What the Heck Have I Been Up To?

I have never been accused of bombarding people’s mailboxes with too many newsletters or blog posts. In this day and age when we are supposed to be digitally connected 24/7, I am a social media party pooper. It isn’t that I don’t love seeing what others do on Facebook – in fact,  the connection it brings with people around the world is what I love most about it. But otherwise, I prefer tinkering in my kitchen, teaching, engaging with a live audience, or otherwise doing the real stuff my work involves, rather than reporting to the world about what I’m up to every ten minutes.  On the home front, my kids have berated me over the years for not snapping photos at all the right moments and capturing them for digital eternity (I’m usually immersed in the moment, and not thinking about how to hold onto it forever). And unlike other bloggers, I’ve failed in the food porn department as well, since I prefer to serve or eat my food immediately instead of take photos of it. (I’m impatient; I just can’t wait to dig in.)

Let’s be honest. I’m a social media loser.  It’s the truth. But I think I’m coming to terms with that fact, and it’s okay. I’ll probably never have a huge Twitter following, as I can’t navigate through bitly and all the hashtags.  And my Instagram account? Truth be revealed: my daughter created and maintains it. But I feel that once in awhile, a little update is a good thing. And on this rare but leisurely Sunday, I’d like to share three things that I’ve been working on.

 #1. I have a new book deal! Some of you who are Facebook friends may already have heard the news – I’m writing a new book for Ten Speed Press. I’m in the thick of it – creating, testing, and writing. What’s the topic? I think the working title  says it all:

The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples 

Can you picture what the contents would be?  I think you can, but let me help: vegan versions of the things you’d normally buy instead of make (like butter, mayo, crackers, ice cream, meat substitutes), as well as things that are hard even to find or buy (like fish sauce, condensed milk, egg whites for meringues, seafood stock). Then there are the things that can make your life easy, like your own cake, biscuit, and pancake mixes, or a fresh and tasty alternative to Campbell’s – your own concentrated soups.

With these  recipes, you can stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer, making life easier and tastier. Don’t think it’ll make your life more complicated, because these are quick staples that will make a large enough quantity to keep around so that when you need something in a hurry, you can whip it up, no problem.  And think of the environmental impact you’ll be having by reducing the amount of packaging that will end up in your trash or recycling. I’m really excited about this! When will it be released? Spring of 2015 – it feels so far away, but I know it’ll come fast!

#2. I just filmed Season 2 of Vegan Mashup! This was a ton of fun – Betsy Carson of Delicious TV came out to California for a week, and we shot 6 episodes plus a podcast. She had already filmed Toni Fiore and Terry Hope Romero’s segments, as well as some of the cool guests we’ll have this season, including Fran Costigan, who made her killer truffles, and Adam Sobel of New York’s famed Cinnamon Snail food truck. Season 1 aired on Create TV (through public television and PBS) in 288 million homes, and I know that some of you were among them! But if you haven’t seen it yet, you can see it right here.

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What did I make? Somehow figs made their way into two of the episode, with seared tempeh with fig-rosemary sauce in one episode, and curried eggless salad with figs in another. I also had fun putting on a kimono and making Curry Udon, a favorite Japanese dish, only I made mine oil-free (the traditional version is made with a roux). In fact, I made most of my dishes oil-free, the way we should all eat most (if not all) of the time. Then there was a farro risotto with mushrooms, and a pea-mint-cilantro crostini that can get whipped up in practically seconds. With the fabulous roster of guests and the great things that always come from Toni and Terry, I know season 2 is going to be over the top!

