Thursday, April 27, 2017

Our New Articles in Edible Memphis and Memphis Magazine

Check out the restaurant review we worked on together for the April issue of Memphis magazine HERE! We've loved Bhan Thai in Memphis for a while now and got the opportunity to see it in a new light this year as we tried new dishes in addition to the awesome green curry that's our mainstay. We have another collaborative article about a new favorite place coming up in next month's issue.

We're also thrilled to announce that we have a brand-new quarterly column in Edible Memphis called "TCV Cooking School"; we'll be experimenting with various cooking methods in order to help readers get the best results in their own home kitchens. With our first story called "Throw Us a Noodle Party (Please!)," we show you how to turn a big pot of boiling water into a comforting spring meal that is perfect for sharing. We're so grateful to our friend and Edible Memphis editor Melissa Petersen for the opportunity to share our kitchen adventures with you on a regular basis in the magazine, and we're seriously loving the redesign and the new website.

We wrote this first column because a couple of our good friends had our backs during a very difficult time. Justin's father's passed away in the fall of 2015 after battling pancreatic cancer for a year and a half, and if some of y'all also have been through a cancer diagnosis and treatment with someone who's close to you, you know as well that the experience will floor even the strongest person.

Max and Marlinee did their best to cheer us on and support us as we figured out what life would be like when all of a sudden, everything changed. We have never forgotten how they brought our friends together in support of us one evening over  bowls of noodles and everyone simply showed up for us.

It's not easy dealing with this type of stuff, and it's hard to know what exactly to do for people who are suffering from a loss. Making something good for someone else to enjoy certainly helps to make anyone feel very loved.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chubby Vegetarian News: Our Cookbook is Now an EBook + Bookstock at the Memphis Public Library on Saturday, April 29, 2017

There's so much for us to catch up on we hardly know where to begin today!

We'll start with the most pressing item first: our appearance at the Memphis Public Library's annual Bookstock festival. We're so excited that the Memphis Public Library invites local and national authors to this unique event to be held at the Benjamin J. Hooks Library this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We'll be doing a vegetable butchering demonstration at noon in the Goodwin Gallery inside the library. Stop by to see how to make "ribs" from a spaghetti squash, "chops" from a cauliflower, and get step-by-step instructions on how to make an avocado "rose." Even though that's a lot of "quotes," it's all real and we'll be using tangible vegetables to make these items! We'll also have our cookbooks for sale, and we'd love to sign one for you or for someone you love who loves to cook. Mother's Day is just around the corner, so maybe we can help you get ready.

Next, we're excited to tell you that our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, 2017) is now available as a digital download on Amazon at an excellent price. So, if you've been holding out for the ebook edition, your wait is over. To celebrate, we're planning a contest and giveaway next week, so stay tuned for that. (Look, we just bought a little stand to better use the iPad mini in the kitchen!)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Green Onion Pancake with Kimchi

There are a few simple, quick things we make all the time at home, and we're planning to share them more here on TCV. This is a great savory breakfast, and on evenings when there's not much in the fridge / we really don't feel like going to the store, this also makes for a good dinner if we at least have the last of a carton of eggs.

Kimchi has become a staple at our house, and sometimes we make our own, and sometimes we use Sunja's. And our favorite kimchi in Memphis is at DWJ 2.

Green Onion Pancake with Kimchi

5 large eggs (beaten)
2 medium green onions (sliced, about 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (We like Bragg Liquid Aminos.)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup kimchi (to garnish)
Gochuchang or Sriracha hot sauce (to taste)

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, onions, and soy sauce. Over high heat on your stovetop, heat a 12-inch frying pan (one that has a lid) until wisps of smoke gently rise from the metal surface. Add the sesame oil and tilt the pan to coat the surface. Add the egg mixture, turn the heat to low, and cover the pan. Allow the eggs to cook for 4 minutes or until the top is set. Place the pancake, pan side down, on  a plate, slice into quarters, garnish with kimchi and hot sauce, and serve. (Makes 2 servings.)

Monday, March 27, 2017


This crazy article we read over the weekend gave us even more confidence in the sandwich one of us packs for lunch nearly every single day: good old PB&J! Putting in our own two cents, we would like to recommend enjoying it toasted, open-faced on sprouted wheat bread, with Justin's creamy peanut butter, and all-fruit strawberry, apricot, or fig preserves..

We've also been batting around some combinations, and one includes a sandwich press and powdered sugar. Let's just call it fuel.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook at a great price!

