Friday, September 14, 2012

Cookin' Crunk: A Book Review

Cookin' Crunk by Bianca Phillips

Cookin' Crunk: Eatin' Vegan in the Dirty South is the newest addition to my family of vegan cookbooks, and it is quickly becoming a favorite.  I flipped through the pages, last night, trying to decide what to make for dinner.  Having had the opportunity to preview the book before its actual release date, I have been salivating over the recipes for a while now.

If you follow this blog, or even know me just a little bit, you would know that I am a sucker for comfort foods, and this book takes comfort foods to a whole new low...and by low, I mean down to the Dirty South.  Bianca lovingly recreates childhood favorites and puts her own crunk into Southern classics.

Fried Tofu Chicken Wafflewiches with Maple-Dijon Sauce from Cookin' Crunk by Bianca Phillips
Last night I decided on the  Fried Tofu Chicken Wafflewiches with Maple-Dijon Sauce (page 64.)  I picked this particular recipe, because it contained a few sub recipes that I also wanted to try out.  Four in fact.  That way, I am able to give y'all a review based on 5 recipes out of the book, and not just one.

Let's start with that crispy delicious Southern Fried Tofu Chicken.  The Tofu Chicken Marinade, alone, is reason enough to buy this book.  It's rich, savory, and just the right amount of salty.  The batter is also flavorful, and the double dredge makes it nice and thick before hitting the frying pan, ensuring a thick, crispy coating all around that soft flavorful tofu inside.

Next, let's take a look at those Savory Sandwich Waffles!  Perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, while soft and pillowy on the inside.  The perfect "bread" for this sandwich.

Now on to that Maple-Mustard Sauce.  The picture above doesn't do the sauce justice, so here's an open faced shot:

That Maple-Mustard Sauce in Incredible!
I admit to eating a couple of pieces of that "chicken" dipped right into the sauce.  I couldn't get enough of it.  Tangy and sweet...just, mmmmm!  I highly recommend making a double, triple, or even quadruple batch of it, as the amount in the recipe just wasn't enough for my voracious appetite.

The sandwich all together was a huge success, and I can see myself making it, as well as many other recipes from this book again and again.

So go buy this book!  And if you can't buy it right now, well, enter the giveaway.  Simply leave a comment in the comments section below telling me your favorite childhood comfort food, and whether or not you've been able to recreate it as a vegan dish.  Who knows, maybe I will be able to take on a challenge or two!  I will select one of you at random on Friday, September 21 at 4 pm Pacific Standard Time to receive a free signed copy of the book.  Yes, I will ship internationally. 

The contest is now over.  Congrats to #18, T.M.!  (Randomly selected by my husband, Dan, who really, really likes this book, almost as much as me!) 


70 comments:

  1. One of my favorite childhood foods was French Onion soup. I've tried one recipe in order to veganize it but it wasn't quite how I remember it. I'd love to give it another go sometime soon!

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  3. I haven't thought about this in 30 years, but my mom used to hollow out baked potato halves, mash the potato with mustard, shredded cheese and hot dog slices, and put this filling back into the potato skin before baking the whole thing into a cheesy, melty, hot-doggy kid's delight. I loved it! It is absolutely able to be veganized, too. :)

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    1. Amazing! Only a mommy would make something so kid-delicious! Ha! I'm gonna try that!

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  4. That sandwich looks incredible! One of my childhood faves was my mom's buttermilk pancakes, which I have successfully veganized including making them whole wheat!

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  5. one of my favorite childhood recipes is potato soup. and as lame as it is, i miss it without bacon and melty cheese! i haven't found a good sub yet!

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  6. Frozen pizza rolls were one of my childhood favorites. I spent many afternoons baking them in the toaster oven and talking on the phone with my best friend. I haven't tried to veganize them, but maybe someday!

    This recipe you made from Bianca looks and sounds amazing!

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  7. My favorite childhood comfort food was my mom's won ton soup with chicken instead of pork. It was sooooooo delicious. I've not tried to ''veganize'' it but I've tried to ''vegetarianize'' it but it was never the same and not as good as in my souvenirs.

    The recipe you've tried looks delicious!!!!

