Veganly Delicious

Julie-Juliaing one cookbook at a time.

A Bevy of Mini Reviews of What I Cooked From This Summer

There is a general theme to most of these books: They all feature dessert. Oh yeah. Hee. But don’t worry Mom, I did eat real food too. ūüôā The Every Day Vegan: By Dreena BurtonThese were part a set of graduation gifts that I got, (specifically when I decided to turn vegan), and this was the first one I decided to cook from that wasn’t a blog or anything. Why? Because it was really simple, and there was a nutrtional guide, also because Dreena’s Canadian and I had just moved and so I knew that everything that she had asked in her recipes I would be able to find.

Dreena Burton

The Every Day Vegan – my very first cooked through, cookbook.

The recipes in this book wasn’t complicated at all. I mean, I know how to cook. Betty Crocker and I go¬†way¬†back and all. But what I mean is the language was pretty straight forward. No tricky words like “chiffonade” (chiffon-whu?) * And everything came out really well, and tasted great. I cooked through about… maybe 2/3rds of this book. Truthfully I don’t even remember why I stopped. Oh wait, yes, I know, it was getting too hot, and I didn’t want hot “oven-y” food anymore. The best things from this book was the¬†Carrot Pineapple Muffins, and the¬†Mushroom-Pecan Burgers¬†with¬†Mushroom Gravy. (Coincidentally, that was the first time I ever made gravy on my own. and it was delicious. It will totally be made again). Dreena introduced me to a lot of things (e.g.:¬†Worcestershire¬†sauce is not vegan. It¬†isn’t¬†and that made me so sad, it’s full of anchovies!) Tamari. (I had thought that soy sauce was soy sauce, was soy sauce, nope! Not the case. (Tamari tastes a lot better in my¬†opinion, and you can get it wheat free and everything too), and just other little things that I now picked up. The one “drawback” (and it could be major if you are a newbie in the kitchen” is that a lot of Dreena’s recipes are under-seasoned. Now when you think about when she wrote this book (a lot of her cookbooks was when she was pregnant and had little ones underfoot) it kind of makes sense. It didn’t bug me but if it says “too taste.”, add a bit more than you think. (Ditto with the salt measurements – not crazy like, just maybe by a 1/2 tsp more). But that’s the best thing about vegan foods, you can always taste before you cook/bake/fry, whatever.¬† I give this book a Veganly Delicious Seal of Approval (I should totally make a seal!) and rate this a¬†Take Out From the Library should you be all savvy in the kitchen but want whole based plant foods and great recipes, and a¬†Buy!¬†if you are just stepping into the world of veganism. And then make the muffins. Really. Your tummy will thank you kindly. Vegan on the Cheap & Quick Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson I think Robin is the Betty Crocker of the Vegan World. I say this because Betty is awesome. Robin is awesome. Betty has a bazillion cookbooks. Robin has a bazillion cookbooks. (No, really, she has a bazillion cookbooks, I think the next author who comes even close to her is Bryanna Clark Grogan). Betty keeps it simple. Robin can keep it simple. Betty was awesome in my pregan (pre-vegan) days, and Robin is awesome in my vegan days. Ironically enough, I poo-poed her book. (I did this with most vegan books back in the day. Silly me) because I’d just look at the title, go “eh” and reach for Betty. All of a sudden, I eat plant based and my really good friend¬†recommended¬†her to me and then, wham! (I had had a lot of her books – again: graduation gift, but there was a flood… it was ugly. most of my Robins didn’t survive). But thank goodness for libraries. The ones I cooked from the most this summer was Vegan on the Cheap and Quick-Fix Vegan. And this was a start to my Library Test: While I’d just¬†love to buy every single new cookbook out there. (really, I’m slightly addicted). It’s not Robin Robertson feasible. It really isn’t. Luckily my library has a whackado of vegan cookbooks. So I take them out and administer the test. I have to like ¬†double cost of the book in recipes. So if the book cost 30 bucks – I need to like ¬†60 recipes and so forth. And then I cook them and if they taste good, I buy the book. (I have this thing about owning stuff. I know I could just continue to take it out, but I wouldn’t be able to write my adjustments and stuff. Plus as many people can attest to – I am a¬†messy chef. It wouldn’t be pretty for the library books). From this book I made.. 2 things? Wait. Really? (goes to look at notes). No. I knew that wasn’t right. Heee. Okay I made – Better Than Mom’s Breakfast Sausage. (great. amazing. awesome). (As I’ve never met Robin’s mom, I wouldn’t know if this was true or not, but I liked it. I missed Morning Star’s breakfast patties, but this didn’t have that clomy clomp after flavour). – Big Stick Pepperoni. Even in my pregan days I never ate pork. (Religious reasons). But I do remember when I was little, and not knowing that Pepperoni came from cute little piggies, having some and thinking it was the most deliciously salty thing I’ve ever had (I have this love affair with salt). But then I found out, and then I never had it, even though it was awesome. And then I found this book, and made this