My earliest musical memories center around jazz and food: popcorn by the fire on blustery winter nights warmed by the playful yet melancholy piano of Vince Guaraldi (and good as it is, I’m not talking about that Charlie Brown stuff); the family hanging together in the kitchen eating stinky Italian olives and even stinkier provolone cheese to the funky genius of Thelonious Monk; dad manning the grill on soft summer evenings with the windows open wide and the pure, octave-defying notes of Cleo Laine or Swingin’ Miss D gracing the warm breezes. And there was always some Fats Waller, Dave Brubeck, Charlie Byrd, Django Reinhart (not to mention Stephane Grappelli), and Billie Holiday to be heard. Those early tunes gilded my childhood memories and no doubt influenced the music choices I would later make.
I went on to teach myself piano (not very well, I’m afraid) and play the cornet (also badly) in junior high and high school; I sang in the choir and in a quartet – but I was much better at listening to music than making it. I’ll leave the music-making to talented folks like Laura Theodore, who not only has amazing pipes, but is a talented chef, cookbook author, and an engaging TV and radio personality. Being a music lover and vegan, how could I not be awed by someone calling herself the Jazzy Vegetarian? And – – she’s a Cleveland girl just like I am.
The jazzy part of the [Jazzy Vegetarian] is my secret ingredient – me sharing my love of singing a catchy tune with my passion for cooking. The vegetarian part relates to what I love to cook – great vegan food. – Laura Theodore
Just as Ms. Theodore has her own unique take on jazz standards, in Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites, she reinvents classic American cuisine to make it deliciously animal-free. You’ll find Caeser Salad Dressing, Rocky Mountain Toast, Macaroni Salad, Twice-Baked Potatoes, and Blueberry Cheez Cake – just to name a few recipes. I had a lot of fun making many of the recipes in Jazzy Vegetarian Classics and every one of them was easy to put together and absolutely yummy. This is a cookbook that I’ll return to again and again.
Enter the giveaway (below) for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful cookbook. Giveaway runs through midnight CT April 22 and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed, fresh soft whole-grain bread crumbs (from about 3 to 4 large slices)
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning or all-purpose seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 tsp. reduced-sodium tamari or 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
- Put the bread crumbs, Italian or all-purpose seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender and process in pulses until they resemble coarsely ground flour. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate. Put the mushrooms, onion, and tamari in a blender and process to a chunky puree. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut-bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Place a 3-inch cookie ring on the parchment. Pack one quarter of the mushroom-bread crumb mixture into the ring and press it firmly and evenly into the ring to form a "burger." Gently remove the ring. Repeat with the remaining mushroom-bread crumb mixture.
- Flatten each burger slightly with the back of a flat spatula. Bake for 18 minutes. Flip each burger and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until the burgers are slightly crisp and golden.
- Serve on toasted whole-grain buns, topped with lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, mustard and catsup.
- This recipe shared with permission from Laura Theodore and BenBella.