Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Book Review - Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Sitting here finishing off a huge bowl of Kale Chips (pg 255) for my lunch and I have such a happy tummy!

This book was a Christmas present, and while I wasn't super keen on Crazy Sexy Diet when I got it from the library I went into it with an open mind, and have found the recipes very pleasing. The book is written by Kris Carr, along with Chef Chad Sarno, who from what I understand is responsible for the majority of the recipes. Some of the recipes are contributed from guest chefs, most of whom are "names" in the vegan world. I tried to choose recipes from a variety of sources.

The book itself is hard cover, and loaded with full colour headings, backgrounds, and photos, so if you like bright, beautiful books then this will catch your eye for sure. The book is divided into 5 sections, Introduction: info about Kris, Chad and the guest chefs mainly, then a section on the philosophy behind the "crazy sexy" thing, and even if you don't buy into that terminology the information is quite interesting, and worth a read. The third and fourth sections are "how to" stuff, from buying your ingredients through kitchen skills. Very handy for the less experienced cook. The last section is the recipes. It really is more than just a recipe book - more like a guide to the whole philosophy. It really is a very pretty book, and while I don't usually bother too much about those things it is nice.

The recipes themselves are logically grouped, laid out mainly one to a page, many with photos, and all with indications as to how easy (or otherwise) they are, and what sort of dietary restrictions (gluten- or soy-free for example) they would suit. These codes are all different colours which makes them at a glance handy. The recipes are introduced appropriately, and are logical in their steps and layout. No complaints. The photos in the recipe section are actually of the recipes too - not of Kris, or random produce or anything else.

The recipes I made -
Page 91 - Chai Latte - Very nice, sort of milkshake-y, not too sweet, but filling.

Page 111 - Morning Glory Gluten-Free Pancakes
I left out the banana as I am not a huge fan of them in pancakes. The mix was very thick, so when it said pour, that really didn't happen, I had to spread the batter on the skillet. Tasty, and filling for all that and I would make again.

Page 119 - Coconut and Red Lentil Soup
Oh, man. I could eat this soup every day! It is really simple to make and really, really delicious to eat. Creamy, little bit spicy, warming and comforting all at the same time.

Page 133 - Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burger
My burgers never really firmed up. I'm guessing my sweet potato was that little bit too too big. Tasty though, and simple to make.

Page 153 - Walnut Falafel
Probably my least favourite. They weren't bad by any stretch, just not my thing. I'd have liked more garlic, lemon, and tahini flavours. I did have with the Tahini Sauce (see below) which was lovely, and added some of the flavours I was looking or. Also I don't have a dehydrator so maybe they'd have been better "cooked" that way instead of the oven.

Page 155 - Cabbage Hemp Salad
Really good, though I used Savoy cabbage as that is my favourite.

Page 155 - Simply Green
I added avocado to the salad to oomph it up a bit and that went really well. The dressing was divine (see below), and H even said it was the best salad I've made for a while!

Page 175 - Caesar Pleaser Salad
I made the raw and GF version, and it was OK, not as great as the caesar from last week. Nice background salad. Photo with the burgers above.

Page 207 - Garlicky Mushrooms
I used shiitake, and they were lovely, chewy yet tender and very very garlicky, as promised. Photo below with the sprouts and potatoes.

Page 208 - Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Shallots
So very good. I adore roasted Brussels and this did not disappoint. Very easy and very good.

Page 222 - Supah Good Mashed Potatoes
OK, they're mashed potatoes. Herby and garlicky mashed potatoes, but mash all the same. Comfort food. Photo above.

Page 227 - Lemon Oil
Awesome salad dressing as mention in the Simple Green above. Very easy to make, very flavourful without being too sour or bitter.

Page 227 - Garlic Tahini Dressing
Awesome dressing as mentioned above in the falafel. Great on regular salads, even as a dressing for a slaw which is how I used my leftovers.

Page 229 - Nana's Marinara
I used this as a sauce for tamales one night, and pasta the next. Great both times. Little bit spicy but not too much that it would be too hot for the kids. Easy to make used tinned tomatoes, even ones which weren't Italian!

Page 230 - Garlic Herb Buttah
Used in the Mashed Potatoes. Tasty enough, lot of time to get it done. Nice as a spread too.

Page 234 - Dijon Vinaigrette
Simple salad dressing. Nicely balanced and easy to make.

Page 255 - Kale Chips
I made mine in the oven (just winged it @ 250 C for a couple of hours) as I don't have a dehydrator (is there no company out there wanting one reviewed??) and enjoyed muchly. The easiest way to eat a whole big bunch of kale in one go.

Page 261 - Tartlets etc (but I just made the Tarlet part)
Quick, easy, tasty; a sort of healthish dessert treat, and lovely with the next recipe...

Page 261 - etc with Maple Vanila Glaze (again I just made the glaze)
Super creamy, Maple-y and flecked with vanilla bean seeds. Not too sweet but still quite decadent. I can see this being used on top of all sorts of things, not just the tarts!!

Recommended? Yes, I did enjoy the recipes I made, and will make more. I found much of the "how to" info a little irrelevant for me, but can see the benefit for others.

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