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252 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best vegan book I've ever owned!
I have a total of 11 vegan cookbooks, and the candle cafe cookbook is the one I always use. I have been so disappointed in other vegan cookbooks because they either have hard-to-find ingredients, are too time-consuming to make, and are bland and boring. This cookbook is none of that! Almost every ingredient can be found at your local supermarket so it's not too...
Published on January 31, 2004 by Kimberly Brown

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141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Owners: If you want this book to represent your restaurant, please check the recipes -this is NOT the stuff you offer in NYC!
I totally agree with what some people have already said here:

These recipes never saw a test kitchen.

Not only that, whoever wrote them didn't think twice with many of them. The proportions are so outrageously wrong one would think they used some computerized formula to adapt their industrial-kitchen quantities to a 6-serving scale. Take for example...
Published on April 23, 2006 by Louie Louie


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141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Owners: If you want this book to represent your restaurant, please check the recipes -this is NOT the stuff you offer in NYC!, April 23, 2006
By 
Louie Louie "Louie from St. Louis" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I totally agree with what some people have already said here:

These recipes never saw a test kitchen.

Not only that, whoever wrote them didn't think twice with many of them. The proportions are so outrageously wrong one would think they used some computerized formula to adapt their industrial-kitchen quantities to a 6-serving scale. Take for example their Coconut-peanut sauce. When we had it with their tofu-satay at the Candle Cafe, we thought it was just amazing. Look at the ingredients: 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 coconut milk, 1/4 brown rice vinegar, a thai chili, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, 2 tbsp chopped mint, 1 tbsp fresh ginger... what could go wrong? Well, add a 1/2 cup of soy sauce and that's what's wrong. All these delicious (and not cheap) ingredients go down the drain because after adding so much (light!) soy sauce the only thing you taste is salt! Of course you blame yourself for not having used your common sense but then... Who edited this book???

I'm sorry, I love the restaurant, but now I cannot wait to go again and ask them that same question to their face.
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252 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best vegan book I've ever owned!, January 31, 2004
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This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I have a total of 11 vegan cookbooks, and the candle cafe cookbook is the one I always use. I have been so disappointed in other vegan cookbooks because they either have hard-to-find ingredients, are too time-consuming to make, and are bland and boring. This cookbook is none of that! Almost every ingredient can be found at your local supermarket so it's not too expensive to purchase these items. Secondly, being a mom to a toddler gives me very little time to spend in the kitchen, and this book offers delicious meals that are easy and quick to prepare. And most of all, everything I have made from this book has been just like eating a gourmet meal! This is a MUST HAVE for everyone who is vegan or is even thinking about trying a vegan meal. I made the lemon tofu cheesecake with blood-orange glaze, and gave some to my carnivorous husband. He is the type of person who won't touch tofu with a ten-foot pole. And he ate every bite of it and thought it was great. I also made the chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting, and everyone LOVED it! Also, recently I prepared the seitan piccata with white wine and caper sauce. I only had the "chicken-style" seitan and used that instead. I have to tell you that it tasted like fried chicken in a wonderful brown gravy sauce! It was excellent! This cookbook is one of those "everyday" cookbooks, but with gourmet flavor. I am not a woman who likes to cook much, and I do not have much experience in the kitchen, but being vegan I have to cook my own meals once in a while, and I have been using this book every day, and every day I have a new favorite dish! I have been writing disappointing reviews on every cookbook I've tried, but this one I would give 10 stars if I could. If you are even thinking of buying this book, please do. You will not be disappointed!
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168 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great restaurant, book could be better, September 22, 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
The Candle Cafe is one of my all-vegan family's top favorite restaurants in NYC. so I was excited about the prospect of making some of their recipes at home. Somehow, the cookbook is a disappointment, mainly due to inaccuracies in the recipes. I was all set to make the Asian Baked Tofu, for instance. The instructions say to cut the tofu into 3 blocks, then marinate. The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but there is no further instruction on how the tofu is to be cut further. The chocolate mousse pie came out well, but the proportions of the ingredients are enough to make 2 pies; also I'm glad I left out 1/2 cup of water called for in the cake crust, or it would have been too moist and soupy. not to go on, though there are other such examples. These little innacuaracies can make or break a recipe, so though I'm looking forward to trying a few more, I feel I need to be wary.
The photos in the middle of the book are lovely, but the pages and layout of the recipes are pretty dry, The small fractions sent me running for my reading glasses.
For me, the book rates three stars, but I'm giving it four for the general devoted veg/vegan reader, plus the fact that I'm such a fan of the cafe that I don't have the heart to give it just three stars.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love the restaurant, the cookbook.... not so much, April 15, 2006
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I have to preface this by saying that I absolutely love eating at the candle. So delicious.

before we moved from NYC, I thought we HAVE to get this book. We've tried several of the recipies, following them to the letter, and have been really dissapointed everytime - with the exception of the hummus. I think that they must be leaving out some key ingredients in a lot of these recipies, because all of the ones we have attempted have been either completely flavorless, or tasted like salt. Don't even bother with the soups unless you are a gourmet cook and can figure out how to punch them up somehow after following these directions, because they all end up runny and bland. so sad.
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars worst cookbook i've ever used, May 27, 2005
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I am astounded by the positive reviews this cookbook has received. I have tried five recipes from this book, and all but one were absolute flops. And that one was nothing to write home about.

