Lemon Garlic Artichokes with Tomato Quinoa

Lemon Garlic Artichokes - Italian - The Lotus and the Artichoke Vegan Cookbook

Last month, The American University in Rome invited me to give a presentation on crowdfunding, creativity, and social activism. I discussed my experiences with Kickstarter, and told the story of how I funded my vegan cookbook – The Lotus and the Artichoke. I explained in detail how to use social media and crowdfunding to make dreams possible, promote and find support for projects, and to spread great ideas and inspire others. And then I opened things up for discussion and Q&A, and met the great folks in the audience. Then we ate up the 2 giant batches of Roasted Walnut Brownies that I made for the event. Yum!

This was my second visit to The Eternal City, and fourth trip to Italy. What made this visit so unique was having a project (the presentation) and an awesome apartment (and kitchen!) provided by the university. Instead of being a tourist, it was really like living there: I shopped at local markets, cooked several times a day, hung out with locals, enjoyed espresso on the apartment’s sunny terrace, walked miles and miles, rode the trams all around, and did my best to improve my language skills. It’s how I love to travel most. It’s great when it works out that way.

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Vegan French Toast

Vegan French Toast - Breakfast - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook

Way back in 1992, I published my first recipe for Vegan French Toast in Solace Kitchenzine, an old-fashioned cut & paste, photocopied vegan mini-cookbook fanzine I made as a teenager. I wrote short essays on environmental and social issues, did the artwork, and interviewed bands in the hardcore / punk music scene, mostly in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, but also from as far away as Boston, California, and Washington D.C. I was an avid pen pal, loved doing mail order in the U.S. and internationally, and took every opportunity to go on road trips with friends to other cities or states to watch bands play, meet new friends, and “distribute” my ‘zine.

It was a really magical time of my youth. In many ways the blog and cookbook project, now almost twenty years later, recall the excitement and interaction of those days. Back then I used to get letters in the mail (you know, the kind with stamps) almost every day. Now, I get enthusiastic emails and Facebook messages from friends and fans. Even years after Solace came out, I’d run into people that told me they knew my ‘zine. It was pretty cool. Though I’ve never been the preachy, dogmatic type, I was always proud when someone told me I helped or encouraged them on the path towards veganism / vegetarianism and daring to eat differently than the mainstream. Nowadays, vegan is a household word. Most restaurants – and relatives! – are way cooler about veggie eating habits. Sure, it still varies from country to country, county to county, and town to town…

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Kickstarter 2: German Cookbook & English Reprint!

Grow the Global Veg Scene! The Lotus and the Artichoke - Painting, JPM in kitchen

The Lotus and the Artichoke is back on Kickstarter to crowdfund the German edition of my cookbook, and to help fund the next English printing this Spring. Join the adventure and help make it happen!

In 2012 my first Kickstarter project The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Cookbook was successful with the help of over 360 amazing backers from around the world. In December, the first edition was printed: 1000 copies in full color, featuring over 100 recipes and more than 90 full-page, mouth-watering photographs. The Lotus and the Artichoke quickly became an international sensation!

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Dum Aloo

Dum Aloo – North Indian Tomato Potato Curry - The Lotus and the Artichoke

This recipe and story first appeared as a guest post on Scissors & Spice. Thanks again, Lynn!

Dum Aloo is one of many unsung heroes of Indian vegetarian cooking, with paneer, kofta, and mixed veg dishes usually stealing the spotlight. If you like potatoes and enjoy creamy, tomato-based curries, this delicious wonder will win you over. Soon you’ll be cooking it regularly and looking out for it on menus.

When I lived in Amravati, India, teaching Art and English for a year at a Cambridge International School, I quickly made friends with much of the neighborhood. From the first day, I was invited to family meals and constantly got amazing offers of home-cooked lunches. It was culinary heaven!

I learned so much about traditional Indian cooking (and a lot of Hindi) from the family of one of the local vegetable cart vendors who lived down the street. In the evenings, I’d often hear a knock at the door or get a short text message, and within minutes the kitchen was alive: full of cheery voices, sizzling sounds, amazing smells, and the incredible, vivid colors of spices and fresh vegetables.

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The Lotus and the Artichoke goes to print!

Friday, November 30, 2012: The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Cookbook went to print at Druckhaus Schöneweide in Berlin!

