The Everything Vegan Cookbook, Jolinda Hackett with Lorena Novak Bull, RD (F & W Media Inc., 2010)
I really enjoy recipes that mix ingredients I would not have thought of combining. For example, using Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar together would not have been on my radar as a possible flavor combination. Each, in its own way, has a strong definitive flavor, but I would not have thought of combining them. This is just one of the suggested delicious combinations that you will find in this cookbook. By the way, combining dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar with beans, orzo, tomatoes and spices was excellent.
The recipes in this book that I tried were very tasty and inventive. Interestingly, many of these recipes have small, common ingredient lists and are often very simple to prepare. This will save you an extra trip to a specialty store and should be welcome news for those of you who prefer less time in the kitchen.
Another recipe that caught my eye and satisfied my palate was an Indonesian fried rice dish. This dish included tempeh, which originated in Indonesia, carrots, red bell pepper and hot peppers. A dash of ketchup and molasses added a nice touch and made for another interesting taste combination.
Though the book is nicely organized with inviting fonts and colors there are no pictures. This can be a negative for those who like to see what a recipe might look like as a means to stimulate their appetite. However, the lack of photos did not deter me. The book is organized by dish types under headings such as Appetizers, Breakfast Items, Whole Grains, etc. This makes it easy for the reader to find recipes of similar types.
Also included is a general discussion about transitioning to a Vegan lifestyle. This section is not ‘preachy’ and does a nice job of covering the basics of following a Vegan diet, especially for those readers who are thinking of adopting a Vegan diet. There is a single page of recommended on-line resources about Veganism but this listing barely dips into the myriad of possible choices available. I would have liked to see this resource section expanded.
There is another weakness in the book’s organization in addition to those mentioned above. The index is good but I would have preferred it to be more thorough. As an example, the fried rice with tempeh dish was listed under “rice”, but not under “tempeh”. As both are major ingredients I would expect a listing in the index for each major ingredient.
However, despite the minor flaws I have noted, I recommend this cookbook to those who are veg curious as well as Vegans. The recipes are delicious, easy to make and not complex. And, the combination of interesting sauces and spicing are innovative and sure to satisfy.
Glenn McCarthy (9-30-2014)