Review: The Natural Vegan Kitchen

In case you haven’t already heard the buzz, the Book Publishing Company has a vegan book campaign going on right now called Live Delicious, Eat Vegan. They’re promoting a fantastic assortment of vegan books and, as part of the campaign, they’re offering free book drawings!

I’m happy to be promoting this campaign because this particular publishing company is of a rare breed: it’s a community-owned, independent press dedicated to publishing only books that promote a healthful and sustainable lifestyle. The books focus on vegetarian and vegan nutrition, cooking and raw foods, and feature new generations of chefs who are redefining the look and taste of plant-based cuisine.

One of BPC’s newest titles, The Natural Vegan Kitchen, features recipes from the Natural Kitchen Cooking School in Princeton, NJ. Christine Waltermyer, the school’s founder and director, is a masterful chef and teacher who specializes in macrobiotic, vegan and raw cuisines.

Filled with wholesome recipes sans meat, eggs and dairy, The Natural Vegan Kitchen manages to pack tons of flavour into the simplest of preparations. This natural style of cooking focuses on fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients and empowers readers with the skills and knowledge to create delicious, nutrient-dense meals. Taste-tested by Christine’s students and clients, the recipes are easy to prepare and fun to make.

I have yet to meet anyone who claims to dislike chickpeas, and considering they are high on my list of favourite foods, the recipe for easy scallion hummus from the appetizers chapter held great potential. After all, how can you go wrong with any flavour of hummus, really? Interestingly, I’ve never actually added scallions to any of my variations. With only five ingredients, this popular dip is sure to be a new addition to your snack list. I’ve made it three times in the last week! It’s simple and satisfying.

There’s nothing better than a big vat of soup bubbling away on a chilly winter afternoon, so I wasted no time whipping up a giant potful of the French onion soup from the soups and stews chapter, since I’ve yet to try a vegan version of this classic meal. No less involved than my typical approach to any staple soup, that complex mushroom goodness definitely came through in the final flavour. Although there seemed to be some information missing in the recipe, I was able to figure it out along the way. In lieu of cheese, this recipe called for a product called mochi, which is made from brown rice. Since I had trouble finding it, a handful of Daiya cheese was a perfect substitute. Happily producing enough for a few meals at once, I was thrilled to have leftovers for the busy work week.

Being somewhat biased in my opinions of what makes a good dessert, I opted to go for something I wouldn’t normally make for myself. A Lebanese classic, the apricot pudding from the desserts chapter proved to be an interesting surprise. Combining apple juice, dried apricots and agar flakes, this thick mousse-like pudding would make the perfect, light ending to a more decadent meal, or better yet, topped with nondairy vanilla ice cream!

If you’re interested in this book or others like it, head over to BPC’s campaign website and enter to win one of your own!

      

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2 Responses to “Review: The Natural Vegan Kitchen”

  1. Nat — March 6, 2011 @ 1:55 am

    Christine, author of The Natural Vegan Kitchen is wonderful! She lives locally so she sells gluten free vegan baked goods to our store, and they're awesome. Not to mention she's an incredibly kind person. Also, I'm going to make your energy balls from a couple posts ago right now! Thanks!

  2. Christine Waltermyer — March 12, 2011 @ 2:12 am

    Hi Nicole! Thanks for your support of my cookbook, Natural Vegan Kitchen. Your photos are gorgeous and thanks for letting me know that I might need to tweak the French Onion Soup recipe in the next printing! Natalie, great to hear from you and thanks to you too for your kind words! I'll see you soon over at Grapevine. : )OMG, tonight I made fermented chickpea crepes and stuffed them with pear butter and almond butter…to die for!

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