After many months of hard work, the cookbook was finally ready to print! I made this short video and took photos of the production. (Special thanks to Marko & Sergio of CLIMA for the music used in this and my Kickstarter video.)

The cookbooks arrive from the printer on December 7th. I’ll start shipping the orders as soon as possible, starting with the Kickstarter rewards. I’m finalizing everything for the t-shirts and tote bags, and am getting the bookmarks and other stickers today and tomorrow!

JPM and The Lotus and the Artichoke Vegan Cookbook December 2012

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook Order Set

Order my cookbook now and get:

  • The Lotus and the Artichoke cookbook – softbound 1st English edition.
    216 pages in color, 100+ recipes, 80+ full page delicious food photos, artwork, tips & tricks, travel stories + more!
    Title page signed by the author (me!) on request.
  • The Lotus and the Artichoke sticker pack with 4 different, durable indoor/outdoor stickers.
  • The Lotus and the Artichoke bookmark
  • Only $22.95 $21.95 + shipping (US & Europe: $4.95, Canada: $5.95, Asia: $6.95)

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Covers being printing

This is a shot of the covers being printed. It was so exciting to see the covers in production. The machines work very fast, and most of the time required is to set everything up and get the color and alignment perfect.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Heidelberg print machine

This is one of many massive Heidelberg printing machines. Only the best for my cookbook! They are so big and loud that they usually have telephones at each end so the workers can talk to one another during printing and set-up.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Justin at Druckhaus Schöneweide

That’s me, with a silly grin. You’d be smiling, too, after months of 12 hour work days and finally getting to see your project come to life! It’s a fairly goofy photo of me, but it was the best I could get after barely convincing one of the employees to hold my camera and click the shutter.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - CMYK color printing plates for the vegan cookbook

These are the color plates for the printing job. It’s the most expensive part of the project. The paper and binding costs are relatively small in comparison to how much it costs to create 4 color plates (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) for each of the 10 print sheets which have 24 pages, except the cover which is printed on its own. The plates are numbered 1 to 9 (plus one for the cover) and marked with VS (Vorderseite – Front) and RS (Rückseite – Back).

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Frau Thomas and Herr Wischer checking the colors

Here are two of the workers helping to check and confirm the color settings for a printed sheet of recipes, photographs and text. You can see the 12 pages printed on the top side of this sheet. The guy on the right was especially cool. He told me he loved working on this project, but the only problem was the photos made him hungry! At first he didn’t believe me when I told him all of the recipes are totally vegetarian (vegan). He ordered 2 copies for his sisters who are both vegetarian. How cool is that?

The Lotus and the Artichoke - Recipes and pages of the cookbook

One sheet of the cookbook inner pages showing the rich, colorful full-page photographs and cool green text used for the recipe instruction pages and text throughout the book. You can also see part of the text and photos used for the AFRICA travel stories and recipe inspiration background.

In just a few short days the cookbooks will be delivered from the printer!

Learn more about the cookbook and watch my Kickstarter promo video here: Order my Vegan Cookbook!

Order my cookbook now and get:

  • The Lotus and the Artichoke cookbook – softbound 1st English edition.
    216 pages in color, 100+ recipes, 80+ full page delicious food photos, artwork, tips & tricks, travel stories + more!
    Title page signed by the author (me!) on request.
  • The Lotus and the Artichoke sticker pack with 4 different, durable indoor/outdoor stickers.
  • The Lotus and the Artichoke bookmark
  • Only $22.95 $21.95 + shipping (US & Europe: $4.95, Canada: $5.95, Asia: $6.95)

Vegetable Pad Thai

Vegetable Pad Thai with tofu - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

In the last few weeks I’ve been so super busy getting the design finished for the printed The Lotus and the Artichoke vegan cookbook, I’ve hardly had any time to get new recipes up on the website. The good news is: The cookbook is going to print this week, and I’ve got another time-tested favorite recipe inspired from my travels. This one is also in the cookbook, and it’s just too good not to share!

