Originally I was planning on doing another book this week since I don’t own Viva Vegan, but on a fluke a couple days before it started I found myself at the library and there just so happens to have been one copy left on the shelf. I of course snatched it up, and after all the things I tried this week it turns out it was a wise move on my part. I’v heard lots of praise for this cookbook and on top of that I absolutely love Latin inspired dishes, but for some reason I’ve never had the desire to get this book. I think I was just worried that it would require one too many trips to specialty stores, but as it turns out every meal I made just required a quick jaunt over to the grocery store by my house. Now I’m by no means saying that there aren’t recipes in there that will require special ingredients, as I was flicking through the book I came across a lot of different chilies and spices that I’ve never heard of before but I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble finding a few that were pretty pantry friendly, plus if you’re not sure what say, aji amarillo is, just take a gander at the intro, you’ll find that Terry has given a helpful description of each ingredient (it’s a yellow chili pepper by the way).
I wanted to start the week off with something I haven’t made in a long time, good old beans and rice or as the book calls it, Costa Rican Refried Rice and Beans (Gallo Pinto). This recipe is somewhat adaptable depending on what beans and rice you have on hand, so I used long-grain brown rice and black beans. Holy cheeze balls is this stuff good! Who would have thought that something as simple as beans and rice could be so flavourful, just a bit of spice from the chili, a hint of smokiness and a whole lotta cilantro really brings this dish together. There’s a Mexican place down the street from where we live, both P and I are big fans of their burritos and P was convinced that this recipe tasted just like the same rice mixture they use as their fillings, I think it was pretty damn close but the Viva Vegan recipe comes out on top. I didn’t put this in a burrito but instead fancied it all up on a plate and topped it off with some avocado and Frank’s red hot sauce, looking back at the pictures I’m sad there’s no longer any left, guess this just means that I’ll have to make more.
I’ve heard so many great things about the Steamed White Seitan recipe that I knew I had to find a recipe that called for it just so I had an excuse to make the stuff. Besides for the annatto-infused oil, I had everything in my kitchen to make the Arroz Con Seitan, done and done, now that I had a recipe picked it was on to the seitan. Like most other seitan recipes, this was super simple to make, you just mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, wrap each piece in foil and put them in your itty bitty crappy steamer, oh what? you don’t have an itty bitty crappy steamer? well lucky you. Due to my steamer being so small I had to do this in two batches, but if your steamer is either bit a normal size then you won’t have the same problem as me. After leaving it in the fridge overnight the texture turned out great, I was eager to try it out in the star of my wednesday night meal. The Arroz Con Seitan was a pretty delicious dish, it’s full of rice, seitan,beer and veggies, so good. The recipe calls for white rice but I felt the need to use brown instead, so mine took a nice bit longer to cook, I also had to add a nice bit more liquid. If you’re a hater of beer then there’s the option of leaving it out but I didn’t find it overly noticeable, but I thought it added a nice richness to the dish. We picked up a dutch oven a couple weeks ago and I was super excited to finally try it out, although it takes a while to cook this dish is pretty quick to throw together. I just sautéed the onion, garlic and whatnot, then threw everything in the pot to simmer until the rice was cooked. I was starting to feel run down Wednesday night and on top of that me and P had the lovely pleasure of having to dig up part of our half frozen back yard, whoopee! It was pretty nice to walk into the house and have this dish sitting on the stove and ready to eat.
I’m going right off the bat tell you that this stew is Amazing! I know I’m a little biased since I pretty much love everything that contains peanut butter but the Creamy Potato Peanut Stew (Guatita) is so delicious. The recipe calls for TVP chunks or soy curls and I just so happen to have a half pack of soy curls left that were begging to be used up, I think they work much better with the stew anyway, although chickpeas would be really good to if soy isn’t your thing. I only had half the amount of potatoes called for so I threw in a sweet potato to make up the rest; sweet potatoes and peanut butter are pretty much a match made in heaven, it really added to the dish, but using all potatoes would be pretty rad too. With the soymilk and peanut butter, this dish turned out so creamy and rich, there are so many different flavours but they all went so well together. I should have paired this with the coconut rice recipe but instead I just whipped up some cilantro lime millet and topped it off with a bit of avocado.
I was really impressed with this book and I already regret the fact that I don’t own it….yet. There are so many interesting and delicious sounding recipes, also the pictures in the book are enough to make your mouth water. I really like the variety of recipes from various Latin American countries, she really uses a lot of inspiration from so many different cultures. This book is a definite winner!