>> Wednesday, May 9, 2012 – Brian Patton, cookbook, giveaway winner, Julie Hasson, pizza, PureFit, recipe testing, review, The Sexy Vegan
If you're wondering why I haven't been posting a ton of original recipes lately, there's a good reason. You see, we've been eating a LOT of pizza lately, as I test recipes for Julie Hasson's upcoming vegan pizza book. I think you all know how near and dear to my heart the art of vegan pizza is, and it's been really interesting to try out someone else's take on the whole pie thing. Here are a few of the test pies I've been noshing on:
|Mushroom and Potato Pizza - Mmmm, shroomy goodness.|
|Korean Pizza - a new favorite!|
|Pesto and Asparagus Pizza - a celebration of spring asparagus.|
Last month, I received a review copy of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook, which has received stellar reviews across the web. The author, Brian L. Patton, is a bit of a web-celeb, mostly due to his YouTube videos. Patton's videos largely how-to recipes and cooking methods, with a few bad jokes and ukelele songs mixed in.
Now, back to that cookbook. Touted (via the book's subtitle) as "Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude," most of the recipes in the book are what I'd call, let's say, less than extraordinary. Relying heavily on soy products and meat analogs, Patton's dishes consist mostly of veganized versions of classic comfort foods, like spaghetti and meatballs, sliders, bacon, and nachos. Since I was never in love with those foods, I found it challenging to decide which recipes to try. I enlisted the help of my own resident "ordinary dude" and we decided to make the following:
My Balls (p. 26)
New England Blam Chowder (p. 62)
The Portly Fellow, a marinated portabello sandwich (p. 107) which also uses Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread (p. 108)
My Balls - These are baked tempeh and walnut balls, intended to go with spaghetti or in a faux meatball sandwich. They tasted good, but they were a huge mess and somewhat time consuming to make, and ended up being much more crumbly than I anticipated. My aforementioned ordinary dude liked them and requested that I make them again in the future, so I probably will, but with some modifications. I neglected to photograph mine, but you can see them on my friend Bianca's blog in her review.
|The Sexy Vegan's New England Blam Chowder|
|The Sexy Vegan's Portly Fellow portabello sandwich (shown with sweet potato fries)|
Aside from being underwhelmed by the recipes, I found myself a bit frustrated by the instructions at times. The preparation instructions are often vague, especially where time and doneness come into play. Although it wasn't a problem for me, a veteran cook, to work my way through a recipe, I think that someone with less experience in the kitchen—or who was new to vegan food—might get into some trouble. That's a shame, because I think these vegan versions of comfort food classics are best targeted at new vegans with little cooking experience. For that reason, I think Patton missed the boat just slightly, and I hope to see more complex flavors, detailed instructions, and sharp wit in his next book, should he pen one.