Along with the pineapple pancakes I recently posted, today’s dish has always been one of my favorite culinary memories of Thailand. I ate Vegetable Pad Thai at the street carts, at nice restaurants, in back alley neighborhood restaurants, and at the simple beach resort on Koh Chang. All over Bangkok you can get street food Pad Thai a dozen different ways. I always got the vegetarian stuff, which usually had tofu and vegetables, but sometimes just vegetables. For about thirty to fifty cents I’d get a steaming bowl of noodles and veg topped with sauce, crushed peanuts, and a lime slice or two. I usually dosed it with some more hot sauce and then sat down on the sidewalk somewhere to chow down.

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Quinoa Tomato Avocado with Carrot Ginger Sesame

Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad - Carrot Ginger Sesame Dressing - The Lotus and the Artichoke

Here’s a quick and healthy vegan recipe for one of my favorite salads. It’s great for lunch on its own, or as an appetizer before a soup or lighter meal. Instead of quinoa, you can use other grains like couscous or bulgar, or use the dressing, avocado and tomato on fresh greens, like spinach or arugula.

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Paradise Pineapple Pancakes

Paradise Pineapple Pancakes - Thailand - The Lotus and the Artichoke

In December 2000, I flew to Bangkok with a backpack and a few changes of clothes, a small stack of books, my first digital camera, a new state-of-the-art mini-disc player with Beatles and Red House Painters albums and some of my other favorite traveling music. I read most of my Lonely Planet – Thailand book on the plane and even slept a little with my head on the window. Soon we landed in Bangkok. It was my second trip to Asia, and I’d read so much and seen so many foreign films about the region and culture, but it still totally blew me away.

From my first day there, I started a tradition of eating pineapple pancakes for breakfast at the guesthouse in a little alley behind Khao San Road. During the day, I rode in auto-rickshaws with unscrupulous and amusing drivers, explored the temples and markets, my favorites being the giant reclining buddha at Wat Pho, and day trips to the incredible floating markets. I was also delighted to find great used bookstores on Khao San road. I actually read the first 70 pages of Alex Garland’s The Beach (which takes place in Thailand) while standing at the shelf in the bookstore before paying a few bucks for the tattered paperback and finding a café to finish the book.

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Gibanica – Balkan Cheese Pie

Gibanica - Croatian Cheese Pie - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

This recipe is inspired by the famous Gibanica cheese pastry pies served throughout the Balkans. It’s a popular breakfast meal and savory snack I saw on menus and in bakeries in Montenegro and Croatia during my visit in October 2012. There are countless variations, including pastry pies with spinach, poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, and other fillings.

My recipe for vegan gibanica is best described as a curious cross between vegan quiche, lasagna, and strudel – all recipes which I just happen to have previously made for The Lotus and the Artichoke cookbook and this website. It’s no coincidence that the dish closely resembles Turkish and Greek cheese pastries, börek and tiropita. A glance at a map and we all know why. The Balkan states and their neighbors have their own variations (and names) for burek.

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Grah – Balkan Bean Stew

Grah - Balkan Bean Stew - Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian - The Lotus and the Artichoke

When two of my good friends announced they’d be moving to Herceg Novi, Montenegro for several months this year, I was excited for them and thrilled at the opportunity to visit them in a new part of world. After they settled in, started with the language, and began making local friends, I booked my flight to Dubrovnik. I ordered a Serbo-Croatian phrasebook and I started reading about cultural and culinary traditions, politics, and the history of the region. My friends arranged for me to rent a studio apartment in their building, with a balcony overlooking the Bay of Kotor and the Adriatic Sea. For our visit to Dubrovnik, they booked a furnished flat with Rock Palace Apartments, and we got a kitschy and fun Jimi Hendrix themed place for a few days on the hillside overlooking the old city.

My biggest supporter of The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Cookbook Kickstarter project made an amazing contribution which made the entire trip possible! For the reward, I’d signed up to visit a new place and bring back recipes based on the food there, plus lots of photography and artwork. So, along with briefly exploring two new countries with my location independent friends Ryan and Angela (of Jets Like Taxis), I got to sample and learn about traditional Balkan food. This included Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian, and Bosnian culinary customs. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the local food is considerably influenced by neighboring cuisines: Mediterranean, Turkish, Greek, Italian, as well as Central and Eastern European cooking.

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Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

Turkish Bulgur Pilaf - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

My first visit to Turkey was in late 2003. I’ve been back a couple of times, usually for brief visits on the way to India via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines.

