Cookbook Challenge Week Eight: American Vegan Kitchen

I’ve been looking forward to trying out some recipes from American Vegan Kitchen since it showed up in my mailbox, I mean come on! Who doesn’t love comfort food? Just flicking through the recipes was cause for me to start salivating, gyros, donut bites, onion rings and burgers, there’s just so many delicious things to choose from. From breakfast to dessert, this book has it all covered, there’s even a few pages that have suggestions for creating your own blue plate special. Being a book that’s based on veganized american comfort food, there are a lot of recipes that are heavy on the seitan, but if that’s not your thing there’s no need to fret as Tamasin has also thrown in all sorts of recipes that aren’t meat centric, just take a look through the “look inside” function on Amazon and you’ll see what I mean. Now, if you’ve taken a look at this cookbook you may have noticed that some of the ingredient lists look long and I know this overwhelms some people, but let me assure you that this does not mean that recipe is any more complicated or time consuming, it just means that it’s got a lot of flavour.

I was really tempted by all the sweet items I scanned through and had to give in when I took a look at the Cinnacrunch Muffins, the fact that there are actually crunchy chunks of cinnamon sugar throughout the muffin sounded like texture heaven. Unlike most muffins recipes, these are a little different as you have to plan ahead before you make them, the cinnamon crunch topping takes 2 hours to cool completely and harden before you can add it to the batter. Of course I didn’t read through the recipe beforehand and didn’t notice this step, so to cheat and speed it up a bit I stuck it in the fridge, worked like a charm and as far as I can tell it didn’t screw things up. The recipe calls for vegan sour cream, which is not something I tend to have on hand, so I just replaced it with an equal amount of soy yogurt and a teaspoon of lemon juice. These baked up soft and moist with crunchy domes, when they first cool you can really notice the crunchy bits throughout the muffin but after a couple days they start to soften, still just as tasty though!

Mmm, the Seitan Brew Stew is one of those rich, hearty stews that I consider to be comfort in a bowl, it’s kind of reminiscent of an irish stew. The recipe calls for 1 and a half cups of lager, and it just so happens that P. had a full keg of homemade lager that was just begging to be used, it might seem like a lot of beer but I didn’t find the flavour to be overly beer-y, it seemed to be more of a background flavour. I loved the big hunks of carrot, potato and seitan, it may the stew really meaty and filling. This would make a darn good St. Patricks day meal, ya know, with it being right around the corner and all.

I’ve never had Salisbury steak before but ever since I saw it on the cafeteria board on South Park I’ve always wondered what it taste like. Of course with the main ingredient being steak, I never got around to trying it, but there just so happened to be a recipe for Salisbury-Style Seitan with Mushrooms and I finally let my curiosity get the best of me. Now I have absolutely no idea if this tastes anything like the traditional variety but it was good none the less, you can’t really see the seitan in my picture but that’s just because it’s smothered in a delicious onion and mushroom gravy. The seitan is covered in spices and panfried before you add it to the gravy but I think it would be tasty right out of the pan, as it was frying P. kept asking if I was cooking sausage. The amount of onions and mushrooms used were a bit too much for my tastes but that’s more of a texture issue on my part, I’ve always had issues with big hunks of mushrooms. This was a nice dish and it was twice as nice when I turned it into a blue plate special.

To go with the seitan I also made Rosemary Carrots and Taters and Strings. I wanted some quick and healthy side dishes to round out the meal and these seemed like a good fit. The carrots were really easy to throw together, I had some fresh rosemary that was nearing the end of its life so I was glad to use it up, fresh herbs aways seem to enhance dishes more then the dried variety anyway. For not calling for many ingredients these carrots sure had a lot of flavour, I will definitely be making them again when I’m in need of a quick side. The taters and strings (potatoes and green beans) were a nice two-in-one side dish, plus whatever rosemary was leftover from the carrots went into this. I love roasted veggies, so it didn’t take much for this dish to win my heart, also it’s another recipe that has a short ingredient list and comes together quickly, which is great since I don’t like putting a lot of effort into sides.

I was craving breakfast for dinner and its been a-hell-of-a-long-time since I’ve had a breakfast skillet. When I first moved to Calgary me, P and our roommate would go to Humpty’s Restaurant regularly and order their Pan-Scramblers, the thought of eating one of those things now makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little, but back then I used to love those things. When I came across the Country Skillet, it brought back memories of those days. This may not come covered in a processed cheese sauce like the Humpty version but it was so delicious! This skillet is full of tofu, Sausage Links, potatoes, bell pepper, swiss chard and mushrooms…which I ran out of but I’m sure would have been a nice addition. Just as good the next day this turned into one kick ass breakfast wrap. I had made the Vegan Sausage Links the night before and although not the prettiest things in the world (hence the lack of pictures) they reminded me a lot of the Tofurky sausages, in a good way. The had a lot of flavour and a really great texture, I’m a little nervous when trying out new seitan recipes but it seems that steaming is the way to go when it comes to sausages.

This book has so many delicious and nostalgic meals, there are so many recipes that I’ve bookmarked to make when I get the chance. Another great thing about this cookbook is that it also has a recipe for just about every ingredient, spice mixes, seitan, breads and toppings, there’s nothing that seems to be missing. I’m already looking forward to my next suppertime breakfast 🙂

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