Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Inspired Vegan | Bryant Terry

 

Time for an inspired mid-summer meat intermission.

The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus

TITLE: The Inspired Vegan
AUTHOR: Bryant Terry
PUBLISHER: Da Capo Lifelong Books
CUISINE: Vegan

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Featured Ingredient: Sweet PotatoSweet potatoes & carrot ready to roast By SaucyGlo
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally, but many are actually poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum). [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
This book is comfortable. Even if you’re not familiar with vegan cooking. It makes you feel like you’re part of the club. There is a welcoming and understated way about it that makes it easy to casually leaf through. It’s mainly produced in black and white. There is one section, around mid-book, of color food images by Jennifer Martiné. There are also other gray scale drawings/illustrations/photos scattered throughout (credited p.201). The book is divided into manageable sections. The Basics touches on ingredients that are used to complete the recipes that follow. There are also a variety of “master recipes” in this section.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Basics
Interlude
Menus (Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn)
Index

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Music is obviously a BIG part of Bryant’s life. Here’s a little of his “inspiration”. Listen and be inspired yourself.

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The Best Of The Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Strawberry-Basil Agua Fresca Gumbo Zav
Tortillas stuffed with Swiss chard, currants and spicy guacamole Gingered black sesame-seed brittle
Double garlic rice Paprika Peanuts
Velvety grits with sautéed summer squash, heirloom tomatoes and parsley-walnut pesto Rustic Johnny cakes with caramelized onion relish

 

I love Indian food. I’m a late comer to the cuisine. But, it now ranks near the top of hit my list. One of my favorite restaurants, Chutney’s Etc. in Sarasota Florida, serves a basmati rice that I flip for. I’ve been trying to get the actual recipe from the owner for years. No dice. Now, I think I may have found something that comes pretty darn close, Yellow Basmati Rice (p. 71). It might not be my friend Ash’s exact dish. But, it should take care of my cravings in between visits. The Sliced Cucumber and Mint Salad (p. 91) is a nice cool starter for a hot day. And, the Citrus-Hibiscus Sorbet (p. 137) completes a summertime meal with a flash of flavor.

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Special Features
The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering MenusWhen you first flip through The Inspired Vegan it doesn’t appear to have any special sections or callouts. Boy, how wrong can a first look be? This book is loaded with nice extras that have been thoughtfully woven into the fabric of the book itself. It’s a very unassuming way to do it. Just like the book. There is a fantastic list of the authors “Inspirations (p. xxi)”. Eclectic. And, a nice insight into what will follow. A large percentage of the recipes have their own personalized inspirations listed on the page. Delightful music and books abound in these sidebars! These are obviously inspirations from Bryant’s life, not mine. So, being a lover of all genres of music, I was listening for days to sounds that were new to my world. An unexpected and appreciated bonus. The seasonal chapters are divided into individual menus. For a non-vegan like myself, this makes putting together a coherent vegan meal a snap. Your guests will be convinced you do it every day.

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Conclusions
This cookbook is a labor of love and as the title suggests, Inspired. Even for the meat lover there are many dishes you could combine with a more traditional menu and have a little something for everyone. Bryant Terry is dedicated to bringing healthy food to everyone. This especially includes communities that are traditionally underserved. The author has a passion for the subject of access to nutritious food for all. It’s a passion that these communities have benefitted from in a real way. His love for his craft and his community shines through in living color on every black and white page.

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Culinary Expertise Required: 6
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menu

Resources, Links and Press
Bryant Terry’s Website
Bryant Terry Interview – Grist
Bryant Terry on Culinate
Follow Bryant on Twitter

Ultimate Camp Cooking | Faverman & Mac

 

A kitchen as big as the great outdoors!

Ultimate Camp Cooking

TITLE: Ultimate Camp Cooking
AUTHOR: Mike Faverman and Pat Mac
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
CUISINE: Grilling/Outdoor

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Featured Ingredient: The S’MoreS'More By sanchom
I don’t know a campout that’s complete without S’Mores. It is one of the simplest recipes you can make. But, it takes patience and technique to pull off a perfectly melted campfire treat. Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Three ingredients that when combined in just the right proportion and at just the perfect temperature makes a summertime memory like no other.

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First Impressions
It’s a nice size, easily portable. And, has a comfortable, well-worn texture to it. It almost feels like an old Boy Scout handbook. I think the cover may possibly be waterproof. I’m not going to experiment, I’ll leave that to you. The recipes are contained on one or two pages at most. That means there is no need to flip pages to continue a recipe. If you’re actually using this on a camping trip, any recipe that’s more than two pages may be too complicated anyway. I always like to give photo credit. In this case an entire page (p.199) is dedicated to the topic. Go there if you’re interested.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Ultimate Camp Cooking Basics
Appetizers
Entrees (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Vegetarian)
Side Dishes
Soups and Salads
Sauces
Desserts
Metric Conversions & Equivalents (Yes, its own chapter!)

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Now to get you in the mood for a campfire makin’, S’more eatin’, good time…

Yumm!!

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The Best Of The Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Brie Cheese Wrap Omelet in a Bag
Ponderosa Steak Sandwich Jerk Chicken
Chicken Camp Casserole Chicken Pot Pie
Camp Roast Pulled Pork Taco Bar
Beer Brats Cedar Plank Salmon
Pat Mac’s Chili Monkey Bread

 

Are there some recipes that rise above the campfire flame? Indeed there are. The Dutch Oven Benedict (p.38) seems like it would be an awesome start to a day of hiking, fishing or exploring. It’s pretty rich. You’re going to want to move around a little after eating it. A dinner consisting of Drunk’n Flank Steak (p.91) and Dad’s Potatoes (p.142) would be a perfect end to a day in the great outdoors. It’s certainly a BIG upgrade from the typical food you get on a camping trip. Unless, that trip includes an RV of some type and a personal chef. Let’s finish the day off with an individual Camp S’More Pie (p.193). A creative take on a true outdoor classic.

