Friday, March 15, 2013

American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes

American Vegan Kitchen

Noyes has enormous talent in making hearty meals reminiscent of American Classics, or Blue Plate Specials. In fact, she chooses to even use those names which give us a hint of the originals, e.g., "Salisbury-style Seitan" and "Southern Fried Seitan." These come close to the flavor and texture of those old-fashioned dishes, and I now constantly underestimate the efficacy of having such dishes in one's repertoire when one is serving non-vegans. People are willing to try/eat vegan, particularly if the food is delicious, and some are more willing if the food is familiar. It is hard to believe some people are still eating "southern fried" anything, but there you go...a little treat for those unreformed but without as many calories or cholesterol. I tried it, and it is delicious.

Noyes' recipe for Tempeh Stroganoff (with no vegan sour cream) is terrific and I will use it again and again. I had it on mashed potatoes, but it would be good in any combination with any grain. It is simple, since it is basically oven-baking tempeh in a marinade--no need to steam the tempeh first.

The Fettuccine Alfredo looked gorgeous, and tasted great. I had trouble keeping it hot enough, but that is always my particular problem with pasta dishes.

I tried the All-American Incrediburgers and they live up their name. When the burgers are hot, they even leak a little, like fatty beef (hope that doesn't put you off). Grilled, these would be pretty spectacular, but they were excellent pan-fried in the dead of winter. Non-vegans were amazed. Best of all, perhaps, was the recipe for Burger Buns, which held together under slatherings of sauce and juicy burger. This was the MOST successful recipe I have (found and) tried for these, and bread is my specialty. I'm sure the Tempeh Burgers will taste exceptionally good as well, for they use the same ingredients as that indomitable team, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

Tried the Blueberry-Oat Short Stack one morning for breakfast & unfortunately couldn't eat them hot because the baking powder made them horrible. I wonder still if that 2 Tblsp of Baking Powder is a typo. I would use yeast instead, but if you must, use only 2 tsp Baking Powder if you try these. The overnight soak is the theory behind museli as well (softening the oatmeal). Anyway, I left the oatcakes stacked on the table, and late in the afternoon, when they were cold, I did not taste the baking powder so much, so they weren't as bad then.

The Corn and Bean Chowder was pretty spectacular, and the Mushroom Barley Stew really had a deep mushroom flavor, especially since I used half an ounce of dried Chanterelles with the fresh mushrooms.

In many recipes, Noyes asks for a spice mix she created: All American Spice Mix. It is very good and useful. For a week or more, when I had run out of Chili Powder and kept forgetting to buy some, I used this spice mix interchangeably in recipes calling for Chili Powder. It is flavorful and has the kick of cayenne.

All in all, Tami Noyes is something of a diva, and going to her house for dinner must be something akin to entering those pearly gates.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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