Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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“[Romero] offers a dynamic intro to Latin food ways with her latest cookbook, Viva Vegan! that even the most staunch omnivore will salivate over…Newcomers to Latin food and plant-based dishes will appreciate Romero’s primer on the Latin pantry and how to source these ingredients.”
# 10 on Tucson Weekly’s bestseller list for the week
“[Romero] comes to the rescue of cooks whose imagination limits their vegan output, and vegans who would like more Latin dishes on their menus. There are 200 recipes in this colorful book; among favorites like tacos, burritos, and tamales (and everything else you’ll find in popular Mexican, Cuban, Costa Rican, South American and Spanish restaurants), there are wonderful desserts, salads, stews, snacks, sweets, casseroles, and…ooooh, those creamy corn-filled empanadas!...There is a great selection of dishes that everyone will enjoy…’Crepes with Un-Dulce de Leche and Sweet Plantains’ are swoon-worthy…Bottom Line: Would I buy Viva Vegan!? Sí.”
“Crepes with Plantains…[is] one of the best vegan breakfast ideas I’ve come across…A good cookbook for novice cooks as well as for those more experienced cooks who want to add a little variety to their culinary repertoire. It works well as an introduction to preparing Latin foods.”
“[An] insanely creative cookbook.”
The Electric Review, May/June/July 2010 issue
“As Terry Hope Romero shows in Viva Vegan!, it's entirely possible for diners to get big flavor with organic ingredients that fore-go all-things-animal. Here, Romero takes a fresh approach to vegan cooking,…introducing an assortment of recipes that simultaneously pay homage to vegan principles and the saucy-flair of traditional Latin cuisine…Viva Vegan!, which speaks with equal precision to both the professional chef and the novice, contains a complete course in how to apply vegan principles to Latin cooking…Noted for its clear narrative that educates without intimidating.”
Bergen Record, 6/14/10
“Two-hundred festive recipes fly off the pages of this Latin-American book, each sacrificing meat and dairy but not authentic techniques.”
Deseret News, 6/15/10
“Romero blends her Venezuelan roots with her experience working in a New York Latino-operated restaurant to create Latin American vegan recipes.”
“Flipping through this book was both fun and jaw-dropping. Not only was it beautifully written, I also don’t think I’d have predicted that so many classic Latin dishes would lend themselves so well to going meat and cheese-less. The recipes were compelling–and all looked fresh and perfect for summer.”
Miss Eco Glam Blog, 4/28/10
“Inside the book are recipes for every aspect of Latin Cooking… You will learn the basics of Latin cooking, how to make beans from scratch, how to perfect a Tamale, and how to make authentic desserts. This book will keep you busy in the kitchen for as long or as short as you like, the variety of recipes in here are fabulous!... It’s the kind of recipe book you read and start drooling because each dish sounds so exotic and sooo yummy!”
“Latin-style food has been hugely underrepresented in vegan cookbooks, but this new book sets everything right.”
About the Author
Terry Hope Romero is a vegan chef and coauthor of several bestselling cookbooks. She contributes to 'VegNews' s "Hot Urban Eats" column and has hosted the public access/podcast vegan cooking show the 'Post Punk Kitchen'. She lives in Queens, New York.
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I realized recently, however, that supportive as they are, many don't think that it's possible to have a vegan meal that doesn't taste like "substitution" food. I have no desire to shove my opinion down people's throats; when we have visitors or I have to contribute food, I would LOVE to be able to prepare and share vegan meals where they don't necessarily notice that there aren't any animal products. I've quickly learned that this is more than just possible--it's probable. Like any kind of cooking-- you just have to learn the techniques and tricks of the trade (for instance, until quite recently I didn't realize that it is a good idea to press tofu). This book is a fantastic resource for achieving this goal.
Last night my husband (an omnivore) and I had the chickpea potato enchiladas paired with spinach, capers and raisins-- it was AMAZING; I never anticipated capers and raisins pairing so brilliantly together. My husband, a self proclaimed cheese-addict said that they were some of the best enchiladas I've ever made hands down. I followed the recipes to a T. In the future he'll request these over their cheese-drenched cousins.
As other reviewers have alluded to, the educational components of the book are thorough, enlightening and engaging. I am completely smitten with this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a better vegan cook and/OR just better acquainted with Latin American cooking in general.
I highly recommend this book for pretty much anyone; there are dishes for a simple weeknight dinner or more impressive undertakings for impressing dinner guests-omnis included!
Favorites: Cilantro Lime Rice, Pupusas, Cafe Con Leche Flan, Green Onion Salsa, Eggplant Torta Sandwich (omg I could eat one of these every meal, every day, forever), Colombian Style Red Beans, Savory Orange Rice, Tofu Chicharrones, and Spicy Tortilla Casserole with Roasted Poblanos.
