I mentioned several entries back, that I was given the book Eat Vegan on $4 a day to review. I had a harder time with this one than I thought I would. It’s not easy to give a somewhat negative review, because I’m from the south-where you just keep negativity to yourself until you’re around someone who you can vent with. That’s just how it is in the south.
I found this book to be uninspiring-at least to me. I am a seasoned cook, I’ve spent my entire life in the kitchen-usually with family. I know a lot about food and it’s easy for me to figure out flavor combinations. The recipes in this book were basic to me. The book would probably be great for someone who’s just going vegan or who has never really cooked with only vegetables before, but for me, it contained concepts and recipes I’ve already perfected.
Still, I was given this book to review, so I played with a few of the recipes to give it a shot.The one thing that really stood out to me is that this book shies away from salt use and there’s very little oil use except in salad dressings, so that is a bonus.
Prep for basic tabbouleh. I didn’t have cucumbers, so I used zucchini. I also didn’t have bulgur wheat…
So I used quinoa. I jazzed up the recipe by adding cumin and by including salt. This was really delicious. Lemon Juice and Cumin are great at hiding/masking the earthiness that some folks don’t like about quinoa.
There were suggestions for smoothies and drinks in the book, and also for sorbet. One recipe was for Strawberry Grapefruit sorbet, and there’s a note that these items are cheapest when they are in season. That frustrates me, because citrus and strawberries aren’t in season at the same time-at least not where I live. Instead, I used inspiration from the book’s ideas and made something that was in season, watermelon agua fresca. Besides this, I made the chocolate cherry smoothie, the peanut butter smoothie-this was actually a new one to me, it had an apple in it and no bananas, and a green smoothie. I had been skipping smoothies lately, so it was good to start drinking them again.
The book also features a recipe for chili that’s very close to my own. The only thing out of the ordinary was the addition of bulgur wheat, and again, I used quinoa because it’s what I had. I also made this recipe with far more spice than was recommended. I might just be a spice junkie, but honestly, I adore heat and flavor and spices lend so much flavor without adding a lot of calories that I never feel bad for abusing them.
BBQ spice roasted white acorn squash and sweet potatoes. While this was not a book recipe, I came across a recipe for sweet potato skins, which wasn’t something I’d considered in the past, and decided I should really use up the squashes and sweet potato I had on hand.
Veggies Stir Fry, the first recipe I made from the book. This was really delicious. I hadn’t made stir fry in ages.
In conclusion, I tried 4 dressing recipes, three soups, tabbouleh, stir fry, chili, two soups, and several smoothies, and while this book does remind you to eat the basics and to not dwell on expensive ingredients, I don’t really feel that I learned very much from this book. I will say that the book started off on the wrong foot for me, what with the inclusion of a recipe for making oatmeal that included cooking oats in water and adding a little salt, so perhaps I am not the proper audience for such a book. I can see it helping out those who are afraid of the kitchen or who have no idea what flavors go well together, but this is not a book for seasoned cooks. I will also admit that the title of this book really made me think of another, long established blogger-but that I could tell instantly she was not the author of this book.
Bottom line: if you don’t know your way around a kitchen, you’re on a very tight budget and have no money skills, or you’re new to vegan food-buy this book. If you don’t fit that description, this book is likely not something you’ll enjoy. I really appreciated the opportunity to review this book, and since I received it for free, I have decided to pass this on to another blogger to check out.
In other food news…
This is a very not pretty BBQ Seitan Sandwich. I made my first successful batch of seitan using the simmer method in Veganomicon, but that’s the only part of the recipe I used. This has nothing to do with vegan on $4 a day but I had to share it!
Random lunch, not the most inspired, but delicious nonetheless.