Will those of you who will soon be observing Lent please raise your hand? I knew some of you were out there! While I don't observe Lent, I do cook for someone who does and often struggle with coming up with meals to serve that don't contain meat and aren't fried fish. I have a handful of dishes that I serve, mainly vegetarian meals, but I really need to expand my repertoire when it comes to these sorts of things. You probably didn't know this, but I spent nearly 10 years of my life being a vegetarian, not a strict one mind you, I always gave in to temptation during the holidays, when I was traveling, or when it was taco bar Friday at school. Don't worry, I know that I'm a miserable example of a vegetarian, but I became a vegetarian out of necessity, this may shock you, but I don't really like meat.
Ok, now that I've dropped that bomb...
It isn't often that I come across a cookbook that causes me to drool, but this one sure did. Not only are the photos incredibly enticing, but I also wanted to make 95% of the recipes out of it and that almost never happens. I will say that not all of the recipes in this cookbook will appeal to non-vegetarians, the Beet Wellington with Pinot Noir Sauce managed to raise even my eyebrows, but the creativity in this book will ensure that you don't miss having meat in your meals.
If you are unfamiliar with vegetarian cooking then you may be turned off by the sheer number of ingredients in some of these recipes. Don't be, if you take a closer look, many of those ingredients are common herbs and spices which contribute a good portion of the flavors found in vegetarian cooking. Generally the extra ingredients don't increase prep time by much and many of them can be found in any well stocked pantry. Speaking of prep time, one thing that was noticeably absent from the galley copy I received was a clear listing of prep time and cooking time. I prefer to see them listed in an easy to find location along with the number of servings a recipe yields.I contacted the publisher Taunton Press to see if this made it into the final print copy, but did not hear back from them by the time this posted. If they do respond, or if I can find a print copy of this in town I'll update this post and let you know.
Other than the recipes there were a number of small details in this book that really stood out to me. Many of the recipes have substitution ideas which are incredibly helpful in adding a little variety to the recipes keeping them new and exciting. Also notable were the serving suggestions to help round out the meal as well as preparation tips. Did you know that fresh ginger can be peeled easily using a serving spoon? I didn't until I read this book, see even food bloggers can learn something new.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that this book doesn't assume you're going to make everything from scratch every time. Some of the recipes contain suggestions of where you may want to use a store bought item such as flat bread or pie crust as a time saver. I don't feel there is anything wrong with those suggestions, but I know a number of people who would disagree with me. I can say from experience that I hate rolling out pie crust for a quiche at 5am and often use store bought crusts for this. I'm most definitely not a morning person, but I think I've pretty well established that.
So far I've managed to try out three of the recipes from this book all of which have received two thumbs up from my family. You can come visit me on instagram or twitter to see photos of these dishes, they should be up in the next week or so.
Where to Purchase
This book was sent to me for review by Taunton Press through NetGalley. As always, all opinions are my own.
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