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The official Veganomicon recipe review (to be updated)!

Rumnog Pecan Cookies

I already reviewed these once, but I just made them again so I thought I'd update.  I really do love the flavor of these, but the recipe is so problematic that I wonder how thoroughly it was tested.  Just like the first batch I made, this batch was way too soft to form dough and I had to add 1/2 - 1 cup of extra flour.  Even then, they were still soft.  Next, you are supposed to form them into balls, then roll in chopped pecans.  OK, but then afterward you are going to frost them, which is very difficult when there are pecans jutting out all over the top (and it looks ugly).  The pecans should really be mixed INTO the dough (I keep forgetting that).  The frosting is good, but you don't need more than a scant tablespoon of rum and it has plenty of flavor.

I really do like these cookies!  There are just so many little things that you have to remember to adjust in the recipe.  Sometime I want to try a coconut variation--add toasted coconut and top with a frosting made from coconut rum instead of plain.

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Chile-Cornmeal Crusted Tofu- yay! this is a great fast, family friendly dinner to whip up after work. The tofu has quite a bit of flavor for not being marinated.

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Banana Nut Waffles

My family and I loved the taste of these.  They called them "banana bread waffles."  However, I wasn't using the best waffle iron either, and I had a lot of trouble with them sticking.  The texture was still pretty good though, despite the fact that they didn't come out in one piece. 

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Banana-Date Scones

I made these a few weeks ago and forgot to review them.  These were very good.  The dates and ripe bananas made for just enough sweetness.  They also kept well for several days in the fridge...I recommend toasting and adding some earth balance.  Yum! 

Peanut-ginger-sesame cookies

I like these a lot.  The ginger flavor is definitely "there," but not overwhelming.  They are kind of like a soft shortbread and the sesame seeds give a nice texture.  I made just a few modifications; I used maple peanut butter, which is reallly sweet, so I cut the sugar in the batter down to about 1/3 cup.  I also didn't roll them in sugar, only sesame seeds.  I will definitely make them again. 

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Black Bean Burgers
Not working for me. I love black beans, I love seitan, but these weren't very flavorful (and I included the cilantro). Also, even while pressing these pretty thin, it was hard to get the gluten to fully cook (my boyfriend didn't notice the undercookedness, but I knew since I knew the texture of the uncooked gluten from making it). I think that, if I were to try this again, I would add some soy sauce to the batter, maybe a little liquid smoke, and I would steam the patties in foil a little bit before pan frying to get the gluten to firm up more.

Manzana Chile Verde
I've never had chile verde, so it's hard to compare to the 'real thing'. But, I liked it! I love salsa verde, so I guess it was natural that I'd like this. It's kind of sweet/sour/spicy. To that end, I think the apple works with it - there wasn't any noticeable apple flavor, but since green apples are sweet/sour it just kind of blends in. I didn't slice the apples, though - I was lazy so I grated them in, leaving no solid bits of apple in the final product. Without the potatoes and beans, this stuff might even pass as salsa verde, maybe. We ate this with the Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits from Vegan Brunch, but this could probably be eaten by itself. Also, I was concerned 3 jalapeños might be a bit much, but it wasn't - it was somewhere between mild and medium (but I can handle spicy foods, so when in doubt, reduce the number of peppers).

Jalapeño Corn Gravy
I'm not sure whether to call this a gravy, a chowder, or a sauce. It's somewhere in that region. Anyway, I love yellow corn, and this was on the spot. It's not super spicy either, so I think I might be lazy next time and just leave the jalapeño seeds in.

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Spicy tempeh nori rolls: I thought these were okay... nothing amazing

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Panko stuffed mushrooms: these were pretty good but were missing something... needed a bit more flavor.

Brooklyn deli macaroni salad: really good dressing though it absorbed into the pasta overnight... maybe make extra dressing if you're not eating it right away... i thought this was good though 4 out of 5 stars.

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Black bean burgers:  I've made these quite a few times and they are pretty good, but not amazing.  I feel like the spices could be bumped up a few notches. 

