Cookbook Challenge Week Twelve: Color Me Vegan

I can’t believe twelve weeks have gone by already! This is crazy talk people, crazy I say! Thanks to this challenge I’ve been eating a lot of really good food lately and getting the chance to experience what my cookbook collection has to offer. I’ve really liked focusing on a different cookbook one week at a time and I think I’m going to keep going with this method, it makes meal planning way easier. I thought I’d end the challenge with a book that focuses more on nutrient dense whole foods as I’ve been eating a hell-ofa-lotta sweets the past couple weeks, and I’ve been looking forward to exploring Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s beautiful book, Color Me Vegan.  I was a little skeptical when I first heard about this book, mainly because I thought the concept was a little hokey but she did a wonderful job of putting it together with each chapter focusing on a different color and has lots of information about the amazing nutrients associated with said color. One thing that drew me in to this book was the beautiful colourful pages, it’s not something you see too often in cookbooks due to the cost but it really made the book stand out. But enough chit chat, here’s what I tried out this week:

I was planning on bringing something to my friends house the other night and since one of the girls is celiac, it needed to be gluten free. After taking a flick through the chapters I picked the Quinoa, Tofu and Kale with Walnut Pesto, I’m sooo not familiar with cooking gluten free but it seemed like a safe choice. I’ve thrown tofu and kale into some quinoa before but I never thought of mixing it with pesto, such a great idea. The walnut pesto was super yummy, it reminded me a lot of Dreena Burton’s recipe. I lurve basil and fresh basil has such a intense delicious flavour, the walnuts add some lovely omega 3’s and are much cheaper then using pinenuts, if I ever wind up with leftovers  I’m totally using this to make a kick-ass base on my pizza. I wish there had been something more done with the tofu but then I normally feel this way about pan fried tofu. It would have been nice if it had been cooked in something, like some soy sauce (or wheat-free tamari) or veggie stock, or something! When it’s just pan fried as is I find, sauce or not, it’s usually pretty bland. Once you throw in the sundried tomatoes and toasted pepitas, this really makes for a pretty tasty meal, and gluten free to boot! Win win.

I know this book is about adding lots of color into your diet but I had a lot of trouble staying away from the White/Tan chapter, call me boring but there are a lot of recipes in that chapter that were calling my name. With the lure of comforting soothing flavours, I gave in to the Winter White Soup, yes I know it’s no longer technically winter, but with the way the weather has been recently with it’s random snowstorms and all that other shit that goes along with living in the Canadian prairies, I would beg to differ. I seem to have this bad habit of forgetting that we have beans and then go to the store and by a few more cans, so my stock of white beans has been overflowing just a tad, it was nice to use up at least one can in this soup and blending them with the parsnips and potatoes gave the soup a beautifully creamy texture. I thought the combination of ingredients was going to make the soup taste a little off, something about combining ginger, pear, dill, tarragon, and thyme just seemed weird to me, but they all actually went really well together. The pear gave the soup a very subtle sweetness and the spices all livened up the soup without clashing. I’m not usually a huge fan of dill, unless it’s followed by pickle, but I gotta admit, I thought it really added a little something something . This is one hearty soup, so it’s super filling and really nutritious. It won’t be long before the sun finally shines and I’m completely done with comforting soups (well for a couple months at least) but I’m glad I got to enjoy one last bowl.

I really wanted to take advantage of some of these more colorful dishes, so I made one from the Orange chapter and one from the Green chapter. I already had tofu once this week so for something slightly different I picked the Orange-Glazed Tempeh. This dish has one of my favorite flavour combinations, orange and ginger. There’s no marinating required, you just pan fry the tempeh strips (I boiled mine in soy sauce for 15 minutes beforehand) until they’re nice and golden, then you create a simple orange sauce infused with garlic and ginger. The tempeh is coated in this delicious glaze and kind of reminded me of something you might find at a Chinese restaurant but I ‘m guessing much much healthier. I had the tempeh over an ancient grain mixture I picked up at Costco, I usually buy the wild rice mixture they have but this one has quinoa, rye berries and bulgur, I love the chewy texture of these grains, so this stuff is right up my alley. Along with this I made the Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Pecans, I already love brussels sprouts, so the thought of adding in apple and pecans just sounded perfect. Overall, the earthy flavours of the brussels sprouts went really well with the sweetness of the apples and nuttiness of the pecans. I’m all about texture, so I appreciated the little bit of crunch the nuts added to the dish. The most time consuming part was having to shred the brussels sprouts but it was worth the effort and everything after that was smooth sailing. I couldn’t get mine to look as pretty as the picture in the book but the taste more then made up for having to look at those ugly ass sprouts. I still prefer roasting to pan frying brussels sprouts, so although this wasn’t my favourite dish it was still really good.

Colourful dishes packed with nutrients to satisfy whatever your body is craving (including dessert) what more could a cook want? If her latest release is any indication, I think I now have to hunt down Colleen’s other books to add to my collection.

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