First up was the hummus. I already had a pretty good hummus recipe from "The Chicago Diner Cookbook," but I wanted to see if this one was better. Not only was it not better, it was without a doubt the worst hummus I've tasted in my life. Even when spread thinly inside a pita filled with many other ingredients, this hummus was still unredeemably bad. It had to be thrown away.

The recipe for Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies was hands-down the worst recipe I've used in all my life. These cookies were just disgusting, and on more than one level. First of all, there was no liquid in this cookie except for 1/2 cup of margarine and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The ingredients barely cohered into any kind of dough, and extra vegetable oil had to be added. Still, it was not enough to salvage this recipe, and the cookies were too crumbly to hold together whatsoever. Secondly, an even worse result from the insufficient liquid was that the cup of unrefined sugar had nothing to dissolve in, so it remained in its crystal formation and gave the cookie a revoltingly gritty texture. I am glad I used walnuts in lieu of the more expensive macadamia nuts, because then I would have been even more depressed about throwing these away.

Most perplexing was the Sweet Potato Smash. First of all, the recipe calls for sweet potatoes, but in the photographs yams are clearly pictured. I might be willing to believe that two mere teaspoons of maple syrup are enough to sweeten five yams, but that's definitely not enough to sweeten five sweet potatoes. I probably ended up dumping about 3-4 Tablespoons of syrup into the mixture, not to mention a lot more than the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon called for. Even more problematic is that the recipe says to cook the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. That is not nearly enough time to properly cook a sweet potato or yam. According to the Joy of Cooking, sweet potatoes and yams need to be baked at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Chana Masala Indian Chickpea Stew smelled absolutely heavenly when it was on the stove, the air permeated with the scents of all those wonderful spices. So imagine my dismay when I ate my first mouthful and discovered that it was completely tasteless. The only way I could salvage it was by sprinkling it liberally with salt, which made it taste halfway decent. Still, I missed the flavors of the garlic, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

The only recipe that wasn't bland (at best) or inedible (at worst) was Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh. It was easy to put together, the recipe seemed to be accurate, and it tasted rather pleasant. However, it wasn't impressive enough for me to want to make it again, unless I have some tempeh to use up and no other ideas for it.

I was disappointed that the tempting Lemon-Tofu Cheesecake with Blood Orange Glaze called for store-bought imitation cream cheese instead of a mixture that could be prepared from scratch. Additionally, it called for an extravagant two-and-a-quarter cups of agave nectar -- an item that is too expensive for me to risk on a recipe from a cookbook of such dubious quality as this. In fact, most recipes in here are tempting, but after these five flops I'll have to put this cookbook out to pasture.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time consuming and dissapointing, January 18, 2006
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I bought this book almost a year ago after reading so many good reviews of it. I usually cook my favorite meals vegan by using alternative ingredients but wanted to expand my tastebuds and broaden my cooking. I have been more dissapointed than delighted with the results.

Here are the recipes I have tried and their results:

AZTEC SALAD: this should be a simple meal, marinated tempeh over quinoa and veggies. However it took me over an hour to make. The recipe says it serves 4 yet it made enough salad to feed 8 hungry adults. The recipe for the chipotle barbeque sauce is for 5 CUPS, yet you only use it to baste the tempeh while cooking. The result....nearly tasteless. And while the chipotle barbeque sauce was good, I didnt have a need for 4 1/2 cups in my fridge.

SOUTHWESTERN STYLE CHILE RUBBED SEITAN SANDWICHES: It was good but the season "paste" recipe was off and was too wet to work properly.

FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES: This was the only recipe that tasted good. But you do end up with too much dipping sauce.

VEGETABLE LASAGNA: The marinade for the grilled veggies in this was good as was the herbed tofu ricotta. However the overall taste was the most bland lasagna Ive ever had.

In all, the recipes are not written correctly. This book needs some serious editing. I dont buy cookbooks so I can pick over the recipes making sure they will work. I also dont want a cookbook that takes me over an hour to make a meal.

