Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry

Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone

The photographs in this book are really gorgeous and have a certain indefinable quality (of light?) that makes one think of the West Coast. But it is the ingredient lists that give one the certainty that this book was not written nor conceived on the East Coast. The Asian-inspired (Japanese-style, really) recipes do not hail from New England, where we have far less Japanese influence on our food, to our detriment.

The Mustard Maple Tempeh marinade is a total win. It would be good with anything, but I took the author’s suggestion and put it on a green salad dressed with Orange Tahini Dressing, which was also simple and yummy.

The Veggie Frittata topped with roasted asparagus was less successful. The asparagus was great! I was so excited to try this, and so disappointed by the result. The chickpea flour flavor was strong, and the tofu too unusual a texture. I could never get away with serving this to non-vegans. A very similar recipe appears in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch, but without the chickpea flour, and Isa's version is a clear hands-down winner to my taste. However, Isa’s omelet in the same book is made with ½ cup chickpea flour, so it clearly is texture that both authors are attempting to recreate. I didn't try Isa's omelet to see if the taste was the same.

Ann Gentry chose well in her sweets chapter. These are classic sweets that go down well, and they’re NOT ALL CHOCOLATE. My mind tends to equate good sweets with chocolate, so that is my failing. But the Almond-Jam Thumbprints and Date Bars, made with her own flour concoction, are classic. (I do tend to balk at the large amount of maple syrup in the recipes, though. Even here in New England, where we revere our Maple Syrup, it is expensive, and not something one can easily countenance for a batch of cookies.) The Chocolate Silk Pie I can attest is way better than you imagine it will be.

Overall, this is a strong collection with surefire classics in each chapter.

Book comes out in June 2011. You can buy a copy here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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