Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grandma Crabby's Book Review Corner - Cookbook Edition.

I'm still eating a 90-95% plant-based diet. I've compromised a bit on dairy, because soy coffee creamer just doesn't do it for me and the much richer and tastier coconut version requires a trip to the health food store, which doesn't happen often. So I use real half and half in my two cups of morning coffee.

I do nearly all of my grocery shopping in a normal supermarket, and I really love recipes that don't require weird, hard to find ingredients or a whole lot of labor - I just don't have the time.  That said, I've learned that it really is easy to make your own seitan, and even found an easy crockpot version in The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour
That's a great basic book with useful techniques - I cook my dried beans in my crockpot now, instead of boiling them on the stove.  So easy! 

I've become a veggie cookbook collector lately, and I have two new favorites that I turn to all the time. Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves
is fabulous - I use the very easy mustard glaze at least once a week! It's particularly good on kale.  This is a vegan cookbook that non-vegans can appreciate, especially if you are trying to get more healthy greens into your diet. 

My other new cookbook was an impulse buy: Cookin' Crunk: Eatin' Vegan in The Dirty South

I don't believe I've ever said the word "crunk" out loud, or heard anyone else use it in my entire life, and this is, I believe, the first time I've ever written it. I'm a Floridian who grew up in Maryland, and I don't think of myself as a Southerner, though I am not quite a Yankee either.  So I wasn't raised on traditional Southern cooking, though I do like it, it's not part of my kitchen repertoire. But something about the description of this book just made me want to give it a try, and WOW! You know how sometimes you can just READ a cookbook and know that you'll love the recipes?  This is one of those books - and it includes recipes for things other cookbooks call for, but that are impossible to find in a regular supermarket (vegan Worcestershire sauce, anyone?)

Again, I'm not a real vegan, I'm a plant-based eater, so I don't have any qualms about using a little real Worcestershire sauce if a recipe calls for it, but I was impressed that she provided a recipe, and it looks very easy!  I'm making her Sweet 'n Spicy Marinated Tofu later - it sounds wonderful, and there are so many ideas for using it in sandwiches, etc. How about a fried green tomato and marinated tofu sandwich with creamy maple-dijon sauce? Intriguing, huh?

I have nearly a full shelf of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks now, and I find wonderful recipes online too. I don't miss meat, and I've really felt a shift in my attitude since making the switch to this diet. I eat plant-based for the health benefits, but I do appreciate that it is better for the environment, and I'm glad I'm not contributing to the suffering of animals in the factory farms that provide most Americans' daily diet. Now, if I could just get over my fondness for real half and half, and leather shoes and bags... ;-)

Broken links appear to be fixed. Now I need to figure out why the first links didn't work.

After Dinner P.S.:

I made the marinated tofu and the maple-dijon sauce from Cookin' Crunk. O.M.G. I didn't do the fried green tomato sandwich - no green tomatoes to be had at Publix - but I did the marinated tofu slices, took a hunk of French bread and toasted it very lightly, and made the creamy maple dijon sauce. I drizzled the sauce on the lightly toasted bread, added two slices of the marinated baked tofu, and topped it with baby spinach leaves. DAMN! It was restaurant quality good, and very filling. I have a new staple recipe for work week sandwiches; I'd stuff it in a pita pocket for the office. I'm really impressed, and now want to try all of the recipes.


Joan said...

Wild About Greens landed in my mailbox today, and I am beyond thrilled. Thank you so much for reviewing this-- I am always on the lookout for interesting things to do with vegetables. Now maybe I'll learn what can be done with all those greens I see at the Oriental grocery store. I will probably have to start growing my own kale though, since it doesn't seem to be available anywhere in France (or at least anywhere near me).

Catherine said...

I'm glad you like it! I love it - I made the collards with black eyed peas and tomatoes tonight, and it was fabulous.