Hey, everyone, listen up! Amazon's running a special on our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, 2016). The sale price is just $16.37, which is down from the original list price of $24.99. We don't control Amazon's price structure and have yet to figure out why the price fluctuates so much. But all in all, this was great news today!

The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook contains our original recipes gathered from cuisines from around the world. All last year, we worked our hardest to ensure that the recipes that made the cut would open up a ton of new ideas for our readers and fellow home cooks.

We are proud of the beautiful foreword P. Allen Smith wrote for us along with the Introduction we wrote about our love of cooking and our journey from cooking at home as kids, to cooking together for our friends in college, to sharing the dishes we make at our home in Memphis.

If you've been thinking about ordering a copy for yourself or picking up a copy for a friend, now is the time! It's so cool that TCV is available for about the same price as our first book from 2013, The Southern Vegetarian.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

We really felt like it was all of a sudden spring (finally!) last Saturday morning when we stopped by the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. Feeling creative, we decided to shop with the goal of figuring out a new dish to make for lunch. There were lots of farm eggs (and some duck eggs), plenty of greens, and all kinds of mushrooms, including some Pioppino. We chose some really nice oyster mushrooms this time around. Sprouts, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, and microgreens were available, too. We immediately started thinking maybe pad Thai, maybe quiche. But the El Mero Taco truck was parked outside Muddy's Grind House, so it was clear this dreamy new dish was going to be on hold until Sunday lunch.

The local flowers from we chose from Delta Sol made my grandmother happy because she always asks if we or someone we know grew the arrangements we do for her. We could tell her yes for the first time this year!

We're also thrilled that opening day of the downtown Memphis Farmers Market is on Saturday, April 1 (seriously, no joke) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

So what are you most looking forward to buying? Over at our house, we have tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and some nasturtium plants for the garden at the top of the list.

We'll definitely buy the ingredients for this Pad Thai again. Last night, we already made a similar version with other random vegetables we had in the fridge. Be sure to put a few pinches of sugar on top of the finished dish along with the sambal. Doing so balances out its spicy and savory nature and also makes it taste even better!

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Lemongrass (with ingredients from The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market)

4 ounces pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
Pad Thai Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions (root end removed; cut into large pieces)
1 yellow bell pepper (sliced, stem and seeds discarded)
1 16-ounce package baked tofu (cut into triangles)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 small bunch cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 lime quartered
1 small bunch basil
Sambal (to taste)
A few pinches of sugar (to taste)

This dish comes together fast once you have everything chopped and ready. Make the noodles according to the package instructions and the Pad Thai Sauce according to the recipe below. Set aside with the rest of the ingredients.

Over high heat, get your large wok or frying pan hot enough that it starts smoking. Add the coconut oil and crack the two eggs into the bottom. Allow them to cook for about 2 minutes or until they're crispy on the bottom. With a large spoon, stir until the eggs are cooked through.

Add the mushrooms, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted. Add the noodles and the Pad Thai Sauce. Stir and cook until everything is throughly heated through; this will take about another 2 minutes. Place Pad Thai onto a serving platter and garnish with mung bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts. Serve the lime, basil, and sambal on the side. (Makes 4 servings.)

Pad Thai Sauce

1 fresno or Thai bird chili (chopped)
1 stalk lemongrass (tender center part of the stalk, the rest discarded)
4 cloves peeled garlic
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons soy sauce (We like Braggs Liquid Aminos.)
1 tablespoon sugar

In the bowl of a mortar and pestle, grind the chili, lemongrass, garlic, zest, lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar until well incorporated. You can also use a blender for this. Set aside until ready to use. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla

We're really into making breakfast here at home. You know that feeling when you wake up and have a super good plan for breakfast in mind or something already made ahead that you know is going to be, like, the best? That's the goal.

Sometimes it's just cereal, though. Or peanut butter on a banana before a run. If we're really fortunate to have both the inclination and the time, it's the gold standard: PANCAKES! WAFFLES! MONKEY BREAD! We save those for the weekend.

But this, we hadn't ever made before now. It was inspired by half a can of black beans sitting open in the fridge and a sleepyhead's idea of what would be better than just eggs on top of a tortilla.

Huevos Rancheros Quesadilla

2 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
1 12-inch tortilla
2 1/2 ounces smoked Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
4 large eggs
1 16-ounce jar of black bean salsa
1 large avocado (sliced)
Chives (chopped; to garnish)
Mexican hot sauce (to garnish)

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the tortilla. Add cheese to one half of the tortilla and fold. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. Remove the quesadilla from the pan, cut it in half, and place each half onto a large plate.

