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Survey for a proposed cookbook of my own...

I need your input here.  I am working on a cookbook, tenatively titled:  Dragonfly's Vegan Blue Plate Specials.

I see these fusion cuisine vegan cookbooks, I am not thrilled by them.  I have not found one that gave me all of the old American favorites, so I think there may be a niche to fill.  To that end, I want to know what was your favorite nonvegan diner / cafe food that you miss.  I am thinking of a healthy vegan way to make these things. 

I am thinking of meatloaf and fixings...burgers with transfat laden fries...hot beef sandwiches, spaghetti with sausages, biscuits and gravy and that sort of thing.  Now, it should be noted, I might miss them, but I would not eat them!  I am looking at healthy and fast, no transfats, no high fructose corn syrup, less sugar, less fat in general. 

What do you all think? What diner foods can you think of that I can go to work on?  I already know how to make a chikun fried steak vegan, but what else can you all think of?  I am open to suggestions and ideas to add to my own.  You all are so helpful and so full of ideas, let me have it!

Thanks in advance to all of you.

i was thinking anything covered gravy! you should do some breakfast meals too since blueplate breakfasts would be tastey done vegan. mac'n'cheeze, casseroles, hot sandwhiches.....

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I miss a lot of Mexican dishes. The Mexican restaurants I go to have pretty limited entrees for vegans. Same old stuff. Beans and rice. Burrito. Tostada, and that's if they don't use lard. So maybe some yummy vegan versions of Mexican food dishes like chicken tacos, pozole, chicken mole, enchiladas. I also miss the pan dulce(sweet bread) too that they sell at the Panaderias (Mexican bakeries) because they're usually made with lard. My favorites are the conchas, the ones that look like shells. 

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That cookbook sounds like a great idea, I've never seen one like it.

I think a big, thick grilled "cheese" sandwich and tomato soup would be good. (I know you can easily make tomato soup vegan, but maybe you know some way to make it really special)?

Also, maybe "chicken" and dumplings, some kind of calzone, or pot pie?

Mmmmmm, and how about big 'ol cinnamon rolls for the breakfast menu?

Keep us posted on the progress, I'd be happy to be a recipe tester/taster!

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-turkey tetrazini (back in the day, this is the only "creamy" dish I've ever liked.  I used to pick out all the turkey and just eat the other stuff)

-Broccoli cheeze stuffed chick'n (I tried to make my own version with seitan, but it doesnt roll up very well and hold its shape.  Also, my fake chese sauce tastes like sh*t!  (I've tried yours and --alas--I don't like it.  I just tasted ground up cashews.)) here's my super lame photo: http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k75/bravecaspian/cameradownload2-07345.jpg

-actual frosting.  not ganache.  actual "ducan heines" type stuff.  All the stuff I make is like: take six tubs of EB, add a bit of flavoring, and then a carton of powdered sugar.  That's not cool! 
i have an aversion to EB and sugar...so naturally I don't eat it. I've tried to healthy it up with silken tofu and xanthum gum and every other "super secret trick" i could find.  It just never gets that spreadable, thick "peaking" frosting consistency.

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What about all of the different pies you can get at a diner-- apple pie, berry pies,  pecan pie, etc.  They are not hard to make vegan.  It's mostly the butter in the crust, and sometimes the filling, that makes them not vegan.  I've used non-trans fat, vegan shortening successfully in pie crusts.  I'd love to see some good cream pies made vegan.  I haven't tried to make those vegan before.  I can't think of anything to do for lemon meringue, but I do miss that too.

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You guys have wonderful suggestions.  I will work on the creme pie thing and see if I can find a lemon meringe something or at least a lemon creme pie. 

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I am a huge muffin fan, but I like ones that are lower fat, lower sugar, more healthy. There are so many combinations you could come up with like zucchini raisin or cranberry orange oat!

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I still haven't bought a veg cookbook yet, and here's why ----
I want PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you make a cookbook, PLEASE, have tons of pictures of the actual food (and maybe to demonstrate the prep work as well).  Put as many recipes in as you can, too. 
The few veg cookbooks I've seen with good pictures don't have many recipes, and the ones with lots of recipes have very few or no (WTF?) pictures.
:o

Also - I recently went to a cool tech exhibt convention, and one of the vendors was an online self-publishing company.  I don't know if I still have the info, but I'll look around tonight for it.  You download their software, design your text and layout based on their numerous templates and paste/upload your photography.  They make beautiful hard-back books with dustcovers for you, in whatever quantity you want & even sell them for you on their website, I think.  I saw their samples & they were really awesome.  They look just like any high-quality book you would find in Barnes and Noble or whatever.
If you make a cookbook, I will buy it!!!
;D

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Was it Lulu?

http://www.lulu.com/

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It very well may have been.  There may also be more than one of these businesses now.  It's such a great idea - I'm so glad they have this now.