Snobby Joes: Amazing!  I make them all the time.  This recipe is definitely omni-friendly, in my experience.  Just make sure you drain the lentils really well after cooking, otherwise the sauce is really runny.

Mashed spiced sweet potatoes:  Way too much ginger for my taste, so I will tone that down next time for sure.  I'd honestly rather have my SP's mashed with a little earth balance and cinnamon and call it a day!

Tomato couscous with capers:  Good, but a little bland like other people have said.  I usually leave out the capers because I'm not a big fan.  I like to add sundried tomatoes and an extra drizzle of olive oil over the top.

Tamarind lentils - Love this recipe!  I actually used pomagranate instead of tamarind since that's what I had on hand.  I will make this again and again! 

Hot sauce-glazed tempeh - This is one of my favorite ways to make tempeh.  It is very spicy, but I like that...and it kinda hides the bitterness if you don't feel like steaming beforehand!

Seitan piccata with olives and green beans - I didn't really enjoy this dish.  A friend of mine made it for a potluck and I thought it was lackluster.  The olives were the best part, but I'd rather eat them plain.

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Curried tofu: I didn't like this at all, the curry taste was was waaaaaaaay to strong.  Definitely will not make again.

Lower fat banana bread: I make this recipe all the time as muffins instead of a loaf and it always comes out great.  The spices are really well proportioned and the molasses makes it perfect.

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Lower-fat Banana Bread: More praise for this recipe. This time my non-vegan Mom baked it for me when I went over for dinner. She's made it at least three or four times already and it's never failed. This time she completely eliminated the 1/2 cup sugar, added a little more unsweetened applesauce, and raisins, instead of chocolate chips or walnuts. Right out of the oven, this slab of banana bread was warm and wonderful, ... molassesy and naturally sweet with a crunchy dark top and moist center with plump raisins, touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. I love my Mom!

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I love your mom, too!

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Creamy kalamata spread
Yeah, only for serious olive lovers. I'm on pretty good terms with kalamatas myself, but could only handle eating so much of this at once. Also, it becomes a really intense light purple. It's tangy and rich.

Cornmeal-Masala Brussel Sprouts
Ok, so I don't like brussel sprouts. I thought I'd try to get myself to like them using this recipe... but it didn't work out. The crumbs didn't form crumbs; it had way too much oil. It was more like a sandy paste. But I carried on, figuring it would crisp up in the oven. Not really - some parts were crispy but still hard to chew (the cornmeal makes it sandy...), and other parts were still soft and oily. In fact, I liked the brussel sprouts *better* than the crumbs. It might have turned out totally different had I added the oil 1 Tbsp at a time, until the right texture was achieved, but it was too late...

Fresh dill-basmati rice with chard and chickpeas
I didn't use chickpeas. This stuff has like the perfect balance of flavors, what with the lemon zest and dill and so on. Also, I used jasmine rice instead of basmati. I thought that the amount of water must have been a mistake and too little (i think it was 2 c water for 2 c rice), so I added an extra cup, but it wasn't necessary - there was too much water and the rice wound up being mushy. Still, I liked it.

Leek & Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits
I didn't make the biscuits, and I didn't do the final baking at the end as a result. And this came out pretty bland. I used one leek, which yielded a little over 2 cups. It's a pretty hearty stew, but it just didn't do it for me - there needs to be some sort of herb or something. Maybe thyme. Anyway, it's not particularly bad either, and would be good comfort food if you have a cold or something. Maybe this is because I didn't bake it?

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Pasta Della California
I was worried this might be too bland, since there's no tomato sauce involved. But it definitely wasn't, thanks to the copious levels of garlic. I think this would be a good dish to take to a potluck, since it's kind of pasta-salad-ish, and it's got a good & likeable (at least for me) blend of ingredients. But if I were to bring it to a potluck, I'd probably cut the garlic down from 8 cloves to 5-6. Also, this goes well with parsley.

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Baja-style grilled tempeh tacos - I made this as a pizza instead of tacos, but still used all the fixings (slaw and lime crema), and it turned out awesome.  The tempeh is so good all on it's own!

