The Blooming Platter Cookbook’s Betsy DiJulio is Cookstr’s “Author of the Day” Monday, January 7, 2013

What I thought was surely a once-in-a-lifetime honor has happened for a second time: Cookstr–“The World’s #1 Collection of Cookbook Recipes Online”– bestowed upon me the honor of “Author of the Day” today!  What a beautiful way to start the new year.  I am so grateful and humbled!

Please visit their home page where, as they told me, “…your name and photo will be the first thing our visitors see when they click onto the site.” On a continual loop  inside the box are features like “Top Picks,” “Recipe of the Day,” and “Author of the Day.”  If you don’t see it right away and have time to wait just a minute, me and my recipe for Angel Hair Pasta with Chard and Bell Peppers will come back around!

Cookstr was founded in New York City in 2008 by Will Schwalbe, together with Katie Workman, Art Chang and the Tipping Point Partners team. The Author of Send,Will left his job as SVP and Editor in Chief of Hyperion Books to found Cookstr.

The organization’s stated mission is to:

“…organize the world‘s best cookbooks and recipes and make them universally accessible.

We are setting the standard for innovation in the delivery of 100% trusted, tested, recipes to home cooks around the world. Our online recipe library offers thousands of recipes by hundreds of the top chefs and cookbook authors, that are free for everyone on Cookstr.com. This year alone, Cookstr.com powered recipe searches in over 20,000 cities and 200 countries!”

Here are a few additional reasons to visit Cookstr besides sharing in my 15 minutes, or rather 24 hours, of fame:

  • Search and browse THOUSANDS of recipes from cookbooks, all with photos.
  • Visit the iBooks library.
  • Access the profiles, with photos, of hundreds of top authors, including celebrity chefs.
  • And, my favorite feature:  access nutritional information for EVERY recipe and search recipes by dietary considerations

By signing up with Cookstr, for free of course, you will receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly; be able to save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr; and get updates on new Cookstr features and tools.

Cookstr really is creating “meaningful experiences around food, and support(ing) healthy lifestyles.”  Let’s all be a part!

The warmest of thanks to Cookstr and to all of you for your support!

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The Blooming Platter (Vegan) Cookbook Oversold at Old Beach Farmer’s Market “Christmas Market 2012”–Thanks to All!

Many thanks to the generous organizers and patrons of the Old Beach Farmers Market “Christmas Market” on December 15 at Croc’s Eco-Bistro in VA Beach.  What a convivial and festive community event!  I was honored to be invited to be a part, and gratified to have sold out of my Blooming Platter Cookbooks by 10:30 a.m (the market closed at noon)!

I even had to procure more books to fill my last orders, as I’d oversold–a nice problem to have.

And what fun to be given a tent to share with the inimitable Ann Callis, co-author of the beautiful Vintage North End, Virginia Beach: An Illustrated History.  Everyone with ties to Hampton Roads needs a copy of this book and an opportunity to meet the engaging author.

Again, thanks to all for your generosity and hospitality!

Happy Holidays!

~betsy d.

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The Blooming Platter All Girls 12th Annual “Christmas, Chanukah, Curry & Cakes 2012”–Vegan Hors d’ouevres and Holiday Swap

12/12/12 marked the eve of the 12 anniversary of my annual “Christmas, Chanukah, Curry & Cakes” party.  That’s a lot of twelves!

Each year, about 20 or more (not 12) of my “peeps” gather at Joe’s and my home on the second Wednesday of December for some holiday cheer.  For ten years, the format was a veg curry dinner–with lots of fun toppings–and gifts for all.  Nobody was complaining…quite the opposite: it was a much-anticipated get-together.

But, last year, I decided to shake things up a bit by hosting the annual fete as a “swap” of new or gently used items no longer needed or wanted.  It was such a hit–we all got so much holiday swapping done!–that I did it again this year and probably for the next ten!  You can read all about last year’s party,  including simple directions for hosting your own swap and the vegan menu with some dishes from The Blooming Platter Cookbook, HERE.

