Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Serials and Scenarios ~ 350 Best Vegan Recipes and Giveaway ~ Reviewed


350 Best Vegan Recipes
Deb Roussou
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Robert Rose (March 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778802949


Delicious, innovative and easy-to-prepare recipes for everyone in search of meal-planning options to fit the vegan lifestyle.

These tempting vegan options include a wide and varied range of tantalizing meal ideas -- from amazing appetizers and salads to hearty soups, incredibly satisfying main courses and decadent desserts. This outstanding cookbook contains so much more than just incredible vegan offerings (that are also guaranteed to appeal to non-vegans and non-vegetarians) -- it also includes comprehensive and useful information on everything from stocking a vegan pantry to helpful kitchen tools and equipment.

And what really sets this book apart from other vegan cookbooks is the "Vegan from Scratch" chapter which provides information on making everything from Vegan Bouillon to Soy Cream Cheese and Smokey Maple Tofu Bacon Slices. These recipes really bring a wholly authentic vegan lifestyle into the home kitchen!

My Review

If you are new to Vegan eating, investigating it, or are trying to add delicious meatless meals to your life, this packed-with-recipes cookbook is a great resource to have on hand.

I'd love to tell you that I cook from my brain and pure creativity and never need cookbooks to get the juices flowing, but that would be a lie. Not saying I can't get on a roll and go all out. But when I'm tired, or bored, or just can't muster creative, I like me a good cookbook.

I also would love to tell you that I love internet recipes. Honestly, with a few strokes of a few keys one can really find a whole lot of what they need on the web. But, I hate cooking from recipes on my computer. There is something about a book that I can write down tweaks or suggestions for next time in the margins. I even like an occasional splatter mark in my cookbooks. (Not to be confused with spatter for those like me, who love police fiction. I do not want spatter in my cookbooks, thankyouverymuch.)

I have made a handful of recipes from 350 Best Vegan Recipes. Each of them was delicious.

My first recipe was Serrano and Roasted Pepper Cornbread. Yum. I had some leftover Spanish rice that needed a little something to make it star in another meal. With a handful of seitan bits and the cornbread layered over the top and baked with the cornbread instructions, yum, this bad boy is a keeper.

Next up was Almond Bear Claw Muffins served to breakfast guests.  Absolutely delicious. I used almond butter instead of the paste that is called for and the recipe worked well. And won raves. 

Another muffin recipe was equally delicious. Raspberry Streusel Muffins.

The Cremini and Kalamata Olivada -- YUM.

I don't think I can tell you what i still want to make from this cookbook. It would probably take less time and space to tell you what doesn't appeal to me.

Recipes on my radar include:

Trendy and creative sounding Horseradish Mustard and Panko-Encrusted Tofu and Northwest Passage Cedar-Planked Tofu. Down home fun comfort food... County Fair Corn Chip Pie. With recipes like these book covers most aspects of Vegan entertaining.

Raw and just veggie lovers will find a section that contains recipes like: Cauliflower and Zucchini Slaw, Hearts of Palm and Mushroom Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette, Grilled Artichokes with Jalapeno Mignonette Sauce, Sauteed Slivered Brussels Sprouts Over Wild Rice Cakes and Lemon Cucumber Tabbouleh. All together now, "Yum." 

The dessert section offers up a Cranberry Walnut Cake with Caramel Sauce, Jade Green Tea Pound Cake and Figgy Pudding with Brandy Hard Sauce.

A dozen or so pages contain cocktail recipes, too.

I also appreciated the resources. Like the salad dressing recipes, spice blends and basic Vegan recipe versions to replace expensive Vegan processed items. You can use this resource to make your own dairy free versions of mayonnaise, ricotta, smear, sour cream, tempehacon bits, caramel and divine chocolate sauces, vegetable broth and seitan.

Not every recipe in the book is unique, there are several basics or standard items you'll find in nearly every Vegan focused cookbook.  The recipes I tried are delicious and easy to follow.  If you are looking for why to go Vegan, or what one is, that information in not in here. However there are some resources for new Vegans like a very simple pantry list, useful kitchen tools, vocabulary, and suggested menu/party list. Most recipes can be made with commonly found-in-Vegan-household ingredients. If you are looking for some tasty Vegan recipes and like the idea that you can buy a book with 350 recipes instead of 175, then you might want to look a little bit closer at adding it to your bookshelf. It's a keeper and I will continue to cook from it.

And one of the recipes on my must try list is one I have permission to share with you.

Excerpted from 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou © 2012 Robert Rose Inc.  Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Sauteed Slivered Brussels Sprouts Over Wild Rice Cakes (page 132)

Heightened flavors and a vibrant presentation make this dish a real star. It is doubtful there will be any leftover, but if so, chill the shredded Brussels sprouts, dress with balsamic vinaigrette and serve as a memorable side dish.

Serves 4

       Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C)

       Blender

1 lb Brussels sprouts, bottoms and outer 500 g leaves trimmed

2 tbsp olive oil, divided 30 mL

2 onions, thinly sliced 2

3 cloves garlic, sliced 3

11⁄4 tsp salt, divided 6 mL

1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 mL

1⁄2 cup firm or extra-firm silken tofu 125 mL

2 cups cooked mixed wild and brown rice 500 mL

2 tbsp chopped chives 30 mL

1 tbsp chopped basil 15 mL

1 tbsp minced Italian flat-leaf parsley 15 mL

1⁄8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 0.5 mL

1⁄3 cup fresh bread crumbs 75 mL

Canola oil

2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted 30 mL

1. Finely slice sprouts about 1⁄16-inch (2 mm) thick. Separate slices into shreds and set aside.

2. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and let pan get hot. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the olive oil and tip pan to coat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, 3⁄4 tsp (3 mL) of the salt and mustard and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

3. In a blender, purée tofu until smooth. In a bowl, gently fold together puréed tofu and rice. Mix in chives, basil, parsley, black pepper and remaining 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) of salt. Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and, using a tablespoon, drop rice mixture into bread crumbs, patting gently to form a cake. Press additional crumbs on top and use a small spatula to transfer cake to a plate lined with waxed paper. Repeat with remaining rice mixture.

4. Place another skillet over medium-high heat and let pan get hot. Add about 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) canola oil. When oil is hot, place 3 or 4 rice cakes in pan and cook until edges begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip cakes and cook until underside is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in preheated oven. Repeat process with remaining rice mixture.

5. In pan with onions, heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) of olive oil over medium-high heat, pushing onions to one side of pan. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently, until shreds are bright green and just beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes.

6. Arrange 2 to 3 rice cakes on a plate and top each with a little pile of sprouts. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Now would you like a free copy? The publisher is offering to send one of my readers (US or Canada) a copy. 

I'm leaving this random contest open through midnight on July 21st. 

Leave a comment. One chance. 

Follow my blog. One chance (you have to leave another comment telling me.)

Poke around the provided links and tell me, in a separate comment, which recipe you'd like to try.

Make sure I can get in touch with you. And wait til the reveal on July 22nd.