What’s your favorite spice or spice blend?
I love the deep, smoky flavor cumin adds to dishes. I’ve recently discovered that roasted potatoes with Cajun seasoning is delicious.
You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). What do you buy?
Rice, black beans, lentils, whole wheat flour, lemons, kale, spinach or bok choy, firm tofu, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
What’s your favorite way to make tofu?
Pressed and baked or lightly pan-fried, seasoned simply with shoyu and maybe a squirt of sriracha.
Vegan guilty pleasure?
Junk food, particularly vegan chili fries.
If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be?
I’m not keen on coercing others into changing their respective lifestyles, but I hope that in small and varied ways, I can inspire positive, constructive attitudes in others. Likewise, I’d like for that effect to in turn encourage me to continue to make conscious consumer choices.
If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be?
That is one tough call! So many vegan blogs inspire me to be more creative with and continue to love food. But I do really love reading Seitan is My Motor; Mihl’s recipes and photos are gorgeously executed.
Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food?
My interest in cooking stems from childhood and really began to grow during adolescence. Veganism definitely gave me new perspective on my eating habits; I’m much more conscious of what I consume and also more open to trying various foods.
Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn’t have as an omni?
What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind?
I can only handle tofu-based dessert pies in small doses, because I find that they sometimes retain an odd, beany flavor.
What was your first “wow, I’m such a stereotypical vegan” moment?
When I ate baked tofu and an entire batch of nooch-covered kale chips for dinner one night.
First recipe you veganized?
I catch really remember, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was chili.
What would you like to veganize, but haven’t yet?
Most of the very non-vegan-friendly, Hawaiian-style fare I enjoyed as a child.
Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
A sharp chef’s knife.
Most disastrous kitchen failure?
On Super Bowl Sunday a few years ago, my roommates and I were in the middle of baking miniature pizzas when our apartment completely lost electric power. The pizzas were only partially baked, so the bread was quite raw and doughy. As they rested uncooked for the hours it took to finally acquire maintenance assistance, the cold pizzas became stone-hard on the exterior and remained dense and undercooked in the middle.
First vegan cookbook?
Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
What question about being vegan do you HATE answering?
I don’t hate answering questions about being vegan, but certain ones like “Don’t you think [any given dish] would be better with butter or bacon?” are a bit annoying, condescending, and difficult to answer.
If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be?
We’re not all svelte and we have plenty of protein sources.
Nagaimo (Japanese mountain yam) strikes me as being a little strange, visually and texturally.
What is a family recipe you have veganized?
My mom’s Mini Pecan Tarts. They’re a popular treat around the holidays. When I gifted my first vegan batch to some friends, one of the guys insisted that the tarts had to have been made with butter (which, of course, was not true), due to the flakiness and rich flavor of the crust.
Weirdest food combination?
Apples or pears with hummus may sound unconventional, but that particular sweet and savory combination isn't necessarily bad.
Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can’t/couldn’t?
It’d be interesting to attempt a fluffy vegan soufflé, but I don't really know how to go about it successfully.
Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins?
I love to bake, lightly pan-fry, and broil tofu. Seitan and tempeh are wonderful in stews or chili, and I also love the White Bean Tempeh Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance.
Are your pets vegan? If so, what do you feed them? Tell us about having vegan furbabies!
I have no furry companions or furbabies.
Favorite non-dairy milk?
Plain, unsweetened almond milk.
What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash?
I’d like to show others that an animal-free diet isn’t necessarily expensive, elitist, or consist primarily of leafy salads; whole food vegan dishes can be beautifully varied and flavorful!