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What a great idea! How about a tuna melt? I used to be a big fan before I decided the let the fishies alone. Of course, there must be milkshakes. And "chicken" pot pie. Onion rings?

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Good luck!!!  Keep us posted on how it's going!!!!    :D

I realize that this is sort of unoriginal.....but I LOVE tofu scrambles!!!!

And EVERYONE loves vegan desserts....maybe you could include some made w/ whole grain flours?

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Hey lady d.,  I'll keep thinking about stuff that I miss, but in the meantime wanted to share that I've started making something I think of as "grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup" soup, and it really hits the spot for lunches....  I take a can of tomato soup, add 2 tablespoons of your dry cheese mix, and whisk while it warms to thicken it.  In the meantime I sautee some onions, toss them into the soup, and then really, really finely chop some broccoli and toss that in, still whisking from time to time.  This makes a lovely cheesy, grilled onion soup. You could leave out the broccoli for a more decadent creation.

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Operachic brings up a good point....pictures.  To be perfectly honest, most of the recipes I've tried from this site have been based on how good it looks in the pictures that are posted.  I rarely visit the recipes tab and scroll through the categories.  It's the main page and the pictures that hook me. 

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If you do a "meat"loaf, could it be a bean/grain based one, instead of TVP/TSP? Tofu is good too I suppose, but I just don't like using TVP... now I'm just being picky. :P
How about a reuben sandwich, with a good recipe for russian dressing, a cheezy spread, some sort of sauteed protein, on whole-grain rye... (Are you adding a baked good section? Whole-grain breads are the best part of cookbooks, I'm convinced.) Yum
I second the healthy(er) -milkshakes.

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I too am working on my own book (no competition though, as i do the eclectic world cuisine that Lady D is not crazy about!:)) and a friend turned me on to cafepress.com. i saw some of their merchandise and it is very pro. I think it is free for the author, and no startup costs, etc...
you may want to check it out and see what you think.
I do love your bulk uncheese mix-what a great idea!! It is a great way to try to wean myself and my 4 year old off of the expensive, processed soycheese. Plus, more nutrients and B-12!
As for your cookbook....The only thing i can think of that I used to love as a child was fried chicken. You may even want to just get some traditional diner's menus and veganize them...good luck! The more that people find out how superiorly yummy good vegan food is, the better!!! :)

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Well, here is my 2 cents worth....

My fave meal is the New Years day meal that my mom makes. We have this wonderful tradition, every holiday has it's own meal, only to be cooked on that day of the year, so it's an especially nice treat when the time rolls around. But since becoming vegan I can no longer eat it. Mind you I have NEVER eaten or liked pork when I was an Omni, but i did like the flavorings in the foods so here goes.........

on New Years day my mom makes:

Glazed Ham ( Yuck we can skip that cuz it's just gross)
Fried cabbage (fried with bacon grease, i tried using liquid smoke to get the same flavor and it ended in disaster)
great northern beans flavored with smoked ham bone
mac and cheese ( i know there are a ton of recipes for cheese, lady D yours being the most popular,  and mac and cheese here, but I think you have to be a culinary genius to pull them off cuz mine taste like shit)
and my moms homemade apple, peach and blueberry cobbler, she makes all 3 cuz she loves us, and we all have different likes

i know this may seem simple to replicate as vegan, but try as i might and i HAVE, it is never the same, and i always end up severely disappointed and starving! 

So Miss/Mrs Lady D........ can you pimp my recipe?!?!?

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can i get mine autographed?
;)

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That is a great idea for a cook book! I would definitely buy it.

My old favs from NJ .... HOAGIES! I have veganized a few that I liked (because of the vegan deli slices you can get these days). But there was a little place that sold what they called a "cheese steak hoagie." I've tried to veganize it, but failed. It's like a Philly cheese steak, but with mayo, really thinly sliced steak grilled, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions (cooked with the steak) and green peppers (also cooked). I haven't found a vegan cheese that I like and/or melts well. And the only "steak" I can get that's vegan around here is the Morning Star ones or the Boca crumbles (didn't work well in that kind of hoagie). If you have better idea to veganize that, let me know.

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Yum, what a good idea! I loved diners as an omni - lots of fond memories there. I still kind of like them, even if I am often stuck with oatmeal and coffee for a meal. :) There was this great diner by my house that used to have a whole vegetarian section - and then they got rid of it  :-\ That made me sad.

Here's some good diner stuff:

Pies - apple, cherry, blueberry, cream pies, etc. - I know these are easy to veganize, but they're diner staples.
Omelettes
Gyros - More of a Greek diner thing...
Pancakes
"Eggs" Benedict - I don't know how you could pull that one off but if you could..
Biscuits and gravy
Fried fish and/or chicken
Some sort of turkey-esque sandwich
Pot pie
Chicken a la king
Rice pilaf
A noodles and meat dish - chicken parmesan, beef stroganoff, etc.

Good luck! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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