Monday, 27 February 2012

Book Review - Everyday Happy Herbivore

I made loads of recipes from this book, mainly because they were all so very simple to throw together, and apart from one, all the ingredients could be found in my local store (I touch on the one when I run through the recipes I made). This is very much geared for the home cook - even those with very little experience. The book itself is a nice sized paperback, with many photos of the recipes (for those of you who like that!) - not every recipe, but most. I like the introduction section listing the pantry staples for making the recipes, always handy to have.

I must say that this is not how I usually cook - low-fat or fat-free, while I have flirted with doing so in the past. I found, on the whole, that I didn't miss any added oil, but in some instances felt something was missing from the finished dish - I felt a little unsatisfied and wanted something more. Now whether this is because the body needs time to adjust to eating fat-free and I'm just writing a review after a week, or if its due to maybe needing a spice tweak for my tastes, or a serving size tweak for me, or some thing completely different I can't really say. I'll note on the individual recipe comments where I felt this way.

And speaking of serving sizes I found there was a discrepancy in some instance which was confusing. For example, the Smoked Cauliflower Soup (p97) "serves 1" and makes enough for easily 2 appetizer servings (for us), whereas the Jalapeno-Butternut Soup (p110) "serves 2" and makes substantially less (maybe 1/2 an appetizer serving for us). Maybe a typo?

As for the recipes - on the whole they are easy to follow, being very simple with no complicated or involved steps. I would have liked to have seen cup measurements as well where can sizes are used as these vary from place to place, and it would have been helpful to give guidelines on quantities of vegetables when only measurements are given (1 tbsp minced Garlic - is that 1 clove?). Nit picking really, but this would have been helpful.

The recipes I made - in page number order -

P23 - Granola Bars

One of the ones which I felt strangely unsatisfying. They were OK but didn't really do it for me, and the kids weren't keen. Nothing wrong with the recipe - it works fine, just personal taste.

P32 - Spinach and Artichoke Frittata

Recipe works fine. This one was OK. I'd have preferred the artichokes to be cut into smaller pieces which is an easy fix.. I think I liked this one better cold that hot. (good for breakfast the next day! )

P83 - Masala Burgers

Little bit dry, and a little bit crumbly but tasted good. I did adjust the spices to taste where the recipe suggests.

P97 - Smoked Cauliflower Soup

See comment above re serving size. This one was luscious. Smooth, and creamy and a little frothy - really enjoyed this one and ate the lot.

P101 - Moroccan Lentil Soup

Enjoyed this one too, though the combination of spices where a little harsh (not sure if that is the right word - maybe intense?) for my tastes.

P106 - Ethiopian Chickpea Stew

Nice. Enjoyed this one.

P107 - Cheater G-Nut Stew

More of a soup in texture at first, then as it stands it thickens. I enjoyed this a lot - more than I thought I would by looking at the simple ingredients list.

P110 - Jalapeno-Butternut Soup

See comment above re serving size. Lovely soup, though very unsatisfying as it made so little! I wanted much more.

P126 - Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette

Overly mustard-y for my tastes. Easy fix.

P127 - Italian Dressing

Nice, simple, basic.

P128 - Caesar Dressing

Doesn't taste exactly as I remember Caesar Dressing tasting (but it has been a while!) but nice enough, and good as a dipping sauce for roast veggies and over rice too!

P130 - Thai Peanut Sauce

I served this over rice and broccoli - it didn't "serve 4" in this way! I love peanut sauce and really enjoyed this one too.

L-R Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry, Gobi Palak, Chana Saag

P146 - Cauliflower-Pumpkin Curry

The least favorite of the dishes I made for my Indian Feast (see photo). I made the roasted version, and was glad I did as I think the lovely nutty roast cauli was what I did enjoy about it. I think the spice balance was wrong for my tastes.

P147 - Gobi Palak

Liked this one as part of the Indian Feast (see Photo). Nice with plain brown rice.

P149 - Chana Saag

3rd dish in the Indian Feast Photo. I ran out of fresh spinach so used frozen which had been thawed. Worked fine. Maybe not as fresh tasting as it would have been, but I did like this (I do love me some chickpeas)

P168 - Curried Rice

Photo with Ethiopian Chickpea Stew above. This was fine. The spices a little harsh again, personal taste, right.

P187 - "Crab" Cakes

This is the recipe I didn't have joy with ingredient finding. I couldn't find the Old Bay Seasoning (has anyone in Canada access to this?) and didn't want to go the the HFS for kelp powder so ground up so Nori sheets and added some dill (which too me says seafood). Nice enough but never really got crispy as stated.

P208 - Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Perfectly easy and edible.

P232 - Harvest Home Fries

Not so keen on these, they were OK but seemed to be missing something. and it makes A LOT! Says "serves 2" but as a side it was more like 4. Nice with the Caesar Dressing!

P261 - Carrot Cake Rice Pudding

This was another I was left feeling unsatisfied by. The recipe worked fine, but I guess this one isn't for me.

P267 - Masala Mayo and P271 - Remoulade

No issues. Though I did use storebought mayo (and where-ever this was called for)

Would I cook from this again? In all honesty - Maybe. If I decide to return to eating low-fat or fat-free for whatever reason then I would be more inclined to do so. I'll keep this as a reference and think it will be one I'd loan out if I was ever asked about eating a low-fat vegan diet - which sometimes happens. If low-fat / fat-free is your thing then I imagine you'll already have a copy?


Carrie said...

Wow you made a ton of dishes!

I appreciate the honesty of your review. I've tried a few recipes on as well as the first book and my reviews were pretty much the same - OK, but missing something.

Colorado Sunflower said...

Hi, Carla! As always - it was a pleasure to read this review. Makes me want to go out and get this book :)

If you were interested in ever having Old Bay seasoning on hand, I've done an internet search for it and it looks super easy to make it homemade. I've bought it before but ended up giving it away because I don't like seafood flavoring or flavors. But if you think you were missing something and want to try it with the "Crab" Cake recipe and other sea recipes, you can make it at home :)