In the same skillet  add the remaining olive oil and crack the eggs into the pan. Cook eggs until the bottom of the egg is crispy and the whites have set; this should take 4 to 5 minutes. Remove 2 eggs and place them atop one half of the quesadilla. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.

In the same skillet, pour the salsa onto the hot surface and heat the salsa through. This should only take a minute or so. Spoon a generous amount of black bean salsa on top of the eggs on each plate. Garnish with sliced avocado, chopped chives, and hot sauce. (Makes 2 servings.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dutch Baby Pancake with Nectarines, Marcona Almonds, Honey Goat Cheese, and Garden Mint

Here's the breakfast/dessert we made with the rest of our ingredients from our trip last week to Aldi, which was suggested by a TCV reader. (Here's the naan pizza we made first.) We had to wait about a week for the nectarines to ripen, but they were great when ready. Somehow the mint really made this dish!

Dutch Baby Pancake with Nectarines, Marcona Almonds, Honey Goat Cheese, and Garden Mint

1 Dutch Baby Pancake (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 medium nectarines (pitted, cut into eighths)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 ounces soft goat cheese (We used honey-flavored goat cheese that was fantastic.)
1/3 cup chopped marcona almonds
2 sprigs mint (from our garden)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
honey (to finish)

Make the Dutch Baby Pancake according to the recipe below. While it's cooking, prepare the nectarine filling on the stovetop. Into a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and nectarines. Cook for 3 minutes until the nectarines are lightly caramelized. Reduce heat to low, and then add the vanilla, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook for a 3 minutes until syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to assemble. 

Assemble the dish by distributing the cooked nectarines and their juice over the middle of the Dutch Baby Pancake.   Crumble the goat cheese over the nectarines and sprinkle the top with the chopped almonds. Finish with a few mint leaves, a dusting of cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. (Makes 4 servings.) 

Dutch Baby Pancake

2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Into the cup of your blender or in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, flour, milk, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until well incorporated. (Don't worry too much about overworking the batter. It'll be okay.) 

Place a 10-12 inch frying pan into the oven with the butter. Once the butter melts, remove the pan from the oven using an oven mitt, pour the batter into the pan, and return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. You'll be amazed to watch the thin batter start to climb the sides of the pan to form a bowl-like shape. Remove from the oven and fill with the nectarine filling. (Makes 4 servings.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Naan Pizza with Tikka Masala

We received some interesting feedback the other day about our recipes, so y'all, keep the suggestions coming! The heartfelt words of a person who wished to remain anonymous persuaded us to feature some recipes with ingredients that can be easily sourced at places like Aldi, recipes that don't rely too heavily on specialized equipment that not everyone has. 

So, Anonymous, know that we hear you! :) Now we dare you to make this dish because we think you'll absolutely LOVE it. 

The very serious words 'mission statement' are especially hilarious when applied to a vegetarian food blog, but hey, here goes. We love to cook, and we want to change the way vegetarian dishes are perceived.  Our main goals are to renew longtime vegetarians' interest in home cooking and to make people who scoff at vegetarian food fall in love with it. We'll do just about anything to show how nutritious food can actually be good and 
craveable, too. We're all about creativity and learning new things, and we want more people to look forward to participating in Meatless Mondays and skipping meat at least some of the time. This might just make all of us better as a whole in terms of health, and it could help our environment a great deal now and in the future. 

Cooking at home means everything to us. We invest in tools that will help us hone our technique and share tips with y'all, and we seek out the best ingredients because that's a surefire way to make food taste unbelievably great. We still love the crunchy old veg favorites that we grew up enjoying, but now we want to be a part of how vegetarian food evolves and gets the spotlight it deserves. 

Anyway, so this post is not sponsored by Aldi, but upon our reader's advice, we stopped by the Summer Avenue location in Memphis last Saturday with the intention of seeing what ingredients were available and then creating a couple of new TCV recipes based on what we found. 
(Some fresh finds from Aldi)

We love what we were able to put together! The tikka masala that's used as the sauce for this pizza is from a jar, it's a product that's new at Aldi, and it's really good. We also found gluten-free items, lots of fresh produce, honey goat cheese, hemp seeds, marcona almonds, and all sorts of other awesome stuff at good prices there. 

Our box of ingredients (for 2 recipes for an entrée and a dessert that'll serve 4 to 6 people) rang up for around $30. We'll certainly be going back to Aldi to shop, and we welcome more advice about other places you'd like to see us try. 

Oh, and now we can't wait to show you the pretty spring dessert we've been working on developing with products from the same shopping trip…a bunch of nectarines are almost ripe and ready to hit the grill. 