For this year, I changed all but one dish–the Indian Saag Dip–to create the following menu:

*Indian Saag Dip with Rice Crackers

Roasted Pumpkin with Pepita-Sage Pesto

(served with toothpicks)

The Blooming Platter Tofu Egg Salad with Melba Toast Rounds

*Brie with Red Grape Chutney atop “Everything” Crackers

**Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle & Sugar Pearls

Organic Cava

*From The Blooming Platter Cookbook (Note: I didn’t wrap the brie in pastry and bake it.  Rather, I spread the chilled “cheese” on a serving platter and topped it with a different chutney than that in my cookbook.  For a similar result, you could substitute red grapes in the recipe in the cookbook recipe.)

**This delicious and simple recipe is not yet posted–sorry!

 

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Vegan Winter Holiday Recipes Abound in The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Indian Saag Dip from The Blooming Platter Cookbook

Are you in need of accessible, but creative holiday recipes that you won’t find anywhere else?  If so–and who isn’t!–look no further than The Blooming Platter Cookbook. 

My12th Annual Christmas, Chanukah, Curry & Cakes party is this Wednesday and I plan to pull out my copy of The Blooming Platter Cookbook, make my menu and shopping list this weekend, and begin the preparations for this beloved gathering.

I used to host the party as a vegan curry buffet dinner with gifts for about 20  dear friends.  But last year, I changed it to a “Swap” with vegan curried hors d’oeuvres conducive to browsing.  It was such a hit, that I decided to host a Swap again this year.

Click HERE for a fun look at last year’s party, including the menu and a description of my foolproof approach to hosting this type of event where guests bring unused or gently used home & garden items, clothing, accessories, and art to swap with each other.  Ours even ended up benefiting charity, not only through the few leftover items I donated, but through cash that guests used to purchase items when their tokens ran out!

While they shopped, my guests enjoyed, among other things, these dishes all from The Blooming Platter Cookbook:

Bloomin’ Broccoli Dip

Curried Cous-Cous

Indian Saag Dip

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

The Blooming Platter Cookbook also makes a great gift…but not just for vegans!  Anyone who loves fresh, inventive food will find “4 Seasons of Yum!”

As always, while I encourage buyers to support their local booksellers, Amazon is offering some incredible deals right now.

 

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The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes (for ALL Seasons–even the heart of winter!)

Whether you are continuing your holiday shopping from Black Friday and Cyber Monday or just getting started, I would like to humbly suggest–with no pressure at all–that The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes might make a perfect gift for the plant-powered person in your life!

With “Four Seasons of YUM!” as someone once said, it really is the gift that will give all year… for many years.   Each chapter of appetizers, sandwiches, soups and much more is sub-divided into the four seasons with beautiful icons in the top corner of the pages, so it is a cinch to find delicious and nutritious dishes for every meal of the day regardless of the month of the year.

Beautiful things can bloom on your platter even in the coldest winter months, say:

White Bean and Pesto Tart

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Pear, Walnut and “Blue Cheese” Sandwiches

Sage-Scented Fettuccine with Butternut Squash

Burgundy Poached Pears with Rosemary-Scented Onions

Pear-Rum Cupcakes with Tea-infused Buttercream Frosting

Grits and Greens with Mushroom Gravy

I would love to see you support your local bookseller, but Amazon is running sale…If you live in the local area, I am happy to meet up with you to personalize your book.  But if you live far away, I am happy to personalize and sign a custom-designed bookplate and mail it to you or the book recipient.

Thank you for your support of The Blooming Platter; here’s wishing you and yours a lovely start to the holiday season!

~betsy d.

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The Best Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake with Revolutionary Vegan Whipped Cream–my first recipe published on VegNews!

Okay, I didn’t call my Flourless Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream the best.  Someone else did…

The Praise

When my new long-distance friend and fellow (amazing) Vegan Heritage Press cookbook author, Bryanna Clark Grogan (World Vegan Feast and others), was helping me test the recipes for this dessert, she served it to friends, one of whom said, “This is the best ——- cake I’ve ever eaten!”  That’s good enough for me!  And I trust it will be for you too.

