A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to experience a blind taste test of Vegetarian cuisine. When I say Vegetarian, I mean totally Vegan, no dairy or meat by-products found here, including fish, eggs or butter. Sounded like a new learning experience and fun, so why not give it a shot. So we marched over to the YouTube Space in Toronto. Wow was that a modern bright studio space. We were greeted with Ginger Mimosas and sat down at a square table with 10 other taste testers. At the head of the table sat Candice Hutchings, the popular YouTube Vegan chef and author of the book-The Edgy Veg, released October 16. Next came the Black Lemonade, not bad I thought, not too sweet, and just the right amount of Charcoal.
Tip: did you know charcoal is good for the skin as a detoxing agent, best of all it’s great for a hangover.
We were instructed to place our blindfolds on and the servers brought out the first course. I gingerly reached out in front of me, searching for a plate and utensil. The faint aroma of what seemed like smoked salmon wafted by. I took a bite and it tasted delicious. We were then instructed to take our blindfolds off and the dish was introduced by Candice as Lox and cream cheese bagel(vegan substitute for Salmon and Lox bagel). To my surprise, I found smoked carrots on top of the cream cheese bagel. A wonderful revelation.
The 2nd course consisted of a breakfast burrito made up of sweet potatoes and tofu scramble(to replace eggs).
The third course was peanut butter French toast (made from sourdough bread) with strawberries and maple syrup. It was sweet and chewy and had the perfect amount of crispy golden brownness to it.
The final course consisted of chocolate mousse made from vegan dark chocolate with whipped coconut milk cream on top and shaved cocoa nibs. Death by chocolate is what this dessert is known as. It was ‘lick the spoon good…’
All the above recipes can be found in The Edgy Veg Cookbook and are 100% plant-based vegan.
So how did Candice start out as a Vegan chef? She was inspired by her husband and also due to health reasons, decided that Vegan was the way to go. Growing up with traditional comfort foods, Candice was looking for Vegan substitutes. Influenced by Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain and David Chang (Momofuku), who she has admired for their food philosophy.
As Candice developed and tested vegan substitutes for Mac and Cheese and other staple recipes in her home kitchen. The idea of a vegan cookbook sprang into her mind. Taste testing of various recipes consisted of friends and family coming over for dinner parties. It wasn’t easy, 5 recipes a day had to be developed and tested for her book. Not to mention putting together the beautiful photo shoots of the recipes.
Candice’s book -The Edgy Veg provides quick tips for the home chef looking to ‘veganize’ their diet in addition to some basic starter recipes for the novice. Such as Butter Chicken, Buffalo cauliflower wings, okra fries, and pesto pizza to name a few. Another tip for the vegan home chef is to keep some staple ingredients handy. The Dirty Dozen as Candice refers to them, are a list of organic fruits and veggies.
All these tips and suggestions can be found in Candice’s book and also in her YouTube videos and blogs. For myself, I can’t wait to try the Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe or the Buffalo cauliflower wings. There’s nothing more satisfying than eating healthy, vegan dishes full of flavor and texture. After all, we don’t need meat at every meal!
The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan
by Candice Hutchings, James Aita
Hardcover | October 16, 2017
Available in bookstores now!
Published by Robert Rose – Read the Q/A with The Edgy Veg Candice Hutchings