I’ve been cooking with Kathy Hester since her perennial favorite and bestseller, The Vegan Slow Cooker came out in the early days of my transition to veganism. Her simple yet hearty and delicious recipes made making plant-based meals so easy. I’ve been hooked ever since. I am also the proud owner of her other three cookbooks: Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just You; The Great Vegan Bean Book; and OATrageous Oatmeals.
Something you might not know about Kathy: She. Never. Stops. The woman is constantly creating and cooking and thinking and connecting. I get tired just contemplating everything she has going on! Kathy’s latest project and her fifth cookbook, The Easy Vegan Cookbook: Make Healthy Home Cooking Practically Effortless is set to be released in just a few days on September 1. Congratulations, Kathy! I already know I’m gonna love this one, too. Not only was I a recipe-tester for Kathy as she developed The Easy Vegan Cookbook, I took the photos! From late December 2014 to early February 2015, Kel and I ate most of our meals courtesy of Ms. Kathy’s cookbook – after I took pictures, of course!
Below are some of the shots I took – plus Kathy’s incredible recipe for All-Natural Carrot Dogs. I’m no fan of cooked carrots, but this recipe blew my mind! With just a few simple ingredients, Kathy created a guilt-free, cruelty-free dog that tastes spot on for the “real” thing. Trust me on this one. This recipe would be fantastic for those Labor Day cookouts coming up.
All-Natural Carrot Dogs
A carrot is the same shape as a hot dog and close enough in color to make a decent substitute. But what about the taste? I promise you, this marinade really takes it to the next level. I think the sesame oil helps, but the vinegar gives it that “cured” flavor, too. – Kathy Hester
- 4 carrots, cut into bun lengths
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) seasoned rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt)
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (*leave out)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut aminos (can substitute soy sauce; use unseasoned vinegar)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1⁄2 clove garlic, minced)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Pepper, to taste
- Toasted hot dog bun, lettuce or collard leaves, to serve
- Heat water in a pot large enough for all the carrots. When it comes to a boil, turn down to medium heat and add the carrots. Cook until you can just pierce them through with a fork; you want them to have a snap when you bite into them. Remove from pot and run cold water over them to stop them from cooking.
- In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients to make the marinade. Tighten the lid and shake until well mixed.
- Place the carrots in a container in which they can lie flat. Pour the marinade over them and marinate at least 3 to 4 hours, up to 24. The longer they marinate, the more vinegar flavor they take on. If you know you need to leave them longer than a day, cut the vinegar to 1⁄8 cup (30 ml). If the carrots are very skinny, keep the marinating time short.
- To serve, heat the carrots in a 350°F (177°C) oven, or in a grill pan on a hot grill, until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve in a toasted hot dog bun or wrapped in a lettuce or collard leaf, and pile on your favorite toppings.
- ￼TIP: You can cook these in your slow cooker in the marinade. You need to check on them so they do not get mushy, so it is not a set-it-and-walk- away affair. Cook until a fork just goes through the carrot but it is still slightly firm.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Kathy Hester and Page Street Publishing.