So remember how I said the other week that I get on a cookbook roll? Lately it's been Eat, Drink & Be Vegan! by Dreena Burton. How can I say enough about this book? Everything I've made has been a hit. It's also very parent-friendly; I got a copy for my mother for Christmas and she and my dad (not vegan but eating less and less meat and dairy, hurrah for them for being more compassionate!) have enjoyed everything they've made from it, and recommended it to a friend of theirs inquiring about vegan cookbooks to start with.
Breakfast crepes with celestial cream
So let's start with breakfast, as anything should, really, breakfast is the awesomest meal of the day, hands down. These crepes have become a staple in our house. They use spelt flour, which I had never used before, but am now in love with because of its taste, healthiness, and how easy this recipe is. I had heard crepes were hard to make but as long as you don't make them ginormous they're super easy. I actually find them easier to make than pancakes because you're flipping over much less bulk. The celestial cream is HEAVENLY. It's like a fluffy yet smooth cloud of mapley buttery tastiness. I had trouble not eating it with a spoon. I added to this lovely mixture grilled bananas and blueberries, in an attempt to replicate a breakfast that my sister had at Herbivore in San Francisco a while ago, and to finally use my grillpan I got for Christmas. The combination was wonderful, but you can really do anything with these. Last time we made them we blended strawberries and bananas in a blender and then heated up the mixture on the stove until warm, and used that as our crepe filling. MMM!
Raspberry (+blueberry) cornmeal pancake batter
So I um er uh forgot to take a picture of the finished product (we were hungry!) but the batter should give you enough of an idea as to how thick, filling, hearty, and yummy these pancakes were. I ended up adding some blueberries because I didn't have enough frozen raspberries left. I also didn't have fine cornmeal, so I used what I had, and it made the pancakes quite thick but also quite delicious. The cornmeal is a great vehicle for the tartness of the raspberries, I can't wait to make these at the height of raspberry season. V. good, will definitely be making these again soon. You can actually find the recipe for the pancakes and the celestial cream here at Dreena's sample recipes blog. (It also includes the Cashew Ginger Tofu which I made a few months back.)
Smoky green split pea soup with tempeh bacon
I've never really been a soup fan but the weather and PMS demanded something warm, comforting, and satisfying. Enter this soup. It's one of my favorites out of the book, and so easy to make. Most of the work is prepping vegetables and then you let it sit on the stove for about an hour. I ended up adding a little liquid smoke for some extra smoketasticness. We also made tempeh bacon to put in with it, but instead of making it in strips JP suggested cutting the tempeh in small cubes so that each piece would be marinated and "bacon"-y. What a wonderful idea! The tempeh cubes almost stole the show, and I can see how this would be great to put in breakfast burritos, quiches, cassaroles, and in potato salad. I can't wait to experiment further!
So on to the main event. Before I left for California for spring break, I made JP and I a pretty fantabulous dinner, if I say so myself. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I know you other cooks out there know that feeling you get when an entire meal comes together and every taste seems to come together almost like a piece of music.
After looking at the recipes I picked, I realized they all had something in common:
So I ended up buying like 5 limes at the store, and oh, it was worth every single penny. The dinner turned out amazingly. OMFG. It was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life.
Cumin-lime tofu, seared portobello mushrooms, coconut-lime basmati rice, and garlicky kale
The picture sucks because we were hungry and didn't care about quality. XD Oops.
It was my first time preparing tofu that I had frozen and then defrosted, which gives it not only a chewier texture but all these little pockets for flavors to sink into. The cumin-lime marinade was the perfect flavoring for this first time. The tofu sucked it up like a sponge and every bite tasted amazing. The mushrooms stole the show, crispy on the outside and bursting with the most amazing earthy flavor. The rice was rich and creamy. The kale (the one recipe NOT from ED&BV!, it's from VwaV), a standby, was made limey with the addition of a tahini-lime sauce that I made while waiting for the tofu to finish baking. I stirred tahini, lime juice, water, and sesame oil until I came to a consistency I liked.
So there you have it. Dreena Burton is my new BFF. I highly recommend this book (again) to anyone who enjoys really fresh flavorful vegan meals, it's been a joy making her recipes.
Next time I'm going to review a couple of products that I have tried recently and fallen in love with. Ricemilk chocolate = OMG.