For the price of this book you would expect better results from the get-go. I would not reccomend this book and suggest you buy another one.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss..., July 6, 2005
By 
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I am leary every time I make a recipe from this cookbook because I have had several recipes that flopped. Like others have mentioned, there are inaccuracies in the measurements and ingredients, as well as the methods for making things. For instance, I made the Breakfast Burrito with Rancheros Sauce, in which the Rancheros sauce called for 2 large onions that were not sauteed--talk about onion breath!! It was so spicy that I could hardly eat it. Another recipe that required tweaking was the Spicy Soba Noodle Stir-Fry. First of all, the recipe for the Peanut Sauce made WAY too much, and could've been cut in half. With 1-1/2 cups of peanut butter, this would have been nice to know. Then, when all the sauce was added to the stir-fried veggies, it was watery, requiring the addition of some cornstarch to thicken it. Who wants a watery sauce on their soba noodles?

I can think of several other examples of problems with these recipes. Although there are some recipes that I absolutely LOVE in here, like the Seitan Piccata with White Wine Caper Sauce, almost every recipe requires tweaking to make it better. Not what I would expect from such a renowned restaurant.

I'm making the Paradise Casserole today because I needed to use up my sweet potatoes, and I can already see problems ahead. It calls for 4 sweet potatoes, with no indication of what size or the weight, so who knows if I have the right amount. Then the only seasonings used for the sweet potato layer of the casserole is 1 T sweet white miso, 1 tsp umeboshi vinegar, and 2 tsp cinnamon. Somehow this doesn't seem like enough for 4 sweet potatoes. There is also a layer of cooked millet that doesn't have any seasonings except salt...I imagine I'll have to embelish the casserole a bit.

In a more positive light, there have been some really excellent recipes that I've made, and most all of them SOUND like they will be good. I just don't expect to have to change recipes to make them taste good--they should be good from the start. As a result, I probably won't try anything new from this cookbook when cooking for company to avoid any dinner disasters.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A seriously flawed cookbook, January 3, 2007
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This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
Did the reviewers who gave this cookbook 5 stars even try making any of the recipes?! There is no way "Candle Cafe" merits a flawless rating! Many other reviewers have pinpointed this book's numerous shortcomings: inaccurate measurements, hard-to-find ingredients, faulty directions. I totally agree and would further emphasize that THIS IS NOT A LOW MAINTENANCE COOKBOOK. "Ingredients found in any grocery store"? How many run-of-the-mill grocery stores carry agave nectar or umeboshi paste? "Quick and easy recipes" for "busy mothers on the go"?! Candle Cafe's recipe for seitan steaks requires cooks to soak wheat dough in the fridge overnight, wash and rinse said dough multiple times over the course of 2 days, boil it in broth for 2 hours, and then marinade the steaks for 2+ hours. Honestly, the average main course in this book takes at least an hour to prepare (this is coming from someone who's tried her hand at at least half of these recipes).
The one recipe worth having in this book is seitan piccata; and I would recommend checking out this cookbook from a local library to copy it for free. If you're looking for a practical but delicious vegetarian cookbook, try one by Deborah Madison ("Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" or "Vegetarian Suppers.") For great vegan recipes (including a really fast homemade seitan recipe) look for "Vegan with a Vengance" by Isa Moskowitz. "Candle Cafe" totally isn't worth the money. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a friend of the author or someone who hasn't tried making any of these recipes.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complex and Inaccurate, January 3, 2006
By 
Those Darn Donkeys! (Lives on a big rock.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
Others who note problems with recipes are absolutely right.

These recipes never saw a test kitchen.

I suspect the authors reduced the quanties of ingredients in their heads to allow for smaller quantities than they produce in the resturant. )

Many of the recipes call for ingrediants you will need to hunt for, the instructions are missing steps, the measurements are waaaay off, often prep time is very long, and the result can be a disaster; an expensive one if using organic maple syrup. (I've had two things I just had to toss out.)

Do NOT make "Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, page 188.

Results can also be heavenly. Phyllo Traingles are outstanding. They take HOURS to make, but you end up with enough triangles for about 3 parties. Non-vegans have no clue they are anything but delicious. (Allow time to practice handling the phyllo dough, if you are new to using it.) I ended up cutting the sheets differently than described, in order to allow the 2 tsp filling to even fit. Lots of wasted phyllo, but still used all the filling and made more triangles than you can imagine. If you are going to make them for a big reception, practice a week ahead on a half recipe to get your method figured out. They freeze very well.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Filled with errors, and no insert with corrections., October 9, 2009
This review is from: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant (Paperback)
I bought this cookbook at the Candle Cafe itself, after eating there several times and enjoying the food. As other reviewers have noted, this book is filled with serious errors that render many of the recipes inedible. For example, the oatmeal date bar recipe calls for 4 cups of oatmeal, 4 cups of oat flour, and only 1/2 cup of dates. The result is a solid slab of oatmeal with a thin streak of brown in the middle. Standard recipes call for 1 cup of dates for 1-1/2 cups of oatmeal.

What is especially annoying is that there was no insert with corrections - even at the restaurant itself.
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