for this sauce, as the flavor really comes through. 
If you're using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews, and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

To make a truffle sauce, to the blender jar add 1 to 3 tablespoons truffle oil to taste and reduce the granulated onion to 1/2 teaspoon. Add a few sprinkles of freshly grated nutmeg.

To make a white wine sauce, replace 3/4 cup of the soymilk with an equal amount of white wine.

To make this sauce lower in fat, reduce the cashews to 1/3 cup.

Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free oat flour.

Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8 or 9-inch casserole

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired.

Variation: For an herbed garlic-flavored-topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the melted margarine to 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. My favorite brand is Ian’s, which is also egg-free and dairy-free.

Printable Recipe

Serves 4 to 6
Reprinted with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

In my book, you can never have enough berry dessert recipes. Ever! This is another perfect berry dessert to add to your dessert rotation, no matter the season. One of the coolest things about this cobbler is that even though the berries go on the top, the batter below bakes up into a cake-like topping over them. I adapted this recipe from my pie book, The Complete Book of Pies.

4 cups (1 pound) fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries (unthawed if frozen) (Note from Bryanna: I used a combo of frozen local raspberries and blueberries.)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/3 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the berries with 1/4 cup of the sugar.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Add the soymilk, melted margarine, and vanilla, whisking to combine.

The two components of this cobbler-- so easy to throw together!
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Scoop the berries evenly on top of the batter (don’t stir, as the batter will rise to the top as it bakes).

Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes, or until the top crust is nicely browned and looks cooked through and the berries have formed a thick sauce. If it looks like there are a few spots where the batter isn’t cooked all the way through, which you can confirm by lightly touching the spots with your finger, continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through. Let the cobbler cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

My cobbler doesn't look as pretty as the photo in the book, but it sure was delicious!
Gluten-Free: Substitute a mix of 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour.



Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

I'm definitely going to try this truffled cauliflower mac and cheese. Thank you for the giveaway!

Megan Becker said...

Thanks so much for sharing the recipe for the truffle mac! This will make a great side dish for Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

The truffled cauliflower mac looks incredible.

Sophia said...

I'd make any of the "cheesy" casseroles first!

Azedine said...

This is a perfect recipe for my wife. Truffled cauliflower mac all the way!!
Thanks for sharing Master.

kelly g. said...

Anything involving mac & cheese!

Allison S said...

I want to try the Olive and Sun Dried Tomato Quiche with Hash Brown Crust!

sonja hilton said...

I would love this book!!!

Jan Scholl said...

My 2 year old grandson loves anything mac cheese. So that would be first on the list.

Anonymous said...

Looks interesting, but the truffle oil most people can get is synthetic. And thus, not something one should eat. I hope one day to try an actual fresh truffle, but the jarred oil always smells and tastes bitter and of what I would describe in a beer review as overcooked vegetables. So I'm not sure whether I just don't like truffles, or the fake stuff they sell as the oil. (I tried jarred truffles but they had no taste at all.)


Caroline said...

So many tempting recipes! I think I'd like to try the Chickpeas with Rice, Dill, and Tomatoes.

Susan said...

I'm going to have to try that cobbler!

moomoo said...

Can't wait to try the cobbler! Am so happy Julie includes the option to use coconut oil instead of margarine as I haven't yet made yours and don't want to use the palm oil-based products out there for the habitat-destruction reasons you have discussed on your blog.

Chris said...

Cinnamon-Sugar Cheesecake Casserole

eValerie said...

I'd love to try the blueberry cobbler recipe. Thanks for including gluten-free options -- that's important to me.