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American Vegan Kitchen
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I know what you're thinking...do I really need ANOTHER vegan cookbook? Or, if you have none (yet), why would I purchase this book? Well, I was a tester for Tami and her recipes basically turned me into a gourmet chef. Easy to prepare with simple and no-fuss ingredients, the recipes in American Vegan Kitchen make any meal feel special and even got the meat-eating boyfriend's hearty endorsement. Favorites include the (baked!) onion rings, City Skillet tofu and potatoes, an amazing marinade for tofu skewers (coffee and liquid smoke-- need I say more? Sounds strange, but it's the closest I've had to a smoky, meaty taste in tofu), and the seitan. Now, I've tried at least 4 recipes for seitan but the ones in this book never cause any of the usual problems (gumminess, flavor, texture, what have you). The cinnamon flapjacks are great, and the yeasted waffles are my favorite of the many recipes I've tried. The roasted garlic pretzels are adorable and great for a party. The San Fran seitan wraps are great for quick weeknight meals, and taste much fancier than the ingredients would have you believe. The mustard mac and slaw turned me, a former slaw-hater (I couldn't even stand to look at the stuff) into someone who has to be restrained from making it weekly. Need I say more? Probably not. You'll love this book....and if not, well, something is wrong with your tastebuds.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased American Vegan Kitchen after seeing lots of buzz about it on a vegan foodie forum. In the week or so that I've had it, I've made a few of the recipes and everything has been outstanding! You want a vegan cheesesteak that everyone (meat eaters included) will love? It's here, along with a killer beer battered onion ring recipe. Craving donuts? Check out the "Darngood Donut Bites!" My family also tried the spaghetti pie, and all of us could not stop eating it (including my 2 and 4 year olds.)
The book has a nice mix of really decadent comfort food recipes as well as many lighter selections, i.e. soups, salads, etc., and some really interesting additions like "Deli Rubenettes," baked jalapeno poppers with lime cream and "quickels" (quick pickles.) There is also a basics section that has lots of good information on essential ingredients and cooking tips.
Without a doubt, American Vegan Kitchen is a great addition for both new and experienced vegan cooks, as well as for those who are interested in experimenting with vegan cooking. Highly recommended!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The last couple of years have seen a plethora of new vegan cookbooks - many of them quite good. Tami Noyes' book is among the excellent few that stand above the rest. Being familiar with her blog for some years, I knew her book would be noteworthy, but she has truly excelled. We have made a number of recipes, and fed them to family and friends to great praise. The No-Tuna Melt Panini, Incrediburger, and Sloppy Joe are going into permanent rotation in our house. This is fantastic, flavorful comfort food which will appeal to a broad audience, vegan or not. Bravo!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've tried many of these recipes on my non-vegetarian friends and families. I got raves on all of them. Tami makes cooking fun and her recipes are easy and delicious.

If you've never made your own seitan before and were afraid to try, try Tami's Savory Seitan (pg 5). It is really quite simple and yeilds great results. You will be ruined for life as you will never be able to go back to store bought again.

I just made the Chase the Chill Chili the other day. This is one fantastic chili. You will have a tough time picking a favorite recipe, but I highly recommend trying a few of mine: The Asian Style Salad bowl (pg. 92) is my all time favorite salad. The flavors jump out of the bowl. It is truly special. The dressing on the Bistro Chopped Salad (pg. 87) is my honey's go to red dressing now (and he is very particular about them). The San Fran Seitan Wrap (pg 107) may take a little time to put together, but it is off the hook! I've served the Seitan and Herb Dumplings - a vegan take on Chicken and Dumplings - several times to my meat eating crowd and they love it. The Pesto Lasagne with Slow Roasted Tomatoes (pg 155) ZOMG the tomatoes alone are addicting.

I could go on and on, but I think you should get your hands on a copy to experience this fantastic collection of recipes. I am a cookbook addict and have many on my bookshelf. This is one of my favorites and won't be gathering any dust.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are hunting for a thoroughly written and creative vegan cookbook packed with appealing and crazy-tasty recipes, look no further: this one's got it all, from soups, salads, and stews to tasty fries to coconut bacon bits (so delicious!) to crispy bottom peanut butter pie (thumbs [covered in peanut butter] way up!).

As soon as my copy arrived at the front door, I cracked the book open and couldn't stop bookmarking the recipes I absolutely had to try. Dare I admit I started cooking and baking from it in the middle of the night? My secret is now out there for you to see, but I'll get over the shame by munching on some more of that delicious pie.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Oh my goodness, does this lady know her way around diner food! I loved how the author offers tidbits on "diner speak" throughout this cookbook that ventures well beyond your traditional greasy spoon. She seamlessly ties each recipe into familiar American restaurant cuisine in one way or another, but really, this is a very unique collection of vegan cuisine.

