Expert Interview Series: Rebecca Coleman of Cooking by Laptop About Vegetarian Cooking, Aquafaba, and Her Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
Rebecca Coleman is a Vancouver, BC-based food and travel blogger and the author of the cookbook Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba. Her culinary explorations are fueled by Americanos. We had a chance to speak with Rebecca about...
Rebecca Coleman is a Vancouver, BC-based food and travel blogger and the author of the cookbook Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba. Her culinary explorations are fueled by Americanos. We had a chance to speak with Rebecca about her style of vegetarian cooking.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to start Cooking by Laptop?
I had been blogging already for several years before I started Cooking by Laptop. I started a marketing business in late 2007, and my first blog was to promote that business. Weirdly, it was a feeling of burnout that led me to start my cooking blog. I had been writing about marketing and social media, and I wanted one little corner of the internet to just be about stuff I was doing in the kitchen.
What is your cooking philosophy, and what exactly do you mean by "Cooking by Laptop?"
My cooking philosophy is simple: eat local. I love seasonal, local food. But "local" also applies to everywhere I go; every time I visit a new city, I'm curious about what "local" looks like there. I am endlessly curious and constantly craving new adventures and flavors or ways of putting ingredients together.
I own tons of cookbooks, but I found in later years that I was turning more and more to Google for recipes - hence the moniker "Cooking by Laptop."
Since you're writing a book about Aquafaba, could you tell us exactly what that is and why it's so wonderful?
It's a game-changer. Aquafaba (which literally interpreted means "bean water,") is the water that beans (usually chickpeas) are cooked in. It turns out this magical bean water makes an amazing egg white substitute. I've made mousses, marshmallows, macarons, and other things that, until recently, were out-of-bounds for vegans. It has really blown the world of vegan baking wide open.
Do you have any secrets for cooking or preparing vegetarian foods that kids will actually eat?
My son is 13, and he's very daring now; he will try almost anything I put in front of him. But when he was smaller, he was really picky, so I became "sneaky mommy." I would hide vegetables in all kinds of things, like pureed cauliflower and yams in the mac & cheese sauce, or zucchini and carrots pureed into spaghetti sauce. He also loves, and I mean loves, kale chips. They are quick and easy to make, and kids think they're junk food, but they're kale!
Is it really possible to make savory "comfort food" dishes that are vegetarian?
Absolutely. How about a vegan "pulled pork" made with jackfruit on top of a savory cornbread waffle with bourbon maple syrup? Yeah. That one's gotten me marriage proposals!
Do you mind sharing that "pulled pork" recipe with us?
Here it is. It's really amazing. I've served it to omnivores, and it's always a hit. My favorite way of serving it is as a taco, but you can also serve it on a bun or (as I mentioned above) on a cornbread waffle.
When you're cooking dinner, what are some of your go-to kitchen utensils and tools?
My knife is always #1. It's a Victorinox chef's knife I bought at least 20 years ago. It's not even a very expensive one, but it has the perfect rock, weight, and handle - and I can mince like nobody's business with that thing.
I love gadgets. I own lots. My faves are my Nespresso machine (because coffee), my Ninja blender, and my Hurom juicer; and last, year I finally invested in a KitchenAid Stand mixer. That investment proved to be invaluable as I have been writing my book. That thing is a workhorse, and it has earned its keep 100 times over the last 6 months.
Which bakeware, gadgets, or other kitchen items help you whenever you are baking in the kitchen?
Pizza stones are invaluable not just for pizza, but for evenly baking other kinds of baked goods as well. I love my Wilton donut pan; we are big donut fans here. I also get a ton of use out of my AirBake Cookie sheets - another great investment I made many years ago, and have never regretted!
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