Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TCV Home Kitchen Renovation

We wanted to share a recent story with y'all about a place that's really important to us: our home kitchen! Style Blueprint did a great job in covering what this room is all about and how it came together. You can read the story and see the photos HERE.

Our friends Walker Uhlhorn and George Uhlhorn of Uhlhorn Brothers Construction graciously took on our project amidst working on a bunch of new builds in the Memphis area. They helped us rethink the two rooms that were damaged by a hidden-under-many-layers-of-old-tile dishwasher leak. Now, we're so happy to cook and hang out in one big room since their guys knocked down a wall for us and rebuilt the kitchen and adjoining dining room.

We both love redesigning spaces. In previous posts, you can see how our kitchen has changed since we've lived in the same 1950's East Memphis house (our first home) for the past 14 years. Here's a spice cabinet re-dopantry re-dothe update before the leak happened, the beginning of the renovation (including a bit of the pretty weird stuff that was hiding behind the walls), and the middle of the reno, including cabinets and woodworking.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a renovation, planned or completely not, or if you just don't feel like cooking one weeknight, this is the meal for you: Annie's microwave mac and cheese, a can of Amy's chili, Greek yogurt, and sliced avocado. It's quick and it's the best.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ethiopian Vegetable Plate

We love Ethiopian food! Besides being super-delish, it’s very vegetarian-and-vegan-friendly. Most of the dishes highlight a single ingredient that’s been perfectly cooked and spiced to bring out the best of what it has to offer. Our buddy Ermyias Shiberou was kind enough to run it all down for us when we asked how he makes a few of the delicious dishes he serves on the vegetable plate at Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen in Memphis. Here are a few of his favorite recipes!

Ethiopian Vegetable Plate

Ethiopian Roasted Beets

Berbere Spiced Split Peas
Sautéed Cabbage with Turmeric
8 very thin slices of whole wheat sourdough bread or injera
Jalapeño  and Rosemary Dressing

Make beets, peas, and cabbage according to the directions below. Serve on slices of sourdough or injera. (Serves 6.) 

Ethiopian Roasted Beets

4 medium red beets
1 medium jalapeño (thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon Jalapeño and Rosemary Dressing (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place beets in a small casserole dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Allow beets to cool completely. Peel skin from the beet by rubbing it with a damp paper towel just as though you're polishing it--the outer skin will rub right off. Slice beets in 1/4-inch cubes. (You should have about 2 cups of cubed beets.) Toss with sliced jalapeño, Jalapeño and Rosemary Dressing, and salt. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve. (Makes 2 cups.)

Berbere-Spiced Split Peas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced white onion
1 tablespoon Berbere spice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup yellow split peas
3 1/2 cups warm water
Kosher salt to taste
1 teaspoon 
Garlic and Ginger Paste (recipe follows)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion. Cook until the edges of the onion start to brown. Add the Berbere spice and tomato paste. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste turns a darker shade of red. This caramelizes the sugar in the tomato paste and gives a deep flavor. (This process should take about 10 minutes.) 

Add the yellow split peas and 1/3 of the water. Stir, raise the temperature to high, and  bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for ten minutes. Once all the water has been absorbed, add another 1/3 of the water, stir, and cook for ten minutes. Add the last of the water and stir. Cook split peas until tender, which will take approximately 10 more minutes. (Makes 3 cups.)


Sautéed Cabbage with Turmeric

1 tablespoon olive oil1 small head cabbage (cored, sliced, about 5 cups)
1 cup onion1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon Garlic and Ginger Paste (recipe follows)

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once it starts to shimmer, add the cabbage and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft. (This process will take about 10 minutes.) Add the turmeric, salt, and the Garlic and Ginger Paste. Toss to incorporate. Set aside until ready to serve. (Makes 3 cups.) 

Jalapeño  and Rosemary Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced jalapeño
1/4 teaspoon Garlic and Ginger Paste (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, jalapeño, Garlic and Ginger Paste, and olive oil. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste. (Makes about 2 tablespoons.)

Garlic and Ginger Paste

6 medium cloves garlic

1-inch piece ginger
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Using a fine microplane, grate the garlic and ginger. Mix paste together in a small bowl along with the salt. (Makes 2 tablespoons.)

Friday, November 25, 2016

TCV at Booksellers at Laurelwood for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 at 2 p.m.

We have a ton of love for all our friends who run small businesses across the country! It's so important to support the people who have created jobs for themselves and others. They tirelessly share their expertise and vision with their community and bring unique events and, of course, some really great stuff to their towns and cities. We think small business owners all need our support not only during the holiday shopping season, but on a regular basis.