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Naan Pizza with Tikka Masala

Oven-Roasted Vegetables (recipe follows)
4 naan flatbreads1 16 ounce jar tikka masala "simmer sauce" (like Journey to India brand)
8 to 10 ounce block of white cheddar cheese (shredded)

5 green onions (chopped, about 1 cup)
1 small bunch cilantro (large stems discarded)

Make the 
Oven-Roasted Vegetables according to the recipe below. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place naan flatbreads directly on the oven rack for 5 minutes in order to crisp them up. 

On two large parchment-lined baking sheets, arrange the warm naan flatbreads and get ready to dress them. Onto each flatbread, add about 1/4 cup of tikka masala and spread it almost to the edges. Arrange a variety of Oven-Roasted Vegetables in a single layer on top of the sauce. Top that with about 2 ounces of shredded white cheddar. Repeat for each flat bread. Place the baking sheet with the prepared flatbreads into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted to your liking. Upon removing the flatbreads from the oven, sprinkle the top of each with green onions and 5 to 7 springs of cilantro. Cut each flatbread into quarters. Serve hot. (Makes 4 to 6 servings.) 

Oven-Roasted Vegetables 

8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
1 medium eggplant (about 4 cups, sliced and quartered)
1 pound multicolored mini bell peppers (about 4 cups sliced)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, salt, and olive oil until salt and oil are evenly distributed. On a large parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the vegetables out into a single layer. Some overlap is fine. Place baking sheet into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet, stir the vegetables around and distribute them into a single layer. Place the baking sheet back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool until ready to use. Store any leftover vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge for one week or freeze. 
(Makes 4 to 6 servings.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bibimbap Served Paella-Style

We've been loving the vegetarian bibimbap bowls at DWJ 2, a new Korean restaurant with lots of vegetarian options. It's located in the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis. The bibimbap comes to the table in a scorchingly hot stone bowl which renders the rice on the bottom of the dish crunchy and delicious. 

All we can even think about lately is this dish! Since we can't go out to DWJ 2 every single night like we really want to, we figured out how to get similar results at home without the use of a stone bowl. We thought about the many pans of paella we've shared with friends over the years and how the rice gets all crunchy on the bottom of the pan; this is called the socarrat.  This past Friday night when we had some time to develop this recipe, we decided to use our cast-iron pan to get the same result. Amazingly, it worked! 

We have to thank our friends Max and Marlinee for introducing us to DWJ 2. It's awesome! We recently took some of the family there for a late-night dinner, and they loved it, too! (One other tip for ordering: Get all of the vegetarian 50-cent sides. Twice.)

Bibimbap Served Paella-Style

1 1/2 cups sushi rice (rinsed until the water is clear)
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounces crimini or shiitake mushroom (sliced)
3 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (divided)

1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 large eggs

1 large carrot shredded
1 sheet nori (cut into thin strips using scissors)

2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/4 cup gochujang or Korean BBQ sauce (We like Bushwick Kitchen's Weak Knees.)
1 cup kimchi (We like Sunja's if we're out of our homemade TCV Kimchi)

Add the rice and the water to your rice cooker and start the timer. Alternately, follow the package directions to yield 3 cups cooked sushi rice if you don't have a rice cooker available in your kitchen. 

While the rice is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. In a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, add one tablespoon of the sesame oil and the sliced mushrooms. Allow them to cook undisturbed for three minutes before stirring them. Allow them to cook for another two minutes, add the soy sauce, and then remove it all from the pan. Set mushrooms aside until you're ready to assemble the dish. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Into the same cast-iron pan, add an additional tablespoon of sesame oil and fry the eggs in the hot oil until they're crispy on the bottom and the whites are set. Remove the eggs from the pan and set them aside until you're ready to assemble the dish. 

Scrape out any reside left behind by the eggs in the cast-iron skillet. Add the last teaspoon of sesame oil and press the cooked sushi rice into the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat. Add the eggs in a single layer, followed by the cooked mushrooms, shredded carrots, green onion, and a generous swirl of gochujang. Add the nori strips to the center of the dish. Serve the kimchi on the side. Place the dish in the middle of the table and allow everyone to serve themselves. (Makes 2-4 servings.)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A New Rice Cooker (Our first one!)

Our buddy Marisa Baggett, who wrote the book on vegetarian sushi, told us that to make really great sushi rice, we needed a rice cooker. We trust her on that, so we started thinking about it. And then Andrew Adams of Acre here in Memphis recently said that a rice cooker is the one kitchen gadget that changed his life in the kitchen. (Andrew knows a lot about kitchen tools and toys. I mean, that guy has four immersion circulators, so we have to believe him 100% when he tells us something so definitive.)

