Cookbook Spotlight: Viva Vegan!

A couple of weeks ago Mr. Wing-It and I took a few days off from our travels and we went home to "rest" for a while. How was I supposed to rest when I went on a psycho baking and cooking frenzy? As soon as we arrived home I baked a batch of Eureka Brownies. We got there at 3 p.m, and the brownies were done one hour later! This was amazingly fast considering that first we had to unload the car, unpack the cooler, open a couple of boxes of goodies, start our laundry and do other miscellaneous first-day-at-home-after-months-of-travelling things. The brownies were only the beginning of the insanity. I felt like a mostly-indoor dog that goes totally wild when she gets to go to a park to run around. You know, tongue hanging to the side of my mouth, eyes popping out of my face, crazy wide smile, you get the picture! The beast was unleashed! :D

One of the Amazon goodies that was waiting for us at home was Viva Vegan, a fabuloso Latin cuisine cookbook by Terry Hope Romero. There were so many recipes that I wanted to try but there wasn't enough time for all the dishes I had planned to make. As always, this isn't a review (that's too snobby for me) instead it's a spotlight of the awesome recipes that I did get to try.

Let's start with the sweets first! Who wants some Churros?

Viva Vegan - Churros

I loved the churros! They are basically deep fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and they are deliciously fun to eat! Oddly enough they weren't as hard to make as I expected. I am used to baking everything with whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour, which the recipe called for, so they weren't as soft as they should have been. This was totally stupid of me because churros are deep fried! Who cares about using a slightly more healthful flour when you're going to deep fry the stuff anyway?! *Sigh* Sometimes my brain doesn't work properly. Next time we go home for a while I will make them with all purpose flour and they will be even more delicioso!

Anyway, I also made the yummy Chocolate para Churros to dunk the yummy sticks of goodness. Muy rico! :D

Viva Vegan - Churros and Chocolate para Churros

More sweet stuff straight ahead, capt'n! Hmmm. I don't know why I just started talking like a pirate there. Check out the Alfajores!

Viva Vegan - Alfajores

Alfajores are Buttery Cookies with Thick Dulce de Leche Filling. The filling is sandwiched between two cookies, and then the sandwich is rolled in shredded coconut (or crushed almonds I think was the other option.) I love them! They are sweet and tasty and so very purrrdy! Here's an inside shot:

Viva Vegan - Alfajores

I was way too stingy with the Dulce de Leche filling, so I just spread some dulce on the cookies as I ate them for extra awesomeness.

Viva Vegan - Thick Dulce de Leche Filling

Now it's time for some tamales! I made tamales! I felt pretty badass after accomplishing such a feat. Don't they look like little presents waiting to be unwrapped and devoured?

Viva Vegan - Black Bean - Sweet Potato Tamales

Devoured they were! Viva Vegan has a few different recipes for tamale fillings, and the one that I chose was the Black Bean-Sweet Potato Tamales. They were muy sabroso! Black beans and sweet potatoes make a great team, and the corn masa was perfect! Inside shot:

Viva Vegan - Black Bean - Sweet Potato Tamales

Looking back, I don't think it was that much work to make the tamales. It seemed like it at the time because it was my first time making them and I had a lot going on with the filling, and the masa, and the corn husks, but I think it will be easier next time.

Next up - Chimichurri Baked Tofu! Don't you love that word? Chimichurri!

Viva Vegan - Chimichurri Baked Tofu

I adore this recipe! The tofu was baked to perfection in this amazingly tasty chimichurri sauce and it was the best tofu splurge ever! I did manage to mess up the sauce a little and it didn't turn out as green as it should have. Here is some extra Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika atop a perfect bite of tofu:

Viva Vegan - Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika

One of the side dishes I chose for the Chimichurri Baked Tofu was the Quinotto (Quinoa-Oyster Mushroom Risotto)

Viva Vegan - Quinotto (Quinoa-Oyster Mushroom Risotto)

It was the perfect side dish to compliment the Chimichurri Baked Tofu! Sometimes I get tired of quinoa, but this dish was different and it was like I was rediscovering that yummy old grain.

