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Basic Vegan Cookbook
on April 25, 2012
Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin is a good primer for those interested in learning the basics of vegan cooking. Martin covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, sauces and snacks. Trained at the Culinary Arts Institute, he has no formal training in vegetarian/vegan cooking. When Hired by Portia and Ellen to be their personal chef, he simply adopted both his and their favorite recipes into vegan dishes. This is the most valuable take away from the book--that many (my words--not all recipes can be converted)meat or dairy based dishes can be made vegan when you learn what plant based ingredients can be substituted for meat or dairy.
Martin uses tofu, beans, faux meat substitutes, vegan mayonnaise, butter and cheese, and milk substitutes like soy and almond to make dishes that will appeal "to carnivores." He does not include a recipe to make your own seitan--a basic vegetarian protein--however. In other words, he keeps it simple.
Most of the recipes are easy with no cumbersome list of ingredients...that said, for those of you who might like to be more adventurous, this might not be for you. This cookbook is a primer...seasoned vegans may still get something out of it, but it is aimed at beginners or people who like to eat simply.
Breakfasts include different pancakes, waffles, tofu scrambles. I was surprised that I didn't see any smoothies. All looked good and would appeal to most.
Lunch included a good basic recipe for tofu egg salad--tofu, pickles, scallion, celery, vegan mayo, mustard...I tried the grilled vegetable sandwich and it was quite good. (Although he goes to great lengths to make the French bread just right....I would do it much more easily.)
Some really nice sauces like chipolte cream....
Apparently, his Red Beans and Rice dish are Portia and Ellen's favorite...they have it every Monday. I haven't made it yet, but it look quite good--batsmati rice, beans, faux sausage, some veggies and spices. Easy and easy to get ingredients.
I did try the Mexican style rice and beans with tomato and avocado to be eaten with tortillas and it was delicious.
He recommends store bought vegetarian stock for many of his recipes and while it is good, I would recommend making your own. It isn't difficult--save your veggie scraps--freezing them until you have a nice pile. Boil them for an hour or so, discard solids...voila! Stock! freeze in 1-2 cups containers. Much, much better than anything you can buy.
Overall, I liked this book, and recommend it for people trying to add more veggie based meals to their lives.
Author, Harmonious Environment, Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet