I have a confession. Before becoming vegan I rarely consulted cookbooks and certainly never bought any. What kind of food obsessed person am I? I’m not really sure why but I find that whenever flipping through a cookbook there’s only ever a handful of recipes that tickle my fancy. That was not the case with Adam Sobel’s new cookbook Street Vegan. He is the owner and chef of the renown Cinnamon Snail food truck that roams the busy streets of New York City, doling out mouth-watering vegan food to the masses.
Adam’s and my tastebuds must have been cut from the same cloth because pretty much everything in this book…I was looking to whip up and scarf down! From his Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes to the Polenta Sage Cashew Cheese Wedges to Rosemary Hemp Seed-Crusted Tofu and Lavender-Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. I would happily consume every meal in his cookbook.
The book is divided into the usual chapters like Breakfast, Beverages, Appetizers, Soups, and Desserts. However, there is also a Sandwiches chapter as well as Cinnamains (main meals), Veggies and Sides, Donuts, and The Saucy Stuff. Yep, you read that right, he has an entire chapter on donuts. Genius.
Adam discusses, “Some kooky (and not-so-kooky) things in the snail’s pantry”. Most of the items I think of as staples in a vegan kitchen such as tofu, almond milk, vegan mayonnaise, tempeh, etc. However, there were some ingredients that I have yet to discover in our rural Alaskan grocery stores such as Umeboshi Plum Vinegar, Chestnut Flour, Lucuma, Gochujang, and Asafetida (umm, whaaa?) to name a few.
Street Vegan is filled beautiful matte photos (not a photo for each recipe, to my great misfortune) and short stories about the Cinnamon Snail’s adventures, such as acquiring daily parking tickets and the like. Adam has a unique and very comedic voice that had me giggling and smiling all throughout the book. He has funny lines all throughout the book. Take this one from his Acknowledgments:
Or this one pulled from the introduction to his recipe for Cinnamon Snails. These are actual quotes.
I really appreciated that the index was ordered by ingredient (which isn’t always the case), however, I found the recipes to be a bit cumbersome to follow for a few reasons.
- The layout of the recipes are a strange in that they’re arranged in long vertical columns as opposed to the usual shorter, horizontal sentences. I found myself losing my place many times while making the recipes.
- Some of the recipe staging and flow could have been more efficient. For example, in the pierogi recipe he instructs you to make the cream sauce first, but to me it made much more sense to start with putting the pot of water on to boil for the potatoes and make the dough because it needs to rest for 30 minutes. I think it made the entire recipe just take a bit longer than it needed to.
- Oftentimes, the recipes were quite ambiguous. Adam instructs to “heat the canola oil in a saute pan…” What size saute pan? I was lucky that I used my largest one to saute the onion because later in the recipe, two pounds of mashed potatoes were added! Little things like that sometimes popped up and I found myself scratching my head.
The only other criticism I have is that many of the recipes were pretty heavy. Perhaps it’s a personal preference that I gravitate away from greasy, oil-drenched foods. Also, if you don’t prefer to fry your homemade donuts, you’re out of luck because there are no baked donut recipes in his entire chapter dedicated to donuts (sad face). This excludes an entire chapter of the book! Also, the spine of the book doesn’t lay flat, which is a petty pet peeve of mine. Okay, now I’m just being nitpicky…
That being said, this is one of the most unique and personally appealing books I have ever reviewed or had the pleasure to own. It’s full of new and inventive recipes that will delight you just as much as his writing. I highly recommend Street Vegan! It’s snagged a 4/4 star review on Amazon and is available wherever books are sold in a ebook and paperback format.
It was hard to pick out a single recipe to test in this book but I finally decided to try my hand at the Truffled Potato and Fried Onion Pierogies with Horseradish Mustard Cream. Todd is from Cleveland and I’m pretty sure it’s the pierogi capital of the USA. Correct me if I’m wrong. There must be a lot of Polish influence in Believeland.