So to show our support for Small Business Saturday, we'll be hanging out with the folks at Booksellers at Laurelwood this Saturday, November 26 at 2:00 p.m. to chat with our readers and sign copies of our cookbooks. Booksellers is where we always go to choose kids' books for gifts and check out all the new cookbooks. Please stop by tomorrow afternoon, browse all the books and gifts, and come say hi!

Local stores that carry one or both of our cookbooks, The Southern Vegetarian (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and The Chubby Vegetarian (Susan Schadt Press, 2016):

- Booksellers at Laurelwood
- Babcock Gifts
- Five-in-One Social Club
- Bazaar Olive Oil
- Palladio Art & Antiques
- Burke's Book Store
- Rhodes College Bookstore
- Miss Cordelia's

Other local shops we love:

Justin's picks: Shangri-La, Goner Records, and the Cleveland Street Flea Market to browse vintage vinyl. Get some coffee and a snack at City and State or Porcellino's. Five-in-One Social Club has Memphis-branded handmade items, great sweatshirts, and tons of classes for makers. Sparkling River Peppers from Curb Market would be an amazing stocking stuffer. Gift certificates to your favorite locally owned restaurants (might we suggest The Second Line for a Chubby Vegetarian Mushroom Debris Po Boy? ;) are also perfect for keeping money in the local economy. We are also newly obsessed with the top-notch coffee beans from French Truck.

Amy's picks: Found has some of the best vintage clothes and accessories. Right next door, you can make jewelry and get broken items repaired or old jewelry reworked at Bead Couture. Tate Professional Jewelers can make any piece you dream up. Sugarplum Consignments and Celery always have a nice selection. Buying from and donating to the Repeat Boutique helps so many Memphians. I love stopping by La Maison, Garden District, Pickering Boxwood, Spruce in East Memphis, and Sheffield's in Collierville. I also think it's impossible to go wrong buying anything at Muddy's.

Friday, November 18, 2016

TCV at Bazaar Olive Oil in Collierville, TN this Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1:00 p.m.

We have so many fond memories of the Collierville Historic Town Square. One of us used to skateboard all around there, and he had his very last hamburger at Mensi's Dairy Bar back in the late 80's. The other one always wants to buy some cowgirl boots at Hewlett & Dunn and is determined to find the just-right pair; she also thoroughly enjoyed writing about Café Piazza way back when.

Now we'll be at Bazaar Olive Oil this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to talk about cooking and sign copies of our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian!

The Square is having its moment. A new restaurant by Chef Brian Thurmond, 148 North, opened last week, and we stopped by last weekend to get a preview of the new spot. Now we're excitedly awaiting the opening of Pharm 2 Fork by Chef Mac Edwards.

We're so happy to be a part of all that's happening out east, and we're thrilled to have been invited to sign books at Bazaar. So if you can, come see us on Saturday at 1:00! We'll have a couple of snacks that feature olive oil, and if you like, we'll sign a book for you or help you choose the perfect bottle of olive oil or vinegar or put together a gift for someone you know who loves to cook.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2016: We've got answers!

It's on everyone's minds now: Thanksgiving is almost here! We can't wait to try to help you figure it all out, at least the what-to-cook and what-to-eat parts of it. For the rest, we just wish you patience and an open heart. Enjoy the holiday! :)

But first, it was an honor this week for one of our recipes to be featured by The Washington Post as the dish for vegetarians this holiday. As though that wasn't enough for us to rejoice about, then there was a great video and then our very first 'Free Range on Food' live chat on washingtonpost.com. You can read how it went and what people asked HEREWe're grateful for the help in spreading the word about how we cook and why we do what we do. Being vegetarian at Thanksgiving isn't a sad, missing-out, left-out sort of thing; it's actually pretty awesome, or it can be if you know how to prepare for it. 

Here's a quick guide for people who may be just beginning to figure out the whole no-meat situation, and we wanted to help the people around them who are silently freaking out about how to accommodate them. Here goes…and please feel free to ask us anything else about Thanksgiving in the comments!

1. "What might be something vegetarian I could make that rivals the turkey and has a nice presentation?" 

Our vegetarian centerpiece this year is the 'Roast Beast' from our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian. The Roast Beast features an array of vegetables like portobello mushroom caps, eggplant slices, onions, and roasted red peppers, all flavored with pesto and cheese and then threaded onto a spit. It's like making one huge vegetable kabob. The result is roasted on the grill or in the oven for about an hour. It's spectacular when presented to the table and will give any turkey a run for its money. The best part is that it's so easy. Another favorite is Stuffed Acorn Squash, but we think a nice, big lasagna can bring happiness as well.  

2. "What should be on my list if I'm shopping for a meal that'll involve folks with special diets?"

