Monday, April 28, 2014

Easy Peasy Vegan Eats Cookbook Now Available!!

I'm thrilled to announce the release of my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats:  Healthy Cooking for Busy Peeps. For a limited time, you can order a copy directly from the publisher at the discounted price of $15 per book (reg. $16.95).  Get your copy here.

Featured in this book are quick and easy recipes and meal-planning ideas for people who want to eat healthy but just don’t have the time.  North American Vegetarian Society Board Director, Maribeth Abrams, says, 
“Chef Mary Lawrence caters to seasoned vegans and beginners alike, with an artful array of masterfully flavorful yet easy recipes sure to knock your socks off.”
With over 125 gluten-free, vegan recipes, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats contains a symphony of flavors to tantalize the tastebuds. Could Walnut Neatballs with Fire-Roasted Tomato Marinara possibly receive approval from an Italian mom?  Of course!  And how about the Chocolate Ambrosia Tart with Toasted Coconut Almond Crust?  Yes, please!  Who says vegan food is boring?  Not this chef!  Chapter 5 “Color Me Impressed” dispels that myth by highlighting recipe versatility and focusing on how to create culinary balance through color, taste, and texture.  Her tips for getting the party started in your kitchen and choreographing a multi-course menu will have you jumping at the chance to host your first vegan soiree. 

Easy Peasy Vegan Eats:  Healthy Cooking for Busy Peeps is listed at $16.95 (ISBN 9781 495332975) and is available at .

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easy Peasy Vegan Cooking Demonstration

I recently gave a cooking demonstration in anticipation of the pre-launch of my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats:  Healthy Cooking for Busy Peeps.  The event was held in Suffield for the monthly Northern Connecticut Vegetarian Society potluck.  It was so nice to chat with vegan friends I haven't seen in awhile and to make some new connections.

The recipes I prepared are seasonal favorites, both of which are featured in the new cookbook.  The Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad was surrounded on the plate by a drizzle of Easy Peasy Parsley Pistou, then garnished with sprigs of wild chive and a daffodil form my garden.  It's all about making food as pretty as it is tasty!

My favorite comment of the evening was from an attendee who had come to my presentation a year ago to see me make Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw (another one from the cookbook!).  She came up to me with a huge smile on her face and eagerly told me, "that recipe you made last year changed my life!!  I used to put broccoli and cauliflower in a casserole and bake them with cheese, but now I just shred them and eat them raw in the recipe you gave me.  It's so much easier and quicker to prepare, and SO delicious!" That really made my day!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vegan 101 Cooking Class

It's always a pleasure to teach a class full of students who are eager to learn about vegan food, nutrition, and ethical issues associated with animal agriculture.  I just wrapped up week two of a three-week adult education class called "Vegan 101" held at North Branford High School.  Each week I feature an entree made with a meat substitute plus lots of veggies.

For the first week I prepared a simple Easy Peasy Sesame Tofu with Cremini Mushroom Gravy and Colcannon.  This is my favorite way to prepare tofu: marinated in a bath of tamari and toasted sesame oil, then baked in a hot oven until golden and crispy on the outside.  I always recommend The Bridge organic tofu for this recipe, because it's the best around and no pressing is needed.  And high powered commercial convection ovens  really do the trick when it comes to getting that perfect texture.

The tofu was topped by a luscious gravy reminiscent of Thanksgiving and served along with colcannon, which is a mash of potatoes, kale and scallions.  It's also a sneaky way to get some greens into your diet.  My students loved it, and one woman who had never eaten tofu before said, "This was one of the best meals I've ever eaten... if not THE Best." So nice to hear!

I think we even surpassed that in week two.  The menu consisted of Tempeh "Fish" Cakes with Remoulade, Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw, and Mesclun Greens with Dijon Vinaigrette.  The fish cake recipe needed a little modification since there was a minor accident in the parking lot which resulted in the loss of a green pepper.  This became a lesson in improvisation, which is essential for a good cook.  Because I had broccoli with me for the Slaw recipe, I decided to finely dice some of the stalk as a replacement for chopped green pepper.  Not only was this a success visually, but I think the flavor that was imparted was surprisingly reminiscent of fish, as a couple of students noted.  Now I may just include this modification in the future!

Week three will continue with a lesson on beans and legumes.  All recipes are from my cookbook Easy Peasy Vegan Eats, which should be available to purchase by the last class!