Hacking Plum

I’ve never been to Capitol Hill’s Plum Bistro, one of Seattle’s bastions of vegan cuisine.

I hope to someday, but I need someone willing to drop more than a little cash at a nice vegan restaurant with me.

But I do go to Plum Pantry, one of the franchise’s outposts, at the Seattle Center. I go there during my lunch break sometimes as a treat. It’s freaking bomb. Just last week I had the baked tempeh chipotle sandwich. There’s also their reuben, banh mi, yam and jerk tofu sandwich … NOM.

Anyway, my parents gave me the Plum cookbook for Christmas last year, and even though I salivated over the lovely photos, I hadn’t made anything from the book yet. Most of the recipes seemed more involved, costly and contained several ingredients I don’t keep around in my pantry.

But upon taking a fresh look through the book recently, I found a few that seemed do-able.

The beginning of the book contains what appears to be a lot of foundational Plum components, such as savory and sweet soy creams, savory and sweet rice creams, a vegan ricotta, egg foams and dressings.

So I made two recipes that would use up one recipe of savory soy cream: the cauliflower bisque with fresh fennel and the smoky mac.

Learning how to make the soy cream is a cool skill. Basically it’s whipping up soy milk, apple cider vinegar and oil to create something that can be used like sour cream or mayonnaise or just a cream to incorporate into recipes like the ones I made.

Then I made the raw kale and seaweed salad that I’ve eaten before at Plum Pantry (and loved) using the garlic-ginger oil in the vinaigrette. The garlic-ginger oil allowed me to practice a cool trick, too – basically flavoring oil by heating it up with aromatics.

And wouldn’t ya know, the salad was just like the one I enjoyed at the restaurant. Holla!

Finally, I made blackened broccolini with red peppers. I’ve never prepared broccolini before, but I’m sold. It’s like a cross between broccoli and asparagus. And it’s delicious.

I give a thumbs-up to everything I made. The smoky mac was particularly clutch because it yielded about nine me-servings (it says it yields four, I believe), and normally that would be too much, but work and life escalated to a craziness that was only relieved when I could heat up a leftover pile o’ gooey mac.

Some thoughts: The recipes tend to call for much more oil than I’m used to, so they felt very rich – even the broccolini (I haven’t eliminated oil from my diet like many uber-health-conscious vegans do a la Happy Herbivore, but I have taken a cue from them and reduced it greatly). And the mac, while delicious, was not a budget dish. It required more than $15 in Daiya cheese alone! So that makes cashew cream-based or veggie-based macs much more wallet-friendly, in addition to healthier. At least the mac lasted me forever!

Click through the crappy cell phone photos for more commentary on preparing and tasting this delicious food. I love when a cookbook teaches me new tricks and gives me new, tasty experiences.

And hey, somebody take me to Plum Bistro.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richa
    Jun 25, 2014 @ 12:11:08

    that mac looks good! i have had more misses lately that hits at the bistro. don’t know if its the demand or something else.


    • Lynsi
      Jun 25, 2014 @ 17:55:27

      Hmmm interesting. Well, I feel like I need to try it at least once! I’ll definitely post my review here when I finally do.


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