Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Review of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and a Silly Story...

Since I've got a stack of cookbooks to review and I announced it yesterday (gotta love the accountability). And, well, I found two more books at the library. I had to return the Happy Herbivore and, well, they enticed me.

But. For dinner last night, and for kicks, and next day lunches, and just because I made the following recipes from The Happy Herbivore.

Oatmeal Cookies
Fruity Oatmeal Bars
Chicken Style Seitan -- (which required these as well No-Chicken Broth Powder Poultry Seasoning Mix)

My assessment of the book.

Lindsay Nixon's Happy Herbivore cookbook opens with an explanation of why and what Vegan looks like, what to have on hand to prepare Vegan meals and tips and hints. Had I been just starting out as a Vegan I would have very much devoured this section, and the very end of the book that is simply two pages that give details on what and how to make substitutions in standard recipes. After almost a year of the Vegan learning curve, this is less important to me.
As for the recipes. The Fruity Oatmeal bars are exactly as she said they'd be. Cereal bar taste and texture just like a Nutri-Grain type bar. Very tasty. I'll definitely make these again. There was no added fat as promised in the secondary title of the book either. Same scenario on the Oatmeal Cookies. Good texture, a soft cookie that is chewy and flavorful. Again, no added fat. One step in the directions caused me pause and I did not follow it. She suggested placing part of the batter/dough on parchment paper and laying it carefully upside down over the jam layer. I chose the lazy way out and allowed a few holes for the jam to peek through after plopping and spreading.

I love the No-Chicken Broth Powder. It makes quite a bit, a cup and a half or so. It will work in other recipes and will be a nice staple for my kitchen. The poultry seasoning was a mix of several spices, and again, will be an addition to my pantry. The Chicken-Style Seitan was chicken-like. Nice flavor, and decent texture. It's still Seitan and has that texture so it won't fool omnivores. It was a little time consuming so I'd make a double batch next time and try freezing it for the future or keep it on it's extra liquid/gravy in the fridge for a few days. The making was easy, but it required almost an hour to simmer and half hour to bake. Most homemade Seitan is involved, though, so this was not unexpected. There is a recipe on the web that I like slightly better that will be my go to "chicken" sub recipe but I believe I'll add the No-Chicken Broth Powder to it.
The other recipes I'd like to try are:

Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos
Mushroom Burgers
Torkey (Tofu Turkey)
Spicy Sausage
Baked Shells and Cheese (which requires the Cheddar Cheesy Sauce)
Veggie, Bean, &Quinoa Croquettes
Baked Beans
Baked Onion Rings
Chili-Lime Corn Chips
Ranch Dip
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Sour Cream
Nacho Cheese Sauce
Brown Rice Milk
Gravy (three different ones)
Cinnamon Buns
Maple Cornbread Biscuits
Gingerbread Mini-Loaves
Pumpkin Cheesecake

All of these recipes are not unique to The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Many are on blogs. However, I'm at the point where I'm looking for the perfect go-to recipes to replace family favorites and/or for holiday baking and entertaining.

Depending on what you are looking for this could be THE cookbook for you. The recipes are basic and a chef's hat is not a required tool to use it in your kitchen. An experienced Vegan who has been playing around with recipes for a long time may not find as many keepers as a new Vegan would.

And after #3 tried to start the newest wave to change the world wide web with the antidote to planking...boxing...she got a wild hair to do some more Vegan baking. I believe she's catching the bug. Well, not really, she keeps begging for meat and whining for cheese. But she's catching the whole baking bug.