Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vegan Secret Supper with Merida Anderson

I was happy to stumble upon an article from Brooklyn Magazine on Mérida Anderson-an accomplished vegan chef, artist, and musician who runs the blog vegansecretsupper.com

This month Merida has released her new book Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen. 

Since 2008, self-taught chef Mérida Anderson has been hosting Vegan Secret Suppers for diners in New York, Montreal, and Vancouver. Her celebrated events are sophisticated, multi-course, plant-based meals that playfully blend haute cuisine with the spirit of community eating and social dining.

At VSS, her celebrated events are modern, multi-course, plant-based meals that blend hip and playful haute cuisine with the spirit of community eating and social dining. In her new cookbook, as at VSS, Mérida creates sophisticated vegan dishes that prove spectacular dinner parties do not require the use of animal products.
Here in her first cookbook, Chef Mérida opens up her kitchen and pantry to present luscious, unforgettable recipes using seasonal fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, all while eschewing processed "replacement" foods of any kind. Innovative flavor pairings, inspired menu planning, and artistic plating tips help readers create luxurious, even decadent multi-course suppers perfect for entertain.

Vegan Secret Supper includes 150 recipes for breads, appetizers, soups, entrées, desserts (including ice creams), as well as sparkling water and tea infusions. The book features mouthwatering full-colour food photography throughout and photographs from Vegan Secret Supper events.

As a healthy eater, I have been very interested in ways to embrace vegan recipes and lifestyle. Reading about Merida and her unique Supper Club was pretty cool. She has an amazing apartment in NYC and the concept just seemed so neat! Having a chance to grab her cookbook to bring a little piece of cool in my world was a no brainer. She weighs in on Spring and Summer favorites and pantry must haves below-

Q: For Spring and early Summer, what are some of your favorite (seasonal) ingredients and 
vegan recipes?

A: The warmer months are definitely the most exciting time for vegetables. Ramps (wild leeks) on the 
East Coast come for a short time in early spring, as well as asparagus. Cherries are one of my 
favorite summer fruits, as well as the berries that follow.

Q: What are your ten must-have, go-to favorite pantry items?

A: Tahini and sesame oil. I use these in many, many dishes, and sesame is packed with omegas 
and protein

Tamari. I use wheat-free
Coconut oil. My baking essential
Raw cashews. For desserts and fermenting
Good quality dark chocolate
Coconut milk
Balsamic vinegar
Nutritional yeast
Garam masala

Below is one of my favorite recipes from Vegan Secret Supper cookbook-Enjoy! 

Split Pea Bisque


1 whole garlic bulb (top 1/4 in [6 mm] 
trimmed to expose cloves)
3 tbsp grapeseed oil, for roasting garlic
1 tbsp grapeseed oil, for sautéing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp smoked salt or sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup (60 mL) dry white wine
2 cups green split peas, rinsed
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450˚F (230˚C). 

In a garlic roaster or wrapped in foil, pour 3 tbsp oil over garlic and roast for 25 minutes, until garlic is soft and fragrant. Reserve oil for making croutons.In a large soup pot on medium-high heat, sauté onions in 1 tbsp oil until translucent. Remove garlic cloves from skins and add to pot. Add salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Add wine and sauté for 2 minutes. Add split peas, stock, bay leaf, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until peas are soft. Discard bay leaf. In a blender, or with an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. (Be careful when blending hot liquids.)

Find our more about Merida and Vegan Secret Supper on her website and Facebook or buy her book here!

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