Cookbook Challenge Week Two: Veganomicon

Veganomicon was the first all vegan cookbook I ever purchased and I it was the best choice for a newby cook and vegan like me.  Everyone seems to have it and everyone seems to love it. It’s a huge book stuffed full of information on kitchen gadgets, pantry staples, cooking how-tos and 250+ recipes of all types. If you have a day off and want to make something complicated and time consuming, there’s plenty of recipes for that, or if you’ve had a long day of work and want something quick and easy, there’s plenty of recipes for that as well. There are some really great meals in this books but I have to be honest, I haven’t tried half as many recipes as I would like to, I guess it’s mostly because I’m a creature of habit and once I find something I like I just go back to the same thing over and over. Well that’s all changed now, no repeats for me!

It was really hard deciding which recipes to make, there’s just so many to choose from and they all sound so good! Also, note to self, do not pick recipes while hungry as you’ll want to eat the book. I finally decided on the  Leek and Bean Cassoulet, but thanks to the crappy understocked grocery store that is by my house, I had no luck finding any leeks or potatoes and had to grab the ingredients for my second choice, the Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-Fry.

I usually stay away from stir-fry recipes since I always make them when I’m not in a cooking mood, they’re extremely easy and I never need to use a recipe, but I’m so glad I pick this recipe! It was deeeeeeelish…..and I’m not the type of person who normally uses the word delish in a sentence. You start off by cooking the quinoa in pineapple juice, I’ve never thought of doing this before and tend to always use veg broth but it added so much flavour! I may have to try different juices to experiment with, hmmmm, I wonder how carrot or beet juice might taste? I know there are a lot of quinoa haters out there so if you’re not a fan you could always replace it with another grain. The sweet pineapple with the spicy pepper went so well together and cashews are just awesome in just about everything. This recipe was perfect for a weeknight meal, the most time consuming part was waiting for the quinoa to cool completely but you could always cook it the night before. I loved how the peas added colour and a little pop in my mouth with every bite.

Next on the list was Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust.

I mainly picked this recipe since the ingredients were easy to find and I love potpie. It’s a real comforting dish, with it’s crispy biscuit topping and creamy base. I don’t use the spices that were called for, like tarragon, marjoram or mustard powder very often, so when I was mixing the creamy roux-like sauce I found that the scent kind of threw me off, I was expecting your typical potpie smell and was hit with something deliciously herby but totally different. The olives I had bought were really briny, which made the pastry a little too salty for me, so if you decide to try this recipe make sure you buy the bottled variety as they’re a bit more bland. My parents have been visiting for the past couple days and as it turns out both me and my mom have the same taste in food. I made the recipe on Wednesday and had been eating it for lunches Thursday and Friday but when I came home Friday after work my mom had surprised me by cooking something from one of my books….Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie! Gotta love it. Everyone seemed to really like it and she’s even copying the recipe so they can make it again.

I was really hoping to make the curried udon recipe but ran out of time, so instead I baked up some Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. I love citrus in quickbreads and the sweetness of the orange was a perfect companion to the tart cranberries. My bread sunk a little bit in the middle when I took it out of the oven, so I may mess around with the temperature the next time I make it, I might even try mixing in some whole wheat pastry flour just to ‘health’ it up a bit. I used all unbleached white flour this time and added in walnuts, you could always use whatever type of nut you’d like if walnuts aren’t your thing, the loaf was fluffy but with the little bit of chewiness and very tasty.  The consensus all around was that this was a great loaf, everyone thought it had really good flavour. One tip I’d like to pass along though is that it should probable be kept in the fridge, since it has lots of fresh fruit the mold demons get a little excited and I’m thinking it wont last more then a couple days on the counter.

If you’re interested in reading other people’s reviews for the Appetite for Reduction week check out this post.

I’ve already got my copy of our next book from the library, Urban Vegan! I’m not familiar with this book at all so it should make for some interesting cooking.

2 thoughts on “Cookbook Challenge Week Two: Veganomicon

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