I recently had the pleasure of checking out Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg’s new plant-based cookbook and dating manifesto, “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them”. First of all, I’ve NEVER seen a book concept like this before and had my initial reservations about how well it could accomplish both objectives. I mean – a dating guide AND a vegan cookbook?!? It’s kind of like… Dr. Ruth and Tal Ronnen walk into a bar to start discussing the esoteric carnal symbology of figs and clams… (ahem)… I digress. Back to the book review.
To my delight, not only is this new book chock full of useful advice for navigating a relationship with a vegan (or advice on how to co-habitate peacefully and deliciously with someone who eats differently than you) – it also gives mouthwatering recipe recommendations based on different stages in the relationship. I found myself simultaneously drooling and laughing at the same time flipping through the pages. Speaking of the pages, the eye-popping food photography by Geoff Souder is enough to make you resign to a lifelong diet of Mac n’ Yease (Ayinde’s veganized family classic), Kale Salads and Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes. Not a bad way to live for the next 50 years, if you asked me.
Speaking of the aforementioned Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes, I’ve got the super-dank and amazingly authentic recipe from the uber-talented Mr. Howell to share with you! My mouth has been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this recipe and I can tell you that the texture, taste, smell and mouth feel are nearly IDENTICAL to the old-school crab cakes that I enjoyed in my youth growing up in the Midwest. Ayinde nailed this one, y’all.
If you’ve got any skeptical eaters at home that are still hooked on seafood, give this recipe a shot and get ready to post their reaction shots on Instagram. And, for more insanely innovative and easy-to-prep recipes, you’ve got to check out “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them” which drops worldwide on October 7th. Click here to order it on Amazon now:
And now… for the hella good Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes Recipe!
Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes
(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2
Maryland crab cakes are traditionally oversized, and I wanted to recreate them using hearts of palm and traditional seasonings. I make them gluten-free and pair them with a garlicky dill aïoli. I don’t know if it’s spot on, but from what I hear, it’s pretty darn close. Use a soy-free mayo to make this soy-free.
GARLICKY DILL AÏOLI
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Lemon wedges, to serve
1. Garlicky Dill Aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.
2. Crab Cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
4. Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.
5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.
6. Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
7. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.