The other side dish that I had with the Chimichurri Baked Tofu was the Ensalada Chilena (Tomato Salad with Sweet Crisp Onions)

Viva Vegan - Ensalada Chilena (Tomato Salad with Sweet Crisp Onions)

I have a rule: I only make recipes that I am pretty sure I am going to enjoy. Dammit I broke my own rule! This salad was very tasty, but I just cannot eat raw onions without paying for it later with some major heartburn. It doesn't matter how long I soak them in ice water, they always turn into lava when I eat them. If your digestive system can tolerate raw onions, then definitely try this dish because before it set me on fire it tasted great! :D

There were so many recipes that I didn't get to try, like the Steamed Red (and white!) Seitan, Tempeh Asado, Arroz con Gandules, Empanadas Humitas, Coconut Tres Leches Cake, and the Vanilla-Coconut Flan. There's always next time! Check out more Viva Vegan goodies at Mandee's blog, Cupcake Kitteh, and visit Terry Hope Romero's and Viva Vegan's official website for more info about the cookbook. Thank you Mandee for making me drool over all your Viva Vegan goodies and making me want to buy this gem! :)

Definitely check out Viva Vegan if you want to add some wonderful interestingness to your menu. I give it two thumbs arriba!

I'm not sure exactly when we will take our next break, but whenever that happens there sure will be another cooking frenzy. Isn't it funny that we go home to take a vacation from work? :P


  1. Can I get a loud "holy yum"?!?!

  2. Oh my! So much goodness above! I love churros and those tamales look great too!

  3. Liz - Holy yuuuuuuuuum!!! Did you hear it? That's as loud as I can get! :D

    Carissa - Churros rock! I wish I had some right now, but this hotel might have a problem with me deep frying stuff in here! :P

  4. Wow, all those pictures look stellar!

    I am glad I was a tester for Terry, all her recipes are so amazing. And I got to try them before the book was out. I still have to make the churros and the alfajores. They look so good!

  5. Isn't Viva Vegan so full of awesome? I couldn't wait for that book. I was counting down the days! I've tried a few recipes and have loved them all so far. The black bean sweet potato tamales are my favorite!

    Unfortunately I couldn't figure out the churros. I followed the recipe exactly, but somehow I ended up with a lump of dough. Oops! I'll have to give it another try. Yours look amazing!

    Wonderful photos too!

  6. I usually end up cooking/baking a lot too when I am on vacation. To me it's more fun than relaxing! The food in those post looks amazing. I am impressed with your tamales. I have always been too intimidated to try making them.

  7. I just got Viva Vegan as a gift, so I'm glad to see your take on some of the recipes. The churros caught my eye too, and they were the first thing I made. Mine weren't very photogenic though, lol.

    I ate alfajores a lot before going vegan and they are amazing. Your picture looks exactly like what I remember. Those are next on my list!! Yummmm

  8. Welcome home! I think you cooked more in your cooking frenzy than I do in a week!

    I think I will go make some Dulce De Leche and just eat it with a spoon - maybe with a side of chocolate dipping sauce.

  9. Now I have to make those cookies! ASAP! Yum! The seitan in her book is delish! My favorite recipes are the Seitan Saltado, the Peruvian Potato Skewers, and the Mojo Orange Baked Tofu. So much to love!

  10. Mihl - Thank you so much! That means a lot to me because I spent lots of time trying to take decent pictures. YAY! You are so lucky to have been a tester! :)

    Lisa Marie - It sure is full of awesome! Those tamales are amazing, anything with sweet potatoes and black beans has to be a winner. Too bad about the churros, I hope you can make them again and enjoy their full awesomeness. I had made some Brazilian Coxinhas a few months ago and the method for cooking the dough was kind of similar, so I had previous training! :D (the coxinhas weren't too good though, so maybe I learned from my own mistakes for once!)