On that first visit, I spent eight days exploring Istanbul, and took a ride out to the Black Sea and stayed in the sleepy seaside town of Amasra. Particularly in Istanbul, I recall afternoons of drinking tea and reading books. The days were beautifully punctuated by the competing calls to worship from mosques with their minarets pointed into the heavens. Continue reading

West African Spinach Peanut Stew with Fufu

West African Spinach Peanut Stew with Fufu - The Lotus and the Artichoke vegan cookbook

In October of 2009, I spent 2 weeks in Senegal and The Gambia. Julia had an internship with GADHOH (Gambian Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) in Serrekunda, The Gambia, and I went to visit. I also helped film and edit a promotional video to support the girl’s school and I proudly watched Julia teach some science lessons in sign language with St. John’s School for the Deaf.

We met some amazing people and had some great times. The trip was a total adventure, including cross-country journeys in shared taxis, plus rides in donkey carts, rickshaws, ferries, and old school vans. I had to brush up my French to get around in Senegal, which was quite a challenge! If you know me, you know I love languages. For this trip, I even learned some Gambian Sign Language and International Sign Language so I could introduce myself and enjoy basic communications with our hosts and the deaf community.

From Dakar to Banjul to Jinack Island, then back to Dakar over to the hauntingly moving Île de Gorée, we had some great food and enjoyed the amazing landscapes and sunshine. Continue reading

Navratan Vegetable Korma

Navratan Vegetable Korma - North Indian - The Lotus and the Artichoke vegan cookbook

Navratan Vegetable Korma is immensely popular all over the world. It’s another one of those Indian dishes with countless variations and incarnations. Having lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts, and the creamy sauce, however, are standard features. Actually, the name “Navratan” implies (at least) 9 different ingredients. I won’t count yours, if you won’t count mine.

It’s no secret that this website and my cookbook feature an abundance of great Indian recipes. Indian food is one of my (many) favorite cuisines! I’ve loved it my whole life, and I’ve been cooking Indian vegetarian food for over 20 years, ever since that first paperback copy of The Higher Taste back in ’91. I also discovered many great recipes during my extended visits to India. It was tricky to decide which recipes to include.

One of my youngest brother’s best friends (and a generous supporter on Kickstarter, not to mention all around great guy) made it clear to me how happy he’d be to get a recipe for his favorite Indian dish: Vegetable Korma. It’s a pleasure to share this with you, B!

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Vegan Meat Pies

Vegetable Lentil Pot Pies - English - The Lotus and the Artichoke

The Americans have their Pot Pies, the British have Steak Pies. There’s also English and Irish Shepard’s Pie and Cottage Pie. And then there are Australian Meat Pies, to which New Zealand also stakes a popularity claim. For the record, South Africans have traditional pies, too, and variations exist throughout other parts of Africa and the Middle-East.

The concept is similar, regardless of the accent of the eater: A pastry (or even potato) crust and a savory filling. The sizes vary greatly, too. From the U.S., I’m familiar with medium-sized pot pies. In England and Ireland, I’ve usually only seen larger pies. And for whatever reason, the traditional steak pies and meat pies of that continent down under are much smaller. They fit in your hand, can be eaten in a few ambitious bites, and are immensely popular for take-out. Or is it take-away? Aye, mate – Let’s not get lost in semantics before the baking even begins!

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Tarte au Citron

Tarte au Citron - Vegan Lemon Pie - The Lotus and the Artichoke - World Travel Recipes

This last summer, I was at a picnic hosted by a French-German couple we’re friends with here in Berlin. It wasn’t the first time their Tarte au Citron made an appearance and was an instant hit. I’d seen it before and wondered if there was a way to make a vegan version. The original, like many famous French culinary creations, consists largely of butter and eggs.

We got to talking at dinner two weeks ago. I was telling them more about the vegan cookbook, and then the Tarte au Citron came up again. “Sure, we’ll give you the recipe! Maybe you can find a way to put it in the cookbook.”

When I got the recipe a few days later, I unfolded the paper anxiously and scanned the list of ingredients. How am I going to do this? I thought to myself. I’m not really a whiz kid when it comes to baking, but I do know the advanced basics of egg replacement, and I have a few pie and quiche crusts I do well. And I can sometimes force myself to actually follow instructions and not tweak everything like I usually do. This was going to be a major challenge. It would certainly require a lot of tweaking.

