Sunday, January 20, 2008
Veganomicon is perhaps one of the most enticing, yet somehow disappointing cookbooks for me so far this year. I bought it with hopes that I would find amazing new recipes, alongside comforting basics with a twist, all with simple steps and quick directions. I read it with anticipation, laughing aloud at Terry and Isa's comments throughout, marking page after page of, "I must try that!" I have not given up yet, as I know several recipes have been making the rounds on vegblogs with great rejoycing, but I have been slightly disappointed. I have made two muffin recipes and several main dish ones, and all have either taken several steps, or have been unexciting to taste (or both). Here is a good example. After much chopping and prep work, and quite a bit of simmer and rest time, this Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry came together pretty nicely. Yet even with the burner on lower than called for, it burned to the bottom. And, although the texture and smell were great, the flavor was rather bland! I know that the recipe states that all curry powders are not created equal, so that if I make this again (doubtful), I will add double the curry it calls for, but after the long time to prepare this dish, I was a little disappointed in the results.
A second dish made this past week from Veganomicon was this Pineapple Quinoa Curry. Again, fairly easy to come together, though required several prep steps. But the taste....didn't blow me away! I guess I am surprised because both of their earlier cookbooks (Vw/aV and Cupcakes), did and continue to wow me with every recipe. I know I have barely scratched the surface of this book, but I am beginning to get rather frustrated. I plan on making the Cashew-Ricotta for the Pumpkin Ziti Bake next weekend. And I haven't made any desserts yet, so perhaps those will be this book's savior. Anyone else having similar disappointments, or can suggest a recipe that will knock my socks off?
Meanwhile, here is an innocuous recipe I found online for apple cider muffins. The original called for eggs, so this wasn't even a vegan recipe. But I used Ener-G-Egg Replacer, left off the sweet streusel topping, and added some heart-healthy walnuts to the batter....and wow!! What delicious, flavorful muffins with a crunchy surprise inside!
Then, I moved on to make the final of three raw candy recipes from March/April 07 Veg News magazine. These Coconut Candies were ....well, I love coconut, but even if I didn't they are a tropical paradise dancing in your mouth. I used dried cranberries instead of apricots, and they still turned out incredible. They contain absolutely no refined sugar (well, except the sweetened dried cranberries) and the coconut is the unsweetened variety (but still high in fat). I can't get enough of them! I am trying to cut down my sugar intake, so these naturally sweetened treats are perfect-sized bites of decadence without guilt!
Here is a closeup of those babies. So, it goes to show you that sometimes 'unpublished' random recipes can be better than ones you shell out the big bucks for! Of course, what would this post be without a reference to one of the most famous peace-makers of our time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we are observing today. I just read an interesting article online about how, when he was assassinated, he wasn't nearly as popular as when he did his, "I have a dream," speech. In fact, he had been campaigning against war and poverty, not so much the segregation issue, at that time. The article's author was saying that Dr. King has been used a symbol without understanding his full message. Yet how ironic that so many of our peace makers (Ghandi as well) die from violence. I am so eager for a new (US) president - one who is strong and firm, but not aggressively so, and one who acknowledges that diplomacy and talking are not signs of weakness but of courage and maturity. A comment on my previous post suggested that even if Kucinich doesn't win, we still have a chance at a Department of Peace. In the spirit of this special day, I hope everyone has time to read a little about this proposal (check out the link above) and reflect on how they can be peacemakers even in their personal lives. Sometimes family members get the brunt of our frustrations, because we think they can take it (they love us so much!), while we bend over backwards to be kind to complete strangers. But don't our families, the ones we love beyond words, deserve to feel that love as well?