Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh where does the time go?

4 months later and I'm posting again.
I seem to fall in this rut often within the past year or so..
Although I still read other's blogs all the time and am always inspired to keep going with mine, but yet I always put it to the side. I still take pictures of all the fabulous food I've been making though "just in case" i'll blog about it.
In which I will!

I have another cookbook review.
Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chadra Moskowitz, aka the vegan goddess of wonderful foods and cookbooks (veganomicon, vegan cookies/vegan cupcakes, vegan brunch..yes they're all great!)

I was intrigued by this book however because it was focused on healthier foods with less "fake meats" and more using pure vegetables and "real" food. Not that I don't love a delicious seitan scallopini, but sometimes resorting to how delicious just vegetables can be is a nice refresher.

I was able to get this book at a Border's that was closing, so I got a great discount! They had a lot of different vegan books that I was tempted to buy at such a great deal as well, but I already have quite the bookshelf full of them.

The first recipe I made from this was the Chickpea Piccata and Caulipots (pg. 115 and 54)

I love piccata sauces so I knew this would be good, and I loved the idea of a healthier mashed potato using half cauliflower as well. There were a few variations of the caulipots but I stuck to the original recipe and they turned out great.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots): (serves 4)
2 russet potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon of olive oil ( I used smart balance instead! made it taste "buttery" like mashed potatoes i'm used to!)
2-4 T of vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon of salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a 4 quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making srue there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the cauliflower. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato masher to mash them up a bit. (I think i used a bottom of a cup, but I added a masher to my wedding registry!) Add the olive oil (or smart balance), 2 T of broth, and the salt and pepper and mash a bit more. Use a fork to make sure its seasoned well. Add more broth if needed and taste for salt.

These were so great and I honestly would have had no idea there was cauliflower used in it except for I made them.

Chickpea Piccata: (serves 4)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly (i used a jarred minced garlic, about 3 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup white wine (i used pinot grigio because it's great to drink as you cook)
pinches of black pepper and dried thyme
1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup capers with a little brine
3 T lemon juice
4 cups arugula (I used spinach)

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute the shallots and garlic for abuot 5 minutes, until golden. Add the bread crumbs and toaste tehm by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker.
Add the broth, wine, salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and let the sauce reduce by half; should take about 7 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and capers and let heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.
To assemble correctly, and if you made the caulipots as well -- put on a plate the spinach or arugula, then top with a serving of caulipots, then a serving of chickpea picatta so the spinach gets warm and it all goes together perfectly!

These two recipes I think would win over any omnivore easy. It's such a comforting and delicious, yet extremely healthy meal that anyone would enjoy it. :)

The next recipe I tried from the book was the Red Thai Tofu (p.149) and Green Beans with Thai Basil (p.98).

Both of these recipes were great, and went together perfectly for a delicious meal :)

The flavoring and seasonings on the tofu were perfect and the way of cooking it made it just enough crispy and firm to not be on the mushy side.
The basil in both of these recipes really brought it all together.
However, for both of these recipes it calls for fresh Thai basil.
I could not find this type in the stores near me, and regular basil leaves worked just fine! As I've been learning with a lot of recipes..don't be intimated by the complex ingredients, as long as you can find something similar in your local stores then the recipe will be fine and have your own twist to it!

Another recipe that we made was the Mango Baked Beans.

I'm back and forth with this recipe. i halved it for just Jason & I, and it still made a TON. I'm pretty sure the leftovers ended up being trash after being in the fridge for too long though. :(
The night that I made it and we ate it I really did like it.
I also made the accompanied corn bread with scallions with it and that gave it a nice touch and was great to dip into the bean sauce.
The mango added sweetness to the beans and bbq-ish to it which was a nice contrast.
I don't think I'd make this again though, but it was nice to try and a great easy weeknight meal!

The most recent meal that I've made from AFR was the 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma.
This was AWESOME!
I always have trouble when I eat out and order a vegetable curry.
It always comes to me the way I don't want it to -- more of vegetables in a "soup" then vegetables with a sauce on top. I like coconut milk in my curries, but not my vegetables drowning in it.
That's why I prefer to make my own curries with coconut milk at home. Plus I can make it with light coconut milk, which in my opinion is much better than the full just has a less overpowering taste but still brings on tons of flavor!

This recipe made a ton and was great the next day as leftovers over spinach!
Any indian-inspired meal I'm instantly drawn too, and usually very happy with so this was no different. It was great to use such fresh veggies for it as well. The zucchini was a nice change to the usual veg lineup.

This cookbook is truly great and I've been bookmarking many other recipes from it that I plan on making in the future.

My only demise? There is no dessert section!!

While I know Isa's cause of this book was to be "healthy" after making Vegan Cupcakes and Vegan Cookies cookbooks, it would still have been nice to see some "healthier" versions of her own desserts that she's come up with!

That's okay though, my "healthy" cookbook of Happy Herbivore has delicious fat free carrot cake cupcakes that we made to tie me over, which I'll review next time. ;)

Another recipe tried from the book was the