The Back Story

Back in my pre-vegan years in Nashville, I did some moonlighting as a catering assistant for my dear friend Monica Holmes at her award winning Clean Plate Club.  She made what can only be described as a transcendent Flourless Chocolate Cake.  Since this type of cake contains no flour, the batter relies on eggs for structure and lift.

I knew there had to be a way to veganize it, but the recipes I’d researched, including from people I respect in the field, looked and sounded like vegan chocolate cheesecakes made with tofu or they contained beans and appeared a bit dry with a crackly top, or they actually included some flour.  I’m sure all are delicious, but they aren’t what I wanted.

The Cake

I wanted something as dense, moist, silky and rich as the original.  And that’s what I got, but not until I had baked the cake about 5 times (and made the cream about 7)!  At least. The first try was an unmitigated disaster.  But it had potential, and that just spurred me on to redouble my efforts.  Meanwhile, the generous Bryanna, in British Columbia, was doing the same with the recipe revisions I’d send her, and we were comparing notes.  Bry, I love you for many reasons, including your help with this feat o’ chocolate and cream!

My version of the cake is, indeed, based on tofu, but it has some “secret” ingredients responsible for its fabulousness which you are sure not to confuse with cheesecake.  It’s its own brand of wonderful.

The Revolutionary Whipped Cream

And the cream, well, it is truly revolutionary.  At least, I could find no similar recipes online.  As you can see in the photo, it is a beautiful thing to behold. Plus, it is fat-free, cholesterol-free, soy-free, gluten-free (if your extracts are gluten-free), and low calorie!  Not only that, but it is delicious and a breeze to make.

For a very long time, I had been thinking that there had to be a way to make homemade vegan whipped cream from one of the vegan creamers.  I love both savory and sweet cashew cream, but it is a little heavy and thick, calorie laden, and distinctively flavored.  Ditto coconut cream aerated in one of those n2o cartridge-powered whippers. 

My cream is delicious with a creamy-fluffy, even billowy texture, and a more neutral flavor (but by neutral, I don’t mean bland!).  You will love it on all of your desserts that call for a whipped topping. The base is coconut milk creamer.  But can you guess the secret ingredient that makes the magic happen?  Funny story about the coconut milk creamer: I purchased it, disappointed that my grocery store was out of soymilk creamer.  But what a happy accident!  It turns out that the recipe ONLY works with the coconut milk creamer.  With soymilk creamer, you get something akin to pastry cream instead.

The Recipe and Thanks to VegNews

Many thanks to the brilliantly talented and generous food editors et al at VegNews for publishing these recipes in “What’s Cooking” online.  Please click right HERE to be taken directly to their site for both.  And while you’re there, if you haven’t already, enjoy all the good things VegNews offers its readers on a daily basis.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m posting this recipe now just in case you, like me, are offering chocolate for the first time for Thanksgiving.  But, personally, I think the winter holidays are the dessert’s time to shine, dressed up with a little pomegranate seed bling, as in the photo, or a bit of crushed peppermint.  In the summer, it has to be raspberries.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Get In It to Win It–Robin Robertson’s Give-Away of The Blooming Platter Cookbook

If you’ve been craving a copy of The Blooming Platter Cookbook for yourself or to give as a gift, now is your chance to win a free copy!

Best-selling vegan cookbook author and vegan good eats guru, Robin Robertson, is generously running a cookbook give-away.  Visit her website by clicking HERE for your chance to win and for one of her favorite recipes from the book: Baked Apples Baklava.

My best wishes to all of you good apples–hope one of you scores a win!  And a bushel-full of thanks to Robin!

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Last Day to Enter Blooming Platter and Jazzy Vegetarian Cookbook Giveaway!

10 p.m. EST tonight is the deadline for you to enter The Blooming Platter’s and the Jazzy Vegetarian’s joint Sizzlin’ Summer Seasonal Cookbook Giveaway!

Three lucky winners will be chosen to win one of the following: BOTH cookbooks plus the “Better Days” CD by Laura Theodore, aka The Jazzy Vegetarian;  Laura’s cookbook and CD; or Laura’s cookbook.

Simply follow THIS LINK to toss your hat in the ring.

Good luck!

 

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