Cookbook Challenge Week One: Appetite For Reduction

Over at the PPK, a group of us food obsessed veg heads are taking part in a 12 week cookbook challenge. The objective is to make 3 or more different recipes from the cookbook that is chosen for that week. It’s a great way to encourage us to utilize the cookbooks we own and since it kind of goes hand in hand with this blog, I just had to take part. Here is the list:

January 10 – Appetite for Reduction
January 17 – Veganomicon
January 24 – Urban Vegan (I don’t own this one but I’ve already checked it out from the library)
January 31 – Vegan with a Vengeance
February 7 – Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
February 14 – FREE choice week – Choose any cookbook. Dessert cookbook will be Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World or other.
February 21 – 500 Vegan Recipes
February 28 – American Vegan Kitchen (En route from Amazon!)
March 7 – Yellow Rose Recipes
March 14 – Viva Vegan
March 21 – Vegan Brunch
March 28 – Final Week! Free choice – choose any cookbook. Dessert cookbook will be Vegan cookies Invade your Cookie Jar or other.

For the cookbooks I don’t have or can’t get from the library, I’ll either try to get the recipes on line or choose a different book to cook from.appetite-for-reductionI picked up Appetite for Reduction on boxing day and have only tried two recipes so far, which I’ve already posted about. The first recipe for the week I chose was the Unfried Beans. This dish was super simple to come together and super fast, which was perfect for a weeknight. I don’t think they’re a lot like traditional refried beans, but they were definitely tasty. I tried them as they were so that the taste wouldn’t get all mucked up with other flavours and then me and P made up some burritos with chili rice and salsa. So good! The burritos were awesome. I’ll be using this as my go to burrito filling from now on. Now if only I could master the technique of rolling a burrito without making a giant mess.

Next up was Red Thai Tofu which I had over the Pad Thai Salad. I love cooking tofu that has been marinating for a while but I’m not usually the type to plan ahead, so the red thai tofu was perfect for a weeknight when I’m starving and not feeling very patient. I’ve never tried Thai Red Curry Paste before and as it turns out, I like it! The recipe calls for thai basil, but I’ve never come across it before so I just went and subbed in some regular basil, I’m not sure if there’s a huge difference in flavour but it still came out well.  It was really tasty but could have been kicked up a notch if I had used a different brand of red curry paste, after I made the recipe I read some reviews from other people saying that the Thai Kitchen brand is a bit lacking in flavour.  The Pad Thai Salad will be going on heavy rotation in this household, I’m not usually a big fan of salad but the Peanut Lime Dragon Dressing was so flavourful and way more interesting then the boring balsamic dressing I always make. I know it’s supposed to be a low fat dressing but when I make it again I’m going to add a little bit of oil to help the dressing stick to the lettuce, it kept pooling at the bottom of the bowl and although I’m not above eating salad dressing like soup, I do like to eat some of it with the actual salad.

On friday night a couple friends came over, so for the grand finale of AFR, I made Lettuce Wraps with Hoison-Mustard Tofu and the Unfried Fried Rice.

I’ve only tried lettuce wraps once at some local chain restaurant and although they tasted ok, they were were smothered in oil and far from fresh, these were sooooo much better! No oil to be seen and the lettuce was so crisp! I asked my friends to be brutally honest, so I got two “really goods” and one “I’d eat it again” (which was a compliment). P had his smothered in schezwan sauce before he even tried it and I accidentally overdid it with the sriracha, but we both really liked ours. One friend thought that adding some peanuts to the wraps would have been a nice addition. The sauce for the tofu was really delicious,  if you like some extra spice and don’t want to get all crazy with the sriracha sauce like me,  you could always use a spicy mustard in place of the regular, that’s what I’ll be doing next time.

I don’t eat a lot of rice at home and I’m pretty sure I’ve never attempted fried rice before. When I was an omni I would have much rather gone to some Chinese restaurant to get my fix then to make it myself, but then I also hated any form of cooking back then. The ‘Unfried’ Fried rice was a really great base for building it up however you like, just without all the oil that usually always goes along with it. I got P to cook up the rice before I got home so that there was plenty of time for it to cool, then I sautéed some carrots for a few minutes, then the ginger, garlic and shallots, then I just threw in the rice with some soy sauce and peas. It went great with the wraps and sure was tasty. I had to add peas to mine as it just seems wrong to have fried rice without peas.

I’m kind of sad that Appetite for Reduction week is over, there are a lot more recipes in that book I need to try, but I’m super excited for this weeks book, Veganomicon.  I’ve had it for a while and I’ve cooked a few things out of it but haven’t really  used it to it’s full potential, I know there are lots of amazingly tasty recipe just waiting there for me.

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