Vegan Fusion World Cuisine
I'm going to run out of adjectives to describe this wonderful cookbook. 30-Minute Vegan, written by husband and wife team Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray, is a gold-mine of information, techniques, tips, variations, and winning recipes.
A blend of raw vegan and cooked vegan dishes, 30-Minute Vegan was written with the busy person in mind. For those of us who want to eat raw or cooked vegan, but don't always want the packaged stuff, this is our book.
I like that it's a primer on kitchen skills. Everything from knife skills to how to crack open a coconut are explained.
The reader is taught the fundamentals and building blocks of successful raw and cooked vegan food. And those are what any person needs to succeed at this lifestyle. Learning those fundamentals alone are worth the price of the book. How many times have you looked in your refrigerator or pantry and thought, "I have no idea what to make with what I've got?" If you know the basics, you can build on them.
But I think I love the sidebars best. With the recipes, the authors give you options:
-If You Have More Time: got more than 30 minutes? Then you can explore longer variations on the given recipe.
-Quicker and Easier: got less than 30 minutes? Another variation is given.
-Superfoods for Health: kale, acai, collards, berries, and more are highlighted.
-Tips and Tricks: secrets from the pros that will transform you from cook to chef.
For instance, three of the Quicker and Easier sidebars have to do with flavoring water. I learned that:
1) Dried figs can be placed in water to create Fig Water.
2)The skin and core of pineapples can be added to create a water that can be used in smoothies. The authors suggest adding cinnamon sticks and aniseeds for more flavor.
3) I can add herbs like rosemary, cilantro, ginger flowers, organic mini roses, basil, and much more to water to enjoy. Hot teas are nothing but flavored water, but I'd never thought to add these herbs to cold water.
The authors are HUGE on flavor. Chapter 13 Condiments, Infused Oils, and Spreads lay the foundation of flavor that transforms dishes from "good" to "ka-pow!"
Chocolate Ganache Pie
Okay, don't laugh at my half-eaten pie. My family and I dove right in as soon as it was ready. Then I realized I hadn't photographed the pie yet! I said, "Wait until I take a picture!" What's also funny is that the chocolate seized up on me while I melted the chips. I'd melted vegan chocolate chips in a bowl over boiling water. Reinfeld and Murray warn that "the slightest droplet of water will "seize" the chocolate, leaving it lumpy and devastatingly imperfect looking." But, exactly as they wrote, "but surely do not cry over broken chocolate; everyone still loves to like it up and your lumpy little pie will still taste divine."
I'm not sure how my chocolate smoothed itself out because at least a tablespoon of water got into it. And the pie was divine. Rich, thick, creamy...everyone was happy, including me.
Any variation on a raw Kale Salad is appreciated by me. Reinfeld and Murray use maple syrup in this Rainbow Kale salad version. I didn't have the colorful veggies on hand that day, but I made it anyway. I'm feeling this one!
When I think about a dish often, it's a good one. I made this Ranch Dressing to go with the Buffalo Tofu from The Vegan Soul Food Guide to the Galaxy the last time I made it for my husband. It puts bottled Ranch to shame. I think the green onion and paprika are the ingredients that make this dressing burst with flavor. It is "lick the bowl" fantastic!
Live Lemon Bars
This kid-friendly live dessert was a hit in my home. When Raymond asks for "more, please" we have a winner. The smell of lemon waifed through my kitchen. This dessert was kind of like a pie. Smooth and creamy on top and crunchy on the bottom. Lemony goodness. :-)
My only complaint is the black and white photographs. They do nothing to make the food "pop." And Mark and Jennifer deserved at least one color photograph of themselves. There are eight pages of color photos, which make the food sing. 30-Minute Vegan places such an emphasis on herbs, spices, and bold flavors, that all of the photographs should have done justice to this incredible food.
30-Minute Vegan still receives 10 out of 10 Mocha Angels because of its excellence, bar none. Written for the busy home cook, and creative enough to keep anyone interested for years, 30-Minute Vegan belongs in every house.
One lucky person wins a copy of 30-Minute Vegan!!
- Leave a comment at the end of this post. Answer the question: “What is your best kitchen tip to help save people time when preparing a meal or drink?"
- Leave a working email address too.
-The winner must live in the United States
-The winner must live in the United States
- Post your comment by 11:59pm EST, Monday, September 6, 2010.
- I will pick the winner at random. The winner will receive an email from me on Tuesday, September 7, 2010. I will announce the winner on The Raw Mocha Angel blog on that same day.