Happy Herbivore Blog

Kitchen Confidential: Tips on how to be an awesome home cook.

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Yes, I know, I'm blatantly hijacking the title of Anthony Bourdain's book, which is kind of funny, considering how he feels about vegans... but it's quite applicable for today's post! 

Late last week, a Herbie posted a stunning pic of the "Cheater Pad Thai" from the cookbook on HH's Facebook page, and in the comments underneath it, asked if I had any tips for how to make frozen veggies taste fresh and crisp, not soggy.

Before I could respond, however, another Herbie left her secret... and that's what I love about the HH fan page -- we've really created a caring community where anyone can feel welcome and safe. Conversations are always going on the wall, and questions for the group pop up frequently.

In fact, it was this particular question that got me thinking about all the tricks and tips I've learned over the years, so I asked Herbies on Twitter and Facebook to send in their secrets so we could all be the best home cooks we can be! 

(p.s. I actually didn't even know all of the tips that were sent in, which was humbling and a reminder that we never stop learning!)

(Bradley Cooper is my fantasy boyfriend. Or was, until one day I was thumbing through a friend's pictures of Facebook and realized she knew him. Then my celebrity crust was just embarrassing.)

"I let my frozen veggies thaw on the counter. I then add them to a sauce at the last minute to keep them crisp." - Toni

"For beef flavor in my TVP or seitan, I fall back on mushroom sauce and yeast extract like Vitam-R (or marmite, or vegemite)." - Kerstin 

"For flax-eggs, you need to whip the ground flax seeds with the water, not just add them to the recipe. It's 'ready' when you pull your fork up and its stringy like an egg" - Kim

"Store cilantro upright in a glass of water and place a plastic bag over top and then put it in the fridge. It'll last for two weeks this way" - Sarah

"Cut new carrots so they'll fit in a tupperware and store in cold water - they stay fresh and crisp without drying out!" Megan

"For Moms: When you try something new out, load their plate with foods they also love so your child doesn't get overwhelmed thinking "there is nothing for me to eat!" - Jennifer

"Don't store bananas in a bunch or near other fruits. Separate them and store in different locations. Bananas release gases that cause other fruits (including other  bananas) to ripen quickly." - Wendy

"Pizza stones are perfect for pressing tofu." Jen H.

"Well-seasoned cast iron cookware functions like Teflon (non-stick) but without the nasty chemicals. I love my dutch oven." - Jodi

"Do bulk-prep on the weekend. If your veggies are already chopped, you'll be more likely to use them during the week. Some people say veggies loose their nutrients if you prep ahead, but if I don't, I may not get ANY of the nutrients." - Mairead

"When you burn yourself in the kitchen, spread mustard on the affected area and leave it for a while. The mustard will ease the pain and prevent blistering." - Wendy

Also, don't forget my Top 10 Tips in the cookbook -- which you can see now using Amazon's "look inside" feature. 

p.s. Check out this cool (and very detailed!) video review of my cookbook by Eco-Vegan Gal

P.S. -- NYC Herbies! Don't forget, tomorrow Pizza & Book Signing!

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