I never got around to last week’s Cookbook Challenge update for Veganomicon. I’ve got to admit that I failed the challenge, in a way, because I didn’t make three new recipes. Sunday night was a return to an old favorite: Pasta with Beanballs and Marinara Sauce (delicious goodness! that wasn’t photographed). Last week was a bit hectic and included a bit of an unmotivated cooking slump. But I did get to make two new recipes and had two friends over to share it with. Last Tuesday was a chilly day and evening, so a nice fall soup sounded perfect. I made the Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes, and a small batch of the Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots, which ended up topping the soup along with the shiitakes. The soup involved a bit of work as I rehydrated my own adzukis and peeling acorn squash isn’t something I’d want to do everyday. But it was well worth it: warm, slightly sweet, golden, and nicely flavored with Chinese five spice. Both the salty sauteed shiitakes and the crunchy, sesame-flavored baby bok choy were a really wonderful complement. You should get this cookbook for so many reasons if you don’t already have it, but it’s so awesome to know that I’m always going to cook a crowd-pleaser whether I’ve made it before or not!
For this week, I ended up making all three recipes in one evening! I might end up making more, but I was so excited about what I made (the dessert, especially) that I wanted to blog right away. I’m definitely in the “this-is-a-hit-or-miss-kinda-cookbook” crowd when it comes to Sarah Kramer. Many of the recipes, if not most, are actually user-submitted in La Dolce Vegan (Wolffie is a popular contributor!), though I ended up picking two of Sarah’s. I also, somehow, managed to pick a salad and an entree that both had toasted pine nuts as garnish, so I just reduced the amount a bit (cuz they ain’t cheap!). I liked that I was able to use up some things I had sitting in my fridge with this meal (spinach, apples, and pears), and that they were all really easy recipes. For dinner we had the Baby Spinach and Apple Salad with Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette; I forgot to get raisins, which probably would have sweetened it up some more, but I did feel the vinaigrette was definitely not terribly sweet to begin with (more acidic). Still, it was nice and crunchy and green, and I like me some greens. Which is one of the reasons I chose the accompanying entree: Emira’s Speedy Gourmet Kale and Tofu Delight. This was simple, quick, and tasty over kamut (we were out of brown rice for some insane reason!). I would maybe add some extra spices to make it a little more interesting but it definitely hit the spot. I’m glad I didn’t end up with any duds! (Maybe I’m better at spotting them now?) This isn’t the greatest photo, but we were hungry and my lady had a class to get to!
Luckily for encouragement purposes, the dessert turned out really well and photographed beautifully. I had a couple of pears that needed to be used, and I am glad I used them this way! The Roasted Pears in Maple Garam Masala Sauce is one of the fastest and most intoxicating desserts I’ve made in a long time. While baking, the warm scent of Garam Masala filled the house. and every bite was sweet and deliciously spicy from ginger. It’s taking a lot for me to hold back from eating my partner’s portion before she comes home! If you have this cookbook, or can check it out from your local library, make this RIGHT AWAY. I mean it. I think it would be well suited to apples or peaches too.