Are You Sure That’s Vegan? Review

Are You Sure That’s Vegan? is a vegan cookbook produced by Claire Gosse. I have had an early copy for awhile and have been testing out some of it’s recipes. I want to let everyone know I am not Vegan and am very picky. If these desserts taste like cardboard you will hear about it!

The first think you will notice about this book is the high quality images of the desserts. I love this. When you are making desserts for a party or BBQ, you want them to have that WOW factor. When you have such high quality images you can tell which desserts will have people drooling as soon as they seem them.

I guess another thing you have to make sure is the book is completely Vegan. This might seem ridiculous since Vegan is right in the title, but you would be surprised what you find in some of these other “vegan” cookbooks. If they are calling for butter or eggs, then obviously the cookbook is worthless. Every ingredient in here is vegan, so that is a great start.a

Images are great, everything is Vegan and the instructions are simple, clear and easy to follow. What else does a cookbook need? Well there is one thing I think any vegan cookbook review should include: What does the food taste like? Well I tried three recipes:

Peanut Butter Cups – These were super simple to make and tasted amazing. There is no way you would know these were vegan. The use of dark chocolate give these a much better and more mature taste than their store bought counterparts.

Pecan Pie – Another great recipe. I love how easy these are to follow so far. Very clear instructions, especially for a guy who has never made any kind of pie. This was also dynamite tasting – I shared this with many of my friends and they had no idea it was vegan. A couple people don’t believe me to this day. This one will soothe any sweet tooth.

Key Lime Cheesecake – This was the big test to me…Vegan cheesecake…impossible! Well my biggest doubt was also my greatest success. I was once again able to follow the instructions and I produced what I am proud to call my best dessert ever. I could not stop eating this – the lime just made it so fresh tasting! it was decadent but the citrus notes added a lightness. People in my family went nuts for this. I still get requests for it.

I think Claire knocked this cookbook out of the park. So many Vegan cookbooks just have a real health food granola feel. Nothing wrong with that of course, but Are You Sure That’s Vegan? proves that Vegan doesn’t always have to be like that. Vegan desserts can be every bit as decadent, delicious…and naughty as traditional ones. Check it out!

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules – A Review

This small book is a great beginner’s guide on eating. If you are overweight or have been dieting for years, you’ve probably determined that there is no instant cure for what you have been doing for the last umpteen years. What Pollan does is give you quick rules to eat by that will get you as far, if not farther, than many diets. Muffin tops and spare tires might seem fashionable, but they are not very attractive or healthy. If you have them now in your twenties or thirties, it gets even more difficult to lose them as you age. So, no time like the present to read this little book to help you get started.

As a curious journalist, Pollan has written several books on food including In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Cooked. Try checking one out from a local library and by this time next year, you may just get a call to tell you to come pick it up or download it. This little book may be the only thing that is available by this author for free and it is a good start.

Nutrition is a relatively new science. The food companies want you to be their guinea pigs and try their new foods that are bound to be “healthy” in one aspect or another. By focusing on one element, vitamin, or nutrient at a time, they ignore other ingredients that are harmful and, as a result, perpetuate confusion and poor health. Thus, the food companies and the medical community are making a fortune at your expense. The only things for certain are that by eating highly processed foods, you will most likely be obese and diabetic and prone to heart disease and cancer. That is the result of the American diet.

Pollan sums it all up with “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” But he gives you 64 rules to guide you to that conclusion. One rule in particular that supports it is Rule 12 “Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.” That’s another way of saying eat fresh fruits and veggies, meat, fish and dairy and avoid processed foods.

So before going on a diet, make a record of what you are currently eating, follow Pollan’s rules and see if that doesn’t make a difference. If you think that eating healthy may cost a little more, it is much cheaper than what you will pay out to the medical community if you don’t make a change.

Moosewood Cookbook Review – A Vegetarian Must-Have

I was introduced to this gem of a cookbook many years ago at a friend’s house. I love to browse through people’s cookbook collections – there’s always at least a recipe or two that’s just begging to be discovered – and I happened upon a simple looking book. The cover was a bit tattered from wear and tear over the years, which is always the first book you should reach for – clearly there was a reason my friend used this book so much.

It was called “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day”, and I’ve had it ever since (I had to buy my own, of course. My friend refused to part with his copy).

First off – and most importantly – the recipes are completely delicious. They are all rooted in simplicity – basic ingredients, basic preparation. This makes it a very accessible book, one that a beginner cook can easily grasp on to. Most recipes consist of a few vegetables, a fat, and maybe a carb base. There is a recipe for Cream of Spinach Soup that is delicately simple, but also unique. There’s also the “Tomatican”, made with tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

All of these come from the chef Mollie Katzen’s restaurant, Moosewood, in Ithaca, NY. It’s quite a gift she has bestowed upon us, as many chefs are secretive about their recipes. This is what makes this cookbook so great: she wants you to become a better cook, and to cook more for yourself.

Beyond the intrinsic value of a book filled with good recipes, the book is, in and of itself, a beautiful work of art. Every page, recipe, and word is written by hand. She’s illustrated everything herself. It feels less like a ploy to make money and boost numbers, and more like a labor of love. Every page is different, and one could spend hours just looking over the way in which she lays out text and image, and how they play and conflict with one another.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who is looking to expand their culinary horizons, while not busting the bank or burning too much time in the process. Specifically, vegetarians will enjoy this cookbook, as it offers a whole plethora of ways to utilize veggies in unique ways, giving them new flavors and textures that you may have thought were not possible before. Fair warning to those who are offended by meat, though, that there are a few recipes that involve fish. Simply thumb past these ones, though, and enjoy all the knowledge, useful tips, and delicious recipes that Moosewood has to offer.