23 September 2012

Review: Dreena Burton "eat, drink & be vegan" cookbook

I bought Dreena Burton's "eat, drink & be vegan" several years ago, it was printed in 2007.

I made one recipe "Kids Dynamo Hummus," could not stand the results, and put the book aside.  *BIG* mistake, but I had a good reason ...

I love hummus.  My favorite hummus recipe is an about.com written by Nancy Gaifyllia, I believe it is this one Hummus with Tahini.  Every other hummus recipe I try is held up to this masterpiece, and found wanting.

I suppose I should not be surprised that this was the case with Burton's.  However, it was the first one I tried and I almost wrote the entire book off due to this experience.  Thank goodness I went back ...

I returned to the book looking for an easy soup recipe one cold winter day - enter Monkey Minestrone.  My first vegan soup recipe with lots of spices and an absolutely to die for taste.  It is, by far, my favorite soup recipe to date.  I return to it often.  I exchange the green beans for peas, and this soup does not last a day.  The omnivore in the house loves it, the dogs love it ...

Having redeemed itself, I've tried other recipes in the book:

Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-fry
My notes on this recipe are to tone down the tamari and molasses in the teriyaki sauce as they were overpowering the broccoli, pepper, and cashews.  So it gets half a checkmark.

"But Where Do You Get Your Protein?" Smoothie
This recipe grows on me the more I try it.  The mix of flavors is both complex and satisfying.  And yes, I'm tired of the question too Dreena!  This gets a full checkmark.

Lemon-Broiled Green Beans
I've only made these once, and the parchment paper caught on fire (that's what I get for not cutting down the paper to fit the pan), so some of the beans got thrown away ... but what I did get to eat was quite tasty.  I can't wait for green beans to come back in season for try 2.  This gets a full checkmark.

Pan-Fried Tempt-eh!
These never last long.  It is a simple and flavorful recipe, and the omnivore nibbles away while they are still sizzling hot.  Full checkmark.

Peanut Passion Sauce
I've made this once for soft spring roll dipping sauce.  My notes are to reduce the garlic and lime juice so that more of the peanut butter stands out.  This is a very thick sauce, and I add water as she suggested to thin out the sauce.  This gets half a checkmark.

Raspberry Cornmeal Pancakes
I usually do these with blueberries, since raspberries can be hard to find.  This recipe does not taste good if overcooked, but if cooked just right, they are very flavorful.  I don't think you can go wrong with cornmeal, that's the Southerner in me!  Full checkmark.

Seared Portobello Mushrooms
I don't think I can ruin portobellos enough to make them inedible.  Regardless, this recipe makes excellent eating - crunchy (and yet still fairly healthy) Portobello Mushroom fries.  Thumbs up from the two leggers in the house.  Full checkmark.

Sesame Lime Soba Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms & Snow Peas
This was an unexpectedly elegant and delicious dish.  Highly recommended, with the small note "cut agave nectar in half."  We tend not to like our entrees too sweet in this family.  Full checkmark.

Super-Charge Me! Cookies
Oh, I have a terrible sweet tooth.  But it has lost some of its sweet ability - whereas I used to be able to send myself into a sugar coma with a too sweet dessert, I cannot handle that these days (lunch used to be two pieces of bread spread with peanut butter mixed with honey and liberally sprinkled with a layer of chocolate chips and cheerios ... that was in my teens ... I couldn't take that sweet attack now).  So my treats have to be sweet, but not too sweet.  Enter Burton's cookie recipes.  These are hard to resist, especially when I add in dried cranberries.  I have to make a half a batch or less ... because I will eat them all in one sitting ...  Full checkmark, of course.

Sweet & Sour Chipotle Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes
I kinda knew this would be a no go recipe.  Not because it is lacking in flavor, but because (see above) I tend not to like sweet entrees.  This smells delicious, but the sweet bar is just too high for this family.  However, the four-legged beasts in the family thought this recipe was great, and the remainder was added to breakfast and dinner for a couple days (even my picky youngster cleaned his bowl).  So it gets an X for us two-legged types, 3 tail wags from the four-legged types, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others. 

Teriyaki Quinoa
Mm, a great, tasty side dish packed with veggie protein.  Full checkmark.

White Bean Hummus with Fresh Thyme & Basil
Considering my first Burton hummus experience, I am surprised I went back for seconds.  While the omnivore in the house only halfheartedly liked it, because (and I quote) "It has spices in it;" I quite enjoyed it.  It was better than my restaurant exposure to white bean hummus, and it has a different flavor profile entirely from Gaifyllia's recipe.  It is not hot, but rather like walking through a basil garden.  An excellent spring hummus.  Full checkmark.

"You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate" Cookies
These could be my ultimate downfall.  Nothing goes better in my mind than Peanut Butter and Chocolate (pardon me while I go wipe my mouth ...).  I did try to cut down the fat just a bit more by switching out half the oil for applesauce, and the resulting cookies did not hold together all that well, so follow the fat recommendations as written.  However, the change had no impact on the taste, and I might have overeaten that particular batch ... well, what's another little crumb, it is sitting here all by its lonesome, might as well eat it, and that crumb, and that crumb ...
Full Checkmark!

Zucchini Spelt Muffins
So I accidentally doubled the zucchini in this for my first batch, but they still tasted wonderful.  The suckers just would not set up and it took me a while to figure out why.  ;)  Delicious.  Full checkmark.

So, 15 recipes so far 13 keepers, 2 tossers.  87/13.  Darned good odds if I say so, what am I going to make next?

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