Sunday, February 6, 2011

PPK Cookbook Challenge Week 4: Vegan with a Vengeance

Week 4, Vegan with a Vengeance.

I have to admit, my non-vegan (at the time) mother turned me onto this book. When my sister and I went vegan, our mom did what she does best and got really into it. She bought a bunch of vegan cookbooks and during one of my visits home, she made the Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars. They never stood a chance, and I ordered the book right away.

For Week 4, I chose five recipes and made four of them on the same day.

Mocha Chip Muffins
I really like these, but they're more of a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin. The coffee flavor isn't terribly strong, but I think the chocolate flavors are enhanced by the coffee. I do like them a lot though, and they're a wonderful afternoon treat. In the future I'll reduce the number of muffins I make to get bigger muffins.

Curried Split Pea Soup
This soup is great. It's super easy to make, with most of the cooking time being down time. The flavor is lovely, and mellow. It's wonderful comfort food for a cold day and pairs well with toast.

Spicy Indian Rice with Toasted Almonds
This rice is worth the bit of extra effort (and it is such a very little bit it's hardly worth saying). It's flavorful without stealing the show, which makes it perfect as an accompaniment. Next time, I'll make it to go with Aloo Gobi. I will also double the amount of almonds in the future because I really like almonds.

Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
This is so good that I ate way too much of it the first night, became too full, and didn't want anymore. I tried it with the truffle oil, and hated that. It literally tastes like dirt, which I guess is what Moskowitz meant when she called it "earthy." I can see how some people might like it, and I'll try it again one day, but my dishes will be truffle oil-less and my palate unrefined for now.'

Out of the four dishes I made on that one day, this was the most time-consuming, but it comes together easily. The biggest deal is all the stirring, but since I was multitasking and stuck in the kitchen anyway, it didn't seem like a big deal. It won't be on the emergency dinner list, but it's great if you want something filling and fancy without a huge investment of time an effort. I also think it would be nice during a fall or winter holiday meal.

Orange-Rum Tea Cake
This cake is fabulous. It's so orangey and sweet. My sensitive teeth don't like the cornmeal, but it's actually great. It adds a lot to the very fluffy cake. The almonds on top also add a lot to the texture. Perfect with tea or coffee, I'll be sure to make this when entertaining guests.


  1. Nice post. This is my favourite vegan cookery book - my copy is literally falling apart! I've only made the muffins and the risotto out of your list, though I have made them many times! I shall give some of these others a try. I made the BBQ pomegranate tofu last night with the coconut lemon rice and it was amazing!

  2. Thank you! I haven't used this book as much as I would like, but I'm making an effort. I've really liked everything I've made from it though. The BBQ Pomegranate tofu is on my must list - I don't know why I always shy away from it. I'll make it with the rice - thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Did you know you can BAKE risotto? I finally tried it (at my mom's insistence) and it really does work. I blogged about it a couple months back, but basically you make your broth, saute your veggies and rice, then mix everything together in a big casserole dish and bake it for an hour or until it's done. Major timesaver, unless you're me and try to squeeze too much squash into the baking dish....

  4. I had no idea! But that is awesome advice. Thank you so much. I'll be doing that in the future for sure.