Wednesday, 12 September 2012

"Veganomicon" (Review)

I've pretty much sworn off buying cookbooks.  I have a shelf in my tiny kitchen that's full of them.  Actually, the shelf is one of those cheap Ikea metal frame shelves that typically goes above a toilet.  But in my case it is in the kitchen, and it goes above the trashcan.  Anyway.  No more cookbooks.  My reasons for the cease-spending are price, the lack of space, and the fact that I have the Veganomicon to keep me warm.

I borrowed Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon from the library a few years ago, and was initially quite intimidated by it.  I was a brand new vegan at the time, and while my cooking had taken leaps and bounds in terms of variety and skill level after a few years of cooking vegetarian, I still had (and still do today!) a long way to go.  Ingredients like pine nuts just seemed too exotic at the time, and I couldn’t possibly fathom a recipe that took two hours to make!  A lifetime of freezer-to-baking-tray food had deprived me of any culinary hubris.  And so I returned Veganomicon to the library, and forgot about it for a time.

I decided to give it another try about a year and a half ago, and picked up my own copy at Chapters.  I had decided that I was finally going to try to challenge myself a bit more to make a greater variety of recipes with more so-called exotic ingredients (like quinoa!  Oh my!).  I was also fed up with mediocre vegan cookbooks that were strictly tomes of salad and tofu recipes.  

Not that there is anything wrong with tofu.  Especially Apricot BBQ Sauce Tofu!
and/or Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu!

Veganomicon’s recipes are actually good.  And I’m not just talking vegan good (because we will pretty much eat anything that doesn’t come from an animal or it’s orifices), but really REALLY good.  The recipes I was cooking from the Veganomicon instructions formed the impetus for my Facebook recipe suggestion photo album (for those of you who follow me there), and inspired me to push myself a bit harder when it came to making meals that were delicious, healthy, and full of variety. 

Eggplant Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream.  Isn't it PRETTY?!

Let's take for example the delicious Eggplant Rollatini recipe.  It is quite a bit of work, I'm not going to lie.  You gotta chop up the eggplant and salt it and rinse it and bread it and fry it and then make the sauce and make the filling and then roll it up and then cook it and then drink some wine.  Obviously, I don't make this everyday, I do have a day job after all.  This is maybe a special occasion or weekend meal though, several of the more complicated Veganomicon recipes may not be for everyday, but the Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu above takes like 10 minutes.  So there is a bit of range in terms of how long the recipes take to prep.

And it was so good I kinda forgot to take the picture before I started eating it.

And the best thing of all about Veganomicon?  It is the home of some of my DH's all time favorite recipes.  And it is a nice married-person thing to do to make your hubby's favorite food for them sometimes.  :)

DH's favorite thing.  Acorn Squash Empanadas.

 So, Vegbrarian says if you are looking for a great cookbook that is full of yummy recipes that I can pretty much guarantee are uniquely awesome, then go get yourself a copy of Veganomicon. And in the meantime... here are some more gratuitous food shots:

And the coup d'grace, Chickpea Cutlets!

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