On the fifth day of “6 Days of Vegan Cookbook Reviews” your true love (me!) gave to you…a double-recipe from Candle 79! Before I start today’s review, though, let’s recap the vegan cookbooks reviewed so far:
- Celebrate Vegan + A GIVEAWAY This giveaway ends TONIGHT. Be sure to enter by 11:59 p.m. EST for your chance to win your own copy of Celebrate Vegan!
- Eat Vegan on $4 a Day
- Superfood Cuisine
- Vegan Holiday Kitchen
Long time readers know that one of my all-time favorite things to do is dine at Candle 79 in Manhattan. I’ve posted many fabulous meals on this blog, most recently my Thanksgiving feast. When I learned that the geniuses behind my favorite restaurant were publishing a cookbook, I couldn’t stand the wait.
Fortuitously, the publisher reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos & Jorge Pineda.
Um, okay, if you insist.
The Candle 79 Cookbook is substantial in size and in recipes. The authors are generous. Why generous? Because they have provided the recipes to the dishes and drinks for which many of us go to the restaurant. I know, I know, that’s the point but they didn’t skimp. Reading the table of contents is essentially reading each of their seasonal menus–it feels like they shared everything!
Rory Freedman’s foreword captures the spirit of the cookbook.
This book is clearly a labor of love. Every single recipe is mouth-watering. And they all reflect what Bart and Joy [Candle 79 Restaurant owners] set out to do with their restaurants: They show us that we can eat amazing food, take excellent care of our bodies, and respect Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.
From the authors:
We believe that everyone has an inner chef, and the purpose of this book is to awaken that chef and introduce you to techniques, nuances, and infinite possibilities of plant-based cuisine. Join us in the exploration of the plant kingdom.
Let’s dig into the book and the recipe sections.
Amuse-Bouches and Appetizers
When dining at the Candle 79 restaurant you’re always treated to a flavorful Amuse-Bouche. In the cookbook the authors suggest serving them as a first course or as small-bites to be passed or from a buffet. The ten recipes in this section range from Heirloom Tomato-Avocado Tartare (one of my summer restaurant favorites!) made with a raw mushroom ceviche to Ginger-Seitan Dumplings made with Shittake mushrooms, ginger, and scallions. (A seitan recipe is provided in the book that serves as the base for all seitan recipes–more on that later in the review.)
Whether as a starter or a meal, these soups were created using seasonal ingredients. They offer seven soup recipes including a raw Live Avocado-Cucumber Soup, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves and Black Bean and Roasted Poblano Soup.
The authors encourage the reader to eat salads year-round (because we know they are good for us!) and remind us to buy what’s in season for great taste. There are ten recipes — hearty as well as light — that are simply mouth-watering (the photos in this book are beautiful). The Seaweed Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing serves as a great side to tofu and seitan dishes and the Beet, Fennel, and Fig Salad with Cranberry-Sage Dressing is a fabulous nutrient-dense fall dish.
There are a whopping 21 recipes in this section! You have no idea how many times I have agonized over which to order at the restaurant. Now I can make them at home! These recipes are “based on the holy trinity of tofu, tempeh, and seitan” as well as dishes focused on vegetables, house-made pastas, and grains and beans. Candle 79 is known for their extensive, organic wine list and they brought this element to the cookbook by offering a wine suggestion with each entrée recipe!
- Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Cakes are paired with an Ampelos Syrache, California
- Potato Gnocchi with a Chamisal Stainless Steel Chardonnay, California
- Chile-Grilled Tofu with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce with a Rapp Weingut “Sunshine” Sylvaner Blend, Germany
- Tempeh with Mole Sauce with a Lolonis Zinfandel, California (I can personally vouch for this bottle — Yum!)
- Panko-Crusted Seitan Milanese with a Kawarau Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
- Black Bean-Chipotle Burgers (the first meal I ever had at Candle 79!) with a LaRocca Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Sides, Sauces, and Secrets
Twenty-seven recipes in this section range from the infamous Polenta Fries to Creamed Spinach to Pesto to Sage or Tarragon Aioli. I could make meals out of the sides! The sauces are simple to prepare and can be used on a wide variety of dishes.
My first meal at Candle 79 was after running a half-marathon in Central Park. My husband (not even close to vegan) and I went for brunch. I ordered the black bean burger and polenta fries. He went old school: Home-Style Pancakes with Blueberry Butter. After than one meal he is the one who most often suggests we eat at Candle 79. I’m delighted he has access to the pancake recipe now! Other brunch recipes include Chickpea Crepes, Sourdough French Toast and Tofu and Seitan Sausage Scramble.
