What I Ate This Week + A Cookbook Update

By Kiersten | Last Updated: July 20, 2014

Photo Set-up

Photo Set-up
People keep asking me about my cookbook and I guess I haven’t really talked about it much after I announced it in April. (April! Has it really been that long?) Right now I’m in the thick of recipe development–I’m trying to develop 10 recipes for the book each week, in addition to the usual development and testing that I do for Oh My Veggies. So yes, things have been a little bit hectic around here! I’ve felt really awful about falling behind on replying to comments and emails, but I hope you guys understand. My goal is to finish the recipes in September-ish and after that, I’ll be able to focus on writing the rest of the book, which should be a little less time-consuming.

The process of developing recipes for the book has been quite an adjustment for me. With my blog, the test is, “Do Chris and I like this recipe?” But for the book, it’s, “Do Chris and I and the three other people testing this recipe like it?” (Yes, each recipe is being sent to three testers!) And what do you do if two of the testers think something is the best thing they’ve ever eaten and the third hated it?! I’m such a perfectionist that this stuff keeps me up at night. With 150 recipes in the book, there’s potential for a lot of disagreement!

Dirty Dishes
After I try a recipe a few times in my kitchen, I’ll take a photo of it (well, several photos) and then send the recipe off to my testers. They answer a survey about how it tasted, whether the cooking times were accurate, whether the instructions were clear, etc. If Chris and I love a recipe and the testers all give it a thumbs up, I write up some headnotes and send it off to my editor. Otherwise, I either scrap the recipe or tweak it, rephotograph it (if the ingredients have changed significantly), and send it back to the testers to try again. I had always thought that big publishers had test kitchens where professionals would test each recipe and maybe that’s true for Gwyneth Paltrow or Martha Stewart, but for food bloggers, we’re usually tasked with finding our own testers.

Coming up with so many recipes in such a short amount of time has been both fun and challenging. There are some recipes that I get so excited about, I want to put them on my blog. Because I just can’t wait to share them! I want to share them now! But I guess if I did that, you’d have no reason to buy my cookbook, right?!

So that’s my cookbook update! And here’s what I ate this week:

Thai Salad with Slow-Cooked Tofu in Pineapple Barbecue SauceThai Salad with Slow-Cooked Tofu in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen // This is the kind of salad I love: substantive and full of interesting flavors. I topped this with hemp seeds and seaweed. The seaweed was not the bizness. Note to self: do not add seaweed to salad ever again.

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with HarissaNutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach from Vegetarian Times // I received a sample of Mina Harissa last week, so I decided to finally make this recipe that I had been on my to-make list for a while. I love soups that combine peanut butter and sweet potatoes and this one did not disappoint. I added a little extra harissa to up the spiciness and some light coconut milk to make the soup creamier.

Vegetarian Puttanesca SauceRoasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce // I remade this recipe for my book. If you don’t have the patience to make pasta sauce on the stovetop, this recipe is perfect for you–the tomatoes are roasted and then pureed. Easy!

Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice CreamSweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home // Yes, I really think we’re going to make a recipe from this book every week this summer. Or at least try to. Corn ice cream may not sound appetizing to you, but it works! It was objectively good, not good-for-a-novelty-flavor-but-not-really-good. It tasted almost buttery.

Brown Sugar Garlic Mozzarella SticksBrown Sugar Garlic Mozzarella Breadsticks from Kitchen Treaty // I let Chris plan some of our meals this week and he picked this recipe, because: sugar and cheese! And I only had two breadsticks because: diet! But this is one of those so weird it works kinds of recipes. (I guess like corn ice cream?)

Cauliflower Steaks with Mushroom GravyCauliflower Steaks with Mushroom Gravy from Vegan Richa // Just as I was finishing up this recipe, Chris came downstairs and asked me, “Is a tornado warning the bad one? Or is that a watch? Because I got a tornado warning alert on my phone…” We looked out the back window and right over our backyard, there was a swirling cloud in the sky. And of course, my first thought was, “Oh no, I have to photograph dinner before the tornado!” So I rushed to put this on the plate and take a picture. Which is not advisable! Don’t do that! Anyway, I got my picture and we turned on the news and they had zoomed in on the map to show precisely where the rotating storm cloud was–sure enough, it was right over our neighborhood. Freaky! Anyway, I could have let the gravy cook a little longer, but for rushing to get this done, it was still tasty. (ETA: Just to clarify, it wasn’t an actual tornado, just the kind of swirling cloud that is sometimes a precursor to a tornado. I am crazy, but not THAT crazy.)

June Conscious BoxJune Conscious Box // Last month, I complained about the vegan Conscious Box not being as good as the regular one, but this month’s is much better. Yay for that! My favorite item was the $25 Paper Culture credit, which I immediately used to buy some cute new address labels.

June Bestowed BoxJune Bestowed Box // And then I got my Bestowed Box this week too! It’s like Christmas all up in here! I received this box to review, unlike the others I subscribe to, which I’ve paid for myself. We’re not big fans of coconut water, but it’s good in smoothies so we’ll use it for that. And I LOVE Herban Essentials towelettes, so I was happy to get a package of them in my Bestowed Box. They’re like the little moist towelettes your mom carried around for emergencies when you were a kid, except they don’t smell like soap from a public bathroom.

Disclosure: The link to Amazon is an affiliate link, so if you ordered Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, I’d get a small percentage of the sale price for sending you over to Amazon.

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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Wow, I’m starting to understand how time-consuming and difficult a cookbook is! I can’t believe you’re creating 150 recipes, and you still have the time to post other recipes on your blog, stay active with blog commenting, and try these other recipes that go into your What I Ate This Week posts – I’m amazed!

Yeah, I pretty much work all day, every day. People told me this was what it was like to write a cookbook, but I didn’t believe it until I started!

You were scaring me with the swirly cloud talk! Glad you’re all right – and the pics got done 🙂 Not totally sold on the corn ice cream but it does sound interesting! And omg, I totally never want to write a book now – I can’t believe all the work you are doing!!

woow 150 recipes and u r making 10 a week! and posting onthe blog.. super woman! all the best Kiersten:) i caramelize those onions and mushrooms for the gravy. thats how hubbs loves it!

Thank you! And the photography set up isn’t much–it’s a painted board on my dining room table with two foam boards propped up to reflect light. 🙂

I am SO PROUD of you!!! That is a LOT of work, but it will be worth it when you get it published and the experience of the first one will make the second one easier to do:)
I just can’t wait to be able to order your cookbook.

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