The official Conscious Cook recipe review (to be updated)!
(sweetened) I should have soaked the cashews the night before(I read this after I started the recipe) and instead pureed the cashew cream ingredients with the simmered soup. It still came out great. (saskia)
This isn't anything new if you've ever made a cashew cheeze, or sauce, but it was great in the bisque. I can't wait until I have a vitamix, so that I can have a totally smooth cream. (AC)
Whipped cashew cream
(sweetened) to put on top of a caramel-hazelnut poundcake for dessert. It had a great flavor, but never thickened up to "whipped cream" consistency. I will make again, but it's more like a "sweet cream drizzle" than a whipped cream. (jessacita)
Starters and small plates
Artichoke and oyster mushroom Rockefeller
WOW. I used kelp powder instead of nor and it was delicious. I love how the artichoke leaves are inedible, except for a little delicious chunk at the bottom! Be sure to serve with a discard plate for the leaves. (laurakins)
Fresh baked focaccia with caramelized onions
It turned out awful! It never rose and was hard as a rock after baking. I am wondering if there is a typo with the amount of flour. 6 cups seems like a lot. I am currently making it again, but halved the flour to around 3 cups. I will post results. (chloeandpenguin)
with a tad over 3 cups of flour is perfection. I didn't caramelize onions this time, because I was afraid the bread wouldn't turn out again. However, with just rosemary, red pepper flakes, sea salt & pepper there was plenty of flavor. (chloeandpenguin)
I didn't read these reviews ^ ahead of time, but also thought 6 cups of flour for focaccia seemed like a ton. However, I went with the recipe. I used most of the flour (not quite all), but did need additional liquid. Not a ton, but some. I used the dough hook stand mixer, and just kneaded until it came together. The dough rose really well. I baked for a few minutes longer, and I think it could have used a bit more than that. It's not my favorite focaccia at all. It's not chewy enough, and is a bit too thick. The onions were good, but not spectacular on it. I wouldn't make this recipe again, because I've made better. I also don't like how he seems to over complicate directions. (AC)
Grilled artichokes with Caesar dressing
So, even though I had a fairly large artichoke, even 20 minutes was too much cooking time, because it totally fell apart while trying to saw it in half (as directed!). Go figure. So I wasn't able to grill it (too bad), but I DID make the Caesar dressing. The dressing is tangy and pretty good, but it's hard to get over the fact that it seems to be 75% olive oil. YEP. It stayed reasonably emulsified. (fb)
Ponzu glazed tofu crystal rolls
Ah, I wish I had read more into the notes before this. It seems the ponzu is the ponzu-soy sauce, not straight ponzu (a citrus vinegar thing), so I just used to the citrus vinegar version, which was still pretty good and tasty. Overall this were pretty plain, and I prefer fresh rolls made with the typical things instead. However, using ponzu with tofu is a good idea, so there's that. (fb)
Quinoa maki with avocado and Cajun portobello fillets
Didn't like. The quinoa never held together quite like rice would, so the roll couldn't be cut. Apparently you can cook quinoa in a specific way to make it work (more water, overcook it), which is probably what I should have done. I didn't particularly like the combo of the cajun portobello + quinoa + nori either, so all around not a good dish for me. I prefer regular ole sushi. (fb)
Sweet onion beggar's purses
Tempura beet rollatini with balsamic gastrique
Twice baked fingerling potatoes with crisped dulse
Delightful. While this could probably be easily made with regular, regular-sized potatoes, I used the teeny fingerling potatoes, which were great. I used flaked dulse, instead of crisping whole pieces, and just added it on top of everything. They're a little greasy, but good finger food/appetizer stuff. Would make again, probably with larger potatoes this time. (fb)
Bibb lettuce, shaved fennel, and grapefruit salad with pickled onion
Didn't use grapefruit. The pickled onion is great (sweet/tangy), and there was quite a bit of extra liquid, so I pickled some of the fennel too, which was also good. (fb)