recipe, and it was pretty pepperoni-ish to me. For these two recipes alone, I would buy this book. (actually I’m going to, these are in my January “To Buy” list). – Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese. This was… Okay. The cheese sauce was tofu based. Which made me go, eh? And then there was stuff! in it like… peas. and tomatoes. But then you just… make it and and then you add a bit more salt and pepper to it,and all of a sudden it’s like a bowlful of yum. (and my heck is it ever filling!). (I only made three things? Seriously?). (there is a LOT of good advice – how to keep grocery bills low, other than the whole “shop in season). I totally give this book a¬†Take It Out From the Library rating. The next book from the Robin Robertson¬†Arsenal was Quick Fix vegan. (And again I only really made a few things, but they were a delicious and awesomely made few things. ¬†And wonder of wonders – even with the slowest cook in the world (that would be me, by the way, a lot of these recipes were done in thirty minutes. Now I remember why On the Cheap didn’t get a lot of cook time it was mostly this book that got the loving (when I was feeling in the mood to cook). (Please note the words: to cook). I made …. more than Robin Robertsonthree things in this book, I am pretty sure. 1: Pizza Dough. Now. This might get me beat up. One of my close friends (Okay, I lie – all of my close friends) can not believe that I don’t like pizza). And I can’t, I can’t even tolerate the smell of it. Order something from a big chain and I’ll be … well it’s not pretty. However, I never had issues with making pizza on my own. Essentially all it is is bread, cheese and sauce. But I never made pizza dough, so I did it and it was so easy. (Bless my Food Processor). ¬†(this was 98% why I made Big Stick Pepperoni). 2: Chocolate-Chiplote Chili. As much as I don’t like Pizza, I LOVE Chili. I also had (then it drowned then my really good friend found a copy and gave it to me) Robin’s Chili Book. EIGHTY RECIPES OF CHILI. (Yes. I’m going to do a Julie/Julia of that). So I love Chili. But my chili is generally basic, I’ve never made chili, other than how I’ve ALWAYS made it. So this was a great taste test for me to do, and it was good. (really, really saucy), but good! 3: Samosa Pie. (this is not the official name. It’s probably something really professional like Indian Samosa Something). It’s basically samosa. in a casserole form. And it’s delicious. (I love Indian food. I love Samosa. this was totally a given). 4: Cauliflower Chick-Pea Coconut Curry. The number one reason why my vindaloo curry powder is almost done was because of 3 & 4. And so utterly, amazingly worth it. I could eat this for breakfast. (I actually did eat this for breakfast….) 5: Vegetable Fritters. These… not so good. (I blame me, not the recipe). They could have been seasoned a bit more, but while some tasted really great, some…tasted not so hot. I need to learn how to griddle properly. This I’m buying. (Like. a shock,right?) Actually because of these two books, is why I pre-ordered her slow cooker cookbook. Robin though is one of those people you do need to add spices and taste. She’s an Underseason-er. (Which I have to appreciate. It’s so much easier to¬†add to your tastes than to¬†remove. Once it’s in there it’s in there). Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Pie in the Sky & Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I think these two are like Betty Crocker too. But maybe more so. Julia Child of the Vegan World? (a Lot would really say so). Maybe if Betty had twin sisters, Bonnie and Bessie…. Anyway. These guys are¬†it. I think everyone makes something from one of their books at least¬†once. (and if you haven’t. do so. what are you waiting for, chopity, chop chop). While I made things from Isa’s solo book Vegan with a¬†Vengeance (Scrambled Tofu. Do use black salt, it will change your tofu’s life). and the ‘bible” Veganomicon (Cornbread). I was baking up a storm all summer. The only think I made from Pie in the Sky was Basil Peach Pie. (I¬†always have pie for my birthday. I don’t do cake. And seriously, while you read that and go. Basil? In pie? The hell? do it. It makes the entire pie just pop. I used regular ole basil, but if I had had some designer Lemon Basil? Oh my heck. ). And I made the Buttery Double Crust. SO I made the¬†¬†entire¬†pie. And was my belly, happy. (I wasn’t – in a pie making mood. I don’t do cheesecakes. Never had, never really will. And I just wanted peach pie). Vegan Cupcakes take Over the World…Okay like I said – I don’t really do cake. That includes¬†cupcakes too. I don’t know why. Like I like muffins and everything just fine, I loved muffins. (love). but I never really rode the cupcake train ever in life. Frosting and all. But my friends and I were having an¬†impromptu¬†“welcome back home!” for my friend who went to Sweden. (without me. I’ve still not forgiven her), ¬†and so we made the following. (and only Isa and Terry could make me become a Fan: We made:

  • Pineapple Rightside Up Cupcakes. Oh heck yeah.
  • S’Smores Cupcakes. (hmmm)
  • and…and…

wait? Only 2? (Why does it feel like I’ve always made more? But the stars of my cooking summer has been this:

I think I probably ate my weight in these.
No complaints though.

