Monday, July 09, 2012

Serials and Scenarios ~ The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions Reviewed...

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions: Veganize It! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite
Celine Steen , Joni Marie Newman
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Fair Winds Press (December 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1592334415


Veganize Any Recipe with Confidence!

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions is your secret weapon to turning any recipe imaginable into a deliciously “veganized” success—no guesswork or hard labor involved. And no more kitchen failures or recipe flops either. Simply look up whatever non-vegan ingredient you want to sub out, and expert author team Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman will explain exactly what substitution is best to use and how to make it without compromising taste or flavor, so you’ll create dishes that are not only better than the “real” thing, but healthier, too.

With more than 200 recipes and substitutions that show the swaps in action, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for replacing everything from butter and bacon to gelatin and gouda. You’ll also find healthy substitutions for replacing things like gluten, sugar, and fat, so you can fine-tune any recipe to your dietary needs.

Stunning photography and easy-to-follow charts appear in every chapter, making it a cinch to dip in and out whenever you need a quick reference or recipe.

If you’ve always wanted to turn your aunt’s famous mac and cheese into a veganized taste sensation, or your grandma’s buttermilk pie into a rousing, “reinvented” success, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions is the solution you’ve been looking for!

My Thoughts:

This is a terrific resource for a person who is exploring plant-based or Vegan cooking or a more seasoned cook who is looking to cut back on buying the processed Vegan friendly items. This is also a good resource for someone who's looking to transition out of meat and dairy products and wants to trade out traditional pantry/refrigerator items with plant-based substitutions.

I'll admit I purchased this complete guide because of the darling illustrations along with the implied promise that I could figure out this whole new way of cooking without animal products. And I have not been disappointed with my decision. I like the compact size of the book, as well.

Once I received my copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions I glanced through it but didn't embrace it as a go-to cookbook. It was more of a resource for me. But after having it awhile I've begun to cook out of it and mark more recipes I'd like to make.

The book is broken down differently than a standard cookbook. Instead of appetizer, main, sides, salads, desserts type of format, the divisions are topical.

Section One has loads of recipes and is called "Let the Cows Some Home! Foolproof Substitutions for Dairy". It is further broken down by a milk sub and cheese sub chapter. Included are recipes for making nut cheeses, dairy free sour cream, milks and even chocolate bars. Each section has a chart that explains what an item does for a recipe and the items that you can use to replace it. (Most have more than one substitution and quite a few have a gluten free or soy free version that will work.)

There are a total of six sections: substitutions for Dairy, Eggs, Meat, Animal Products, one that encompasses Gluten, Soy, Sugar and Fat substitutions and finally a complete chart of subs. Note: the sugar and fat substitutions are not fat and sugar free, i.e. the authors use of agave or maple syrup or brown rice syrup instead of standard sugar.

Some of the recipes are quick and easy, and some rely on processed Vegan friendly foods. Example Cookie Cookies (cookies made with crushed sandwich cookies...hence the name, I'd guess) . Recipes will call for purchased patties and or meat subs. But there are recipes for make your own seitan, boiled and baked versions. And they include recipes on making your own "bacon" bits, hot dogs, "pepperoni" subs and even baby back ribs and fish sticks.

Several recipes are stack recipes, ones that call for another recipe to be made prior to making the end result. For example the Savory Artichoke Pie includes the  Roasted Squash Lentil Spread.

Recipe measurements are in weight and volume which is nice. And some of the unique recipes they provide include unusual items like Vegan marzipan, graham cracker crust, "ham", make your own gluten free baking mix, cheese fondue and a non-fermented dairy free yogurt. 

Ingredients like miso, nutritional yeast, agar flakes, vital wheat gluten and TVP are maybe unfamiliar to brand new Vegans but can be found on-line or in health food stores or sections.

I personally have prepared the Baked Seitan Cutlets and the Speculoos Cookies and can recommend both as worth the price of the book and of the shelf space.