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Roasted Walnut Brownies

Roasted Walnut Brownies - Sweets - The Lotus and the Artichoke - World Travel Recipes

You probably know Germany has a long, outstanding tradition of great desserts. Especially on my first visits to Germany in the late 90s, I enjoyed many apple strudels, cherry, plum, and peach cakes, and lots of other fruity and nutty delights. Germany is also famous for Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies), Stollen (fruitcakes), and tons of other decadent treats, increasingly available as vegan adaptations. The best, of course, come from home kitchens. In addition to the pastry shops and bakeries, the cafés almost always have great sweets, too.

In these cafés, you’ll see something that looks a lot like a brownie. There might even be a card next to it that says: Brownies. However – I grew up (mostly) in the United States – with awesome brownies at home, friends’ homes, from school bake sales, and just about anywhere else baked goods are found. Sadly, most of these German “Brownies” are imposters. They’re lackluster chocolate cake cut in the shape of a brownie! Fluffy and cake-like, and maybe pretty, but not gooey or chocolatey. I stopped ordering them years ago, probably after the third or fourth time someone told me: “No, no, this one really is a brownie!” Only to be fooled again.

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Endive Sprout Boats with Sesame Soy

Endive Sprout Boats with Soy Sesame Dressing - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook

This is a fun salad that I came up with sometime last year. The inspiration comes from salads I’ve had at restaurants and homes across Europe, especially in Germany and France. I’d seen endives (chicory) prior to moving to Europe over ten years ago, but they seem to be much more popular and celebrated on this side of the Atlantic. That said, I have had some great endive salads in Montreal, too.

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Blintzes

Blintzes . The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

I grew up with blintzes. I have always loved the funny little things. My grandmother, originally from Chicago, made huge batches of them for our family dinners when we visited. She learned how to make blintzes from my great grandmother. She also passed down family recipes for borscht and all kinds of other Russian/Ukrainian classics.

From them, my mother learned the art of blintzes. She, too, often made them for special occasions. It was a common request for birthday dinners among my brothers and I. Some of my earliest kitchen memories are of my grandmother and mother at the stove cooking up tall stacks of blintz pancakes in a special crepe pan. I remember being just a bit taller than the kitchen counter, looking at eye-level into a big bowl of cottage cheese and mashed crackers. I’d watch the blintzes being filled, rolled, fried in vegetable shortening, piled up on plates, and put on the dining table with bowls of sour cream and jars of cherry preserves.

When kids at school asked me what my favorite food was, I’d usually tell them: BLINTZES! All too often I had to explain what they were. That seemed pretty weird to me. Didn’t everyone’s mother and grandmother know how to make awesome cheese-stuffed crepes?

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German Zwiebelkuchen

German Zwiebelkuchen with smoked tofu - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

When I announced that I would be adding 5 traditional German recipes to the cookbook, including a recipe for vegan Zwiebelkuchen, one of my Kickstarter backers wrote to me with a special request.

His birthday is tomorrow and he asked if I’d share the Zwiebelkuchen recipe earlier so he could make it and serve it with traditional Federweißer (“new wine”) for a birthday party. I told him I’d get to work on testing and finishing the recipe and would get it to him today. I made it last night and it turned out even better than I hoped!

Zwiebelkuchen is sort of like a cross between French quiche and Italian thick-crust pizza, but it’s also reminiscent of German Flammkuchen, which has a thinner crust and less toppings. This is a tasty savoury cake which actually has a lot less onion flavor than one might expect. The result is a delicious and hearty meal which stirs memories. It takes some time and involves a lot of steps, but it’s well worth the effort!

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General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso's Chicken - Vegan Chinese - The Lotus and the Artichoke cookbook of world travel recipes

I’ve experimented and refined this Vegan General Tso’s Chicken recipe for over ten years. I always have fun making it, and the results are always delicious. This month when I made a few changes, I really nailed it, and I’m ready to go public. It finally tastes almost as amazing as the General Tso’s Chicken made by my favorite vegetarian Chinese restaurant in the world: New Harmony in Philadelphia. I’ve been to a lot of vegetarian Chinese places in a lot of cities and countries. This place stands out. And this dish is one you’ll never forget. Mildly spicy, a touch of citrus and sweet. Crunchy batter-fried chewy seitan in a crazy tasty sauce. Such good stuff!

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