Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegan Diner - Cookbook review-ish

Today I'd like to cover a book that has been hanging out in my collection a while, but not too long, and I've been hording photos of for ages but missing quite a few photos too because I can't for the life of me lay my little mouse pointer on them . . . 

I've been seeing Julie pop up on the ppk forums since I first became vegan and have learned that she is a great vegan chef.  Recipes that she comes up with are to be trusted, tried and fed to your family.  I guess it probably helps that she's looking to feed her own family as well as running a vegan food business.  It is in her interest to produce delicious foods that anyone and everyone can enjoy.

Starting with breakfast I made the:
Blueberry Nutmeg Muffins (pg 19)
Mocha Muffins (pg 20) 
Banana Biscuits (pg 25)
Breakfast Potatoes with Peppers and Onions (pg 45)
Soups Salads & Sides:
Quick and Hearty Chili (pg 70)
A nice quick chili.  Great on it's own but super awesome over potatoes.  
Garlic Dill Potato Salad (pg 80)
This was awesome!  As with everything I make with raw garlic these days, I scaled down the amount asked for because I couldn't bare to hear it was too much.  I am totally in love with creamy potato salads anyway, always have been.  This doubled as a good help to use extra fresh dill I had hanging out in my fridge.
Vampire Fries (pg 85)
Yup, more garlic and I loved them.  But not too much garlic.  Garlic is good for you!
Sweetheart Fries (pg 86)
Main Courses:
Very Sloppy Joes (pg 93)
I've always had a love hate relationship with sloppy joes.  I like sandwhiches and I like the sloppy joe filling but half of it always squeezes out and you end up eating it with a fork anyway and for sandwhiches I feel like they are fork free foods.  I forget which blog I recently saw this on but I had to do the old forhead smack on this one.  Sloppy joes over potatoes.  I think baked potato would be best but I don't do baked spuds often so the cubed and roasted are just fine here.
Quinoa Burgers (pg 100)
Cheezy Mac (pg 104)
Just add something green for a super yummy rounded out meal.
Jambalaya (pg 105)
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (pg 124)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (pg 125)
Ooey-Gooey Brownies (pg 126)
Ok these I almost had to report a problem with before I realized the problem was me and my oven.  It's a gas oven and I've always had trouble regulating temperature in gas ovens.  Sometimes the seal has been crap.  Sometimes there isn't even a suggestion of temperature control, just on or off.  First I didn't make them exactly as written I had substituted whole meal flour and then realized as they were baking that I forgot the sugar completely.  They still tasted ok, good thing I like dark chocolate!  Both the first and second times I made them there was a baking time issue.  I just could not get the centers to bake.  Then I thought about it, no matter what I baked in there if it were dessert/snack bars or dinner casseroles I had a ridiculous time getting the centers to heat up before the edges hardened and turned to cemented lumps of charcoal. The final time I improvised a tray on a cookie sheet and followed the recipe exactly and voila! Perfect delicious best brownies ever brownies.  Seriously make these.  
Apple Crumb Pie (pg 138) with All Purpose Pastry Dough (pg 136)
 Sauces & Incidentals:
I won't comment on these individually but just say as a group all the sauces I tried were awesome and I have made them more than once since the first try.
Creamy Sage and Pepper Gravy (pg 160)
Rich Brown Gravy (pg 176)
Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce (pg 178)
 Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce (pg 179)

There are loads more I want to make.  When I made the bulk of these recipes I was keeping away from too much gluten for our family.  Lately I have been reintroducing it a bit and my little one seems to be doing much better with it.  While I won't be going crazy with it I am now able to try out some more of these recipes.  On that note I did find the book a bit gluten heavy.  For some things like sauces and gravies when a flour is called for it's not a hard sub to choose something wheat and/or gluten free but in recipes where vital wheat gluten flour is called for the substitution is much more difficult and the result will almost certainly not be the same as the recipe creator intended.  Aside from a gluten aversion this book does not disappoint and I look forward to trying out more recipes.  Just now writing this I know that tomorrow morning I will be making Cherry Almond Poppyseed Muffins (pg 18) but with the cranberry variation.  The recipes cover lots of diner style food and definitely hit the comfort food spot.

Julie's latest book is Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes.  Can't wait to get my mitts on that one.

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