I currently eat meat, but I've been a vegetarian a few times in my life. Once I tried eating a vegan diet, but I didn't eat the right things and I quickly felt yucky. There was more I needed to know to keep myself healthy.
Lately I've become more interested in eating vegan meals. I already make some vegan-friendly things like vegetable chili, but I would love to make desserts and casseroles that don't contain dairy products. That would make me very happy. And it would make me happy if my family would eat the same foods I want to eat.
Enter Laura Gesin and her e-cookbook called The Market Vegan: A Collection of Vegan Home Tested Recipes. I discovered Laura through her podcast, Apocalyptic Diner. Her cookbook contains 33 recipes and includes recipes for creamy soups, baked goods and desserts and even quiche! After trying several recipes, I know I'll be making more vegan meals from this great cookbook.
I decided to first make a tofu stir fry using the Asian Style Tofu Marinade. What a great idea to marinate the tofu before cooking with it! Usually when I throw tofu into a stir fry, it doesn't take on much of the flavor of the sauce I add at the end. Not so with this recipe. The tofu had a great flavor. I used some of the marinade to flavor the vegetables, too. Served over Barilla PLUS pasta, this was a pretty healthy meal. The only modification I will make next time is to use a little less vinegar. It didn't taste bad, I just don't use a lot of vinegar in my cooking so the flavor was a bit strong for me.
Red Lentil Curry with Vegan "Naan"
Next up was Red Lentil Curry with Vegan "Naan." I love lentils and pita bread, but I'm not a fan of dishes using curry powder so I wasn't sure if I'd like it. The same is true of cilantro - a little goes a long way with me. But I loved this dish! The flavor was really good. This was a quick cooking meal and I can see myself making it often.
About using lentils: I found out that not all lentils are created equal. I shopped at my local grocery store instead of the natural foods store and my grocery store didn't stock red lentils. The lentils I bought required a longer cooking time. I definitely want to try red lentils the next time I cook this.
To fulfill my desire to make non-dairy dishes my family will eat, I made the Vegetable Casserole. This dish combines potatoes and several other vegetables with a creamy sauce. Another win! This was very tasty and I can see my family eating this as a side dish. It would be easy to experiment with other vegetables or maybe even use the sauce recipe in scalloped potatoes.
Another thing I learned: do not use whole wheat flour to thicken sauces. If you are out of white flour, opt for cornstarch instead!
The dish I was most looking forward to making was the Peanut Butter Pie. Since I'm lactose intolerant and most desserts include dairy products, I usually end up taking an enzyme when I eat dessert. That is handy, but it can get expensive. Problem solved! This pie is delicious! It has a nice texture and a great flavor.
This pie sets up in the freezer. I was so looking forward to trying it that I cut into it too early and it was more like pudding pie. Steve thought it was okay, but he didn't like the texture. The next night he had another piece and said it was really good! And I shared it with a vegan friend at church. He loved it and has asked for information on how to get the cookbook.
There are many more recipes I look forward to making from this book like Eggplant & Italian Bread "Lasagna," Vegetable Lo Mein, and Pumpkin Scones. And it will be easy to make them. The recipes don't take much time to make and they call for common ingredients found in most stores. The vegan products like cream cheese, cheddar cheese and almond milk were easy to find at my local grocery store.
This is my first time using an e-cookbook and I have to admit that I printed it out before I even thought about putting it on my Kindle Touch. So much for trying to be "with it"... Even though it's designed for the Kindle Fire (and Nook, iPad, PC and Mac), I found that it was pretty easy to see in landscape mode once I finally put it on the Touch. I found the type to be a little small in portrait mode, but that could just be my eyes or the fact that the Touch is smaller than the Fire.
Another great thing about this book is that purchasers will get three updates between now and May 31, 2013. How cool is that? I can't wait to see what else Laura creates! She plans to revamp the table of contents to include sections for recipe types and she may be including page numbers for people like me who may want to print it.
I totally recommend this cookbook! To get your copy, go to Laura's website, VoxPopNJ.com, and you will see the cookbook on the right sidebar. Laura was kind enough to give me a free review copy and since I loved the cookbook, I want to pass on a free electronic copy of this cookbook to one lucky reader.
Please leave a comment on this blog post about why you want to try vegan recipes, a favorite vegan dish you have already tried or even just "I'd love to try this cookbook!" Comments will remain open until Friday, September 14, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern when I will use a random number generator to select a winner. I will announce the winner here on that day. Good luck! And happy cooking!