Things Vegans Fry Book review and interview

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I had the “guilty” pleasure of being one of the recipe testers for Things Vegan Fry by Chef Johnna Gale. It’s not your every day cookbook but you will want to use it for Game Night, or movie night instead of pizza. Heck even when you just want some good ol’ comfort food.

Chef Johnna explains the different types of oils including a favorite oil blend. All recipes are clearly written, with photo’s. There’s recipes for  dips and sauces.I wish there was a garlic or ranch dip included (that garlic dip in the pictures is my own recipe). I love, love, LOVE the fried onions the most. So flippin’ tasty. Purchase your copy from amazon.

Chef Johnna Gale has agreed to an interview with us. Which is exciting.

Thank you, Johnna, for taking the time to answer the questions. We wish you all the best with all of your upcoming adventures!

FG-Was cooking always your pleasure?

J-I was cooking before I could reach the kitchen counter. My grandmother had me standing on step stool in her old kitchen. It was laid out like a galley. Stretched out almost the length of the house. I helped her make bread and cakes. I graduated to mixing and chopping. Eventually I was allowed to take hot things out of the oven and off the stove, and stir the food.

I also cooked at home starting at the age of 7 or 8 years old. By the time I was 10 or 11 I was making full dinners for my older brothers and father. As I got older I tried to fight the cooking thing, but found working in kitchens easy money.

When I went to college I took a different direction. I studied film and video, graduating with a B.F.A in Media Arts. During college, and after, I was always cooking and investigating new recipes. After college I found myself back in professional kitchens. I was 33 and stayed there until I was 53.

 

FG-Were you always a vegan Chef? Of not, why did you decide/ what was your eye opening moment that made you choose this lifestyle?

 

J-No I was not. Working in the industry one has to make all the food. I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. When my spouse and I got together, they were vegetarian. I cooked veggie at home. I investigated and studied vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and got over my fear of tofu.

Working in the industry really taught me how our food is handled from the farms to the factory to the table. The more I became aware the less I wanted to support the industry by being a part of it.

The cool thing was that learning vegan cuisine was to my advantage. I was a front runner cook when it came to cooperating with diners and their special diets. I was the “go to” vegan chef at the fine dining restaurant I worked at. While my peers scoffed at me for specializing, I’m grateful now. The industry is really changing and opening up its doors to different kinds of diners.

My eye opening really took a long time. I was exposed to vegan/vegetarianism in my early 20’s, and lived with a vegan for several years. While I didn’t understand it, I have a love of food and kept investigating what this way of eating/way of life means. Finally after running a blog for so many years and reading and learning about the farming industry, I felt it was time to go fully vegan myself.

 

FG-What motivated you to write your second book The Things Vegan Fry? As a recipe tester, it was extremely fun- and my kids loved every moment and recipe of it- but why fry everything?

J-Who doesn’t love fried food? The longest line at the vegan street fairs and festival are the fried food trucks. People give themselves permission to eat like that when they go to these things, why not make it vegan?

I put the book together because I figured out that I had amassed an insane amount of fried food recipes and methods. I felt the need to share with the rest of the world. Especially coming from the perspective of a Chef. I’ve deep fried a wide variety of foods. Why should the omnivores get all the fun?

I don’t fry everything – but it is one of my favorite methods of cooking. There’s a satisfying sizzle when dropping something into the deep fryer.

I hope everyone enjoys this book. It’s kid friendly, and full of comfort food. And you can find more fried food recipes on my website.

 

FG-I see Things Vegan Fry as a perfect game night book, any tips on how to make 2 or more recipes and keep them fresh until everything is ready to be plated?

J-Sure: Pair the Tater tots and French Fries and make a “combo basket”. Turn the oven on to warm, stick em on a plate and into the oven until your guests are ready to eat! If you want to go a little more “healthy” make the pakoras, a mix of the vegetables and the onion and serve with the various chutneys listed at the back of the book.

FG-What is type of fryer do you prefer?

J-Well, my preference is the kind you find in a professional kitchen. We call them standing fryers, but I no longer work in those environments, my second preference would be a Waring Professional. I’ve only had one countertop fryer and I bought it from a thrift store. I used it for a month and it broke. Right now my “fryer” is a heavy bottom seamless stockpot I purchased off a neighbor for $10.00. I firmly believe that you can stock your kitchen and not break your bank account.

FG- What services do you provide? Do you offer catering? Personal cooking classes? Make ahead meals?

J-Great question. I offer cooking classes, online and in person. I can help you with Recipe development: If you have an idea, I can walk you through it. I also offer to help you convert your grandma’s recipes into vegan versions. I also offer culinary coaching, much like a life coach, but I go through your kitchen with you, help you find useful tools and get rid of the junk. I can teach you how to shop, chop, and cook meals for a week.

I’m also available for cooking demos and parties. We call it edutainment. For a fee, I’ll come to your party and put on a cooking show. Then you and your guests get samples. It’s way easier than catering, and I don’t have to work as hard.

FG-Are you working on any projects right now? Anything you can share? Maybe a hint?