So, we started researching and found that you can spend anywhere from $30 to $300 bucks or more to buy a rice cooker on Amazon. We wanted a newfangled digital model that would set the timing and temperature for us, but we didn't want a non-stick coating that can chip and scratch on the inner bowl.

After trying out a few different models, we've found a rice cooker that we love at a good price! It's the Vita Clay 2-in-1 Rice N' Slow Cooker. Instead of a nonstick-lined metal bowl, the Vita Clay has an unglazed natural clay bowl. We've used it for sushi rice for our usual at-home Valentine's Day dinner tradition and for mushroom chili with brown rice so far, and it's going to be a game-changer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Roasted Red Pepper Penne Alla Vodka (+ what we're reading now)

We have dinner pretty late at night sometimes, especially on the weekends -- one of us, a photographer, has a crazy schedule that rarely fits into normal weekday hours. So it's nice to come home to a meal that we can share, even if it's after 9 or 10 p.m. And if we're hanging out at the table that late, the main dish is probably going to be pasta. That way, whoever is at home can relax in the quiet and just read for a while…and then jump up and throw dinner together at the very last minute.

By the way, Jonathan Franzen's essay collection  was a recent excellent find; the very first essay, "Pain Won't Kill You," about how technology unfortunately  (and probably purposely) mirrors love, was originally the 2011 commencement speech at Kenyon College. It is perfectly critical and absolutely true, and you really should read it, too, so we can all chat about it. :)

(Crazily enough, we wrote to Mr. Franzen years ago, and he immediately wrote us back. That was a pretty memorable moment at the mailbox.)

Anyway, for your next post-reading meal, this new TCV recipe is our take on traditional penne alla vodka. We just work some more vegetables into the mix and add a ton of flavor. Sometimes we confit peeled garlic in olive oil in the oven and crush a few more cloves on top, and sometimes there are rolls; also, our Southern Caesar Salad would be a good first course if there's time to make it.

Roasted Red Pepper Penne Alla Vodka

No-Peel Roasted Red Peppers (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons olive oil (more to garnish)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 medium carrot (peeled and finely grated)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup vodka
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (divided)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 box penne pasta
Romano cheese (to garnish)

Make the No-Peel Roasted Red Peppers according to the recipe and set aside.

 Into a large skillet, pour the olive oil and bring it to medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and stir occasionally until browned. Lower heat to a simmer, add cream and vodka, and stir. Add half of the fire-roasted tomatoes to the pan. Add sugar, red pepper flakes, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally. Blend the cooled red peppers with the other half of the fire-roasted tomatoes and add it to the sauce to complete it. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.

Put the water for the pasta on to boil and cook penne according to package directions. Drain pasta and coat it with a tablespoon or so of pasta water and a splash of olive oil. Mix it and serve in bowls. Ladle the red pepper vodka sauce on top of the pasta and top with Romano cheese.

No-Peel Roasted Red Peppers

2 large red bell peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the red peppers, coat them in olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread peppers onto a parchment-lined sheet and bake for 30 minutes until the edges have darkened. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Soup Sunday in Memphis on Sunday, Jan. 29 + a sweepstakes featuring 4 tickets to the event (and TCV's ringing the dinner bell IRL!)

** This sweepstakes has ended. Congratulations, Jane Hopper, you are the winner! Your tickets will be at the ticket window at the FedEx Forum, so you can pick them up the day of the event. Just leave us a comment if you have any questions. Thanks to everyone for participating, and we'll see you at Soup Sunday! **

We're so excited to partner with Youth Villages, a non-profit organization that helps children and their families live successfully by restoring a supportive family system. Today, we want to tell you about the Youth Villages Soup Sunday fundraiser. This year's event is on Sunday, January 29th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the FedEx Forum. (Click HERE to purchase tickets.) 
Amy and I are honored to have been asked to ring the dinner bell at the opening ceremony this year alongside Youth Villages CEO Pat Lawler. (BTW, we cannot wait to see this bell for ourselves. We are beside ourselves and are going to do our best to do this bell-ringing thing right! This is going to be a new experience, y'all. Bring on the bell!)

For the past 28 years, Soup Sunday has offered a chance for Memphians to come together and feast on creative soups from nearly 50 of Memphis's best-known restaurants. This year's participants, who are graciously volunteering their time and talents, include Amerigo, The Peabody, Huey's, Kooky Canuck, Hard Rock Café, Bardog, Babalu, Rizzo's Diner, Cafe Olé, and Say Cheese food truck. (Click HERE for a full list.) In addition to amazing soups, some participating restaurants may also offer appetizers, cornbread, cheese biscuits, and, of course, dessert. 