Cookies. I could write an ode on a cookie. Cookie Monster and me we had a lot of things in common growing up. Cookies! I don’t even really care about the chocolate chip cookie (actually, I could take it or leave it), but just¬†cookies. Hmmm. What I made from here, feels like the entire book. (but 100 percent certain more than two).

  1. Vegan Graham Crackers. (Yes. It’s true. if you don’t eat honey – I don’t for the most part) they ain’t vegan. But these are so fran-tastically good, it doesn’t matter because why on earth would you buy the store bought stuff? I think my friends and I just ate the raw dough, we had scant little to bake.
  2. Cowboy & Cowgirl Cookies. Never had these before in life. Ever. (I have also discovered I was deprived). These are delicious. (cowboy = chocolate and coconut and pecans, cowgirl  = cranberries, white chocolate, spices and walnuts). Cowgirls are my favourite out the two. Only because cinnamon and cloves make me happy. And had I had vegan white chocolate chips? Hoo baby.
  3. Pretzel Apple Cookies. Just… just go make these. (salt and sweet, crunchy, chewy, moist, big, yum).
  4. Shortbread (My one flop. to be fair, I didn’t really follow the instructions: When things said “use a standmixer”. use the freaking stand mixer).
  5. Carrot Raisin Chewies. (I will never need to make carrot cake again. These are like portable carrot cakes).
  6. Peppermint Brownies. (ahhhhhh. I am also a brownie girl. And these were awesome).

(Oh. and a note: while for the most part oil is oil, I used to swap canola, grapeseed and olive all the time.¬†Julie Hasson suggests that Canola should only be used for baking – Olive for cooking. Canola leaves your baked good more light, fluffy and yummy. I agree). Wow. That’s it too? Oh. wait. that’s right. Because I mostly did this all summer.

 

Vegan Desserts & Vegan a la Mode by Hannah Kaminsky. 

 

This is the one thing I feared when I became vegan.

 

No more ice cream, ever ever never. It would have to be sorbets (not a problem, really) and other stuff. And vegan ice cream is¬†expensive. (there’s this coconut one that everyone thinks its to die for, and it’s eight. dollars. for a tiny little tub. Eight. I am not kidding you here. I didn’t even splurge for my birthday. I’m not spending eight dollars on ice cream, I don’t care how good it is. So you could imagine my surprise when there was someone who was giving an¬†entire. book. dedicated. to. ice cream. (And yes, I know there are others – but these were so much different. A lot of the other cookbooks really is just “add flavour, and blend to your milk base). while Hannah comes up with these really amazing, complicated sounding but really easy flavours. It was just¬†so incredibly good.

 

Out of Vegan Desserts I made Zesty Rhurbab Cake (This was for my birthday. When you have a whackado of rhubarb Рyou make everything that needs rhubarb!) and I made roasted apricot ice cream with almond praline ripple. (Hannah loves her swirls and ripples!) Both were the bestest things I ever did. (The Cake was really good. I think next time i would totally make these into cupcakes).

 

Vegan a la Mode was really good. I mean honestly, it’s never just “basic” stuff. (I think her most basic thing is the naked vanilla yoghurt and french vanilla ice cream – which were made). but my hands down favourite dessert from that book was Strawberry Lemon Curd Ice Cream. Oh my gosh, if I could marry food, that would have been my husband right there, while I had a torrid affair with Spring Blush (a Orange, Rhubarb,¬†¬†and Strawberry blend. yum). I also made French Vanilla again (note: if you think adding vanilla flavoured milks and stuff will like enhance the vanilla of the ice cream.. I’d say no. I used vanilla soy milk and it just was really… you had this horrid kickback of fake. It was horrible. I was really glad it was the¬†second time I had this ice cream so I knew how it was supposed to taste like). I also made paradise plum, and I can’t wait to try it w/different kinds of plums! (The purple-r the better!)

The only flop I made was the Shirley Temple Sorbet. I don’t know what happened but it was a great concept… but I’m still cleaning out my fridge from this one.

There’s my summer in a nutshell.

Leave a comment »