Ready for Cookin' Crunk? Don't Miss Booksignings or the Jalapeno-Lime Watermelon Salad

Bianca Phillips is ready to introduce her book all over town, starting with a booksigning at Imagine Cafe.

If seitan, tempeh and silken tofu worry you a little, don’t dismiss Bianca Phillips' new book “Cookin’ Crunk: Eating Vegan in the Dirty South.”


Certainly, the local author and advocate for vegan food can make tofu taste great, and many of her recipes include meat substitutes. But her cookbook, released this month by Book Publishing Co., also includes planet-friendly recipes that are southern, delicious and tofu free.


Phillips' spin on Jalapeno-Lime Watermelon Salad, for instance, is so good that even my tofu-hating husband eats it with relish. The simple but tasty ingredients (watermelon, jalapeno, salt, fresh lime juice, fresh basil) come together easily and hold up well in the ‘fridge.


The salad (recipe below) is a good match for the yellow heirloom watermelons I’m getting from my Whitton Farms CSA. The melons trend savory instead of super sweet, so they blend well with the jalapenos, which I slice into tiny slivers with my mandolin. I also toss in fresh mint and amp up the amount of lime juice for fun.


To taste more food from “Cookin’ Crunk” and to meet Phillips in person (she’s lovely!), stop by one of several book signings scheduled over the next few weeks. Here is the upcoming schedule:

  • Imagine Vegan Café on Sept. 29, 3-6 p.m. (2156 Young Ave.)

  • The Booksellers at Laurelwood on Oct. 2, 6-7 p.m. (387 Perkins Road Ext.)

  • Whole Foods Market on Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. (5022 Poplar Ave.)

  • Midtown Easy-Way Produce on Oct. 13, 10:30 a.m. (596 S. Cooper St.)

Once you make Phillips' watermelon salad, try a few others from the book, such Southwestern Corn Salad or White Bean and Collard Soup. And don't be afraid to move toward tempeh. Start with Phillips' favorite: Country Fried Tempeh Steak. As Phillips explains, “I'm a fan of anything breaded, fried and smothered in gravy.”


Jalapeno-Lime Watermelon Salad

3 cups chilled, cubed watermelon

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno chile

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Juice of one lime



Put watermelon, chile and basil in a medium bowl. Sprinkled lime juice over the top and stir gently to combine. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.



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