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 Post subject: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:05 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:56 am
Posts: 45
Location: The Netherlands
Hi everyone,

I'm new here, because I've got a problem I hope you can help me with!

I've had the illustrous Veganomicon for a couple of weeks now and would really like to cook something from it. But during those weeks I've gone through many of the recipes several times, and I can't find one to begin with :/. I'd like to cook a one course dinner from it (so I don't want to try a dessert or soup yet, for instance), and preferably just one dish, because I'm not an experienced enough cook to make several small ones simultaneously.
But just about all recipes either call for an ingredient I've never heard of or wouldn't know where to get (since I don't live in the USA), or for different kinds of peppers, and I can't eat spicy (as in hot) food. So I've got a few questions:
- is it ok to just leave out all spicy peppers (not bell peppers, obviously), or will that leave the dish without flavour as well as hotness?
- do I really need to get all the different kinds of beans or can I substitute?
- have you got more tips to get me started? Everyone's so enthusiastic about this book and I feel I'm missing out!

Thanks very much in advance!

P.S. Sorry if this question was asked before; I did search for similar topics but couldn't find any.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:46 am 
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Go with the Leek and Bean Cassoulet. I think that was the first thing I made from that book. It is a perfect all in one meal. If you are gonna be cooking, you just start out by getting things for the recipe you are cooking...like shortening for biscuits...eventually after more and more recipes you will have a cupboard filled with ingredients and can whip up something in no time.

I don't see why you would have to put spicy peppers in a recipe if that's not your thing.

Beans can be subbed easily enough...I do it alot. If I only have red kidney and it calls for pinto..well sure. But not on Garbanzo beans for the most part...nothing like Garbanzos.

Use the internet and search things out...always an answer lurking in that box somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:36 am 
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Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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You can usually leave out peppers or switch out beans, but it depends on the recipe. Which recipes were you thinking of?


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:14 am 
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zeebo wrote:
Beans can be subbed easily enough...I do it alot. If I only have red kidney and it calls for pinto..well sure. But not on Garbanzo beans for the most part...nothing like Garbanzos.


I sub white beans for garbanzos all the time (usually Great Northern or cannellini). I don't like garbanzo beans.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:52 pm 
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vgnwitch wrote:
zeebo wrote:
Beans can be subbed easily enough...I do it alot. If I only have red kidney and it calls for pinto..well sure. But not on Garbanzo beans for the most part...nothing like Garbanzos.


I sub white beans for garbanzos all the time (usually Great Northern or cannellini). I don't like garbanzo beans.


blasphemy


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:19 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:56 am
Posts: 45
Location: The Netherlands
Hey, thanks for your replies!
I've been going through parts of the book, looking up unknown ingredients on Wikipedia, and already noticed how many more options I'd have if I could leave out peppers or substitute beans.

zeebo wrote:
Go with the Leek and Bean Cassoulet. I think that was the first thing I made from that book.

I had been thinking about that. 'Problem ingredient' there would be shortening, though. Yes, though shortening seems to be completely normal in the USA, I haven't been able to find a word for it in my language (Dutch) and am not sure whether I could get it. Could I use coconut oil instead, if there's a non-hydroginated kind available?

zeebo wrote:
Beans can be subbed easily enough...I do it alot. If I only have red kidney and it calls for pinto..well sure. But not on Garbanzo beans for the most part...nothing like Garbanzos.

Good point, but luckily chick peas are readily available here :D.

mollyjade wrote:
You can usually leave out peppers or switch out beans, but it depends on the recipe. Which recipes were you thinking of?

I was thinking of trying maybe Spaghetti squash Mexicana with tropical avocado salsa fresca (page 178) or Plantain and pinto stew with or without parsnip chips (page 183).
In the case of the first recipe, I think I'd have to substitute the squash, and would like to omit the peppers. Would that be a problem? Oh, and I'm not sure whether I'd be able to get black beans :P.
The same goes for the second recipe: jalapenos out, and may have to sub the pinto beans. My supermarket does carry plantain =).


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:10 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I really like the Fresh Dill-Basmati Rice with Chard and Chickpeas too. Here are some notes and a picture from where I posted on it last year. http://veg-am.blogspot.com/2009/08/cookbook-challenge-week-1-veganomicon_5203.html

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:18 am 
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I would recommend soups - like baked potatoes and greens, spicy eggplant soup, two kinds of tomato soup. Shortening is available in Europe (but the most popular brand I know is produced by Unilever, at lest in Poland) or you can use solid coconut fat if you really care about this. Shortening has less water than regular margarine but in most cases it can be substituted with it but liquids should be reduced by 1 tablespoon or so. Or at least that I was told.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:44 am 
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misshendrie wrote:
mollyjade wrote:
You can usually leave out peppers or switch out beans, but it depends on the recipe. Which recipes were you thinking of?

I was thinking of trying maybe Spaghetti squash Mexicana with tropical avocado salsa fresca (page 178) or Plantain and pinto stew with or without parsnip chips (page 183).
In the case of the first recipe, I think I'd have to substitute the squash, and would like to omit the peppers. Would that be a problem? Oh, and I'm not sure whether I'd be able to get black beans :P.
The same goes for the second recipe: jalapenos out, and may have to sub the pinto beans. My supermarket does carry plantain =).