In the spirit of being inclusive, it's nice to consider everyone at your table when preparing the classics. Vegan (and consequently, vegetarian) marshmallows for topping your sweet potato casserole are readily available now at places like Whole Foods, and simply swapping vegetable stock in for the chicken stock in things like dressing will keep everyone happy and going back for seconds. Gluten-free pie crusts (we like this one) have come a long way recently, so if you have a guest with a gluten allergy, it's a breeze to feed them dessert. We like to think about who's vegan and who's gluten-free as we plan for Thanksgiving, and we always offer separately prepared dishes without nuts for those with allergies. 

Most of all, just be open with your guests and ask them about allergies or preferences beforehand. You'll be surprised at how understanding people can be. They may even offer to help by bringing a dish that works for them to share.

3. "How can I be a good Thanksgiving Day guest?"

It's good to try to be a fountain and not a drain when attending any gathering. Bring everything you'll need for serving your dish, and that'll really help your host's stress level. If your dish needs to be hot or cold, bring it in an insulated casserole carrier. It's best not to require oven or fridge space since your host probably has both at full capacity. We often pack hot items in a cooler, too, for the short drive over to someone's house. (And we're happy to help clear the table, but we've learned not to jump in and start doing the dishes unless we're directly asked to do so! Even though it's so tempting just to go for it and get it done! No one likes this, even if we all feel they should appreciate it so very much at the time.) 

We've done all of these wrong in the past but have somehow learned to do better along the way! 

4. "I don't really like to cook. What in the world am I going to bring to the table?"

If you want to make something easy that has a a big impact, make an easy cranberry sauce from scratch. We often flavor ours with oranges, and it's something we always make since sometimes good cranberry sauce is kind of seen as unnecessary but actually is amazing.

5. "I am tired of pumpkin. What should I make for dessert?"

Definitely a spicy chocolate tart from our first cookbook, The Southern Vegetarian (Thomas Nelson, 2013).

6. "I'm going to a Thanksgiving potluck. How can I make sure my dish stands out?"

One recent Thanksgiving potluck featured no less than six sweet potato dishes! This elicited a heated critique of each person's creation and and a ranking by one person of favorite iteration to least favorite, and well, it led to some mildly crestfallen feelings at the table. If you are going to use classic Thanksgiving ingredients, do something different so your dish stands out. Use sweet potatoes as grilled slices mounded with buttery almonds, lemon zest, and fresh parsley. We call it Sweet Potato Almondine.  

Also, don't be afraid to go outside the bounds of traditional Thanksgiving food. There are plenty of dishes that are in the spirit of Thanksgiving classics but feature international flavors. In The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook, we have a curried acorn squash salad with apples and raita dressing that would be a great starter. 

7. We have a question for you. What do you eat for breakfast on Thanksgiving? That's always a tough thing to figure out. Give us some ideas in the comments!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chubby Veg's Roast Beast in The Washington Post for this year's vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish + participate in our Washington Post live chat this Wed.! (+ the next TCV book signing at Babcock Gifts on Wed. afternoon in Memphis)

Well, today's Washington Post article featuring Joe Yonan's riff on a Thanksgiving-friendly Chubby Vegetarian dish sure was a fun surprise this morning! Let's all get ready to do vegetarian Thanksgiving up right!

The recipe for Roast Beast is featured in our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian. We were really happy to see Joe's take on our idea, and we just learned that you can watch his absolutely adorable video of the process since it just got posted with the article this evening.

We have a couple of events coming up this Wednesday if you'd like to join us in our excitement about Thanksgiving prep. Get a jump on it by submitting a question here for our upcoming 'Free Range on Food' live chat on The Washington Post's website this Wednesday morning with Joe. (We'll start at 11:00 a.m. CST and would love for y'all to participate if you are able. The topic is 'recipes and tips for a Thanksgiving potluck'.)

So, the backstory: We kind of had a feeling something was up last month since Joe tried out our Roast Beast recipe a few times and posted the results as he experimented. We talked with him one Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago and heard that he was going to be featuring our oversized skewered kabob with pesto and Provolone cheese, for his choice for his vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish this year. Thanks a million for finding our recipes so enticing, Joe, and for always appreciating what we do!

In addition, if you're available this week on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 16 anytime between 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., we would like to invite you to stop by Babcock Gifts on Poplar in East Memphis. We're excited to celebrate today's article and the Wednesday morning live discussion with y'all! You can get a book signed and stock up on gifts before the flat-out craziness of the holidays is upon us all.
Of course, we'll have a straight-from-the-cookbook snack for you to enjoy (check out our Insta soon for the reveal), and we can't wait to see you there.