Those who have turned to a vegan diet but are missing the indulgence factor will be jumping for joy over pseudo-familiar American-style recipes like the Beer-Battered Onion Rings, Tofu Rancheros, Vegan Sausage Links, Fork and Knife Reubens, Salisbury-Style Seitan with Mushrooms, Yankee Cornbread, New York-Style Cheesecake, Double Dark Mississippi Mud Pie, and Darngood Donut Bites. But be prepared for some new and exciting adventures that shout "nouveau bistro" more than "classic diner" ... Fried Avocado Wedges, Savory Stuffed French Toast with Mustard Shallot Sauce, Poblano Macaroni Salad, Chickanini Sandwiches, Pesto Lasagna with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms, and Vanilla Espresso Shake ... just to name a few.

I went the semi-traditional route and chose to start with the Fettuccine Alfredo, Rosemary Carrot, and Coconut `Bacon' Bits recipes. All turned out great. I do recommend lowering the temp on the `Bacon' Bits though as they cooked much faster than the recipe calls for, and I was using an oven thermometer.

I still have the Veggie Fried Rice, Summer Waffles with Lemon Sauce, Hubby's Home Fries, Mustard Mac and Slaw (I have heard this dish is awesome!), Stovetop Mac and Cheeze, and Roasted Broccoli and Peppers marked to trial soon.

A well-stocked vegan kitchen and a little time will easily see you through all of the recipes in this cookbook, which does contain quite a few elaborate recipes. I wouldn't call this a beginner vegan cookbook, but it should be a lot of fun for vegans who are ready for some new adventures along with the return of many old, but well-loved flavors.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to have been a tester for American Vegan Kitchen last year. Tami has written the ultimate cookbook for all-American vegan cuisine. Any type of "American" food you could want is in Tami's book--from a selection of slaws to deep-fried avocados to hearty stews (and the best selection of sandwiches I've ever seen). I truly enjoyed every recipe I have tried and am planning on working my way through the rest of the recipes I haven't gotten to yet. Some of my favorites so far have been the chipotle portabello sandwich and the chili. I made them during testing for dedicated meat-eaters and they were blown away.

I wholeheartedly recommend American Vegan Kitchen to anyone who misses diner food and perfect summer fare, as well as those comforting soups and stews of winter. (Basically, you need this book.)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Although many cultures happen to have vegan and vegetarian food intrinsic in their traditions (dhal and lentil curry from India; rice and beans from South America; tofu dishes from Asia etc...), American culture is not one of them. We vegetarians have had to forgo some American staples in the past, but this cookbook puts us back on the motherland map with its recipes for things like Seitan Po' Boys, Tempeh Stroganoff-Stuffed potatoes and 21st Century Tacos.

I highly recommend this book for people who are vegan or who cook for a mixed crowd. I would bet that anyone who wasn't told that these dishes are vegan would never guess that they were.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you like vegan comfort food, then this is the book for you! I've made a few recipes so far, and my two faves are the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (easily the best oatmeal raisin cookies I have ever had!), and the Beer-Simmered Seitan Stroganoff with Cracked Pepper. And the pictures in this book are excellent, I can't wait to make the Seitan Katsu and the Any-Day French Toast! I really want to make the Darngood Donut Bites, but I've been putting it off because I know they'll be freaking delicious and I'll eat them all in one sitting. Buy this book, you won't be disappointed!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to win a copy of AMERICAN VEGAN KITCHEN through a giveaway hosted by author Tami Noyes on her blog, Vegan Appetite. I can't even tell you how glad I am that I did, since I probably wouldn't have given it a try otherwise. Not because the recipes aren't enticing (they are! some epically so!); rather, I own way too many cookbooks as it is, many of which go largely unused. I'm happy to report that this hasn't been the case with AVK.

With chapters devoted to breakfast foods, starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, main dishes, sides, and desserts, it was difficult to know where to start. (The Dessert Case. Always start with dessert!) Cue: the old adage about one's eyes being bigger than one's stomach.

