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The Urban Vegan

The Urban Vegan came out yesterday and I had to buy it, partly because the cover art looks so attractive. It's a picture of the author standing by a huge table of red bell peppers with plants and flowers behind her. I live in a hot dry desert area where we don't have many farmers markets, so that really appeals to me.And the author just looks so hip and cute that it makes you want to be out at the farmers market with her. Anyway, it's very different than other cookbooks I've seen. Most of the recipes are not commonly found in other vegan cookbooks, so if you're looking to expand your repetoire, this might be a good book for you.It also doesn't seem to pull too heavily from any single culture. It's a fusion of Asian, Indian,American, and European with a possible extra emphasis on French food.  I made the spicy udon noodles today and they were tasty. I had to add a little extra Bragg's and a little extra red pepper, but I also have a sinus infection so it may have been perfectly spiced and I just couldn't taste it.  :-\  The directions were straightforward and easy to follow. The only criticism I have is that the index makes it hard to find a recipe if you don't remember the name of it. Plus the chapter's themselves are a little different, for example cafe culture, lunch cart, melting pot, house party, urban garden, and haute cuisine. So I was flipping through trying to figure out where a noodle recipe with a peanut sauce would be...lunch cart, melting pot, saucy vegan? I found it in melting pot, by the way. Overall I think it's going to be either a book I'm going to really love, or never use at all and right not the scales are tipping towards love.

my scales on this book tip heavily to love. I'm one who reads a cookbook front to back basically as soon as I buy them so, having weird chapters isn't too much of an issue. So far I've made (more but this is what I can remember)

-Cashew Curry Casserole so delicious. Super saucy though, I think I might drain the tomatoes next time but, the cashew curry sauce was super simple and super delish, I'll be using it again I'm certain. Also, this recipe made A LOT and I'm freezing some, I'm always psyched about leftovers! I added the optional squash and half of a red pepper and I would highly recommend those additions as otherwise it might be too boring.. broccoli, garbanzos and some sauce.

-Brownie Bites these were huge crowd pleasers but weren't too.. brownie-y. They were more like semi-sweet mini chocolate cupcakes but I frosted them with chocolate ganache and raspberry jam and they were super cute and yummy.

-Cous-Cous mosaic bam. this grain salad hits you will full force, lots of yummy flavors from the vinegar, apricots, peas and lemon juice. yum. make it. and share it, everyone who tried it LOVED it. I suggest cutting the onion down a bit though as its a bit overpowering. And make sure they're copped suuuuper small.

-Pumpkin Soup I can't remember the exact name of this, something.. curry daal or something. But it was pretty tasty, mine cooked up faster than she said it would but it was incredibly rich and filling, a perfect fall soup. I've never been one for perfectly creamy, smooth soups so the chunky lentils and caramelized onions in this one really appealed to me!

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I made the Citrus Scented Blueberry Muffins from this book this morning and they were just what I needed. I had a bag of mixed berries so used those instead of blueberries. My batter was a bit dry but I've been having that problem with several things recently- my flour maybe? So I added a bit of lemon juice from the naked lemon this recipe left me with. I used canola oil but she suggests using coconut which I'm sure would be absolutely heavenly. My muffins took the full 20 minutes to bake but they had that deliciously tender inside that tasted like there was a much higher fat content than there actually is (I think the soy flour is to thank for that?).

I haven't been disappointed with a single recipe from this book so far, I think they're all just very specific. I wouldn't turn to most of her savory stuff for any old weeknight meal, but a lot of her recipes will be staples for family gatherings or times when I'm cooking for more than just myself.

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I just got this from the library. The first thing I've tried is the Porcini Quinoa with Cauliflower and Toasted Pecans. The reason I chose this to make first is because I was looking for an all-pantry-item dish that I could make when I had no fresh produce. It is really simple to make, very quick cooking (15 minutes), and has a nice depth of flavor from the dried porcini mushrooms. All in all, very impressive dish considering it all came from the pantry! (I used frozen cauliflower - she says you can use fresh or frozen, and I don't think fresh would have made a difference). I can't wait to try some more recipes!

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Also made the citrus blueberry muffins and love them. I didn't have any soy flour, so left it out (only in tablespoon). I loved these, not too sweet and only use 1/4 cup of oil - yeah :-)

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Over the weekend I made the Tuscan Braised Beans and they were excellent.

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I'm thinking about buying this. I just turned in a year's worth of spare change and got a $90 amazon gift card. So far it's sounding worth the buy?

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I was one of the testers for this and loved it!