Rutabaga puree - I made the cilantro variation and liked it a lot.  I didn't have coconut milk, so I just subbed olive oil and water.  This was my first time cooking  rutabaga and it was super easy.

Tomato-rice soup with roasted garlic and navy beans - I really enjoyed this soup.  I made it without the beans because DH doesn't like them, and it still turned out really well.  The garlic flavor was subtle the first day, but I could detect it more when I ate leftovers.  Very simple recipe.

Cornmeal-masala roasted brussel sprouts - I made the okra variation and it was pretty good.  I used way less oil based on other's recommendations.  I think they needed to cook a little longer to get extra crispy.

Chickpea-quinoa pilaf - This was my first quinoa experience and I was nervous about it tasting bitter...but luckily, it turned out great!  I subbed blank beans and added more cumin, some lime juice, and cilantro.  Can't wait to try some other variations.

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Quinoa salad with black beans and mango
I didn't use any mango or bell pepper, and we ate this hot. Delicious, but that's probably my incredible bias for quinoa and black beans showing =) I think it's a nice comfort food.

Baja-style grilled tempeh tacos
I didn't make the slaw, and instead just used shredded cabbage.
These look labor intensive, but in fact, it just has a lot of ingredients. I cut my tempeh into twice as many pieces as directed for marinating/grilling, and it came out quite likeable (I usually hate tempeh). Kind of a sweet, spicy flavor - the ancho chile powder works really well for this. The lime 'crema' was pretty good too, but is definitely something to be used with other foods in small-ish quantities; I couldn't use it as a dip or anything. Oh, and I heated my tortillas before grilling the tempeh, since the tempeh makes the pan really sticky. I just kept the tortillas warm in some foil.

Acorn squash, pear, and adzuki soup with sauteed shiitakes
I used 1 acorn, 1/2 kabocha instead of 2 acorn. I cooked my own adzuki beans, since the ones at the market were either extremely sweetened or like $3.50 for a can (and this was a Japanese market!), so I got some dry for $1.50/half pound. That being said, it cooked up to about 2.5-3 cups, so I basically doubled the level of beans in this soup. For the shiitakes, I added the sesame oil after they were done sauteeing (along with the soy sauce), since sesame oil has a pretty low flash point. Anyway, this soup - sweet, thick, and hearty. Even though the amount of beans is doubled, it's not that noticeable, and without the kabocha (and another acorn), this would probably be less sweet, but it works either way. My boyfriend claimed he hates squash (winter included), but somehow loves this soup. Mwahahaha.

Potato and kale enchiladas with roasted chile sauce
Hm, these are ok. The enchilada sauce it pretty thick, so it didn't really spread very easily. The potato/kale filling is pretty mild (it's not a ton of kale, so not bitter or anything), and I feel like this whole ensemble is missing something - it's too plain by itself. The first time I ate it I added avocado, which improved it, and the second time I added some leftover garlic "butter", which made it pretty good. All in all, it's a fine recipe, but I think it needs some extra sauce/spice to make it stand alone well.

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Lentil Salad (pg. 84): my daughter loved this.  First I made compost broth from here (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=20010.0) and cooked the lentils in that.  I followed the recipe to the letter, though I finely diced the carrots and radish instead of grating.  I still haven't tried it but a thumbs up from her means I'll be making this again.

EDIT: she said it was even better the second day, after the flavors had a chance to meld together better.
http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii85/Stormflakes/VegWeb/PirateDayOthers053.jpg

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Braised seitan with brussels, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes - Awesome recipe.  I used mustard greens instead of kale and no one noticed the difference.  I may use a tad less veggie broth next time because it took a long time to cook down.  The brussels are perfect in this.

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Acorn squash and black bean empanadas
We liked these. I used lime juice in the filling, but I wished I had used lemon - the amount of lime juice was a bit too much, and I feel like lemon would go better. Also, I didn't like the dough recipe (it tasted fine, but oh the prep!), because it came out way too wet (without added water) and I think it's just got too much grease in it - it made the dough even stickier. Eating it was good, but not so good that I wouldn't get pre-made empanada dough (it's out there!). However, the dish as a whole was excellent and much enjoyed.