There will be several vegetarian options including pimento cheese from Hope Church, Apple Kiwi Kale Smoothies from Smoothie King, and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup from Stone Soup Café and Market. We also see some hints of our favorite vegetarian dishes on the list like doughnuts, ice cream, bundt cake, and coffee. We can't imagine you'd go home hungry.  

 The Soup Sunday event has raised over a million dollars for Youth Villages and their programs. To celebrate, Youth Villages has given us a family pack of tickets (2 adults and 2 children) to this year's Soup Sunday so that a TCV reader can go for free. To enter, comment on this very Soup Sunday post before January 26th at 10 p.m. and tell us about your favorite soup. That's it! We moderate comments, so don't worry, we will post them a few times a day. (See the official rules below for more details). Check back with The Chubby Vegetarian blog on Friday, January 27th to see if you won. We'll leave your tickets at the ticket window at the FedEx Forum so you can pick them up the day of the event. Good luck -- and we'll see you at Youth Villages Soup Sunday!
Official rules: No purchase necessary. The Chubby Vegetarian Soup Sunday Sweepstakes is sponsored by The Chubby Vegetarian blog. The featured prize is a package of 4 passes (2 adult, 2 kids) to the Youth Villages Soup Sunday event to be held in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan. 29, 2017; approximate retail value of the set of 4 tickets is $60. Winner is responsible for reporting the value of his/her prize where required. No other prize or compensation is included. Enter by commenting on this TCV Soup Sunday post and tell us about your favorite soup. Eligibility requirements: entrants must be 18 years of age or over and reside in the U.S. Duration: sweepstakes starts at 6 p.m. CST on Jan. 24, 2017 and ends at 10 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2017. Deadline to enter is 10 p.m. on Jan 26, 2017. Open to individual U.S. residents aged 18 and older only; void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Only one comment per person will be considered; duplicate entries from the same entrant will be deleted. Winners will be selected by random number generator by 11 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2017 and announced by 10 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2017. If the prize is forfeited or unclaimed by 10 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2017, another entrant will be chosen by random number generator at that time and announced by 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, 2017. Tickets will be held under winner's name at the ticket desk on the day of the event unless other arrangements are made prior to the event. If technical issues require postponement of the selection of a winning entrant, an update will be posted on this blog post with updated information and deadlines. Winning entrant is responsible for paying any taxes related to the prize(s). TCV has the right to obtain and publicize the winner's name and likeness as well as require winner to sign a liability release. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Foxy BBQ Sandwich at City Silo in East Memphis

If there's one thing we love, it's a good collaboration. Over the past few months, we worked with our buddies Scott Tashie and Will Byrd of City Silo in East Memphis to create a brand-new TCV-inspired sandwich. It's called the Foxy BBQ Sandwich. (Get it? Inspired by Justin Fox Burks!) The Foxy BBQ is just one of the amazing new things on the City Silo menu, which includes tons of vegan and gluten-free options in addition to the fresh-pressed juice that you always ordered at Cosmic Coconut.

You know you love the TCV Mushroom Debris Po Boy at Kelly English's restaurant The Second Line, so now you can have the Foxy BBQ for lunch and the TCV Debris for dinner. (Breakfast is still up to you…but hey, if anyone's up for working with us on a TCV option for that, just let us know!)

Our recipe for the 'meat' of City Silo's dish is in our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian. It's a variation of our Pulled BBQ Spaghetti Squash and our Spaghetti Squash Ribs, and some Purple Cabbage Slaw goes on top. We wanted to make something different from our usual Italian-style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash; we thought there had to be a variation that would work well.

So if you want to know even more, check out today's video from Michael Donahue of The Commercial Appeal HERE; you can watch Will make the sandwich and then hear Scott talk about how it all came about.

We got to be among the first to try the Foxy BBQ at a menu preview lunch at City Silo over the holidays, and we absolutely loved it along with all the other dishes and the inventive, healthy lattes and juices. Please let us know if you try this new Memphis spot or if you plan to order our new sandwich this week!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

TCV Visits Oxford, Mississippi

We usually go out of town for like one night and just go non-stop for the day before and after. That's relaxation around here, at a crazy pace as usual. We've written about our time in NYC for fun and for our time at the James Beard HouseLittle Rock and P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain FarmColumbia, MS, and Valentine's Day in Oxford one year.