Ingredients like tofu, soy milk, agave nectar, and natural fruit juices make things sweet in the nine dessert recipes. The Peach Parfait and Mexican Chocolate Cake are the two desserts my husband and I order most often at the restaurant. Now we can make these at home! The parfait is layered with a vanilla cashew cream, nut granola, and peach topping. I can’t wait to tackle this.
Fifteen drinks, not all with alcohol, round out the recipes. From an Apricot Spritzer to Winter Spiced Sangria to French 79, there’s something for everyone! The Ginger Rush, my personal favorite, has a sake base and is a real crowd-pleaser.
The book concludes with a glossary (mole, yuca, etc.) and a list of resources guiding you to businesses that sell some of the ingredients used in the recipes, such as Ener-G Foods (for egg replacers), Exotic Superfoods (for raw coconut meat and water), and truRoots (for organic sprouted and whole grains and beans).
The book, as I’m sure you can tell, is everything I imagined and hoped..
I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to make and present for this review. My all-time favorite–which I order regularly when I dine at Candle 79. Below you will find the full recipes for the infamous Candle 79 Seitan and the Seitan Piccata!
The following two recipes are reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant. Copyright © 2011 by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Rita Maas.
- 6 seitan cutlets (about 11⁄2 pounds; page 109 and below!)
- Whole wheat flour, for dredging
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup minced shallots
- 1⁄4 cup finely sliced leek, white and pale green parts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup white wine
- 1⁄4 cup capers, drained
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Caper berries, for garnish
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
- Dredge the cutlets in the whole wheat flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the cutlets on individual plates or a platter.
- Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in another sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, leek, salt, and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and stir well to incorporate the flour. Add the capers, stock, bay leaf, minced parsley, thyme, turmeric, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the sauce becomes slightly glossy, about 10 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce onto serving plates and place the cutlets atop the sauce. Garnish with the caper berries and the optional chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve at once.
Wine pairing: Bonterra Chardonnay, California
In picturesque Mendocino County, Bonterra has been proudly certified organic since 1987. The full body and toasty oak in this Chardonnay echo the silky texture of the lemon-caper sauce.
Makes 6 to 8 cutlets, about 11⁄2 pounds
- 7 cups unbleached bread flour
- 3 cups whole wheat bread flour
- 41⁄2 cups water
- 11⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
- 8 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1⁄4 cup tamari
- 1 piece of kombu
- 1 piece of wakame
- Put the flours in a bowl. Mix the water and salt together and add to the flour. Stir until the mixture forms a ball of dough. When you have a nice ball, cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.
- Pour off the water and rinse the dough under cold running water until the water is almost clear. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
- Put the stock in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the tamari, kombu, and wakame and decrease the heat. Add the balls of dough and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until they are firm and slice easily.
- Drain the stock from the pot, reserving the stock if not using the seitan right away. Transfer the seitan to a bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let sit for about 10 minutes.
- Drain and slice the seitan into 1⁄2-inch-thick cutlets.
- If not using the seitan at this point, store it (sliced or unsliced) in 4 cups of the reserved stock, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Alternatively, the cutlets can be frozen (without the stock) for up to 3 months.
I have dabbled in seitan-making in the past, opting for a quick version that uses vital wheat gluten which you simply mix, stir and bake. This is a whole different ballgame!
The authors did, in fact, inspire my inner chef to come running out of hiding. I spent a Saturday afternoon making the seitan, following the recipe exactly. By the time the seitan had simmered, well into the evening, I decided to store it and make the seitan piccata the next day. Truth be told, it was because I wanted good lighting for a photo!
The next day I got the seitan and piccata sauce going on the stove top. I prepared sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker (six minutes!) and mashed them in earth balance, garlic and a splash of almond milk. I sautéed baby spinach in veggie broth and garlic. I poured the piccata in a bowl, added a layer of mashed sweet potatoes, a layer of spinach and topped it with the seitan.
Victory for my inner chef! Both my husband and I devoured this meal in minutes. The time and effort to make the seitan was well worth it. Namely, because it’s delicious. Also because I had tons leftover which I can use in the numerous other seitan recipes in the book. Win!
The Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos & Jorge Pineda is sure to enthrall, inspire and fill up both your belly and your spirit!