26 March 2008

Dinner Last Night And A Book Review

I haven't been as obsessed with almost any cookbook as I am right now with Angelica's Home Kitchen. The trend with vegetarian and vegan cookbooks seemed to be for a long while focussed on supposedly satisfying simple recipes. That's great for someone who either doesn't enjoy or is new to cooking and who is looking for an entrée point into the world of healthier eating; but what about people who really enjoy cooking and learned some small technique in their omnivorous days? They don't want to give up what's fun for them about cooking just because they've sworn off the cream and egg based sauces! No, I say!

Other than perhaps some ethnically centered books, there just didn't seem to be many sources for experimenting with vegan "haute cusine" (a term I now employ only semi-facetiously). It wasn't until we discovered Peter Berley's books a few years back that we finally got to itch that scratch. But in Angelica's book you have the perfect mix of challenging recipes, informative advice, odd little stories and new ingredients and techniques that we were looking for. It's a truly excellent book that I can't seem to stop cooking from.

Case in point: lasagna, which when vegan-ized often ends up being bland and disappointing. This version is built with a "no-mato" sauce of carrots and beets, and layered with steamed kale and beet greens, roasted zucchini, roasted mushrooms, onions, olives and topped with the ridiculously, near-ubiquitously popular tofu ricotta. There is a lot of real food compressed into that little baking dish and the taste is far far from bland.

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