    Kiersten - Cooking is way more exciting than relaxing, isn't it? Don't let tamales intimidate you! They make you go through all the dishes in your kitchen, but other than that they are fairly easy to make. I can't wait to make some more! :)

    Jess - I was worried about the churros not being photogenic too, but I guess I got lucky! Whoever gave you Viva Vegan as a gift should have earned some major brownie points with you! :D

    Susan - Thank you! It really was quite insane! I *might* have eaten some with a spoon straight from the bowl... maybe... :P

    Cindy - You do have to make the alfajores! Thanks for the heads up! I will try both the red and white seitan recipes next time we go home for a while. That mojo orange baked tofu was very tempting! The chimichurri tofu won the battle when I had to choose one though - I think it was just because of the word chimichurri! :D

  11. wow, those dishies look amazing. got me very hungry. haha good stuff

  12. I just fell in love. I was obsessed with churros when we were visiting La Jolla, California last year and those butter cookies have just been marked on the to-do list :)

  13. Going Vegan - Thank you! I reserve the right to make people hungry! :D

    Evan - Churros are a good thing to be obsessed about, for sure! Those little alfajores are freakin' awesome, I hope you get to make them soon! :)

  14. Wow, that really was a cooking frenzy--and we got to reap the benefits (well, visually, anyway)! Those dulce de leche cookies--oh, my! And I've never had churros, either, but that second shot with the chocolate sauce. . . I might just have to let some deep-fried goodness back into my life. ;)

    Sorry that the onions upset you! But the salad was pretty (and that tofu--LOOKS AMAZING.) Hope you did get to relax a bit before hitting the road again--it's nice to come home, isn't it? :)

  15. Nichole - I know! I wish this hotel wouldn't frown upon deep frying goods in one's room! :P

    Ricki - And that wasn't even all of it! I needed to be sedated! Maybe you could come up with some ACD friendly churros? If anybody could, that would be you! :D
    We took a total of 12 days off and I managed to relax only the last 2 days! Psycho! :D

  16. You are very welcome, River! And I am so glad you love Viva Vegan as much as I do! :)

    Your churros look perfect and now I have to make the alfajores which look delicious (I also love the spotted mug they're sitting with!)

    Those tamales are so yummy and yours look gorgeous! :D

  17. Oh my, all this looks super awesome. I definitely need to buy this cookbook. Glad you took a break so I could see all of the awesome food you made. Now I have to wipe the drool off my keyboard. :)

  18. hooray for a tasty break, River. i hope you all get another one soon! i can't believe i forgot all about your eureka brownies - totally going to make those for dan sometime soon. mmmmmmmmm! i still have yet to get Viva Vegan - totally need to because all of your eats look ridiculously good. especially the tamales, tofu, chimichurri sauce, and alfajores. oh my goodness - you've got me drooling, my friend!

  19. Mandee - I would love to see how you make the alfajores gluten free! The spotty mug was a gift from my friend Becks. I adore it! And Becks! :)

    Krys - That's what you get for making us drool over all your Vegan On The Cheap meals! Hee hee! I think you would love Viva Vegan! :)

    Jessy - Thank you, I hope we get another break soon too! It's so easy to forget about recipes that we find around the blogosphere, there's so much good stuff out there! I have the longest list of recipes bookmarked. So much deliciousness, so little time! I hope you guys like the brownies! :)

  20. It sounds and looks (beautiful photos!) like you had some great success with the recipes. All of the food looks so tasty. I'm going to have to get this book when I get home :) I really, really want to try the churros and the alfajores!!!

  21. Great review-- Viva Vegan sounds fantastic, and I can't wait to pick it up! Your tamales look divine and probably taste even better, and that tofu looks to-die-for!


Post a Comment