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HeidiSueRoth has commented on (31) products.

The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home: Small Plates, Big Flavors, & Potent Cocktails by Brian L. Patton
The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home: Small Plates, Big Flavors, & Potent Cocktails

HeidiSueRoth, May 31, 2013

Funny, Fantastic, and a Great Sophomore Offering

When I got a copy of the first Sexy Vegan cookbook, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve been riffing on how great the book was since that first recipe I completed and we all consumed the results. The second installment breaks the usual publishing trend: volume two rarely lives up to the expectations established by the first experience.

For this review the group of testers completely agreed: fabulous recipes that everyone wants to make again. The book is arranged in a menu-grouping format. I chose recipes from a couple different menus. We started with Mango Gazpacho. A blender was recommended for the soup; it was easy and effective. The flavor balance and texture was perfect. The size of the recipes, four servings, is nice for a small group or even a larger serving for two people. Often cookbooks make such a large amount the recipes become difficult to use on a regular basis. Patton breaks that trend.

We also tried the Quick Giardiniera, lightly pickled vegetables, as part of the main meal. For the test meal the gently brined cauliflower, red pepper, carrot and celery accompanied a marinated steak. We found it to b e a good accompaniment. For my tastes, I’d use slightly less of the pickling mixture to keep the flavor more subtle. However, even two days after the meal we were snacking on the pickled items. With so many recipes to test even this smaller batch gave us leftovers.

The absolute highlight was the “Hearst of Palm Ceviche.” I saw the recipe and had to try it because I couldn’t obviously figure out how it would taste when done. The results are simply brilliant. The texture is so accurate that everyone was completely satisfied with the dish. A small amount of jalapeno is key. Even if you don’t care for spicy foods, be sure to include this ingredient. That slight edge is pivotal to making this “mock” ceviche all it can be.

I have many other recipes to make as time goes on, including some of the cocktail combinations. Enamored of the food options, I’ll try the beverages later. With the first three recipes completed and devoured it appears Mr. Patton has conquered another entire group of fulfilling dishes of good food that happen to be vegan. Whether you eat vegan all the time or sometimes, no one miss anything eating from the Vegan reality of this brilliant cookbook.

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Caseus Fromagerie Bistro Cookbook: Every Cheese Has a Story by Jason Sobocinski
Caseus Fromagerie Bistro Cookbook: Every Cheese Has a Story

HeidiSueRoth, April 6, 2012

Cheese, Charm, and Lovely Flavors

One of the joys of modern cookbooks and food writing relates to genre expansion. While classic, revered dishes and language continue, more room exists for irreverence or quirkiness. The field for 2012 appears to be bringing together the publication of these less-traditional voices with stunning recipes. The Caseus Fromagerie Bistro Cookbook lands in this space with feline agility.

Reading the book provides a strong impression of the chef, restaurant, and patrons. They all share wry humor, a desire to enjoy food made well with fresh tastes that shine through, and the room to be individual. The accessible layout and language, with inspired images make the a pleasure to devour this book before even making any of the recipes.

A number of the recipes won the vote to be on our repeat list. Often, precious jewels should up in expected places. That happened here. A stunning side dish appeared with a recipe for lamb kabobs. The kabob recipe was well done, but the Cured Lemon Quinoa on page 100 was plate-licking good.

I recently started my journey with making cured lemons during the Meyer Lemon season here in Northern California. So far, I don't have enough recipes to use up the bounty. Finding the quinoa with cured lemons recipe added a new standard to my arsenal. The instructions for preparing the quinoa were perfect for releasing a satisfying starchiness while keeping an elusive, al dente toothiness.

One important note: the recipe for the quinoa lists the mint as optional. I strongly suggest you include it. The nutty grains, zingy lemon, smooth comforting butter come together as a stronger family when you include this ingredient adding a minty touch of flair and kitchen clown. Please, don't skip the fresh mint for this recipe.

On the other hand, our tester taste buds were divided on the Crab and Grapefruit over Zucchini Ribbons with Sheep's Milk Feta. I found the first bite tasted fabulous. The combination delighted and intrigued. Others continued to enjoy the dish. My initial infatuation didn't last; like a beautiful crush with a black-board squeaky voice, the rush to meld with the dish failed after the first bite for me. Others simply didn't agree. You may have to try this one yourself to find out how it strikes you.

The Marcona Almond Pesto Pasta also pleased our palates. This recipe was more of a reminder that pesto doesn't mean you have to be locked into same, classic ingredients. It reflects the reality people more likely used what they had on hand. As another reviewer stated, this one reflects the classic riff idea.

The dish I've already made multiple times--to finish off today's breakfast in fact--is simple, elegant with so many applications it's impossible to guess how many times or places serving it will serve you. The simple combination of cheese, a hint of spice and sweet goes piques your interest, intrigues the mouth and satisfies the appetite. "Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with Honey & Black Pepper" wins hands down for favored taste and incredibly useful recipe.
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Tibetan Cooking: Recipes for Daily Living, Celebration, and Ceremony by Elizabeth Kelly
Tibetan Cooking: Recipes for Daily Living, Celebration, and Ceremony

HeidiSueRoth, March 27, 2012

Do you wonder when considering recipes from new cultures what caused the unfamiliar combinations? Or why in the world did that technique develop? While few people are interested in becoming food anthropologists, most styles of cooking are directly influenced by environment and belief systems. Tibetan Cooking by Elizabeth Esther Kelly takes you inside the experience of food in Tibet.

