Saturday, February 3, 2007

Cookbook Reviews

I am away from my camera at the moment so instead of taking pictures of the food I have been preparing I have decided to write some cookbook reviews for my many cookbooks. Since becoming vegan I have collected approximately 65 cookbooks. I have tried many of the recipes and would love to share my thoughts and experiences with all of you.

I selected 'Fresh at Home: Everyday Vegetarian Cooking' by Ruth Tal Brown and Jennifer Houston for my first cookbook review. This cookbook is written by the owner and the executive chef of "Fresh by Juice for Life" a chain of vegetarian restaurants (3 locations) located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This is Ruth Tal Brown's second cookbook based on the restaurant's menu, the first was titled "Juice for Life". The second book has evolved with the restaurant menu. I have to admit that I love this restaurant, it is the kind of place where you leave feeling healthier than when you arrived. The menu consists of mainly salads, rice/noodle bowls and juices/smoothies, the same combinations are reflected in the recipes in this cookbook. Unlike in many of the vegan restaurant cookbooks (Millenium, Angellica's, Candle Cafe) the recipes in this collection are simple combinations of high quality ingredients. There are a few ingredients listed that may be more difficult to find but generally the focus is on commonly available grains, vegetables, tempeh and tofu. Many of the recipes are used in different combinations in the book-which means once you create a sauce you can use it to create many of the salad, rice or noodle dishes.

My favourite recipe in this cookbook is a rice bowl called 'The Beach" (pg. 64). My partner and I make this on a regular basis, the routine of creating it has become completely chereographed at this point, and we have integrated our own variations to meet our unique tastes. The recipe consists of brown basmati rice, grilled eggplant, sweet potatos and red pepper, combined with spices, avocado and marinated sun-dried tomatoes. The combination is incredible!

My second favourite recipe in this book is the black bean mix (pg. 115). It is very versatile, showing up as a spread, a filling in burritos and enchiladas and on brown rice. It has impressed everyone from my very carnivorous older brother to my picky 5 year old nephew-who kisses me everytime I make the enchiladas.

Other favourites include: thai mango salad (pg. 44) , new buddha rice bowl (pg. 60), and orange cake with chocolate ganache (pg. 156-a real party pleaser). This cookbook also includes amazing smoothie and juice recipes. In Toronto this makes up a large portion of the menu which makes it fantastic for individuals who want to increase their raw food intake.

I own a lot of cookbooks and this one stands out as a favourite. The recipes all turn out great. They are easy to create and the flavours please those not use to vegan cuisine. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interesting in making healthy delicious recipes at home.

I am excited to add that Ruth Tal's next book is due to be released in May of 2007. I have already preordered mine!

Rating: 4.5 dancing carrots out of 5.


Urban Vegan said...

I never heard of this one! Intriguing...I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

Raw Goddess said...

OMG! So cool that you ate there! I borrowed the cookbook from a friend. Some great looking recipes in there!