Kat Barry: Surprisingly veganPublished 5:11pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Recently, I arrived home to my parents’ house for the Christmas holiday. My mom was getting ready to host a party and was very proud to show me that she’d made an appetizer recipe from The New Chicago Diner Cookbook. My parents are very supportive of my lifestyle and career, but they are not vegan. They and their friends like most people, love delicious food. No matter what dietary classifications a recipe has, if it’s tasty, creative, and easy to prepare, then it’s a hit.
Such was the case with our Crostini and olive tapenade recipe. It’s a good problem when you have to hide the vegan dish at a party until you’re sure the vegans have gotten enough to eat. Such was the case with the crostini. This simple dish was something that everyone loved. It’s satisfying and familiar, and that’s the goal with all Chicago Diner recipes.
During the party, a family friend came and sat next to me holding a copy of the book. As she flipped through the pages, she commented in awe, that these looked like recipes she would actually make. I replied that yes, we really tried to include a variety of easy as well as complex vegan dishes that appeal to all types of eaters.
The next day, mom and I sat down to talk about the Christmas Day menu. Again, she busted out The New Chicago Diner Cookbook. She went to the Entertaining section, and said that she really wanted to serve the Savory Tomato Tartlettes at Christmas dinner. She had even found some mini phyllo shells in the freezer section of the grocery store that were totally vegan. This way, we didn’t have to make the mini pie crusts from scratch. When preparing a huge holiday meal, this was a great time saver. I just love it when traditional grocery store products are accidentally vegan. This is often the case with phyllo and other crusts found in the freezer section of the grocery store. If you read the ingredients, they are often made with canola oil and shortening. Anyway, the tartlettes were a huge hit, and we ate them all in short turn.
I guess the point of all of this is that there doesn’t have to be a divide among the meat eaters and the veggies in your life. Good recipes are good recipes, and there are lots of us out here trying to dispel the myth that vegetarians and vegans only eat boring salads. I for one can say that I spend a lot of time in my kitchen developing healthy, plant based recipes with the meat-eating-man seal of approval. Maybe incorporating some of them into your diet is a good goal for 2014.
The aforementioned recipes are available in The New Chicago Diner Cookbook at www.veggiediner.com. I also have an extensive library of recipes on my web site: www.katshotcakes.com and am always sharing my ideas on twitter at @katshotcakes. Happy holidays!
Kat Barry, a Saint Joseph, Michigan native, is owner of Kat’s Hot Cakes vegan catering, and co author of The New Chicago Diner Cookbook, Meat Free Recipes from America’s Veggie Diner. She also develops recipes for eHow.com where you can find over 30 of her vegan instructional cooking videos. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Kat currently resides in Chicago, and in her free time she enjoys practicing yoga, sampling local spirits, listening to live music, and getting outdoors. Follow@katshotcakes on twitter. Kat can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.