Caesar salad with focaccia croutons
Fresh mint and cucumber salad with tahini vinaigrette
was simple and delicious. I had a substantial amount of dressing left over. It had an unexpected flavor that was almost tart. I have been using it on sandwiches all week. I will definitely be taking that to a summer picnic. (chloeandpenguin)
Green bean and fingerling potato salad with miso dressing
Not always a fan of miso, but it was good here. Salty/tangy dressing, could probably use something other than green beans if you wanted to. (fb)
Heirloom tomato salad with crisped capers
Orange, Belgian endive, and quinoa salad with champagne vinaigrette
Went lazy with this, and instead of serving it in endive leaves, I chopped up the endive and put it in the salad (just as good!). Overall pleasant salad. (fb)
Quinoa, avocado, and sweet potato timbale with roasted tomatillo dressing
Used gold potatoes instead of sweet potato. Overall, really good. I have to say that using so little tomatillo at once seems a bit silly (I'd rather make salsa verde on the side or make a larger portion of the dressing). (fb)
Summer chopped salad
Very green salad with cucumber, kohlrabi, sweet onion, and herb vinaigrette
Gardein chicken piccata
Yummmmmmmmm. This is so rich, and good. I used the gardein lightly seasoned scallopini for this (I've never seen plain "breasts"), and they worked great. I did try to flatten a couple of them, but I don't think it mattered. At first I was thinking how weird it would be to slice them on the bias (as the recipe says), but the breasts must be thicker. I had 4 pieces, and didn't need anywhere near 2 cups flour..maybe a few tbs. I also only used 1-2 tbs EB, and less oil. I still added too much oil, though..for my liking. The flavor is excellent. I didn't use 1/4 cup capers, but used enough to seem like they were prevalent in the sauce. I wasn't expecting P to like this, but he loved it. I'm going to add lemon zest next time. I didn't use the shallot. This would be an impressive dish to make for someone, but it's not difficult. (AC)
Seriously, this was OMG good. Honestly one of the best things I've ever made. I served it on top of angel hair with the Braised Kale from this same book. The flavor was smack your lips, and lick your plate good! (eoberhauser)
F YEAH. There are a few recipes in here that make similar use of gardein chicken - the pine nut crusted one and the scaloppini - and I think this is the best. The gardein stuff really gets the best texture from pan frying like this. Pretty easy recipe, easy likeable. (fb)
Hot Italian banana peppers stuffed with fresh herb risotto and soy mozzarella, with fresh basil lime sauce
I made half the recipe, and it still makes A LOT. I only used some for stuffing, since I was using some wax peppers instead and just wanted to try out the stuffing thing. That came out pretty well, but the risotto is good enough on its own (doesn't have to be stuffed into something to make it interested). The lime sauce is pretty much as it sounds, and I added more basil to give it a little more flavor. I think it doesn't REALLY need that sauce. (fb)
Wild field green salad with sun dried cherries and blueberries, fresh strawberries, sunflower seeds, tofu ricotta, and a warm blueberry vinaigrette
Celery root soup with granny smith apples
This soup got really thick (not sure if it was supposed to). Before adding the apples, I thought it tasted surprisingly like gravy. After the apples, it tasted like gravy with apples J really liked it, saying that it was good because it tastes like gravy. Yep. It would be fine without the apples, like with bread or croutons instead. Or over mashed potatoes... (fb)
Cream of asparagus soup
This versatile dish, which can be made with broccoli instead, is a pureed soup with asparagus, olive oil, celery, spinach and an agave-sweetened cashew cream. I should have soaked the cashews the night before(I read this after I started the recipe) and instead pureed the cashew cream ingredients with the simmered soup. It still came out great. A standout above other cream of (insert vegetable here) soups I have tried because the cashew cream gives this soup a richer, nuttier and slightly sweetened, creamy flavor. Ladle into bowls and dress it with a dollop of the "cream," or parsley and a grind of pepper, and you've got a simple, yet elegant, dish to impress your guests. (saskia)
