Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan MoFo 2011 #2: 'The Complete Vegan Cookbook'



The Complete Vegan Cookbook
Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay, Prima Publishing, 2001

The Complete Vegan Cookbook


Still hanging around in the cookbooks of my early young vegan years, I was very excited to add The Complete Vegan Cookbook to my collection. It may have been the second vegan book I bought, but I can't be sure, there are a couple from around that time. However, my little fledgling cookbook collection mainly spent its time sitting on the shelf, where I would occasionally flick through it. By this time I was a vet school in Sydney, and had been vegan for a few years, but my cooking was boring. Think pre-purchased pasta and stir-fry sauces as my base for dinner. Ho hum. However, one day it occurred to me that maybe I should make something out of these books that I kept on buying. And thus started me down the path of cookbook obsession.

The book itself is nice to use. Again, it is a paperback with no pictures. Chapters include Cooking Fundamental, Stocking the Vegan Pantry, Menus, Appetizers, Salads, Soups and Stews, Vegetable Side Dishes, Pasta Dishes, Grain and Bean Dishes, Sautes and Stir-Fries, Baked and Grilled Entrees, Sandwiches and Wraps, Morning Meals, Desserts and Frequently Used Ingredients. There is also the ubiquitous nutrition appendix and glossary of ingredients. The book is very nice to read. Because of the size, the pages easily sit open when on a bench. There is one recipe per page, and I like the way they are presented. Each recipe also includes serving sizes and nutritional information. In addition, there are some fun little facts sprinkled throughout the book about different ingredients. Recipes that are quick to make are marked Almost Instant.

This book was the first book I started cooking out of regularly, and it all started with one recipe that became almost a weekly dinner in the early days.

Classic Lentil, Tomato, and Potato Stew

Classic Lentil, Tomato, and Potato Stew

This stew is simple and delicious, and wonderful on a cool or chilly night. I made it again just recently (for the first time in ages), which is why you get a picture!

As I started branching out and discovering the joy of making all these new and wonderful dishes, this book went into fairly heavy rotation. Thankfully, for the purposes of making this blog post prettier, I have photos of several of the dishes I have made. Below are some more of my favourites from here!

Pasta Puttanesca with Artichokes

Pasta Puttanesca with Artichokes

This pasta dish is simple, yet amazing. The addition of artichokes makes for a delicious puttanesca, and I added some kidney beans as well for protein. This is on the table fairly quickly, and makes four big servings. Yum!

Stir-Fry of Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Orange, and Fresh Basil

Stir-Fry of Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Orange, and Fresh Basil

Another dish I remade recently (because I don't have photos of a lot of them that I made early on, I am remaking my favourites to get their pictures). This is has quite a unique flavour, and is wonderfully fresh tasting. The first time I made this, many years ago, I didn't have access to tomatillos (I had never even heard of tomatillos), but when I made this recently I did have some to add. They make a great extra dimension! I serve this over rice.

Mushroom-Tempeh Saute with Sage

Mushroom-Tempeh Saute with Sage

The earthy flavours of tempeh and mushrooms get a lift with sweet onion, sherry and sage. This was one of my first experiences with tempeh - yum! I serve over brown rice. It says this makes 4 main-dish servings, I would disagree with that unless you have a teeny tiny appetite. However, it is a very rich dish. Balance out with some steamed broccoli for your greens!

Polenta and Onion Casserole with Fennel Seed and Soy Mozzarella

Polenta and Onion Casserole with Fennel Seed and Soy Mozarella

OMG. This is amazing, just perfect for a cold winter night. Think creamy polenta base with a tangy tomato sauce and sweet red onions, topped with vegan cheese and then baked. Hello! The first time I made this I only had access to Kinglands Soy Cheese, us Australians know the one. The second time I made this I used Cheezly - much better! I served it with some marinated, baked tofu and a salad. The whole recipe says it makes eight servings, I make this as a half recipe and get three decent-sized servings.

Avocado and Watercress Sandwich with Dried Tomato Mayo

Avocado and Watercress sandwich with Dried Tomato Mayo

When I first spied Tofutti Cheese Slices, I knew that I could finally make this delicious sounding sandwich. The combination is just so amazing. It was my first time trying watercress as well. If you can't find watercress, sliced cucumber also makes a nice addition. I found the mayo (made by mixing sun dried tomatoes into soy mayo) didn't make quite enough for my tastes, so I make a double batch of that. Combined with creamy avocado and crunchy watercress. This actually makes an excellent sandwich to take to work or study, as it won't go soggy.

Cumin-Seared Tofu Wrap

Cumin-Seared Tofu Wrap

Another great lunch option. I find you only need to make about 2/3 of the tofu mixture to fill the six wraps it makes, but make the whole lot anyway so you can make yet more wraps, throw the extra into a salad or just eat it with a fork. This gets a bit soggy once wrapped if you are taking it for work, but it is still very yummy.

Mushroom and Soy Cheese Quesadillas

Mushroom and Soy Cheese Quesadillas

This recipe is pretty simple, but often the simple things are the best. It will take all your strength not to devour the whole batch. Go ahead, just do it!

Dried Apricot and Coconut Pudding

Dried Apricot And Coconut Pudding

A fairly bad photo of a pretty amazing dessert!

Baked Tofu

Baked Tofu

This stuff is pretty amazing, unlike many other marinated and baked tofu recipes, this is baked in a small pan in the marinade. The result is a beautiful crust of depth of flavour to the tofu. It is delicious served hot as part of the meal, but just as amazing served cold on a sandwich, in sushi, cut into chunks for dipping or just nomming on straight out of the fridge.

So, this book has given me some pretty great food memories! All the recipes above gained five-star ratings (yes, I have a rating system!). Here are the names of the other five-star rated recipes I've made from this book, but have yet to remake again for photos.

Caramelised Onion and Tempeh Spread
Spiced Garbanzo and Carrot Spread with Mint
Black Olive Tapenade with Capers (let mellow overnight to blow your ind)
Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup
Savoury Mushroom, Oat, and Almond Burgers
Sushi (my first ever home-made sushi, made with brown rice and lots of filling suggestions)
Chocolate-Cinnamon-Walnut Cake

So, would I recommend this book? Yes. I still do see it around. It is fun, lots of fresh and yummy recipes, using lots of wholefood ingredients. I think aside from the occasional soy cheese, there are no processed foods involved. All these years later, I am still getting joy from it, be it remaking old favourites or discovering new recipes.

What was the first vegan recipe you put into regular rotation? Where did it come from?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post!

The beautiful face of Gizmo

My beautiful Gizmo. She's been having troubles with her kidneys lately, my poor baby.

6 comments:

  1. The first vegan recipe in regular rotation...was probably hummus. I lived off of it for at least a year. Good thing my husband loves hummus!

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  2. For a while there I did scrambled tofu to death :)) I think the recipe was probably from PPK.

    Those quesadillas look nom!

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  3. I LOVE that cookbook. Interestingly, I haven't tried most of your favorites, but seeing them and reading your thoughts on them makes me want to try. That cumin seared tofu wrap looks outstanding!

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  4. That book is going on my wish list.
    Do chips count? LOL!
    I went a bit baked tofu mad myself, all different marinade combos but all deliciious.

    *feels hungry*

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  5. Mmmm that tofu looks great, I love tofus that are kinda baked in a marinade. Yum. I thin the first recipe I started to use regularly was the Mac Daddy from Veganomicon & it's still a staple in our house.

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  6. Hope kitty feels better!
    Haven't heard of that book! But when we went vegan there may have been one or two books!!! CAN'T believe how many there are now! I can't keep up, which is a really great thing!

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