J-There’s a new e-cookbook I’m starting, but can’t reveal the topic just yet. I’m also in the process of making more recipe videos. We just released How to Make Falafel, it’s a companion video to the recipe book Things Vegans Fry.

My spouse and I have also started a brand new project that is not related to cooking called Radically Reducing. We are shedding 90% of our stuff. The plan is to get an RV and travel and live full time on the road. I’m hoping to line up demos and cooking classes around the country in order to make some money. And maybe even head up your way into Canada. This project is also deeply involved with video recording and editing, writing, and of course figuring out how to get rid of our stuff (selling, donating, tossing). Its nice to be doing work related to my college degree.

FG-Things Vegan Fry is your second book. Your first book is about soups, who doesn’t love soup? Where can one buy the soup book?

J-The same place: Both my books are available on amazon Kindle. Remember you don’t have to own a kindle to get a copy. There’s an app available. Head over to our website Kitchen Shaman , and order from there.

FG-Where can someone find you on the Internet, so they can enjoy the food porn, stories and connect with you?

J- www.kitchenshaman.com

@kitchen shaman on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and pinterest. I’m not terribly active on pinterest, but I do post my books and recipes from my blog.

You can find our other project over at artistic nomads.

 

FG-Is there a recipe you want to share?

J-Sure! Onion rings are always a crowd pleaser!

 

Onion Rings the Vegan Way

 

2 cups soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

1 onion, sliced into rings

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1/2 cup oat flour

3 tbsp xantham gum

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika

 

Add the raw apple cider vinegar to the soy milk. Let sit for about ten minutes. The soy milk will start to curdle. This is what it is supposed to do. Just mix it up. Add the onions.

Let the onions soak in the milk for 45 minutes. Mix them around every once in a while.

Mix together the spices and the flours. Set aside.

Once the onion rings soak, drain them and coat them in the flour mixture.

Heat up a heavy bottomed sauce pot filled with frying oil to 375 degrees.

Drop the onion rings into the oil. Turn them over every so often while cooking. Cook until golden brown. Be really careful with the hot oil.

Serve with Ketchup, tamarind chutney, and cilantro chutney.

 

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What is your favourite deep fried food??

Pull Apart Pizza Buns

I decided it was time to stop talking about these and just make them.  Kathy Hester (healthy slow cooking) wrote a review and shared a recipe from Ginny’s (vegan in the freezer) new book, The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook: 125 Freezer-Friendly Recipes.

I knew I needed pizza sauce, I wasn’t all that worried, because I had some in the cupboard right?! Well it turns out I didn’t, so off to the google gods to find a decent recipe (read, let’s hope I have everything on hand and wouldn’t take hours to make). The first site that popped up was minimalist baker- hey, I’ve been to her site before, she has some good recipes, let’s check it out. A can of tomato sauce, some spices- whisk and that’s it. The recipe is so easy, but tasty. See for yourself pizza sauce. The recipe is part of a pizza recipe, so I’m going to revisit and make that pizza pie. I mixed the yeast with the water, made my flax egg, made the pizza sauce- then I got down to work. Ok Big Red,  a.k.a Kitchen Aid stand mixer did the rest of the work for me. You might want to keep a couple tablespoons of extra flour handy so you don’t have to wash your hands before getting extra flour if you find the dough too sticky. Also before you start cutting the dough, or as I did just rip off equal sized pieces, flour your work area so the dough doesn’t stick. Put it in the crock pot, and clean up.

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The next picture is after it cooked on low for an hour.

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It says to use a stand mixer to mix the ingredients but you would be able to whisk and knead by hand if you don’t have one. Also, a trick I’ve learned from Kathy is to always make sure you put a clean tea towel between the crock and the lid- otherwise your bread would get soggy- look at how much condensation is on the lid, all of that would end up on your bread. (seriously, you can cook bread, buns, cakes, pizza EVERYTHING in the crockpot, just look through Kathy’s site, she’s proof that it can be done)

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I suggest, making a garlic dip for this- I’m making some tonight to have with them.You can add vegan parm, or even add a bit of vegan cheese and transfer them to the oven for a few mins to melt the cheese. I wish I was at home, because I’m want some in my mouth right now…. with yummy ranch dip. So, I’m going to get going so I can work on that.

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Check out the recipe and make these soon, you don’t need to thank me. I suggest making these for game night- BUT fair warning, you will want to make a few batches of these. They freeze well, and can be in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Here’s my recipe* for garlic dip (if it’s too strong for you, add more mayo. I’m a huge garlic and onion fan, and can’t believe not everyone is on board with that)

4-5 tablespoons of vegenaise, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder,  scant 1 teaspoon of each parsley and dill. Mix together and chill for at least 1/2 hr, it’s ideal to chill it for as long as you can hold out the next day is really good.

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This is the mayo I use, but use any vegan mayo you want.

What is your fav pizza dip?

*the garlic dip is a recipe loosely based on Lindsay’s ranch dip from the The Happy Herbivore book. The link will take you to her site.