Saturday, January 23, 2010
Cookbook Challenge: Veganomicon - The Beginning and The End
Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, has been on my cookbook shelf for over two years but until recently, I had only made one or two recipes from it. I'm not sure why, but when I realized that the cookbook had been languishing, I issued myself a challenge to make a load of new recipes from it. I started with the Cheater Baked Beans and finished with the Jicama-Avocado-Watercress Salad with Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette. Every single recipe I made was terrific. This has since become the first cookbook I pull from the bookshelf when I need a new idea.
The cheater baked beans were easy and so much more interesting than the overly-sweet baked beans from a can. It had been years since I had made sushi nori, so I used the recipe for spicy tempeh nori rolls as a guide. I used different fillings, but the cookbook's proportions were perfect and the instructions were easy to follow, something rare in sushi recipes. The spicy peanut and eggplant soup was amazing. This would make a great recipe for company. The Vietnamese seitan baguette with savory broth dip was like a cross between banh mi and a French dip sandwich, and we all loved it. The southwestern corn pudding reminding me of corn casseroles from my childhood, and I'll definitely be making it again, maybe with leftover grilled corn in the summer. The seitanic red and white bean jambalaya was perfectly spiced, and very filling when made with brown rice. It survived the freezer nicely too. The chickpea cutlets came together quickly and proved to be very versatile. The silken mayo dressing tasted almost like ranch dressing and made the best chipotle mayonnaise ever. After I was through stuffing pasta shells with cashew ricotta (and artichokes) I couldn't stop myself cleaning the bowl and licking the remainder off my fingers. It was that good. I've already told you how much I liked these cookies, which were a variation on the chocolate-chocolate chip-walnut cookies. Finally, the jicama-avocado-watercress salad with spicy citrus vinaigrette really hit the spot alongside some tomato soup.
Jicama Avocado Salad
By the time I got around to making this, my watercress was turning yellow, so I used green leaf lettuce instead. I also made about half the recipe and winged it with the ingredients I had on hand for the dressing. For the "official" version, you'll need the book!
Whisk together the dressing ingredients:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the salad:
1 small jicama, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
1 small avocado, peeled and diced
2-3 cups torn lettuce leaves (or watercress)
1/3 cup diced red onion
cilantro for garnish
Toss the dressing with the salad just before serving.