Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: "The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home" and Fresh Corn Salad

 So, I first met Brian Patton when he, and his lovely wife, arrived at the "Swag Bag Pick-Up Table" that I was manning (womaning? personing?) at the VidaVeganCon Bloggers Conference this past May.
I had my (completely disorganized and un-alphabetized) list and was dutifully checking each person's registration and handing them a fabulous, bright purple goodie-filled bag-of-vegan-swag (reason enough to go to VidaVeganCon, just sayin'). Think of it as playing vegan Santa Claus. With no one on the 'naughty' list...

Well, when Brian gave me his name, of COURSE, it didn't register in my poor little brain, and of COURSE I couldn't find him on the list.
Not a big deal, as "the list" efficiently (?) had people listed by several variations or combinations of their names; first, last, middle, blogger name, twitter handle, secret-ninja-spy-code-name, etc. And it usually took a bit of deciphering...

And! In my defense, (*ahem*) Brian didn't jump in and INTRODUCE himself as 'The Sexy Vegan' (now, if that was my title, I'd use it ALL the time - hahaha!) AND I was seeing a bit cross eyed by this point, trying to decode and cross-reference the mysterious "list" while keeping over-anxious bloggers from panicking when I didn't recognize them or they had to wait thirty seconds too long for their much anticipated bag of swaggyness.

Soon to be "Maple
Chipotle Roasted Veggies"
So, bleary-eyed, I looked over the list a final time, not finding anything resembling "Brian" or "Patton", when his wife helpfully looked over my shoulder and said "Oh, there *I* am, Honey, but where's YOUR name?".

Somehow, registration had them (logically?) listed as: "Mrs. Sexy Vegan" (and in TINY letters underneath, it said "..and Brian". Ha! Well, there you go! Problem solved.

Once I realized what a celebrity I had in front of me (OK, there were many moments like that at VidaVeganCon) I started babbling about how much I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED his cookbook. As we chatted, he informed me he had ANOTHER one coming out in a month, and if I wanted to review a copy, to please contact his publisher and tell them he'd sent me. Did I want to review? Of course! Absolutely! Yes!

So, long story short, that's how I came to be in possession of Brian's FABULOUS second cookbook, "The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home".
Why am I just now publishing my review? Too many 'Happy Hours'? No, no, nothing nearly so exciting. Unfortunately, my computer went belly-up in June just shortly after I received the cookbook. (As you can see, my cat also took the book hostage, so that's another perfectly good excuse!).

It's all good now, though; my computer is repaired, and I've had plenty of time to make a bunch of the recipes from the book AND a good excuse to talk about it during VeganMoFo, this month of Vegan Blogging!

So? What did I think of Brian's book? I think everyone should get it!!
This is a really fun (and FUNNY!!) addition to any vegan's bookshelf because it's different. And charming. And hilarious. (Not unlike Brian himself).

Mushy Pea Fritters (I added
some corn too!)
 But, disorganized soul that I am (if the above introduction didn't clue you in) I LOVE this book especially, because it spells out EXACTLY how to plan and carry out a lovely, delicious, and not difficult, Happy Hour for yourself, a partner, your friends, or a large group. It's all there in each themed chapter; food, drinks, recipes, funny anecdotes, food facts... AND ....A SHOPPING LIST. *Swoon*

(It's probably just as well that there's a "Mrs. Sexy Vegan" because I find the skill of shopping-list-writing to be MIGHTY sexy!!).

Hatch Chile Queso Dip
(I used yellow tomatoes!)
As you may (or may not) know, Brian started out posting instructional videos (and playing the ukelele) on YouTube. Go watch some of them, if you haven't, they're clever and creative! There are even QR smartphone codes right in the cookbook to take you to relevant ones!
Brian also previously wrote "The Sexy Vegan Cookbook" (which is ALSO an awesome book) and does cooking demonstrations and such.

I'm pretty sure you'll find this book super-handy even if you DON'T throw weekly Happy Hours like Brian does -  as all the snacky-munchie foods are totally appropriate for a lot of other events too! Tailgating, cocktail parties, open houses, children's parties (not the drinks OF COURSE, well... maybe for the adults, duh!) and I just brought the Mango Gazpacho to a wedding shower I helped host last week!

Fresh Corn and
Jalapeno Salad
In fact, (no surprise) even though I haven't gotten around to organizing an actual Happy Hour, everything I've tried from this book has been a HUGE hit with vegan and non-vegan friends alike; The above mentioned Gazpacho, the Mushy Pea Fritters I served my daughter, the Grilled Pineapple Salad and Hatch Chile Queso Dip I took tailgating, the 'Little Macs' and Corn Dawggies at a child's birthday party, (A version of) the Maple-Chipotle Roasted Veggies, Fresh-Corn-Jalapeno Salad and several others I can't even remember now.

My bartender/best girl friend and I also spent several evenings carefully reviewing some of the beverages for this book, and in her most professional opinion, the drink recipes are worth the price of the book alone. I just think they tasted good.
My favorite is probably the "Bloody Vulcan" (because I'm just that geeky), hers the "Punchy Pineapple". We plan to review these again soon, of course!

Soooooooo, if all of the above hasn't completely convinced you to run out and DEMAND this book, perhaps this simple but AMAZINGLY delicious Fresh Corn and Jalapeño salad will. I think I've made this about twenty times this summer with all the wonderful, sweet corn and scallions my parents had in their garden!!

Brian suggests serving this with Potato Quesadillas, Nectarines with a "Mole-ish" sauce and a Pomegranate Margarita.

Fresh Corn and Jalapeño Salad
  • 2 ears raw corn, kernals cut from the cob
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 6 scallions, braised (see note)
  • 1 roasted jalapeño (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

*Note: To braise scallions, lay in a casserole dish, dot with 1 tsp margarine, 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil, bake/braise at 350 for 30 min. Remove foil, bake 10 min longer. Remove, cool, slice. This was also good with GRILLED scallions, by the way!

To roast jalapeño, place on gas burner or under broiler until skin is blistered and charred, turn and do the other side. Remove to paper bag with top closed. Let sit for 10 min. Peel skin off. Chop.


In a large bowl, toss corn with red bell pepper, scallions and jalapeño. Add cilantro, lime juice and oil. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste.

I often added a few black beans to this, And as mentioned above, I grilled the scallions for a more smoky result...


Amey said...

awww, you did a great job checking us all off that disorganized swag bag list! :) I love that they were listed as Mrs. Sexy Vegan and Brian! ha ha. What a great review!