Sunday, December 12, 2010

Other People's Recipes: Vegan Yum Yum

I have an enormous collection of vegan cookbooks, and have never cooked a recipe from at least half of them.  I read them for inspiration, but almost always find that my food turns out better if I don't strictly follow a recipe.  However, I recently acquired a copy of "Vegan Yum Yum," was drawn in by the gorgeous photos, and decided to try some of the recipes.    I've had overall good results, but did end up tweaking most of the dishes after I'd tasted them—while they are a good basic starting point, I think many of the recipes are pretty one-note, so I ended up tweaking most of the sauces to add nuance.  Overall, I'd still recommend this book, if only for the great photography; however, be careful with the binding as my copy started losing pages the second time I opened it.

What I've tried so far:
Soy-Mirin Tofu with [Snow Peas] and Peanut Sauce
What I changed: subbed broccoli for snow peas, thinned down the sauce with vegetable broth, halved the sugar in the sauce, halved the tofu, doubled the vegetables.  Though the mirin was hard to find, it adds a nice dimension to this sauce, though in my opinion mirin is so sweet it negates the need to add sugar.

Tamarind Tofu Cabbage Bowl
What I changed: subbed mung bean sprouts for 1/3 of the cabbage, doubled the amount of sauce, used less tamari and more chutney in the sauce, used less curry powder in the chutney.  I loved the almonds in this dish, and the tamarind chutney is a good condiment to keep on hand.

Creamy Broccoli Mushroom Bake
What I changed: subbed barley for the orzo.  This was the one dish I've made from this cookbook that I would absolutely never make again.  It looked about as good as it tasted, which is to say, pretty bad.  Maybe if the broccoli was in larger pieces and was only baked instead of being fried and then baked, it would be more palatable, but I don't plan on finding out.

Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale, and Carrots

What I changed: subbed white wine for part of the lime juice, increased ginger powder, decreased tamari (and should have decreased it more, as this was WAY too salty), thinned down sauce with water.  This dish was a good way to use up some of the kale that I overplanted in my garden.  I liked the dish overall but was overwhelmed by its saltiness.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
What I changed: subbed cilantro for mint, subbed regular spaghetti for whole wheat, doubled vinegar and mustard in sauce, decreased sugar in sauce, added 2 T almond butter to sauce, thinned sauce with white wine, cut broccoli larger than recipe specifies.  This was my favorite of the recipes I cooked from this book, though I found the instruction to cut the broccoli florets "no bigger than small grapes" ridiculous.  This made great leftovers for lunch the next day.

Unphotographed: Hurry-Up Alfredo
I would have liked this dish more if it had been called an "uncheese" instead of an alfredo.  The creamy texture was nice, but it tasted nothing like alfredo to me (for alfredo I'll stick with a roux and soy milk sauce), and the flavor was quite bland.

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