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So far I've made the Winter Pesto and the Blueberry-Banana Bread.  The pesto is made with either spinach or arugula instead of basil ( I used arugula), and I think that made it more mild, but in a good way. It was my first time using the green, and I feel in love! This is really good! As far as the bread goes, it's sweet, but not too sweet, it's moist, with slightly crispy edges, oh, and it's the perfect thing to cure your banana bread craving. In fact I'm noshing on some now. It's perfect  with a little bit of EB, too.  :)

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My daughter complained to me that I hadn't cooked any warm food for her this week so voila....Moroccan Millet Timbales:

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii85/Stormflakes/VegWeb/001-7.jpg

I forgot to put the chopped black olives in, but she loved them....she must have, she ate three!  So easy to make.  She also staged the photo because boring mum was just going to plop one on the plate.

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I made the curry-cashew casserole today, except it was curry-peanut, because I had no cashew butter, so I subbed peanut butter instead, but I can't imagine it being any yummier then it was.

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Hearty Adzuki Bean Soup - I was looking for an all-pantry soup to make when I came home from vacation. This hit the spot! This is an earthy, filling soup with sea-like flavourings with the kombu (I usually remove kombu when making beans, but this time I actually pureed it right into the soup). It was really thick as written with 6 cups of broth (it could be a nice bean dip at that stage), so thin it out afterward to your desired consistency. Do not skip the toasted almonds, as I really think it made the dish.

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My daughter complained to me that I hadn't cooked any warm food for her this week so voila....Moroccan Millet Timbales:

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii85/Stormflakes/VegWeb/001-7.jpg

I forgot to put the chopped black olives in, but she loved them....she must have, she ate three!  So easy to make.  She also staged the photo because boring mum was just going to plop one on the plate.

Storm, this looks so delicious! I was wondering whether it stuck to your container at all? If I made it in muffin tins, could I use muffins wrappers?

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I used spray oil on the muffin tins and it didn't stick at all.  They came out nicely after I loosened the outside with a rubber spatula.

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I noticed that the author uses often includes small amounts of soy flour in her baked goods recipes.  I wanted to try a couple of them, but I know that soy flour is going to be one of those things that sit in my cupboard or fridge for months and never get used.  Anyone know what the purpose would be of adding small amounts of soy flour to baked goods?  Is it a necessary ingredient, and if so, are there any alternatives?

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I noticed that the author uses often includes small amounts of soy flour in her baked goods recipes.  I wanted to try a couple of them, but I know that soy flour is going to be one of those things that sit in my cupboard or fridge for months and never get used.  Anyone know what the purpose would be of adding small amounts of soy flour to baked goods?  Is it a necessary ingredient, and if so, are there any alternatives?

I don't have this book, but I did use chickpea flour for the soy flour in the AVK seitan recipe. I don't know how it turns out with soy flour, but I loved it with chickpea flour.

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I broke down, and bought the damn soy flour.  I guess I'll be baking a lot of "Urban Vegan" cookies!

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Curry Cashew Casserole

This turned out yummy.  I went to two different stores for cashew butter, but at both stores it was about $11.00 a jar!  So I ended up making my own cashew butter which was really easy, although I think I might have added just a tad too much oil.  The recipe called for 2 Tablespoons of basil, but my windowsill plant only yielded about 1 tablespoon.  I love basil, and would have enjoyed more, but we work with what we have, right?  A previous poster mentioned that she found the extra juice from the canned tomatoes provided a little too much liquid, so I left it out, and just added a little bit of it to the sauce.  I also added some thinly sliced carrots, and some minced garlic.  I served my casserole over noodles because that's what I felt like eating, but I think it would be yummy over rice.  This dish was easy to make, and I would likely make it again for a work night dinner.     

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Clara's Pasta e Fagioli: This was good, but my daughter thought it needed a bit more "oompf" so I added red pepper flake, spinach, patty pan squash and some extra broth to make it soupy and she has been loving it for three days now.
http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii85/Stormflakes/VegWeb/001-8.jpg

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All-Purpose Sugar Cookies

This is a great-tasting sugar cookie - crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside.  I was a little skeptical that these were going to turn out well, because when I tasted the dough, it had a strange metallic taste which I attributed to the soy flour.  However, after baking the taste was no longer noticeable.  I had originally planned to use the sugar cookie dough to make another recipe in the book called Def Jam Bars.  Unfortunately, once I mixed it up, I realized that it wasn't going to be enough to make the bars.  The author said only one batch of sugar cookie dough would be enough, but when I tried to spread it out on my cookie sheet, I couldn't make it work.  I would say doubling the recipe would be appropriate for making the bars.  Anyway, great sugar cookies!

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I had the same trouble with the def jam bars...I wished i could have made them work, but that never happened lol

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