Whenever I discover a new book I really like and am likely on the verge of falling for, I carry it with me from room to room stealing glimpses between writing sentences or stirring dinner on the stove. Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro by Makini Howell is one of those books.
The book is beautiful to look at. Understated yet swathed in texture and light, photographer Charity Burggraaf brings Howell’s dishes within close reach. The pages are filled with Howell’s honest straightforward recipes that are as cutting edge as they are personal. I imagine a seat at Plum Bistro reflects the same sentiment. Bold flavors, traditional techniques, and fresh ingredients for everyone who loves to eat and cook, vegan or otherwise.
Flipping through the pages, I couldn’t decide what to make first: Plum’s Smoky Mac, Toasted Chocolate Bread with Cream Cheese Creme Fraiche, Pesto Plum Pizza with Balsamic Arugula, or Good Old-Fashioned French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Sweet Soy Cream. After several reads, I chose the later but it was very clear I wanted to cook my way through the entire book.
Chapters are divided into fundamentals and techniques (hello revolutionary “egg foam”, “sweet soy cream”, and “basil soy ricotta”—welcome to my cooking repertoire); breakfasts; salads and soups; small plates; tofu; tempeh & seitan; pasta; grains; and desserts. All the recipes happen to be vegan and many are gluten- and soy-free as well. Howell’s take on vegan cuisine is comforting, succulent, and entirely approachable to create at home.
I’ve fallen for Plum. Maybe you’ll do the same. If you’d like a chance (you do, you absolutely do want this book!), leave a comment here by Tuesday, November 5th and I’ll choose one winner at random.
Sign up for my monthly newsletter (see sign-up box on the right side of this page). You can also follow/like me on one or all of my social hangouts: twitter, facebook, pinterest, google + and tell me that you did so in the comments. The winner will receive an email and has one week to respond and claim their prize. If I don’t hear from you in a week, another winner will be chosen.
The giveaway is now closed. Thanks everyone for playing along and congrats, Sara. You won!
Plus, my twist on Plum’s French Toast…
French Toast Stuffed with Vanilla Roasted Apples & Pears
adapted from Plum by Makini Howell
makes 2 servings
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup Egg Foam
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (plus extra for the pan)
2 slices thick bread, about 2 inches thick by four inches long
1 batch vanilla roasted apples and pears
1/4 cup sweet cinnamon cashew cream
serve with drizzled maple syrup on top
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and vinegar until the mixture thickens. Add the foam, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Lightly butter a griddle or large frying pan over medium-high heat (note if using cast iron griddle, preheat pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes and keep at that heat). Halve each bread slice nearly to the bottom, leaving the bread attached at the spine like an open book. Working in batches, dip the bread into the milk mixture for about 30 seconds on each side, then place on the griddle. Cook the bread until it turns golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes, then flip it with a spatula. Cook it on the other side until the bottom is crisp and browned, about 4 more minutes. Remove the bread, and repeat with the remaining slice, adding more butter to the griddle as needed.
To serve, spoon 1/4 cup apples and pears onto the bottom half of each piece of French toast. Fold the top over, add a spoonful of cashew cream, and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately.
slightly adapted from Plum by Makini Howell
makes 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon egg replacer (Ener-G brand)
1/2 cup room temperature water
Heat a burner to medium-high heat. put the egg replacer and water in a medium stainless-steel bowl. Placing the bowl directly on the burner, whisk the mixture continuously (to avoid sticking to bottom of bowl) until it starts to foam and thicken, about 2 minutes. When the foam has fluffed up like a beaten egg, remove the bowl from the heat.
Vanilla Roasted Apples and Pears
2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 pear, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon raw cane sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon vegan butter
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, toss the apples and pears with vanilla, sugar, and salt. Spread in a shallow 2-cup baking dish that crowds the fruit in a single layer. Dot with slivers of the butter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the fruit starts to soften, about 15 minutes.
Uncover, raise the heat to 500F, and return dish to oven. Leave fruit to dry out and color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Cinnamon Cashew Cream
makes about 1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
pinch of coarse sea salt
Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for at least 2 hours to soften. Drain the cashews, place in a blender, along with the water and remaining ingredients. Blend until silky smooth. For a thinner cream, add a tablespoon of water at a time between blending, until it reaches desired consistency. Refrigerate leftover cream in a sealed container.