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  8. My childhood favourite was Turkey Tetrazzini, we'd always eat it on Boxing Day & I'm happy to say that I've managed to re-create it vegan style pretty successfully! I'll have to remember to publish the recipe one of these days!

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  9. Mine would have to be a simple, roasted chicken (probably from Julia Child's book). So simple, but I loved it. Umm, nope, haven't tried to veganize that one :)

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  10. My childhood comfort food was my mom's beef stroganof. And I've TOTALLY been able to re-create it with a Whole Foods recipe using tempeh. It's perfect!

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  11. My mom used to make honey spice cookies that were the best. I veganized them a few years ago and they are still the best. Cookie love.

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  12. My favorite food as a kid was my grandmother's creamed macaroni, and moose meatballs with potatoes and gravy. Very Swedish. Vegan mac and cheese has now replaced the creamed macaroni as my no. 1 comfort food (although I'd like to try veganizing my grandmother's recipe some time). I've tried a lot of vegan meatball recipes that have been good, but I doubt that you can make something vegan taste like moose meat... Or can you?

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    1. Well, I can proudly say I've never tasted moose meat, so I probably can't reproduce it. I do have a Swedish Meatball recipe, though. You'll have to tell me if it's very authentic!

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  13. That Southern Fried Tofu Chicken looks amazing! I love Bianca's blog and would love to win her new cookbook.

    My favorite childhood comfort food was hush puppies! I haven't tried veganizing them, but maybe I should... :)

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  14. My childhood favorite was Hamburger Helper. And yes I've been able to veganize it, thanks to you! :)

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  15. Fried hand pies; blackberry and apple are my favorite childhood southern treats. I've definitely been able to recreate them :)

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  16. My favorite foods were the eggs my Spanish grandma fried in olive oil and her home made french fries. And 'pisto': a Spanish dish made with eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper. Luckely the only thing that isn't vegan are the fried eggs - I haven't been able to make it taste the same with tofu.

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  17. My favorite dish was my grandma's creamed cauliflower with homemade croutons. I have no idea how she made it (and neither does anyone else in my family and my sister is a chef!) It was so good. Thanks for the chance to win the cookbook...I was practically licking the screen!

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    1. YOU WIN! Congrats! I need you to email me your snail mail addy so I can send you Bianca's awesome Book!

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    2. Woohoo! I was so excited when I saw I won that I almost fell off my chair. Thanks so much and I can't wait to see it.

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  18. I think my favorite dish was mac n' cheese in the box. But not the name brand but the cheapest kind you could buy. My brother and sister thought I was a great cook!

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  19. As a kid I always craved somewhat salty and sour foods - olives, pickles, fish... I remember one of my favorite dishes being shrimp salad with a lot of mayonnaise. I haven't even tried to turn that into a vegan dish - I just stick with the olives and pickles these days. ;)

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  20. Luckily I've been able to veganize my favorite childhood comfort food. Chicken and Dumplings! I just use super firm tofu or chickpeas in place of the chicken. Delish.

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  21. I used to love fried chicken as a kid, asking for it as my birthday dinner and everything. I don't miss it too much with vegan subs available, but I should trying making a version at home sometime. I need to check out Bianca's book, thanks for the chance to win!

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  22. I was a simple starchy kinda comfort-food-lover. My favorite always was a big bowl of hot buttered pastina (tiny little pasta shapes). I loved it when I was chilled in winter, when I was miserably sick, and sometimes just when I was feelin' blue and wanted to feel all warm and happy inside. I still love it, with vegan butter...still makes me all happy inside. :)

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  23. This is really boring, but bagels with cream cheese were definitely a comfort food for me. Also, mashed potatoes... but who doesn't love mashed potatoes?

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  24. I was such a simple child! I lovd my grilled cheese and tomato soup! I haven't had that combo since I switched to vegan though... But when I get a kitchen, that's the first thing I am going to do! That and some macaroni and "cheese"!

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  25. One of my major childhood favorites was a family recipe for squash casserole - it was primarily summer squash and cheese (with a cracker topping, of course). I tried to recreate it with Daiya once, but it was a horrible mess, and I haven't tried it again (yet .. it's an expensive experiment!).