So far I've made about two dozen recipes - some of them multiple times! - including the following:

Mediterranean Scramble (page 23)
Noodle Omelet (page 25)
Summer Waffles with Lemon Sauce (page 36)
Cinnamon Flapjacks (page 37)
Vegan Sausage Links (page 41)
Mighty Miso Soup (page 73)
Loaded Baked Potato Soup (page 74)
'Big Soup' Minestrone (page 77)
Seitan and Herb Dumplings (page 134)
Italian Big Bowl (page 137)
Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine (page 138)
Fettuccine Alfredo (page 140)
Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce (page 141)
Brewpub Tater Tot Pie (page 152)
Margherita Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (page 157)
Cheesy Mac and Greens (page 164)
Stovetop Mac and Cheeze (page 165)
Taters and Strings (page 165)
Homestyle Gravy (page 167)
Mom's Apple Pie (page 178)
Apple Butterscotch Pie (page 180)
Peachy Keen Cobbler (page 184)
Vanilla Espresso Shake (page 198)

With the exception of the Peachy Keen Cobbler - the only dish I didn't love, though that's probably owing more to the fact that I'm not much of a cobbler girl than any deficiency in the recipe - I'll likely make all of these dishes again. The Homestyle Gravy has become a staple in our kitchen (put gravy on ALL the things!), and Noyes's Minestrone is by far the best version I've tasted. The Brewpub Tater Tot Pie and Loaded Baked Potato Soup are nothing short of inspired. (But be careful of the potato chunks in the latter - those suckers can get HOT! Best to cut them a little smaller than recommended.)

AVK features not one but two apple pie recipes, both of which are scrumptious. The crust is a bit on the delicate side, and thus hard to work with, but then again I've yet to find a pie crust recipe that I truly love.

Likewise, each of the two macaroni and cheese recipes are good, and healthy too - one even includes spinach! (Heads up, parents of veggie-averse kids.)

While we're on pasta, the Italian Big Bowl and Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine are both winners, but they pale in comparison to the awesomeness that is the Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce. Talk about love at first bite - right away I knew I'd found my new favorite recipe! A four-layer masterpiece consisting of pasta, a blended tofu concoction reminiscent of ricotta cheese, red sauce chunky with tvp, and vegan mozzarella cheese, this casserole is totally worth the hour plus assembly time. If you're strapped for time, you can prepare it in advance and refrigerate until meal time. The Spaghetti Pie has already replaced lasagna as my go-to Christmas recipe! (Make dinner the day before and spend the holiday relaxing, is my motto.)

As for difficulty, I'd say that AMERICAN VEGAN KITCHEN is appropriate for advanced beginner to intermediate cooks. Some of the recipes are more complicated, require a wider variety of ingredients, and take more time to prepare than others, with waffles and pancakes falling on the "easy" end of the spectrum and a few of the pasta dishes demanding more planning and patience. The Spaghetti Pie is an excellent example: though no one step is particularly difficult, add them all up and you might spend several hours in the kitchen, start to finish. That said, the more you practice, the more efficient you'll become. I'm fairly confident that I can shave fifteen minutes off the Spaghetti Pie the next time around.

While it's true that some of the recipes requite a good number of ingredients (Noyes is generous with the spices, which I appreciate), few of them are what I'd call hard to find. (In fact, the only ingredient I've run into trouble with is vegan butterscotch chips - they appear to be an online-only item.) Noyes makes moderate use of vegan meats, cheeses, and other "substitutes," so some of these recipes might require a trip to a specialty health foods store.

But - and here's the kicker - when possible, she also offers recipes for making these things yourself! In AVK you'll find do-it-yourself instructions for making your own sausage links, seitan, and bacon. (A steamer is required.) Additionally, many of the cheesy sauces are homemade, with liberal use of tofu and nutritional yeast. Since I live an hour's drive from the nearest vegan-friendly grocery, these recipes are quite useful for those weeks when we're in between shopping trips and running low on expensive indulgences. They're also helpful for those on a budget - buy a 25-pound sack of wheat gluten and make all the sausage you can eat!

As for nutrition, AMERICAN VEGAN KITCHEN strikes a pleasant balance between taste and healthfulness. Many of these dishes aren't exactly what you'd call "health food" - but, as far as comfort food goes, they aren't all that bad. Take for example the Fettuccine Alfredo: while it isn't the most decadent I've ever had - that distinction goes to the Linguine Alfredo in Lane Gold's VEGAN JUNK FOOD - it's still quite good and, since it's a cashew-based cream sauce, relatively healthy to boot. (The one in VJF contains cream cheese and soy creamer. Deliciously fatty - and a rare treat.)

For those who enjoy their cookbooks peppered with food photography, AVK includes an eight-page insert of glossy, full-color photos. I don't personally find photos necessary - that's what the internet is for - but the insert strategy is a nice compromise between cost and aesthetics, helping to keep prices down while still prettying things up a bit.

AMERICAN VEGAN KITCHEN is a huge win in my book. If you *heart* comfort food, want to try slightly more healthy and/or vegan versions of the diner foods you enjoyed as a kid, or just plain find vegan food sketchy - nothing but lettuce and bird seed - then you should definitely give AVK a try.

(Pssst! Start with Mom's Apple Pie. You can never go wrong with pie!)
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