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The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews

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Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson
"Near & Far" by Heidi Swanson
A deeply personal collection of over 120 vegetarian recipes with from all around the globe from a bestselling author who loves to cook and travel. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Named one of the top ten cookbooks of the year. (Epicurious)

#3 New York Times bestselling book (New York Times)

#14 Wall Street Journal Bestseller (The Wall Street Journal)

“Wow, wow, wow! I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying.” (Oprah Winfrey, on Oprah.com)

“Meeting Tal has changed our lives for the better. We wish everyone could experience his cooking. It’s delicious and healthy at the same time—sometimes that’s a hard balance, but not with Tal.” (Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi)

“You name ‘em, he’s fed ‘em. Tal Ronnen is no up-and-comer—he has long since arrived and taken over the culinary world of veganism.” (Rory Freedman, author of Skinny Bitch)

“What’s great about this cookbook is its range and its approach to meatless cooking. No main dish ever feels like a side dish . . . Instead, each meal is made to be complete and satisfying.” (fitsugar.com)

“Tal Ronnen’s assertion is that [The Conscious Cook] will change the way you eat. It will, for the better.” (Basil & Spice)

What you’ll probably be most conscious of as you prepare the 75 vegan recipes from “The Conscious Cook” is how delicious the food is. (Lisa Messinger, creators.com)

“Tal’s recipes are simply fantastic . . . Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or committed meat eater, this is a book that can help you down the path of higher-quality, good tasting, humane eating.” (Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States)

About the Author

Chef Tal Ronnen is one of the most celebrated vegan chefs working today. In 2008, he became known nationwide as the chef who prepared vegan meals for Oprah Winfrey's 21-day vegan cleanse. He consults with restaurants, universities, and corporations around the country on vegan menu additions and conducts master vegetarian workshops at Le Cordon Bleu–affiliated culinary schools nationwide. In addition, he has worked at the top vegan restaurants in the United States, including Sublime in Fort Lauderdale and Candle 79 in New York City. Chef Tal lives in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061874337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061874338
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Al-hashimi VINE VOICE on October 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an extremely sincere high-end vegan cookbook. In the past, vegan cookbooks produced average to sub-average results and include recipes that involve either mixing vegetables (cooked or raw) in various combinations, using frozen pie dough and wonton skins in a couple obvious ways, and simplistic tofu/tempeh recipes that don't taste very good. There are a few breakthrough high-end vegan cookbooks lately from inspired chefs, such as "Great Chefs Cook Vegan," compiled by Linda Long, "Vegan Soul Kitchen" with Bryant Terry and now this one.

This book is more comprehensive than the other two because it goes gives vegan chef bios (many of them vanguard and brilliant)and important vegan restaurant history as well as rationale for eating vegan and ways to use new-to-newish vegan ingredients, such as Gardein (vegan "meat" products; chicken breasts, chicken strips, and beef strips), Earth Balance (vegan butter in solid form), Vegannnise (vegan mayo), Field Roast Italian Style seitan sausages, New Chapter All-Flora probiotic capsules (to culture homemade cashew or macadamia cheese and give it a sharp flavor), tempeh bacon, precooked udon noodles, vegan mozzarella, etc . Also, for people who haven't cooked vegan, recipes are included for ingredients for more involved recipes such as cashew butter, hazelnut milk, Asian slaw, the use of ground flaxseed in baked goods as a substitute for eggs, and new ones such as chipolte cream and tofu ricotto.

Most people would probably enthusiastically eat vegan if they had access to meals of this quality. So, the challenge is to learn how to cook at this level, how to use the unique ingredients, until it becomes easy.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm psyched that Tal Ronnen was on Oprah talking about his book and that so many people have bought this book and are being exposed to vegan cuisine. For all those people buying up the Julia Childs cookbooks but are now trying to get healthier and "more conscious", I think this is the book for them. It is haute cuisine with gourmet flavors made vegan. It reminds me of the Millennium cookbook in that it requires advanced cooking techniques, expensive ingredients, and complex flavors. This is great if you're a foodie and really love to cook. The pictures are amazing, the design and layout are gorgeous, and the recipes are tantalizing.

However, it's not accessible for the average home cook. And like the Millennium cookbook, it's destined to sit on my shelf until a special occasion arises where I want to spend hours in the kitchen making something. Case in point: I spent three hours prepping and cooking a meal from this book (agave lime tofu with sweet potatoes and asian slaw). I spent an hour and a half prepping and cooking another (asparagus lemon meyer risotto). And those were two of the the recipes I thought sounded the easiest. And the ingredients were not cheap, either.

There are several things about this cookbook that make it inaccessible for the home cook: 1) the complexity of the cooking techniques 2) the need for many, often expensive ingredients and 3) the need for very difficult to find ingredients and 4) the need for expensive kitchen appliances like a Vitamix blender and a pasta maker. A good portion of the recipes are using Gardein meat substitute. I just went to Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, a very well-stocked all, vegetarian supermarket. Guess what I couldn't find? The gardein cutlets, breasts or steak used in many recipes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must-have for anyone who entertains the occasional vegan or has a family member that is vegan. More importantly, it is likely the best resource out there for those who wish to 'wow' a meat-eater with vegan dishes. These dishes will blow you away, and Tal pays well deserved respect to some of the leading vegan chefs in the world (so a reader has the benefit of their expertise as well). You will not be disappointed with this book - the information is compelling, the photos are exceptional and the dishes are to die for.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm so proud to have this cookbook in my kitchen. The recipes are easy to understand, well-written, and creative. Plus the photos and page designs are stunning. I served a few of the Gardein dishes recently to some meat-eater friends and they didn't know it wasn't chicken until I told them after! Whole Foods now carries the Gardein products, but make sure to ask your local stores to carry them. A few of the dishes I have made so far, corn chowder (flavors to die for!), "Chicken" Piccata, Chopped Salad, Grapefruit Salad, Endive Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Quinoa with sweet potatoes and tomatillo dressing (the presentation looked amazing!) this dish will truly impress your dinner guests! Can't wait to make more! I highly suggest you buy this book if you are looking into eating healthier, but still want knock-out flavors and beautiful fine dining presentations. He has tons of delicious substitutes for dairy, meat and fish, and you won't be able to taste the difference!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having been a vegetarian for many years and an on-again-off-again vegan for the last two, I was very excited to see a new high-end entrant to the vegan chef club. Unfortunately, this book doesn't work that well for me. I can get some ideas from the book (and the production value is particularly high) but in terms of daily recipes, this doesn't work. I am not interested in highly processed meat substitutes (even if they are vegan). I also think most of the recipes in this book are quite complex and require much more time than most of us have. I'll consult this book every once in a while but for daily fare, I'll stick with Nava Atlas or macrobiotic chefs. I'm in favor of anything that gets more people eating fewer animal products so if you think this will help you do that, definitely buy the book.
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