Monday, March 14, 2011
Book Review: The Natural Vegan Kitchen
First of all, thank you to Book Publishing Company for sending me some books to review. (Did you know you could win free books from them?? Find out how, here.)
The first book I'm reviewing is The Natural Vegan Kitchen by Christine Waltermyer.
This book just came out and I was really excited to start flipping through it to mark all the recipes I wanted to make (like I do to all new cookbooks I get)! This book combines vegan and macrobiotic cooking. Waltermyer includes a lot of gluten free recipes as well. In fact, I would say that most of the recipes are gluten free.
She includes recipes for every part of the meal, including breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, grains, beans, and desserts. My first thought when perusing the pages was that it used a lot of ingredients that I didn't have. I probably could get at least some of them at my local Asian grocery store, but there are some I wouldn't have access to. This might prohibit some readers from purchasing the book, EXCEPT, that you can substitute other items for a lot these. So don't let that factor dissuade you from getting this book. In fact, in some of the recipes I made this past week, I did have to substitute some things. (Waltermyer does have a glossary at the end of the book to explain all of these ingredients)
Some of those "hard to find items" are: xantham gum, gluten-free brown rice syrup (I subbed agave nectar), kombu, umeboshi vinegar, wakame, kuzu or arrowroot starch, wheat free tamari (I subbed soy sauce).
I'm sure there are also plenty of you out there that do actually have these ingredients or have easy access to them. Great!
Now I do love a cookbook with lots of pictures in it....unfortunately, this has very few, BUT, the ones that are in there are wonderful pictures and they do make you want to make the food in there! They just look so delicious!
Here are a few of the items I made this week:
Peanut Sauce - excellent for pouring over cold noodles for lunch! I took these to work with me, mixed with udon, green onions, carrots, and cucumbers, it was the perfect lunch. First of all, I substituted almond butter for the peanut butter and then I substituted soy sauce for the wheat-free tamari and agave nectar, for the brown rice syrup. I also used powdered ginger, as I didn't have fresh (but next time I will use fresh). It was a bit runny, so I next time I'll add less water.
Lentil-Walnut Pate - I was actually quite surprised at the taste of this. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it! I think the key is the balsamic vinegar...gives it a nice zing. Again, I substituted the same as above and used dried parsley, as I didn't have fresh. And it's so easy to make....it all goes into a food processor and you're done!
Tempeh Mock Tuna Salad - Woa! This was amazing!! I loved it and will make it whenever I can....not so easy, however, to get tempeh in my local stores. But it gives you the option to use chickpeas instead, which I haven't tried. It does call for vegan mayo, but in my opinion, it calls for way too much. I guess I'm not used to really mayo'd up salads, but I would put half the amount in next time. (oh, and I added lots more celery. I love lots of crunch!)
Miso Vinaigrette - Another great recipe. I made a batch and there's still some left. I used green onions instead of chives, because I didn't have any and I'd just gotten the onions from the farmer's market. Only four ingredients in this dressing. Easy and delicious!
There are plenty of other recipes in there for me to try...I'll keep working at it. If you want this book, you could win one free! As part of Book Publishing Company's Live Delicious, Eat Vegan campaign this month, they are giving away some of these books we're reviewing. Go check it out!
I'll have more reviews coming up, as soon as I can get more cooking (or uncooking as it may be) done in the kitchen :)