September 19, 2011

A New Cook Book: The Vegan Table

After I bought this adorable chicken wire-style basket this weekend I absolutely needed a new cook book to add to my collection of favorites.

Hubby and I set out for the book store early in the chilly morning so we would be among the first customers. When looking for a soon-to-be-favorite book it is necessary, for me, to have peace, quiet and also an entire book shelf that I can hog and not feel as though I am in someone's way. In order to judge a book I flip through it once quickly to see if it is organized in a clear, understandable way. The next thing I do is read the introduction. My criteria for buying a soon-to-be-favorite cook book: Do I like the author? Does the food look good? Are the ingredients obtainable? Are there a variety of recipes? Is it a "good read"?

One of the available books that met my criteria was The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Do I like the author?
Being vegan is not just a way of eating. Rather it is a compassionate way of living. I like to feel that the author and I agree on the lifestyle, of which food is an important component. My top favorite vegan cook book is The Kind Diet. That book is right on key with my beliefs. The author's purpose with this book is to create a book about food for entertaining. She has successfully done that and while the recipes are great for entertaining they also can be made on a normal week night.

Does the food look good?
I strongly feel the images of the food in the book need to be appetizing. This book has great images! However, she does not overpower the book with images.

Are the ingredients obtainable?
Some vegan cook books have ingredients that I have never heard of and neither have the people in the grocery store. Some obscure ingredients stump even speciality health food store staff. If the ingredients are unobtainable, the book becomes null. So far, all the recipes in this book have obtainable ingredients.

Are there a variety of recipes?
The makeup of the recipes are telling of the author's understanding that vegans have to pay attention to how they get their vitamins and minerals. Many people and restaurants simply remove meat from dishes they would eat and consider it vegan. Some even think that those meat-removed dishes are what vegans eat. No wonder they can't understand why and how we eat what we do. A vegan diet is luxurious. The food is delicious. When meat eaters make a vegan sandwich they make it with simply lettuce, raw peppers, onions and tomatoes. A vegan, for example, would put a hummus and olive oil spread on multi-grain bread. The filling would be a combination of roasted or grilled veggies (peppers, eggplant, squash, mushrooms) on a bed of lightly sauteed kale. Additional flavors would be gained from sun dried tomatoes or cured olives. Instead of a side of lays potato chips I would instead opt for roasted sweet potatoes with coriander.

Is it a good read?
I like to smile when I read, even if it is a cook book. This book has fun notes off to the side that make it an entertaining book as well as informative.

This is the first recipe I cooked from this book. It is a "marvelous mushroom risotto."

September 1, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This past weekend the east coast of North America experienced hurrican Irene. As always, some areas were hit worst than others. Our area experienced what I would call a strong storm. We lost power for two hours last night...and that is about all of the hurricane effects we experienced. Others, including our neighbors experienced a little more. Our neighbors behind us and to the left of us have a lake in their back yard from the rain. Our neighbors to the right must have no power because their generator is running.

At about 10:00 last night our lights started to flicker and the wind started to howl outside our front door. We decided it would be best to take shelter on the lower floor of our house. We have a bi-level so the bottom floor is cinderblock construction. Our windows went straight-edge:

This will supposedly keep the windows in tact should they break from the heavy winds.

We slept on the floor on this room. It was once a garage that has been converted into a family room. Me, my husband and the dog (Westby) cuddled close on the floor. The cat (Beauie), being superior, slept upstairs:

Before we settled in for the evening we made the most delicious pizza bagels. Mine had kale, red onions, marinara sauce, and vegan cheese. It was the most delicious pizza bagel I've ever eaten. As I was making them I thought it would be my last hot meal for a day or so because I expected to lose electricity:

Here is the damage from the storm...our tomatoes, cucumber plant seedlings are most likely done for....