I just re-read saskia's review, and I didn't do a sweetened cream for this! I did the regular. Anyway, we enjoyed this soup. It's a simple, subtle flavor, but it's really good. I might even try this with roasted asparagus. I added a splash of white wine, and a bit of fresh thyme. I didn't add quite as much stock as it states, and upped the cream. It's a thinner soup, but not too thin. (AC)
Lemongrass consomme with pea shoot and mushroom dumplings
FANTASTIC. If you miss wonton soup, this is even better! Just delicious. I would suggest using a very light broth, or possibly even using water with a veggie boullion cube (or two) (laurakins)
The consomme is pretty simple to make, and simple in flavor. The dumplings aren't too difficult. I'd rather make more dumplings to use up all the wrappers in a package, but oh well. I don't like oyster mushrooms too much, but this was fine, not too fishy. (fb)
Split pea soup with tempeh bacon and chipotle cream
Deeelicious. Best split pea soup, like, ever. Leeks are great here. I used the turtle island tempeh bacon stuff. The chipotle cream is good (and not super spicy), but not totally necessary. Good soup on its own. (fb)
I shredded the carrot, onion and celery with my kitchenaid. I thought that would help give the soup a smooth consistency and I wouldn't need to blend as much at the end. I think the soup would have had a more complex flavor if I hadn't done that, since some juice was lost in shredding. Live and learn. The fire-roasted tomatoes really add an almost smoky flavor. I wonder if smoked sea salt would also complement this dish. (chloeandpenguin)
This is FABULOUS. I wanted to stick pretty close to the recipe, (and I basically did!!!) so I don't think any of my changes were that significant. I did 1/2 onion, and 2 stalks of celery. I FORGOT to add my flour to the vegetables, so I just mixed it with a bit of water, and added that after I had added the liquids. I used crushed tomatoes. My blender is crappy, so I did this with food processor...which is never good with liquids. Mine was definitely not totally smooth (b/c of the cashew cream), but it worked fine. It was pretty smooth. I'm glad I fought the urge to just leave it chunky. This has so much flavor, and the bay leaf gives it that smokiness. It definitely reminds me of good non-vegan tomato bisques. Love it. (AC)
Cashew cream really makes tomato soup tastier. Good, kind of peppery because of the roasted tomatoes (the canned varieties I found also had peppers), would make again. (fb)
I made a modified version of the Pine nut and basil seared gardein "chicken" with lobster mushroom beurre blank, braised kale, and roasted fingerling potatoes recipe. SO GOOD.
First off, I can't find the Gardein chick'n breasts in my area yet. (There are other varieties of Gardein being sold, but nothing like these.) So, I made seitan instead, and breaded the fillets with his pine nut breading. Pine nuts are hella expensive right now ($22/lb!!!), so I used 1/2 pine nuts, and 1/2 macadamia nuts. I also added a little nutritional yeast to the breading mixture. It.was.awesome. I served it to my boyfriend (vegan), and two friends (omni), and everyone flipped shit. They couldn't stop raving over how amazing it was. The mushroom sauce was fantastic - but I couldn't find lobster mushrooms, so I used 1/2 shitaake, and 1/2 crimini. I'm sure it would be "extra special" with the lobsters, but this was easier & I'm sure less expensive. Made a salad instead of kale, so I can't speak to that - but the fingerling potatoes were great! Simple, perfectly seasoned, and delicious.
I'm not sure how helpful this review is because I obviously didn't follow the recipe to a T - but it was great inspiration, and I LOVED the mushroom sauce & pine nut breading idea. I think I'm making that for Thanksgiving.
Oh, I also made the Whipped Cashew Cream (sweetened) to put on top of a caramel-hazelnut poundcake for dessert. It had a great flavor, but never thickened up to "whipped cream" consistency. I will make again, but it's more like a "sweet cream drizzle" than a whipped cream.