Special Features
If you’ve never been camping, or cooked outdoors there are some great tips here. Ultimate Camp CookingThe Basics section has ideas for meal planning, packing and camp site cleanup. If you need suggestions on how to handle a bear in your camp, you can quickly flip to page 22-23. You may want to read this section ahead of your trip. My “favorite” feature, the Metric Conversion Table rears its head. In this cookbook it has its very own chapter! The reality is that this time the chart may actually be useful. I’m assuming you’re not bringing the resources of your entire home kitchen out into the wilderness with you. And, there’s a better than even chance you won’t have a cell signal. So, if you have the need to convert, you’re all set. I’m not quite sure what’s up with the Fahrenheit to Celsius to British gas mark table, but, if you happen to be camping in the UK you’re covered. The stories from Mike and Pat make for some entertaining reading. If you’re bored on your camping trip or it’s raining and you’re tent-bound, you’ll have some material.

Conclusions
Ultimate Camp Cooking is a fun read. It’s obvious that the authors enjoy what they’re doing. One look at the cover image and you’ll know that they won’t be taking the subject too seriously. And, as much as the cookbook seems like a novelty, there are some great recipes inside. There are only three appetizers, but there are a ton of main courses. Four vegetarian dishes, but, loads of great sides. It seems like a mix that would work well if you have limited cooking resources. The hardest part to any of these dishes is the cooking process itself. Things are cooked outside and not necessarily grilling. Once you have the fire built, the recipes go together easily. It might not produce five star restaurant food, but, it is certainly five star camping food. Your camp site cuisine will be the envy of all. Your neighbors will be drooling over their box of Cheez-It’s and bag of Dorito’s when they spy your dinner. While you’re finishing off your Stuffed French Toast (p.82), enjoying a beautiful morning, they’ll be looking despondently at their cold Pop-Tart. Sad…

Culinary Expertise Required: 4.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Ultimate Camp Cooking

Resources, Links and Press
Ultimate Camp Cooking Website
Monkey Bread Gone Bad – Video
Mac and the Big Cheese on Facebook
Enjoy Utah! – Cookbook Review

Is This The Best Short Rib Recipe Ever?

 

Can you turn a hater into a lover with just one recipe?

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Hater is probably a little on the strong side. Maybe, indifferent, disinterested and unimpressed are better descriptors. Hating would imply an extremely strong dislike. In this case, a general “I just don’t get it” sums things up.

My wife. She’s not a short rib fan. Question: “Why should that matter to me?”. Answer: “It shouldn’t.” But, it does.

When we go out to eat she can order whatever her heart desires off the menu of available dishes. At home, that’s another matter. We usually don’t have a menu of available dishes. It’s more of a what would you like for dinner proposition. I’m the cook, so, it’s me doing the asking. Much to my disappointment, short ribs are never the answer.

I was determined to give one last attempt at winning her over. America’s Best Ribs hit my doorstep early this spring and in it was the perfect recipe for my final assault. Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs.

There’s nothing terribly fancy here. At least from a recipe standpoint. Some marinating, rubbing and a little slow cooking, That’s about the extent of it. There are two very distinct ways to grill short ribs. One way involves taking boneless short ribs, butterflying them and cooking them quickly over high heat.

The other method, the one I chose, roasts the ribs slowly on the bone. Breaking down the connective tissue and fat as they cook. The result should be a tender and delicious almost falling off the bone morsel. I figured this style gave me the best chance at winning over my subject.

Here’s how to do it.

Ingredients
Mustard Slather
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
¼ cup dill pickle juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp ground ginger

Rub
2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp course ground black pepper
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
2 tsp white cane sugar

6 beef short ribs, bone in 4 to 5 inches long
BBQ sauce for serving if desired

Method
Outline each of the short ribs with a sharp pointed knife. It just means to free the meat a little from the bone on each end. Combine all of the mustard slather ingredients in a small bowl. Brush the mixture onto the ribs. Make sure and cover all of the meat well. Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub mixture of the slathered ribs. It should look like this.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Heat your smoker or BBQ to 230° to 250°. If you’re using a grill, prepare it for indirect cooking. Oil the rack so the ribs won’t stick. Place ribs over the side with no direct heat. Cover and cook 1 to 1½ hours. Turn over and cook for 45 minutes more. Turn over one more time and cook for an additional 45 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of. 185°. They will hopefully look similar to this.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

You can still see a little of the mustard slather left on the meat. Here’s another look.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Pretty delicious looking, right? You can see how the meat has pulled away from the bone. That’s where step one pays off.

When the ribs are done remove from the grill and tent loosely with aluminum foil for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also wrap them tightly in foil, place them in a paper bag, close it up and let it sit on your counter for 30 to 45 minutes. The meat will still be piping hot and this will help reconstitute some of the moisture that was lost during the dry cooking process. That’s what I did.

Serve with BBQ sauce if desired. Check out the finished product.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

WOW! That is going to win over even the toughest short rib critic. At least that was my thought.

And, the verdict. Well, let’s just say that my wife is now a tiny bit less apathetic about the whole short rib thing. I wouldn’t categorize her as jumping on the short rib bandwagon. But, maybe she won’t give me “the look” the next time I suggest it. It was a home run for the rest of my guinea pigs that evening. But, I wasn’t worried about them to begin with.

If you’re interested in our review of America’s Best Ribs, you can view that HERE.

America's Best Ribs

America's Best Ribs

Recipe Adapted. America’s Best Ribs, Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs, Paul Kirk & Ardie Davis. Andrews MacMeel Universal © 2012