If you're new to vegan and / or Latin cuisine, fear not! Romero thoughtfully includes a primer on the vegan Latin pantry, along with numerous sidebars, suggested menus (The Buena Vegan Social Club, Colombian Colors, Buenos Aires Potluck, Sofrito So Good, etc.), and a quick-start shopping list (which can be printed at the author's website) that'll have you whipping up vegan delights with Latin flair in "sólo unos minutos" (okay, maybe un poco más for some of the recipes). Quirky Spanish phrases pepper the book; they may not be grammatically correct, but they're likely already familiar to non-Spanish speakers.
Recipes are straightforward and in easy-to-read typeface; recipe names are in all-caps red, while the ingredients and steps are supplemented with tips, uses, and variations. You'll find animal-free versions of staples like dulce de leche, chicharrones (instead of deep-fried pork rinds, Romero uses Chinese-style tofu; I would imagine that tofu skins would also crisp up nicely), masa dough (using vegan margarine and vegan shortening to replace the lard used in traditional tamales), and chorizo (there's an included recipe for seitan chorizo, but Field Roast makes a very good (and spicy) chipotle vegan sausage that could be substituted). If you don't live in a city with a large Hispanic population, some of the items such as guava paste, masa harina and cleaned corn husks for tamales, frozen yuca chunks, and aji panca paste may be difficult to find.
I loved the recipes I tried: the very Spanish Swiss chard with raisins and capers was fantastic! I substituted kale for the chard and golden raisins for the dark raisins and increased the fruit to ½ cup. Absolutely delicious! The oil crisps the garlic and coats the greens (I reduced the oil to 1 tablespoon), and the capers add a delightfully salty tang that contrasts beautifully with the raisins' sweetness.
My second attempt was the sweet and nutty roasted stuffed plantains. They were divine, filled with a sweet-salty combo of sea salt, brown sugar, and walnuts (I'm vegetarian, not vegan, so I used a sprinkle of queso fresco during the last few minutes of cooking). Make sure if you're roasting plantains (as opposed to frying, which works better with unripe green plantains) that their peels are almost completely black; if your plantains aren't fully ripe, they won't soften up as you bake them (lesson learned!).
Like most vegan cookbooks, Viva Vegan! relies heavily on soy and wheat meat substitutes, including tofu, TVP, soy creamer / soymilk and seitan. If you're allergic to soy or wheat, there are plenty of wonderful veggie and grain-based dishes like gallo pinto, red beans with Dominican-style sazón, potato-chickpea enchiladas, and spicy tortilla casserole with roasted poblanos that you can enjoy.
To help you wash down your newly-veganified Latin cuisine, the author provides recipes for sangria, michelada (ice-spiked beer, lime, salt and hot sauce), and the ubiquitous mojito. Sweet endings include pineapple-raisin sweet tamales (the fruit is worked into the dough), deep-fried churros con chocolate, and tropically-inspired gems such as majarete (sweet coconut corn pudding), dulce de batata, papaya-lime sorbet and sweet corn ice cream.
The verdict: Viva Vegan! is a great addition to any kitchen and a great way to add a little "sabor latino" to your next meal!
(Review copy courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books)
First of all, I'm crazy about the seitan recipes in this book! Brilliant! And what's more, she has you steam it the way you steam vegan sausage rather than boiling it forever in otherwise wasted veggie broth. Never boil seitan again! Steaming it is much better. And I was so impressed with the deliciousness of her seitan. I wanted to eat it plain, seriously. And, you know, no one usually does that.
The recipes really taste authentic. And it's so inexpensive! I'm addicted to the yellow rice just to have on hand. Her recipe has you make your own annato-infused oil, but she explains how you can replace it with pre-made achiote paste if you've got that. Well, my local Latin grocery carried that, so making the yellow rice is a snap. I will never use one of those packs again (not that I really ever did, I like cooking too much).
This really isn't a beginner's cookbook. Some recipes have you make other recipes first. But for people who can chop an onion and garlic a little more quickly (which is my secret way of being able to tell if a person cooks often or not), this is a serious cookbook that will help you make incredible food. Her directions are impeccable, she explains everything that needs explaining really well. It's very, very, omnivore-friendly. I fed the food to a lot of different people and they all went nuts for it. There's a lot of faux meat (mostly seitan) and it's really convincingly done.
I still want to try some of the desserts -- in particular the flan! But that will involve me getting some agar flakes or powder off the internet, so I haven't done it yet. Other than that, if you have a Latin grocery in town (and if you have an immigrant population, you do have one in town), the ingredients are actually highly accessible. Also, I buy vital wheat gluten in bulk from Amazon Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten with Vitamin C, 6.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 8) so that is not such a problem, but I could see it being a problem for others.