One place we're always visiting is Mississippi, the state where both of us were born. Sometimes, we go for the quiet and to help do a little work in the family garden. We saw this amazing person perform there in November; we always go to Jackson and stop by High Noon; we finally went to Water Valley one Valentine's Day weekend; and we really love Oxford, which is a little over an hour away from Memphis. North Mississippi also has this now, which we can never resist, and it's right there on the way.

There's always so much to do in Oxford. Memphis chef Kelly English has a second Second Line in Oxford now! And if you've never been, you must go to at least one of John Currence's restaurants. (His new cookbook, Big Bad Breakfast, is so good.)

For New Years 2017, we wanted to check out some new places we'd never been. But our first stop in the rain in Oxford was a mainstay, the absolutely amazing Square Books, and then we ran over to Off Square Books when we remembered that's where the cookbooks are. We spotted The Chubby Vegetarian and got to sign the couple of copies they had left. (Found this new vegetable cookbook there, too.)

We'd heard about The Graduate Hotel, and they had a New Year's Eve package that included little themed gifts and breakfast, so we finally decided to go. The deal seems to be that they just make everything as simple and effortless as possible, so nothing is a big deal. And it's adorable. Every design detail is so smart and knowing with an original point of view.

We were set to go to dinner at Ravine, which is further outside of the square. Due to providing food photography a little while ago, we had a credit at Ravine, and we can't wait to go back and stay at the inn. The NYE menu there consisted of an amuse-bouche, 4 courses, wine pairing, and lime sorbet somewhere in-between. The vegetarian option included a first dish of roasted beet, goat cheese, and olive tapenade and then came local mushrooms and manchego on grilled ciabatta toast. The main dish was farro risotto with butternut squash, kale, and a fried egg. We also had a pear tart and chocolate cake.

Ravine was packed and festive, and owners Chef Joel Miller and his wife Cori are so fun to be around and talk to. (Read a story Justin and Pam worked on about the inn and restaurant here.)

It was still Christmastime in Oxford, so when we got back to the square, we walked all around and looked at the lights and the big tree, people-watched, window-shopped, and also checked out the pizza oven at Saint Leo.

We had breakfast, apple oatmeal, biscuits, home fries, and an egg-white and vegetable frittata, at Cabin 82 in the hotel and walked outside for a bit in the morning. We noticed pimento cheese and crackers front and center and ready to go at the gas station across the way.

All of this was the best way to put 2016 away and start something sure to be even better in 2017. If you haven't been to Oxford lately, we think you would love it just as much as we do!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year! A Vegetarian Guide to Black-Eyed Peas, Cornbread, and Greens for January 1, 2017

We're so ready for the arrival of 2017 on Sunday, and we're happy to close out the holiday season well, finish up 2016 in style, and enjoy the brand-new start! One of the best things about this past year was the November release of our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian (Susan Schadt Press, 2016). Getting the chance to share how we cook during the week was such an awesome opportunity after sharing all of our homegrown favorites in The Southern Vegetarian (Thomas Nelson, 2013). After being encouraged throughout this year to create more videos for our You Tube channel, if only to provide a steady stream of TCV entertainment to family members who love this sort of thing, we have taken the advice to heart and will be posting more about our recipes in the weeks to come.

So we have some exciting (or are they daunting? maybe the best ones are?) resolutions involving TCV and our health this year. Taking the leap into getting a gym membership and lifting weights the past few days in order to beat the rush back to the gym has been quite a new step. Adding something besides running into the mix has been a goal of ours for a while now, and we have already picked up on the 'push day, pull day, leg day' lingo. We'll see how all of this goes and will report back.

But hey, more importantly, we made sure to pick up some dried black-eyed peas from the bulk section of Whole Foods yesterday and have some fun ideas about how to cook them this weekend. We tend to mix it up and do a different beans, greens, and cornbread dish most years; below are some of our favorites from years past. Maybe these recipes will help you find a fun way to prepare your own good-luck meal come Sunday. We're going to make ours at lunch and then have ramen for dinner, which always sounds like a really good plan.

Hope y'all all have a safe and happy New Year's Eve and a relaxing New Year's Day. We so appreciate you reading here and cooking vegetarian along with us. Looking forward to a wonderful 2017 with all of you!