#3. I’m starting a cheese company! Yes, you heard right. I’ve been selling cheese a little here and there, and it’s about time I take it to the world. I have a developed a number of cheeses that are far beyond the scope of my book, Artisan Vegan Cheese.  Bloomy rind cheeses (think traditional camembert and brie, with that moldy white rind), hard, aged cheeses that you can grate using a Microplane, cheeses wrapped in fig and grape leaves, cheeses aged for many months to develop flavor and texture, and even washed-rind cheeses that are almost stinky. They are special, and I want to get them to you as soon as possible. I’ve been working with various people to get this up and running, and have found the perfect location to make them. I have some funding, but need more, so I’ve decided to apply for a $250,000 small business grant from Chase. I’m sure thousands of others are applying for it as well, so I don’t know what sort of chance I have, but it would certainly help me to get the ball rolling sooner! And I could use your help – to be in the running for this, I need 250 votes. Can you vote for me? It’ll just take a moment, and will bring all of us closer to vegan cheese! Here’s the link: https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/107914

And…that’s about it for now! Next weekend, I’ll be in LA, speaking at Healthy Taste of LA, and the following week, at San Diego VegFest. Then I need to buckle down and get this book finished and the cheeses launched!  Now, I need to get myself to the kitchen to make dinner, so I’ll just leave you with some of my attempts at food porn.

Brie

Brie, anyone?

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A selection of cheeses – smoked gouda, High Sierra, truffled brie, camembert, fig leaf-wrapped chevre, double cream chive, sharp cheddar, and aged chevre with peppers.

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A cake assembled with recipes from my upcoming book, The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples. This utilizes my white baking mix, lemon curd, and Make it Now, Whip it Later Buttercream.

 

Comments

  1. Christina Burke says:

    So excited about the new book. What a terrific idea!

  2. Congratulations on your new cookbook adventure. I can’t wait to get my hands on that.
    I am 6 months new into eating a plant based diet and I love your cookbooks. I have made some of your vegan cheese recipes with great results. I do find that eating this way takes way more planning and cooking but if your new cookbook can simplify my life while helping me eat well – I all for it! I am off to vote for you! Good luck.

    • Tami, congratulations on your transition to a plant-based diet! That’s wonderful you took the plunge. I wish you much luck on your new and compassionate journey!

  3. Heather Moss says:

    Miyoko, I am thrilled about your Vegan Pantry project. I have had a deep desire for such a cookbook for a very long time. Adapting non-vegan pantry recipes doesn’t work out too well for me. I am going to preorder the minute it’s possible! And if you need any help testing, I would LOVE to help!

  4. SO excited about your new cookbook. You always know just what we need!! Looking forward to the new Vegan Mashup episodes too. I hope they’ll be airing here in Chicago on PBS.

  5. Wow! Congrats on all your new ventures. I am dying to know your new cheese techniques. Artisan Vegan Cheese squeal? Your cheeses have changed everything.

    • The new book will have a few cheeses, but that won’t be the focus. The cheeses in it will be no-oil, easy to make ones (only 3 or 4). However, there are talks about an updated and revised version of AVC, full color, in the next couple of years as well.

  6. Congratulations on the book deal, tv show and new store! (I’ve already congratulated myself on this since I will benefit greatly from all three because you will be sharing your talents with the world (including me.) I’ve put in a request to TPT (PBS affiliate in Minneapolis/St. Paul) to carry the show and will continue to encourage them until they do. But, tell me, the most important of all…. will you be able to ship your cheese or better yet distribute it? Wishing you much luck and joy.

  7. All exciting news. One note – if you don’t end up getting the grant and are still looking for funding, may I suggest something like a kickstarter campaign? I feel like you have a good following and there are lots of people out there that would support you. I know I would! You’ve changed my cheese-world as a vegan. You could offer cheese/cookbooks/recipes as a reward! I know lots of people who love the cheese but aren’t up to making it. I make it, but would still love to see what your versions are like.

    Either way, I wish you luck and can’t wait to see what happens!

    • Cali, many thanks for your words of encouragement and support! I am really excited about bringing the cheeses to the world. Yes, I think a kickstarter would be very successful. Thanks again!

  8. Cheese company?? So exciting!! ya!!!! Good for you!!!!

    It is such an amazing time for vegan businesses.

  9. Hi Miyoko! So Excited that you are going to be making and distributing cheese! I can’t wait to buy. I’ve made your cheddar from the book and it turned out great. Thanks so much.

  10. Heather McFerren says:

    How about a vegan marshmallow?

  11. Shairazi says:

    Hi,
    When is your new book available? Cannot wait to get it!

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