There's not really a good substitute for spaghetti squash. It looks like this:
Image

If you're only leaving out the jalapeno and not the yellow pepper (it's not spicy), then I think the pinto bean dish would work pretty well with another bean. Borlotti, cranberry, or kidney beans would all work well.

You can use margarine in place of shortening in the cassoulet. They don't work exactly the same, but it's a pretty common sub.

Some dishes that a lot of people like that have easier to find ingredients: eggplant rollatini, lentils and rice with caramelized onions, and pumpkin saag (this is one where you can use a different kind of winter squash). And I know you said no soups, but tomato-rice soup with roasted garlic and navy beans is really good and hearty enough to be a full meal. Any white bean would work in it.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:26 am 
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If you can get lentils where you live, I like the Snobby Joes a lot. I'm sure other beans would be delicious in this recipe too. It is easy to make, hearty and filling, and not spicy.
Another vote for leek and bean cassoulet, I subbed margarine for shortening because I couldn't find shortening at the time.
I also like the jambalaya a lot, very filling and makes a ton. It has red and white beans, the seitan may be a problem but you could leave it out and just add more beans, or replace with tempeh if that is easier to come by.
Can you get tofu where you live? The lasagna is a great starting point too.
The chickpeas romesco are great, I think it only calls for bell peppers- that's all I used, in any case.

Hope that's helpful! What types of beans and vegetables are popular where you are?

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:54 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:56 am
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Location: The Netherlands
Thanks, you're all very helpful!

mollyjade wrote:
There's not really a good substitute for spaghetti squash. It looks like this:

I'd love to try that just because of the way it looks! I don't think it's available here, but I'll look. Apart from its structure obviously being different from other squashes/pumpkins, does it also have a very different taste?

mollyjade wrote:
Some dishes that a lot of people like that have easier to find ingredients: eggplant rollatini, lentils and rice with caramelized onions, and pumpkin saag (this is one where you can use a different kind of winter squash).

It's interesting that there are apparently so many different squashes/pumphins available in the USA. Here we've only got these kinds, generally:
Image
and I have seen butternut sometimes.

dakini wrote:
the seitan may be a problem but you could leave it out and just add more beans, or replace with tempeh if that is easier to come by.
Can you get tofu where you live?

Yes, I can get tofu at the supermarket; tempeh, and probably seitan, too, at the organic store. And today I also found silken tofu there, which I'd been looking for for a while because it seems such an interesting ingredient for desserts, among other things.
I already love my organic store. I've just moved so I hadn't been to this particular organic store often before, but it turns out to sell: several kinds of dried beans (though no pinto or black beans), 3-4 kinds of lentils, edamame, millet, even kasha (which sounded very exotic to me ;)), and lots of japanese things like mirin and udon noodles! So I know where I'll be looking for 'strange' ingredients first!

dakini wrote:
What types of beans and vegetables are popular where you are?

Hmm. Green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, carrots, green peas, lettuce, leek, tomatoes; cabbages like kale, brussels sprouts and red cabbage. I think those are the most common/popular. Most types of beans aren't that popular here, I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:07 am 
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misshendrie wrote:
mollyjade wrote:
There's not really a good substitute for spaghetti squash. It looks like this:

I'd love to try that just because of the way it looks! I don't think it's available here, but I'll look. Apart from its structure obviously being different from other squashes/pumpkins, does it also have a very different taste?

It tastes like other winter squashes, but the flavor is lighter. The texture is different, too. It's not creamy like other squashes can be. It has more bite to it.

In the U.S. pumpkins (like the ones in your photo), butternut squash, and acorn squash are pretty easy to find. Other squashes, like kabocha or cinderella, you might only find at specialty stores or farmers markets.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Misshendrie, this is my favorite website for substitutions: http://www.foodsubs.com/

Just search for the item you'd like to substitute and they give you a few options.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:49 pm 
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I have similar problems with finding ingredients. We don't have the pepper varieties that they have in the US here, and we also don't really grow and sell winter vegetables like kale. Wikipedia is a lifesaver though, a lot of the time I'll be wondering what I can sub for something but then I look it up and it turns out that it's just known by a different name here. This happened yesterday when I was looking for romaine lettuce.

As others have said, margarine works for shortening to an extent. We have copha here, which is a kind of coconut oil-based shortening, but it's a lot more solid than the shortening sold in the US and doesn't really work in the same way. I have a tub of Crisco vegetable shortening that I got from an imported foods store that I use for buttercream frostings.

Good luck, and take it as the opportunity to be a bit creative with your cooking!

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:05 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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mixmaster_mo wrote:
Misshendrie, this is my favorite website for substitutions: http://www.foodsubs.com/
Just search for the item you'd like to substitute and they give you a few options.

That is certainly handy! One ingredient I definitely can't get here is collards (pity, as it's also in a Portuguese soup I'd like to try), so I guess I could sub that using this site.

