Monday, February 21, 2011

Veganomicon Review: Part I

This review is a few days late, and I apologize for that, but I figured it was better to put this up late than never at all.  Here are my thoughts on The Veganomicon.
  • Is the layout clear?
    • Yes, I thought this book was very clearly divided into different sections such as introduction, recipes, and meal plans.
  • Are you able to easily tell the ingredients apart for the instructions and the notes?
    • Notes and ingredients are written in a different font and tips are boxed off, so this was very easy to follow.
  • Are the instructions easy to follow?
    • Yes, I did read a few of the instruction wrong, but that was my fault for not turning the page.
  • Are the recipes numbered or is the section labeled?
    • Sections are labeled and easy to use.
  • Does the cookbook feature photos?
    • In the middle of the book there is a photo section.
  • If yes, is there a photo for every recipe?
    • No, I love cookbooks with a lot of photos, but for a book this size a photo with every recipe cannot be expected.
  • Do the photos of the recipes look like the actual results?
    • Yes, the photos are very realistic and not fussy.
  • What kind of paper is the book printed on?
    • The paper is thick and off-white.  It has a nice feel to it, and unlike the glossy paper in many cookbooks, I can actually write notes in this book without smearing the pen.
  • How is the quality of the photos?
    • The quality does not look professional, but I really like that.  These are realistic looking photos, and I appreciate that.
  • How many recipes are in the cookbook?
    • I didn't count, but I think around 250
  • What kinds of recipes will you find in this cookbook?
    • There is a little bit of everything here: brunch, sandwiches, pastas, desserts, etc.
  • Is there a theme to the recipes?
    • No theme, but the recipes are all dinner type dishes to be served in a home.
  • Are the recipes complex or simple? would they be good for seasoned cooks and/or beginners?
    • I thought most of the recipes were fairly simple.  I've been cooking for a long time, but this is only my second vegan cookbook.  I think this book is appropriate for anyone.
Ingredients and supplies
  • Are the recipe ingredients easy to find?
    • I live in a really tiny Mid Western town, and I did not have any problem finding any of the ingredients.  I also like that some of the recipes are marked supermarket friendly for people in my situation.
  • Are there any items that stand out as being expensive or specialty?
    • Rice paper and a bamboo sushi mat would be difficult to find here, but other than that, no problems.
  • Are there particular appliances that will be required such as blenders, juicers, dehydrators, ect?
    • Occasionally a food processor is suggested and the above mentioned rolling mat.
  • Does this cookbook provide additional useful information?
    • I use this book all the time as a reference for cooking grains.  I can never remember how much water and time rice requires, so this book is pulled out every time.
  • What additional information beyond recipes does this cookbook include? Is it easy to follow?
    • This book has a section at the beginning about grains and vegetables.  I think the instructions are great and would be helpful for people who are afraid to cook without a recipe.
Recipes I've made:

I've made several recipes from this book, but only have pictures of a few.  Here's what I made and what I thought:

Creole Stuffed Peppers
I thought these stuffed peppers were amazing.  I come from a family who has always made very traditional beef-stuffed peppers.  These were just as good if not better than the original.  The recipe had a lot of steps, but it was worth it.  Next time, I might make the filling and add stuffing to it to get rid of a few steps.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles
My husband is a huge fan of dessert for breakfast, so I knew I had to make these.  They were too sweet for breakfast for my tastes, but I will be making these again and serving with ice cream for a dessert.  These had a great chewy brownie texture and were very easy to make.

Banana-Nut Waffles (Pictured below)
I'm not a huge fan of walnuts because I think they're bitter, so next time I'll use pecans, but these were a great breakfast.  They made a very large batch, so I froze most of them, and they will be quick toaster breakfasts in the future.  Like all of Isa's waffle recipes, these were easy to make.

Black Bean Burgers
Yum!  I was surprised with these at first because I was expecting more of a burger texture, but after the first few bites I decided I loved these.  I had trouble getting them thin enough, but I have a burger press now, so I will be remaking these this week to see if I can get a crispier texture.  I think this an excellent burger alternative.  This was my first time working with vital wheat gluten, I really like the texture it has, and I think I'm ready to try making seitan now.

Snobby Joes
My husband requested these, and I was out of chili powder.  I subbed a hotter pepper powder, so I wasn't able to eat very much of these sandwiches.  I liked the texture and flavor.  It was very close to a sloppy joe with meat that I'm used to.  I will make these again with the correct ingredients.

Lemony Roasted Potatoes (Pictured below)
If I had correctly read the recipe these would've been great.  I didn't look at the second page, and as a result, had underdone potatoes.  We ate these with supper and were very underwhelmed.  However, I had these leftover the next two days at lunch, and they got better each day.  I think this would be a great side for a Greek meal.  I will be making these again.

Smlove Pie
There are a lot of steps to this pie, but it is worth the time.  My husband requested this recipe.  I ended up making him 2 of these in one weekend because he polished off the first so quickly.  This was fed to many people who had never had, and couldn't believe there was tofu in it.  I sometimes make the maple pecans and put them in salads.  This will be a favorite dessert for many years to come.

Jelly Donut Cupcakes (full post on this next time)

Lemony Roasted Potatoes, underdone here.
I can never make "pretty" waffles.

My overall impressions of the book are good.  This is a book that I will go to time and time again.  I feel this way about all of Isa's books.  I think this book is easy to use and has a variety of recipes and tips that make it an important addition to any cookbook collection whether vegan or not.

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