Blueberry corn pancakes
These are fine. Like someone else said, this probably needs lemon juice to help those blueberries along - the lemon zest doesn't really work to this end. Also, the batter's a bit thin for me, but they cooked fine otherwise.

Lentil Salad
I really like this. I was king of expecting this to be a tad boring, and it was going to be my boring dish for the week, but even without the dressing it was great. The blend/amount of herbs really works for the lentils. (I used dried herbs though, at 1/3 the level of the fresh herbs) I only used half the dressing, because I didn't want to drown the herby flavor with balsamic/mustard flavors. If I had known about the tastiness, I wouldn't have made the dressing at all.

Pineapple-cashew-quiona stir-fry
I went ahead and cooked the quinoa in the pineapple juice, which was a worthwhile endeavor. I didn't use cashews. In total, this is a good dish, at just the right sweetness. I used a combo of crushed and diced pineapple, and I ate this with the Lentil Salad.

Curried udon noodle stir-fry
This is pretty good, but not quite as ultimate as I was hoping. I used fresh noodles ramen instead of udon, and used TJ's "beef" strips instead of Seitan Cutlets. The curry sauce wasn't as strong or as sweet as I wanted it to be, so I added more curry powder and sugar. I don't really see the point of stir-frying the dish after the noodles are added (they stick like hell! and start to get overcooked), but maybe this is because I'm using fresh ramen  rather than udon. Still, I'd sooner just toss the noodles after the heat is off. I can't help but compare this recipe with a curry udon recipe from a Japanese cookbook I have; this one isn't as good. I'd recommend less oil, less flour (or more curry and sugar) and just tossing the noodles in. All that being said, we still enjoyed this & ate it all.

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Vietnamese seitan baguette with savory broth dip
I really, really like the dipping broth for this. It's pretty strong, but works great as a dip. At times I don't like 5-spice, but it was in a good proportion with everything else here. Also, I used sandwich rolls instead of baguette, despite was Isa says about crustiness and falling apart. Anyway, though I found the cutlet recipe to be a bit too chewy/elastic on its own, it works find in this sandwich. I think it's pretty important to use the broth from the baking of the cutlets.

Rutabaga puree - cilantro
Since I am new to rutabaga, I halved the rutabaga and kept everything at the same levels. The amount of lime juice was actually a little too much (hehe... maybe should have halved that too), and I wound up using a little more coconut milk to make it creamy. It's hard to eat a lot of this at once... and I eat it sprinkled with some curry powder. Not *too* different from mashed potatoes.

Seitan cutlets
I liked the taste of these a lot (and the broth it makes while baking is pretty cool too), but it came out a little too elastic/chewy for me after being in the oven. It might firm up with some sautéeing or baking (dry).

Tomato-rice soup with roasted garlic and navy beans
I did the sautéed garlic variation instead of roasting, and reduced the water by about one cup. Also, I used short grain brown rice instead of long (the author recommends long grain because short "doesn't like to cook in tomato broth," but it cooked fine). It's a nice hearty soup, and thickens up a lot in the fridge after a day or so (but I reduced the water by a cup, so...). As far as the tomato part, it tastes pretty similar to canned tomato soups, which may or may not be a bad thing for you. I ate it with a little bit of "Italian seasoning" sprinkled on top.

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A friend and I tried making the chick pea cutlets the other day, but the gluten flour didn't cook at all! :( the rest of the cutlets were tasty but we'd get a chunk of raw dough every so often. We fried them first, then tried baking them for a long time, but it didn't really help. I want to try them again in case we measured something wrong, but I don't think we did. I was wondering about this because they're only supposed to fry for a few minutes per side, but whenever I make seitan it needs to cook for wayyyy longer, and I'm sketched out by eating raw dough, especially gluten flour dough..it just seems like it wouldn't be friendly to the GI tract :/

I will report back after I try it again. The taste was super though!

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