Erinnerung wrote:
Wikipedia is a lifesaver though, a lot of the time I'll be wondering what I can sub for something but then I look it up and it turns out that it's just known by a different name here. This happened yesterday when I was looking for romaine lettuce.

I had that with cilantro, bell peppers and, reading zeebo's message above, with garbanzo beans. I thought, what on earth are all those things and where do I get them? But then I looked them up and they turned out to be 'just' coriander, paprikas and chick peas :).


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:04 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Hi everyone!
Tonight I made my first dish from the Vcon and I thought I'd let you know how it went, since you were all so helpful :). Unfortunately I was quite disappointed. I went for the Spicy tempeh and broccoli rabe with rotelle (though with kale instead of rabe), because so many people were enthusiastic about it here: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=26077.0. But I didn't think it anything special; my boyfriend and I both thought it was ok; edible, but I don't think I'd make it again. I sure hope the next recipe I try (if I still dare...) will be better.
I also made vegan chocolate mousse recently (using 2 parts silken tofu to 1 part dark chocolate; not from the Vcon) and that was really good!


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:21 pm 
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I totally know what you mean - the Veganomicon is pretty intimidating when you first read it. When I first got it, I was like "I have nooo idea what to make". And I live in Europe too, so I know quite a lot of the ingredients are just not possible to get here.

If you're cool with curry, the Red Lentil & Cauliflower curry is delicious. I make it at least once a week, sometimes more, and it isn't really spicy at all, and the ingredients are pretty cheap and easy to find. The recipe does call for a jalapeno, but since fresh jalapenos are pretty much impossible to find in the here I usually just sub with any green chili available at the store. Even with the chili, it really isn't spicy, but if you're really worried you could probably leave it out altogether and it would still be delicious.

The easy stir fried greens recipe is also a staple for me, I usually make it with spring greens or kale and pair it with rice or one of the tofu dishes.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:53 am 
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Erinnerung wrote:
This happened yesterday when I was looking for romaine lettuce.

Yeah it's just cos! That one had me scratching my head for ages.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:57 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Tonight I made Snobby Joes and they were good (my boyfriend also said that he didn't miss anything in them, i.e. meat). But goodness gracious, way too spicy for me! I don't know whether it was the chili powder (I put in only 1/3-1/2 of the 3 tbsp) or the mustard (mine was yellow, but not the American kind, so it might have been much spicier than intended), but I was sorry I didn't have any yoghurt in the house. However, I found some whipped cream in the fridge and had a couple of spoonfuls of that, and then I was okay again *lol*.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:26 pm 
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I looove the Snobby Joes, but they were way to spicy for me when I made them for the first time, too. I think it must be a difference in chili powder - the "chilipoeder" I buy over here in the Netherlands is pure ground pepper, which is way too strong (for me, anyway) to use in the quantities the Snobby Joes recipe calls for. So I just use a little of the chili powder mixed with other spices/herbs like cumin, oregano, and coriander, and now my Joes turn out perfect. Then again, I am a wimp when it comes to spiciness.
I hope you try the recipe again because it's awesome!


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:38 pm 
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The Chickpeas romanesco are easy and i bet you can find all the ingredients for that

the vodka penne too

Pretty much anything out of the mix and math veggie section.

dont give up! that book is awesome! (i dont think the recipe you tried sounded that great, i havent made it and have had the book for years now.)


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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:44 pm 
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misshendrie wrote:
Tonight I made Snobby Joes and they were good (my boyfriend also said that he didn't miss anything in them, i.e. meat). But goodness gracious, way too spicy for me! I don't know whether it was the chili powder (I put in only 1/3-1/2 of the 3 tbsp) or the mustard (mine was yellow, but not the American kind, so it might have been much spicier than intended), but I was sorry I didn't have any yoghurt in the house. However, I found some whipped cream in the fridge and had a couple of spoonfuls of that, and then I was okay again *That's very funny!*.


American chili powder is a different beast than what you're probably using--see a recipe here.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:31 pm 
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
American chili powder is a different beast than what you're probably using--see a recipe here.


Ah that is useful to know, it sounds similar to something marketed here as Mexican Chilli Powder, which is chilli mixed in with cumin and some others I can't remember but in small quantites is useless I find for providing any real heat to a dish. But I'm I glad I know this before simply using the pure chilli powder in anything. More than a Tbsp would be too much!

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 Post subject: Re: Getting started with the Veganomicon
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:07 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Oh, that's right! I actually read quite a bit about chili powder because I wanted to know whether I could use it instead of cayenne pepper in other recipes, so I don't need to buy cayenne as well. I read that American chili powder is a herb mix while cayenne is pure pepper, but indeed I believe my chili powder has only one ingredient - chili. I can't believe I forgot this when I was adding it to the recipe... So glad I added less of it because I know I'm also a whimp when it comes to spicy food (my boyfriend can take a lot more - he did think it a little spicy, while I had to pause each time before taking another bite :P).
(It says *That's very funny* in my post while I typed l.o.l.?)


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