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  26. My dad's mac and cheese is my favorite meal from childhood. The closest I've come to recreating it is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's recipe from Vegan Table. Yum!

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  27. My favourite meal when I was young was chicken schnitzel. Even as an adult, before I became vegan, I couldn't cook it as good as Mum did. Now chickpea cutlets have become their replacement.

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  28. This looks amazing! (the recipe and the book)
    My favorite childhood recipe was fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy and glazed carrots. (or string beans). I can see this chickn recipe being very very versatile. Thanks for the review and the giveaway.

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  29. My favorite childhood comfort food was Velveeta Shells 'n Cheese. I haven't attempted to veganize it - some things are better left to memories! :)

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  30. mashed potatoes! and welsh rarebit on toast. so potatoes were easy to veganize and for some reason the punkrock chickpea gravy from VWAV on toast is pretty reminiscent. hurray!

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  31. Hate to say it but one food that I remember eating a lot of was liverwurst sandwiches on french bread with pepper and white onion slices on it. Needless to say, no kids traded sandwiches with me at school. :) There is a vegan pate recipe that I found in a cookbook that tastes really close to the liverwurst taste I remember.

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  32. my mom always made mac and cheese with cut up hot-dogs in it. so gourmet, ha! and i have veganized it, for a nineties potluck my friends had. i love bianca's blog and would love to win the cookbook!

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  33. My favorite comfort food is probably baked ziti. My momma used to make killer baked ziti. It was actually kinda the only thing she could make. I try to avoid pasta generally, but I do think about whipping up some tofu ricotta and rocking the ziti sometimes.

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  34. I loved my mother's simple tomato-based beef and mushroom stew with potatoes, carrots, and green pepper. I'm getting closer to recreating it, but no dice yet.

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  35. First of all - I trust anything Bianca put into this book whole heartedly! As a child, it was mac and cheese and mashed potatoes. Actually, still is!

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  36. One of my childhood favorites was grits and gravy made with the holiday turkey leftovers. I'm still working on a vegan version that hits the spot.

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  37. I'm a massive fan of Vegan Crunk so would love to win the book. One of my childhood comfort foods was spaghetti bolognese which is ridiculously easy to veganize but I need some help with another favourite...fish pie. It was a flaky fish and mashed potato filling with a puff pastry case.

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  38. My favorite childhood comfort food was mashed potatoes!! Luckily, they're super easy to veganize.

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  39. My favorite childhood comfort food was lasagna, which is relatively straightforward to veganize with tofu ricotta and plenty of nutritional yeast.

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  40. Popovers! with butter & vegemite. I haven't tried to recreate a popover but now I will.
    My Mom would stuff 6 with cheese and leave the other 6 plain. My 3 siblings and I loved them so much she'd make them for breakfasts and dinners.
    Wow, now I miss my family!

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  41. favorite comfort food as a kid was mashed potatoes and yes, it's veganizable!

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  42. I have to state my favorite childhood comfort food as an entire meal-thanksgiving dinner! Stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls with butter-everything but the turkey! Luckily it's all super easy to veganize.

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  43. One of mine was French Toast or Eggy Bread as we called it. Thanks to the Vegan with a Vengeance 'Fronch Toast' recipe it's now easy to create a vegan version :)

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  44. Sheperds pie, mashed potato, macaroni cheese from a tin, eggy bread. There's so many comfort foods in the world!!

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  45. My childhood comfort food was the french toast that my dad made for breakfast on the weekends. My vegan attempts at french toast are never quite right.

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  46. My fave childhood comfort dish was mac and cheese and I have created vegan versions much yummier than I ever had as a child!

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  47. My favorite comfort food growing up was baked mac and cheese and french toast! I have successfully recreated the mac and cheese, I have yet to try the french toast.

    I must add that I am super stoked about your vegan food gifts book, I have a rule that I only make thing for people during the holidays. It's perfect!

