Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Vegan Table

Wow its been a long time since my last post! So much for my plan to start posting on a regular basis. Summers busy, out enjoying the warmer weather, etc. But just because I've been out enjoying the warmer weather doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Despite spending more time in the great outdoors I have also managed to find time to do a little shopping on amazon.ca (imagine that!). I ordered a few new cookbooks and the one I am most excited about is The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau. 

Now some of you will be familiar with Colleen from her excellent podcast Vegetarian Food for Thought. I have recently (the last 4 months or so) become an avid listener and in fact I have a few episodes that I have listened to multiple times. As the only vegan in my family it can be a little lonely sometimes and I find Colleen's podcast to be a great source of inspiration for me...much like reading all your vegan /vegetarian blogs! If you haven't had a chance to listen to one of Colleen's podcast I highly recommend you give them a listen (you can subscribe to the podcast through itunes as well). You can find out more at www.compassionatecooks.com.

Ok on to the cookbook. In my last post I was raving about the recipes I tried from the Joy of Vegan Baking so when I saw The Vegan Table and all the great reviews people gave it I knew I had to get a copy. I was pretty sure I was going to like this book but I didn't think I'd love it this much! I don't eat a lot of soy so some of the tofu and temph recipes don't excite me to much but most of the recipes are soy free or you can make soy free. Below is a reviews of a couple of the recipes I have tried so far.

Pad Thai - I love Asian food and especially Thai food however I have never made an asian dish at home that I really loved...until now. Incredible easy to make with simple, fresh ingredients. My oldest daughter was very excited to see this dish at the table (she is a hugh noodle fan) and she was ready to eat it all just looking at it. I told her to take a little bit and if she liked it she could have as much as she liked. After she had her first bite I asked her how she liked it...."love it!" was her reply. I couldn't have said it better myself. My husband had 4 helpings so I'm guessing he loved it to. The recipe said it feeds 2 to 4 but we had this for dinner, lunch the next day and I had the rest for my lunch at work today. I give this recipe a 5/5.

Pan Seared Marinated Portabella Mushrooms - These are my "steak" and I eat these often on the grill in the summer so I was excited to have another mushroom marinate recipe to try. The results were very good. I had t use dried herbs cuz I didn't have any fresh ones on hand but they tasted fabulous. I would definitely make these to serve to an omnivore. I give this recipe a 4/5.

Seared Asparagus with Lime - Love, love, love asparagus and I noticed quite a few people had mentioned this recipe in their reviews on amazon so I made a note to try this one right away. Another really simple recipe with fresh ingredients. Very fast to make and taste fantastic. My new favourite way of eating asparagus. My husband is not a real veggie eater but he asked if I could make this recipe once a week. My oldest daughter had 3 helpings and she was very disappointed to see the serving plate empty (but very pround that she got the last spear!). I give this recipe a 5/5.

I have many more recipes marked to try and I promise to give you my reviews but trust me on this...go buy this book! You will not be disappointed. Overall the recipes are very simple with clear instructions and use fresh ingredients with minimal prep. One of the bet cookbooks I own vegan or otherwise. If you want to try a few of the recipes she has a couple posted on the Vegan Table website.

I hope to be back soon with some more recipe reviews. Hope everyone is having a great summer so far!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Joy of Vegan Baking

I admit it - I am a complete and total bookworm. I got my first library card at age 7 and I went to the library every single day . I still go to the library every week but I also buy more than my fair share of books (I am probably one of amazon.ca's best customers). So you can only imagine how many cookbooks I own. The problem with me and cookbooks is sometimes I buy them, I drool over all the pictures and then I don't use them.

Today I had some friends over for coffee/tea this morning and I wanted to bake a few treats to serve. I decided it was high time to dust off one of those cookbooks and try a few new recipes. The book I decided to give a whirl was the Joy of Vegan Baking. Boy am I ever glad I did! I have read nothing but great reviews from this book and I am a big fan of the podcast so I don't know what took me so long to try this book out. Below is a quick review of each recipe I tried.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins - I knew I had to make this recipe for sure. You can't go wrong with any muffin that has Chocolate Chips in it! Ok first the bad - they have a whole cup of white sugar in them and they are made with white flour however I'm sure you could cut down on the sugar and probably use a whole wheat pastry flour. Now the good - these muffins are awesome! So moist and super tasty! As soon as these babies came out of the oven I knew they were gonna be delicious and I was right ( I'm right 99.9% of the time...just ask my husband...lol). These were gobbled up right away and I'm happy/sad to report I have none left more my breakfast tomorrow. 

Lemon Blueberry Muffins - I want to make these ones for 2 reasons. First fresh blueberries are on sale right now so they were actually affordable to make (sometimes blueberries can cost as much as 7 dollars for a tiny package in my neck of the woods. I'm not prepared to spend $15 on blueberries to make muffins). The second reason is I thought the combination of blueberries and lemons was very spring/summer like. Ok so they have the same bad points as the Banana Chocolate Chip ones but they were absolutely sensational! They were going almost as fast as the Banana Chocolate Chip ones. In fact my youngest had two of these and she probably would have had more if I had let her.

Folks, 7 ladies (and one little lady) ate 24 muffins! Yes they are that good. So good I didn't even get a picture.

Apple Strudel - I have always wanted to try this recipe but I was a little intimidated by the phyllo. I have never worked with phyllo before but Colleen's instructions seemed pretty clear so I decided to give it a go. Easy as can be! You have to work fast with the phyllo but as long as your organized and have everything ready to go it is a simple procedure. I loved it! Taste just like apple pie in a light, flaky wrapping.  We had it for dessert last night and my husband polished off the leftovers tonight. In fact he ate almost the whole thing himself. I can see this is going to have to be a sometime treat the way it was gobbled up.

So there you have it. One strudel and 24 muffins later I highly recommend the Joy of Vegan Baking. And so do all my guest from this morning. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Sorry for the lack of posting but we haven't had the best spring around here so when the weathers been nice like it has been the last couple of days, I made damn sure I took advantage of it. And anyone who has seen me today knows it because I'm about 5 shades darker!

I always think things will slowdown in the summer with no school, gymnastics, library programs, etc. But the summer is always busier than the rest of the year (except maybe Christmas). There's always the yard work , the house is dirtier because everyone is tracking dirt in from outside, the kids manage to dirty at least 3 or 4 outfits a day, we take a lot of late night walks with the kids and dog, the kids go to bed later (partly because of the walks and partly because the sun sets so late) and yet you might think that because they get to bed so late that they would be tired and sleep till a reasonable hour in the morning. Nope, not my little ones. They are up at the crack of dawn ready to do it all over again!

So I'm going to try to post more regularly but be forewarned it might not be all food related. There is just too much other interesting and fun things going on in the summer. 

Hope your all enjoying summer too!