Friday, January 15, 2010

Why a Second Blog?

Those of you that read my original blog you know the back-story on this blog. For everyone else I wanted to explain the purpose of this blog.

My friend Sue and I met a few years ago in a weekly cooking class that we both attended. Both of us cooked much more healthy at home than the recipes we were learning (or relearning) in class. We found ourselves discussing how to the take the recipes made in class and making them healthy at home. After doing this for a few years we decided it would be fun to take a cookbook and do the same thing.

After a month ago we went shopping together and choose “Ad Hoc at Home” as our cookbook to veganize and make healthy. What that means is that we won’t be using any unnecessary oil, white flour, white or brown sugar or animal products.

Initially I wasn’t certain how I was going to blog about this since I didn’t think it was appropriate to reproduce Thomas Keller’s recipes. I quickly realized that I was changing the recipes so much they were new recipes. Also I thought about comparing his nutritional stats to my new recipes but decided that wasn’t fair to the original book since he made no reference to health in this book. I will be posting my nutritional information along with my recipes. I will mention in general the things I changed from the original. However if you are interesting in following along at home to see the specific changes we are making you will need to pick up a copy of the book. It really is a lovely book and I am very happy that I had it at home for inspiration.

I choose to place these recipes in a separate blog since the inspiration all came from one place. Normally my recipe inspiration comes from omni dinners I have eaten or made in the past. All the recipes on this blog will be variations of those found in the book “Ad Hoc at Home”. However the specific recipe will all be different from the book as we make them vegan and healthy.

Both Sue and I read the book and choose the first three recipes to get together and make. We decided to start with Pan Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers (page 20), Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chip (page 127) and Broccolini Salad with Burrata Cheese (page 144). I will be posting a least one of those recipes later today, with the remainder to follow this weekend as I get a few minutes.

Here is both the grocery and to-do list we were working from on Wednesday:

Page 20: Pan Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers
Page 127: Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chip
Page 144: Broccolini Salad with Burrata Cheese

Grocery List:

For the Pan Roasted Chicken:
20 ounces Vital Wheat Gluten to make Seitan for Chicken and Sausage
4 cups Bread Crumbs for Seitan
1 small bunch Fresh Parsley
12 bell peppers (half red half yellow)
onion, tomato and garlic sofritto (will need a small onion, tomato and a garlic clove or two)
1 1/3 cups veggie stock or water or white wine

For: the Cream of Cauliflower soup:
2 heads of cauliflower (about 4 – 5 pounds)
butter (change and reduce original recipe)
onion, small white or yellow
1 leek
curry powder
4 cups non-dairy milk
cornstarch or arrowroot to thicken the milk to mimic cream
1 beet (for chips)
white vinegar
torn croutons (bread)

For the Broccolini Salad:
2 lbs broccolini (used more
2 large crimini mushrooms (used more)
1/2 red onion
1 cup olives (used oil cured black olives), amount is variable
sherry vinegar
wine vinegar

Items we may need that aren’t on the grocery list:
Olive Oil
Canola Oil

Equipment needed:
Mandoline, for the beet chips, red onions and crimini mushrooms

Things to do:
· sherry vinaigrette (for broccoli salad)
· peppers rustica (for the chicken and peppers dish)
· chicken seitan cutlets (for the chicken and peppers dish)
· sweet Italian seitan sausage (for the chicken and peppers dish)

Now I am going to write up one recipe to get posted today before I need to start getting ready for dinner tonight. We are going out for dinner with our friend Louis this evening. An update on that will be found at my original blog.


dirtyduck said...

the cauliflower soup is looking better and that i see the ingredient list isnt to crazy. you wrote that it wouldnt be fair to compare nutritionals to the author because he made no mention of health. that seems so weird(?) i have never been able to cook without trying to make things healthier.ocd....?? ha probably!!

Vegan Epicurean said...


Thanks for following me to the new blog. The cauliflower soup is really easy. I just got the recipe posted.

Chefs don't think of food the way the rest of us to. They are always going for maximum flavor and mouth feel and that means fat. Our chef friend uses much more fat than I do (we love him anyway). It is just how they are trained to use butter, cream, cheese and animal fat. I hate to admit that I used to do it too (before I saw the light).

talk to you later,

dirtyduck said...

lol you told m,e that before, i think maybe its hard to understand since yourfood is sooo dif now. i def prefer the way you do things now. and NO disrespect was intended.

Vegan Epicurean said...


I knew you were just saying what you thought. I understand and agree with you. But I felt someone should take up for the chefs of the world. They are trained to use fat to carry flavor, which it does beautifully. It just isn't healthy. But they aren't nutritionists they are chefs. I guess since we have a friend that is a chef I can see both sides even though my cooking is ultra healthy now. Does that make sense?


Oraphan said...

Your new blog sounds so inspiring! I'm so impressed with what you and sue have been doing. I know for sure I will learn lots of new healthy recipes from you. Thanks for the inspiration, Alicia!

Vegan Epicurean said...


Thank you so much for the kinds words. Sue and I are enjoying the process of veganizing the book. I hope you continue to enjoying reading about it.


shanthi said...

This is different and yummy. Do visit my blog when time permits.

Elle said...

I love this blog idea! I love Thomas Keller, but I prefer to eat vegan, so your blog is my new fascination!

Vegan Epicurean said...


Thanks for the compliment. I wanted to do something different with this blog. Obviously I love Thomas Keller too, but food like his isn't healthy. Hopefully my healthy vegan versions of his recipes are just as tasty.