A Really Good Pot of Black-Eyed Peas

Classic Black-Eyed Peas

Cornbread Crepes and Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed Pea Burger

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Greens Quiche

Hoppin' John Black-Eyed Pea Butter

Gluten-Free Cornbread Waffles

Smoked Cheddar and Jalapeño Cornbread

Whitney's Coconut Greens 

TCV Collard Greens

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Vegetarian Christmas Cooking: 20-Minute Tamales, Sea Salt Granola, TCV BBQ Dry Rub, and Hickory Smoked Hot Sauce

Surprise, surprise: we're not that skilled at finding the 'perfect gifts' for everyone. Each year at the height of holiday shopping craziness, it quickly becomes clear that we just need to rely on what we enjoy doing and get to cooking a lot of our gifts. It's rainy and gray here in Memphis this Christmas Eve, and we're going to be in the kitchen for a while today, so here's what we're making!

On Thursday, we were on a late-night hunt for corn husks, and with a little help from the awesome and super-enthusiastic produce guy at the Mendenhall Kroger (our third stop) in East Memphis, we found them on a low shelf and snagged them along with mushrooms, masa, and onions so we could make our 20-minute Tamales

Oh, and Curb Market in Midtown has the best dried peppers, Sparkling River Hickory-Smoked Poblanos, and they unbelievable in tamales, soups, grits, beans -- in anything, really. We bought a bunch for us and some for a few other pepper-obsessed folks we know. 

Versions of our Sea Salt Granola made their way into both of our cookbooks, The Chubby Vegetarian and The Southern Vegetarian. The funny thing is that while we have it as an extra on top of a salad and also a pear dessert in the books, we usually just have it right out of the container as breakfast with yogurt, berries, and honey or a quick snack by itself. (Our cousins gave us a big jar of sorghum this year, and we were thrilled since lately, we often sub it in for brown rice syrup in our granola recipes.)

This week, we also made kind of a Stone Soup-style vegetable-and-pasta soup for friends with kids and included a baguette, parmesan, and our favorite chocolate-covered peanuts so they could have dinner taken care of one night. We need to work on a recipe for vegetable soup for y'all in January when everyone's trying to eat vegetables and be all healthy, but in the meantime, here are a ton of favorite TCV soups we really like. We'll be working on a new white bean soup recipe for Christmas Day along with our usual cornbread. 

For a family party in Mississippi last weekend, we gave everyone TCV BBQ Dry Rub, and we made our Hickory Smoked Hot Sauce for those who've been hinting that they needed another bottle of it. We're excited to work on getting these seasonings available for purchase in 2017, and we'll keep you posted on the process as we figure it all out. 

Y'all, we hope you have a beautiful holiday with the people you love! Please let us know in the comments what you'll be cooking. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vegan White Chocolate Matcha Hot Chocolate + Dandies Peppermint Mini Marshmallows (in a mini slow cooker!)

We received free marshmallows from Chicago Vegan Foods in exchange for developing this recipe to feature here on TCV. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.

After we asked what was new for the holidays, Dandies sent us a box of vanilla, pumpkin, and peppermint mini marshmallows to try, and it's been a lot of fun to dream up a new way to highlight one of our favorite vegan treats. This festive drink is earthy due to the matcha powder, rich because of the white chocolate, and the peppermint marshmallows add a sweet note to balance everything out. 

We've been big fans of Dandies marshmallows for a while now. They're aren't made with corn syrup or gelatin, and they're non-GMO and kosher, so it's awesome that folks who usually have to avoid marshmallows can enjoy these along with everyone else. They're great to have on hand for topping sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, making Brown Rice & Brown Butter Crispy Treats or a pumpkin version, and for stocking a S'Mores Bar outside around the fire pit (or use for Gingersnap Oven S'Mores if it's too dang cold out). 

Dandies are available online, and the vanilla flavor is often on the shelves at Whole Foods in the baking section. We also found peppermint version on sale here and here

(Oh, we also have to mention that we brought out our mini slow cooker for this recipe; we use ours all the time since receiving it a few years ago. A friend brought it to a party with a dip she made already in it and then said, Keep it; that's your gift! We use it all the time now for cooking beans and soup, and it really was a cool thing we didn't know we needed but actually did.)

White Chocolate Matcha Hot Chocolate + Dandies Peppermint Mini Marshmallows

2 1/2 cups milk of your choice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 ounces (about 6 squares) white chocolate 
2 teaspoons matcha powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Maldon sea salt (to taste)
Handful of Dandies peppermint mini-marshamallows

Place milk, maple syrup, white chocolate, matcha, vanilla, and sea salt into your mini-slow cooker and set it on low for an hour or so; whisk the mixture twice during this time so that the chocolate melts. Set the slow cooker on high to further warm for an hour; whisk before serving in mugs. Top with peppermint marshmallows. (Serves 2; recipe can be doubled or tripled if needed).