The book does a great job of setting the recipes in the lifestyle of the area. The layout and style of the book is equally satisfying. For those of you, like me, who love to read cookbooks, this is a great find. The combination of interesting educational materials, recipes that range from easy to make right now to more daring, and the visual appeal make for a great kitchen read.

If I have a criticism of the book, it’s the small number of recipes presented. The downside is the reality of putting together a cooking missive that is as much about education and culture as about the food. For those looking to load up on interesting recipes, I’d recommend The Nepal Cookbook instead. So it really depends on your goal in acquiring a new book about food and recipes from this area.

Choosing a favorite recipe, on the other hand, was simple. The techniques are simple and you probably only need to get a couple extra items. Most cooks who will pick up this book likely have turmeric in their spice collection. The four plum tomatoes make need a grocery stop. Otherwise, this satisfying, beautiful dish is likely to become a regular star in your kitchen.
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The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude by Brian Patton
The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude

HeidiSueRoth, March 27, 2012

Love. Sex. Vegan. Who Know

If more vegan foods offered tastes and textures the average person recognized more people would eat vegan. I don’t mind eating vegan food in most cases (more on that later) and I certainly like a lot of vegetarian dishes. Precious attitude is also tiring; politics and holiness aren’t desirable flavors in my kitchen.

Body chemistry is not a 1:1 relationship. When I eat completely vegetarian my cholesterol sky rockets. I know! It’s not supposed to work that way. And after multiple experiences over the years I know I need lean, quality animal protein in my diet to stay healthy. Each time after going back to this model my numbers dropped; something that is supposed to be impossible but it works. Sure, I am also that person who is the 1:100,000 will have some goofy reaction to a drug listed on that annoying tiny-folded piece of paper in your drugs.

Patton avoids arrogance or religious fervor beyond being excited to share his personal results. These vegan recipes are a great way to cut fat, increase protein in many cases, and perhaps even reduce your eco-print along the way. So often foods for special diets don’t resemble any kind of dish you’ve ever seen before. One of the great successes in this collection is the feeling of hey, “I recognize that!” The results look, feel and taste like food.

My husband even said, That’s scary good for no meat. The Beany Tahini Burger is a new go-to solution on those nights when dinner is uninspiring. A can of chick peas is a normal part of my kitchen pantry. If need be you can switch out dried herbs for fresh (though fresh will be tons better). I did add a little potato starch to get the burgers to come together a little firmer than normal; this reflects house preference where I live. Make them without the first time. The texture resembled an outstanding salmon patty. Even the color relates to the patty.

But wait: there’s more to love about this cookbook:

*Great value based on the test recipes. After making my usual three recipes, I can’t wait to make more. My husband’s responses ranged from D*&n Good to Scary Good for no meat! I have no doubt the retail cost of the book will generate even more favorites we will use on a regular basis.
*Stunning production values: Comparing the cost of the book and gorgeous graphics, complicated layout and inter-connected references justifies a higher price point.
*Accessible: The recipes are manageable regardless of your experience with Vegan cooking. Seriously! You can do it.
*Just Plain Fun: Patton’s personality in the writing shines and entertains. Reading may even be more fun that cooking with this book. Nah, that’s not true, make and eat some of these recipes.

When it comes to favorites, I struggled to choose one. For starters, you’ve got to try the My featured recipe, The Almond Brothers Breakfast Bar, is great for breakfast as claimed, hiking, or those busy days running around town. Check out my blog for this yummy, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free creation, no matter what labels fit the ingredients the bars are just plain good.

Special diet needs, however, may find less to love in this cookbook. If you need to avoid soy or gluten, a serious group of recipes don’t work. Since both of these food sources make me sick, I really notice this in vegan foods. It’s the second reason this diet is just not an answer for my body. If either of these dietary concerns in part of your life, wait for a library copy or used copy in a year or so. You will still find lots to love in this book, but the recipe: cost value goes down drastically when the primary protein source in nearly a third of the recipes is outside your approved eating choices.

My goal is always to get you in the kitchen making something you’ve never tried before. Then sit down to eat with friends and family so everyone has a good time. Come on, Cook. Eat. Laugh.
Heidi Sue Roth
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The Nepal Cookbook by Association Of Nepalis In The Americas
The Nepal Cookbook

HeidiSueRoth, March 27, 2012

Are you ready for the challenges of new tastes, techniques and ideas? Then grab a copy of this book and Cook! Eat! Laugh! Make some new, unique dishes and have a good time with family, friends, and your kitchen. My experience with this book ranged from total knock-out success to dismal failure.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m so excited about a cookbook that included a serious failure. First of all, I’m not done experimenting with the concepts in the recipe. Second, it presented food preparation ideas that were completely new to me. I’ve been through literally hundreds of cookbooks in my life and nearly a hundred just in the past few months. The kitchen in Solomon’s palace has nothing on mine for searching out new things: there are very few truly new ideas under the sun that can be used in the home kitchen.

The unsuccessful recipe was for a dehydrated, raw bean dish. The results presented color, taste and texture I don’t recommend to Western cooks. (Stay tuned to CookEatLaugh online to get the new, updated recipe I am already working on.) On the other hand, other recipes were amazing, unique, and completely successful. I tried five recipes from this book for the review. From the Carrot Fudge to an usual salad, we all had a great time investigating the new textures and tastes. Grapefruit and yoga sounds like a weird combination but I had 9 out of ten votes for: Give me a copy of that recipe! As a result I am confident recommending Grapefruit Salad as a perfect first recipe from this book.
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