Duuuuuuuude. Just reading the names of these recipes I already know I've GOT to have it! Hello, Amazon.com. So nice to see you again...
Duuuuuuuude. Just reading the names of these recipes I already know I've GOT to have it! Hello, Amazon.com. So nice to see you again...
I so recommend it! Some ingredients are hard to find and/or pretty darn expensive, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book for a beginner vegan who isn't adventurous or open to improvising when necessary... But it's a really great, unique book full of "fancy," creative recipes!
The Lemongrass Consume with Dumplings is FANTASTIC. If you miss wonton soup, this is even better! Just delicious. I would suggest using a very light broth, or possibly even using water with a veggie boullion cube (or two) -
Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller- WOW. I used kelp powder instead of nor and it was delicious. I love how the artichoke leaves are inedible, except for a little delicious chunk at the bottom! Be sure to serve with a discard plate for the leaves.
Thai Spring Rolls - AMAZING. The sambal oelek (i used thai curry sauce) is the perfect accompaniment. Rather than slicing them, I left them whole like traditional rice paper rolls.
agave-lime tofu with asian slaw and cashew cream whipped potatoes- OMG. So beautiful and delicious! I used an old george foreman grill to sear my tofu. YUM!
Gardein "steak" sandwich with watercress, red pepper, and horseradish mayonnaise
I made a version of this. I realize the guy is employed by Gardein, but I couldn't see buying the steak strips, and then individually wiping off the spices only to put more spices on. Seems too silly. Instead I used tofu and loved it. I never use dehydrated onion and garlic..use only fresh or powdered, so I used powdered and it was very good.
I made the mayo to go along with it and it was very good. I was frustrated in my effrorts to find horseradish that didn't had added egg yolks, so I just bought a used wasabi paste instead and it was delish. Instead of red pepper, which I had on hand, I decided to use tomato and used some dark green leafy lettuce instead of watercress.
opps....was trying to edit a typo and messed up. ;)
Vietmanese-style tofu sandwiches
This was one of those "OMG...this is so good" recipes. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this.
I didn't have chives (which I swear I bought but they disappeared once I got home) so I used the tips of some scallions. The store didn't have daikon so I made the "slaw" with carrots and regular radishes, but used only the carrots on the sandwich. I mixed the chili oil and mayo prior to spreading it, otherwise I was true to the recipe and it was sooooo good.
Oh...I just bought a huge bunch of raw cashews........mmmmmmmmm
Old bay tofu cakes with pan roasted summer vegetables, horseradish cream, apples, and beets
I made only the tofu cake portion of this dish, and they were really delicious. I baked them at 450 for about 15 minutes on each side instead of frying. They were crispy on the outside & I didn't miss the frying at all. I don't think the texture is anything like crab cakes, but the flavor is really good. I also didn't toast the nori as instructed because I didn't feel like it. :P I made my own horseradish tartar sauce to top the cakes, and that really made the flavor stand out. I don't think I'd serve this dish to company, but as a tofu lover, I really liked it.
I promise this book has actually done me a disservice. The pictures are so incredible on every page that once I try to emulate a recipe it never looks anywhere near the finished product from the book!
Now of course, the meals are divine, but just when you think you are moving up in the vegan cooking world I open this book, glance at the pictures and I am quickly reminded that I have quite a long way to go!
Glad you enjoyed those Ally, I did too. :)
Gardein Chicken Piccata - Seriously, this was OMG good. Honestly one of the best things I've ever made. I served it on top of angel hair with the Braised Kale from this same book. The flavor was smack your lips, and lick your plate good!
Oven roasted banana rum cheesecake with spiced pecan crust and maple rum sauce
Made this for dessert at Christmas...it was outstanding. Be prepared, however, as roasted bananas smell a little wierd.