I’m somewhat ashamed to divulge that I’ve never actually had a pierogi before (despite my many adventures in the wonderful West Side Market)! They’re absolutely delicious, though I did find them to be a bit heavy for me. Next time I’m in Cleveland I will have to pick some up at the Market to compare.
I did make a few changes to Adam’s recipe, notably the “truffled” part. Surprise, our local grocery store does not in fact carry truffle oil, nor (at the time) fresh horseradish; I did manage find the stuff jarred however. I hope you enjoy my adaptation of Adam’s recipe! Here’s a few things I changed:
- Drastically mixed up the flow of the recipe.
- Left the potatoes unpeeled, as opposed to peeled.
- Extended the boiling time of the potatoes.
- Extended the sauteing time for onions and decreased the cooking time for horseradish.
- Used onion instead of shallots.
- Used coconut milk instead of almond milk.
- Increased the flour by 1 cup.
- Changed the mustard quantity.
- Used rice wine vinegar instead of brown rice wine vinegar.
- Doubled the quantity of oil for frying.
These creamy, potato filled pierogies with a delicious homemade dough and horseradish dipping cream are browned to perfection and sure to wow anybody!
Homemade Potato Pierogies w/ Horseradish Cream
These creamy, potato filled pierogies with a delicious homemade dough and horseradish dipping cream are browned to perfection and sure to wow anybody! Adapted from Adam Sobel’s cookbook, Street Vegan.
Yield: 30 pierogies
- 5 medium russet potatoes (about 2 lbs), unpeeled
- 4 cups all-purpose flour + additional for rolling out the dough
- ¼ cup vegan sour cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- ¾ medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp coconut or soy milk
- ½ cup olive oil, divided (for frying)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ medium yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup jarred, extra-hot horseradish
- 6 drained capers
- 1 tbsp stone-ground or Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 6 oz (half a block) of firm silken tofu
- Scrub the potatoes clean and quarter them. Place them in a large pot and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a low boil and cook, uncovered, for about 10-13 minutes until fork tender. When done, drain and set aside.
- While the potatoes boil, make the dough by whisking together the flour, ½ tsp kosher salt, and black pepper in a large electric stand mixing bowl. Stir in the sour cream with a wooden spoon. Then, with the dough hook attachment, drizzle in the water with the mixer on speed 2. Increase to speed 4 and knead for about 5 minutes, until a semi ball of dough has formed. It’s okay if it’s sticking to the bottom of the bowl a bit. This is a somewhat sticky dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a heavily floured surface. Form into a ball and allow to rest for about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cream by first heating the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium. Sauté the onion for about 4 minutes, until it begins to soften then stir in the horseradish, capers, mustard, agave, and vinegar. Cook another 2 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before placing in a blender along with the tofu. Blend on high for 1 minute, until very smooth. Transfer to a medium serving bowl and place in fridge until ready to use.
- While the dough rests, make the filling by heating the canola oil in a large, cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and stir in the olive oil, coconut milk, and ½ tsp kosher salt. Add the boiled potatoes and mash until mostly smooth with a potato masher. Set aside.
- Once the dough has rested, roll it out into 1/8th inch thickness. Using a small mason jar lid ring or small wine glass (about 2.5 inches in diameter) cut circles. Form the scraps into a ball and roll out again, making more circles until all the dough has been used.
- Place 1 heaping tbsp of the filling into the middle of each circle and dot the edges of the circle with water. Fold in half, closed, pressing the seams together with the twines of a fork. Be sure to gently smoosh down the filled belly of the pierogi so it’s somewhat flat and can brown easily (I learned this the hard way).
- Heat the ¼ cup of olive oil in the same large, cast iron skillet. Once the oil is hot, add as many pierogies as you can fit in the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes per side, until they are a golden brown. Place on plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil and repeat with remaining pierogies.
- Serve warm with the chilled cream. Place everything in respected Tupperwares, in a backpack, and run them 2 miles through the woods to your Dad’s house to share like I did (optional).
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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