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  48. We live in southwest Louisiana. This may sound disgusting to some but there is a dish down here that is a special treat to carnivores called "boudin" pronounced boodan. It's essentially white rice with ground livers and other odds and ends of various critters (amped up rice dressing), heavily seasoned and cased in pig intestines and steamed until the inside is kind of mushy. Haha, typing that out makes it sound even worse. I'm a fan of trying to translate these bizarre cajun recipes to vegan because everyone can makes red beans and rice cajun style, but if you can make a vegan version of this that is as disgustingly tasty as the original, you would really be cookin! I'm still perfecting my recipe. I'll let you know how it works out.

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  49. my fave is mac and cheese. I haven't perfected it, but I did find a really good replacement at a little bakery in Salt Lake City!

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  50. I used to absolutely love campbell's cream of mushroom soup, which my mom used to put on pasta. it was my favorite thing to bring to school. I haven't been able to recreate it; in fact, i haven't even tried, but i'm sure it's possible. i just loved how overly salty it was... and the tiny bits of chewy mushrooms... mmmm

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  51. I was always all about the cabbage, corned beef, and potatoes. 2 out of 3 parts of that still make it to the table now, but there just hasn't been an acceptable substitute for corned beef. Oh well, win some, lose some.

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  52. mine was fried chicken breast, schnizel, a staple food in any Israeli's child diet. My mom's version was my favourite, then my great-grandma's, my maternal grandma's and finally my paternal grandma's. Couldn't really stand other version. Basically it's a chicken breast coated with beaten egg and breadcrumbs. A fancier version that takes more time to make and hence appeared on festive occasions would be smaller, softer pieces with sesame addition.
    I turned vegetarian at the age of 14. My mother was supportive from the very first moment by cooking alternatives, but at the same time tried to run a passive-aggressive battle, frying schnizels, especially the sesame time, more and more often. I never gave up.
    I don't fry at home because I hate the aroma, but my mom used to make veggie versions for me, replacing the chicken with tofu.
    Shortly after going vegan last October/ November, she managed to create a yummy GF vegan version, using GF breadcrumbs (so she could eat it) and a mixture of peanut butter and water as a sticking agent. Not the taste of my childhood, but great nonetheless.

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  53. my dad made these tuna croquettes, which we usually had with couscous or something similar - there was something about them that i could never figure out, because he always just threw a ton of stuff in a bowl. they were baked and then broiled, with paprika on top, and really awesome - years later when i found out he was using stuff like ketchup and mayonnaise in them (things i hated then), i was shocked! these days, i'm not a huge fan vegan fishy things, so i've never given them a shot, though i have been meaning to try isa's chesapeake tempeh cakes! thanks for the review and giveaway.

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  54. My mom's "beef and peapods" with some A1 sauce on the side. ;) So gross but so good!!

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  55. mmmm...mine is easy...mashed potatoes

    thespinartiste@gmail.com

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  56. favorite childhood comfort food......

    i'd have to say breakfast for dinner, and thankfully as a vegan i can do that by making vegan pancakes + hashbrowns + tofu bacon.... mmmm.........

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  57. my favorite comfort food from my childhood would be my grandma's goulash. I have been able to recreate it with tofu instead of beef!

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  58. My childhood fave was a soup/stew with dumplings that my dad made. He actually makes two versions now, the original, and one vegan version for me and my also veg mom.

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  59. i've been a vegetarian since i was really young, and mostly ate vegan, so i honestly can't think of anything we used to eat that i wish was vegan!

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  60. One of my favorite childhood favorites was grilled cheese and french fries. I have been able to come pretty darn close with Daiya. As I got older, it was fried chicken that was my closet indulgence. That picture of the tofu made me swoon. vegintraining at gee mail dot com.

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  61. I lurved Shepard's pie and it's so easy to make vegan! Thanks lentils!

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  62. OMG! Bad kraft box Mac N Cheese! :) Haha... starting to cook my macaroni noodles (really all creamy noodles) in some unsweetened almond milk has gotten this the closest! Served up with some of you tofuffalo wings & broccolini.. SWOON! Although, I might have to try some tofuffalo waffle sandwiches next! :)

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  63. My favourite is my grandmother's Hungarian layered cake. I had tried to veganize it, but considered it failed. Later I learned that there are 2 different versions, with thin and thick crusts, and that the version I had made was supposed to turn out that way. It is labour intensive, so I procrastinate veganizing my grandmother's version.

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni