Tag Archives: vegan

Lust for Leaf | Alex Brown & Evan George

Is it love or lust? I guess you’ll just have to find out.

Lust For Leaf | CLICK TO PURCHASE A COPY

TITLE: Lust For Leaf
AUTHOR: Alex Brown & Evan George
PUBLISHER: Da Capo Press (Lifelong)
CUISINE: Vegan/Vegetarian

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FEATURED INGREDIENT: Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is aImage by: Tuscanycious | CLICK FOR DETAILS vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.

The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. [Wikipedia]

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS
It’s a nice size. Not giant or overwhelming. I like the fact that it’s a hard cover book. Nice and durable. Great food images by Aaron Farley throughout the book. I love the TOC that’s laid out like a Food Pyramid. That’s different. It seems like it’s just as much about people enjoying food as the food itself. That’s a little bit of a switch. Obviously, most cookbooks tend to lean heavily on ingredients and technique rather than the enjoyment of the finished dish. This book just looks like FUN!

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WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)

Taco Zone
Wild Grub
Pizza Pool Party
Bro-Tein
BBQ Mosh Pit
Potlatches
Sweets

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Having some accompaniment to your cooking or meal is an outstanding idea. Making that process all the easier, the Hot Knives guys tell you EXACTLY what you should be listening too. Here is Eggplant Crasserole (P. 48). I only wish I could give you a taste of the La Chouffe, Houblon that goes along with it!

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THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Mushroom Ceviche Blackened Okra Gratin
Elote al Echo Parque Artichoke Hummus
Backpack Bahn Mi Icey Hot Sorbet
Pea Pod Pesto Stonefruit and Strawberries
Awesome Blossoms Weed Dip

The name of this dish alone is reason enough to mention it here, Junk Food Potato Salad (P. 64). The use of corn chips as an ingredient rates high with me. Here’s another. Corn Porn (P. 17). There’s a theme at work here. This time Fritos makes this recipe shine. And, while we’re on a corn themed run, how about, Popcorn – 5 Kinds! (P. 35-36). Everybody loves a great bowl of popcorn. Unless you have a medical exception. Then you still probably love it, but, you just can’t scratch the itch. These five varieties are all exploding with flavor and easy to make. Cue up your favorite flick!

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SPECIAL FEATURES
This is typically a fun part of the post. And, this one is more fun than most. This is where the Lust for Leaf: Vegetarian Noshes, Bashes, and Everyday Great Eats--The Hot Knives Wayauthor’s REAL personality shows through. I love the fact that each recipe comes equipped with it’s very own soundtrack and beverage suggestions. A great way to expose yourself to new music and new brews. There is an extensive and wide ranging beer list towards the back of the book. Also there is a list of the songs included in the recipes. All of the vegan dishes are clearly marked with a V for easy ID.

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CONCLUSIONS
This isn’t your typical vegan/veg cookbook. It’s fun! Not pretentious, stuffy or preachy like so many of these can be. The book itself is easy to use and contains enough interesting dishes to keep you occupied for some time to come. There are lots of easy to obtain ingredients. Again, something that so many cookbooks of this cuisine style ignore. Hey, we have to be able to get the stuff to make the food! Loaded with colorful images and some interesting asides.

Culinary Expertise 6.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS

Hot Knives Website
Lust For Leaf – Da Capo Publisher Page
Video Photo Shoot – Lust For Leaf

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GIVEAWAY I’ve got one extra copy of Lust For Leaf to giveaway. CLICK HERE, send us an email and if you’re first, it’s your. Just that easy…

30 Minutes Vegan’s Taste of Europe | Mark Reinfeld

 

Can meatless versions of European classics measure up?

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and Beyond

TITLE: The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe
AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld
PUBLISHER: Da Capo Lifelong
CUISINE: Vegan

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Featured Ingredient: Tempeh
Tempeh (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, IPA: [tempe]), is a traditional soy product originallySliced tempeh - By FotoosVanRobin from Netherlands (Tempe) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in the Sinosphere. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
If you’re looking for a nice well rounded assortment of vegan dishes this cookbook will satisfy that. Like the covers says, it contains “Plant based makeovers of classics”. There is a center insert of color images by Fawne Frailey and Sebastian Romero Sea Light Studios. The paper stock is a nice, soft off white that is easy on the eyes and great to page through. This is a nice everyday vegan cookbook. It has dishes you could make for dinner seven nights a week.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Italy
France
Spain and Portugal
United Kingdom and Ireland
Greece
Germany
Europe Fusion

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Roam around the world…

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Pommes Frites French Onion Soup
Quiche Monet Empanadas
Irish Stew Yorkshire Pudding
Currant Scones Beer Soup
Potato Pierogi Swiss Chocolate Fondue

 

I love Greek food, so the Tzatzaki (p.162) and the Spanikopita Triangles (p.173) were both big hits with me. You can use that Tzatzaki sauce on just about everything from salad to corn flakes as far as I’m concerned. The Spaetzle Noodles (p.195) is another winner. I have a spaetzle maker (two actually) and I’m always looking for a reason to break it out. Also, the Chickpeas and Roasted Garlic (p.110) is a mouthwatering side dish. It has 15 to 20 cloves of garlic in it, so it has to be amazing!

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Special Features
The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and BeyondMany of the recipes are annotated with special symbols to help you make cooking decisions. These symbols indicate cooking times and ease of preparation. It’s a nice touch. In the table of contents, the recipe names and page numbers are listed under the chapter names. I LOVE this type of formatting. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know that feature always rates high with me. Making cookbooks easy to use, there’s a novel idea! Also, as you would expect with any vegan/vegetarian cookbook, there is an extensive section on preparation basics contained in the appendix. As is a metric conversion chart. Hey, it’s taste of EUROPE here, so I guess it makes sense. There is also a great list of additional reading and some super helpful online resources. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of vegan cuisine there is a lot to keep you busy.

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Conclusions
Mark Reinfeld does a nice job on his “plant based makeover”. These are recipes that you could use again and again. They are relatively easy to make, so it would be a fairly good cookbook for the vegan beginner. The once sparse space of vegan cookbooks is starting to fill up fast. The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe fills the vegan international cuisine void nicely. If you’ve been hunting for that meatless version of your favorite French dish, you can stop looking. The Seitan Bourguignon (p.84) is now at your fingertips.

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Culinary Expertise 5.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and Beyond

How would you like to be a cookbook insider? Of course you would. Included with every cookbook that a publisher sends out for review are publicity notes. Click below to view the notes from The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe. Have fun being on the inside for a change.

The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe – Publicity Notes

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Resources, Links and Press
Vegan Fusion Website
Video: Eating Live: An Introduction to Live Food Cuisine
Mark Reinfeld on vegan.com
Follow Mark Reinfeld on Twitter

Yellow Rice, That’s Mighty Nice

 

A recipe journey ends in an unexpected place.

Basmati Rice

I have a friend who owns a great Indian restaurant in Sarasota Florida. It’s the kind of place that locals like to hang out. It’s a place where the food says a lot about the people who own it. Warm, comforting, welcoming. It’s an easy place to love.

They have a rice dish on their menu, Cranberry Cashew Pilaf. It’s described as “a rice concoction of sautéed onions, dried cranberries and cashew nuts.” What the description fails to mention is the addictive nature of the dish. At least for my wife. She’s wild about it.

Unfortunately for her, the recipe is a highly guarded secret. It seems a little silly. It’s not as if my non-cooking wife is going to attempt to turn our house into an Indian restaurant. Although, I’ll admit, I wouldn’t mind having that food around all the time.

These days you can find just about any recipe you want on the internet. From Thomas Keller’s famous Oysters and Pearls to a thousand world class meatloaf recipes that any grandmother would be proud of. It’s all there. Well, almost all of it.

A few weeks back we reviewed Bryant Terry’s new cookbook, The Inspired Vegan. Little did I know that contained in the pages would be the rice dish that I had been searching for. Bryant calls it, Yellow Basmati Rice. But, that title didn’t tell the whole story.

I made Bryant’s recipe as part of my cookbook review. One taste told me that I was one step (and two ingredients) away from a breakthrough. So, without further adieu…

Yellow Basmati Rice with Cranberries and Cashews

Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice (soaked overnight in water)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, diced finely
1/2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cashew pieces

Method
Drain soaked rice into a colander. NOTE: I have made this dish twice. The first time through I didn’t have time to soak the rice overnight. So, I just rinsed it well in a fine mesh strainer. This method produced a finished product closer to what I was looking for. Soaking the rice gave it a distinct barley-like texture and feel when cooked. If you like that, then soak away.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and the salt. Sauté until well caramelized. About 10 to 15 minutes. I actually had to turn the heat up to medium to get the onions to caramelize in that amount of time. When the onions are browned add the turmeric. Stir for about 30 seconds to fully incorporate. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes stirring often. The mixture should start to smell nutty and all of the water should be absorbed.

Add 2 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 50 minutes.

When rice is cooked. Remove from heat, add cranberries and cashews. Cover and set aside for about 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Serves 4
Recipe adapted Yellow Rice, Bryant Terry, The Inspired Vegan. Da Capo Lifelong Books © 2012.

Here’s what you’ll end up with. Looks amazing, right?

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Here’s the thing. Having the recipe is great. Make no mistake about it. Does it replace the experience you get dining at the restaurant? Not even close. So, I’m pretty certain that I’ll continue to take advantage of the fantastic food and hospitality that only the REAL thing can offer.

FYI – The restaurant that makes that delicious Cranberry Cashew Pilaf is Chutney’s, Etc. If you click here, you can drool over their menu online. If you’re in the area, be sure and stop on by and say hello. You’ll be happy you did.


Looking for a copy of Bryant Terry’s The Inspired Vegan? You can grab your very own by clicking the book cover below.

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