The Vegan Table : A Review


If you are old enough to remember the New York City ad, “You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Enjoy Levy’s Rye Bread,” with an Asian person eating the bread, then you will understand this next statement. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy The Vegan Table, a cookbook that I like so much I feel like Julie Powell in Julie & Julia and want to create all of author Colleen Partrick-Goudreau’s recipes in one year.

While this book is geared for entertaining family and friends, or as the author states, to “reclaim food traditions steeped in animal exploitation,” you need not save this book for guests. I certainly won’t, because the recipes look good enough for every day as well as special occasions.

I liked reading this book for several reasons:

1. The recipes are divided into the seasons, which means I can use local produce as it becomes available and work on my goal to be a “locavore.” (Defined in my website Glossary)

2. The chapters are interesting, and include cooking romantic dinners for two, casual meals, party foods, and of course, recipes for holidays and other special occasions. But you needn’t use the recipes only in these categories. They cross match quite well.

3. The author includes compassionate cooks’ tips, food lore, and “did you know” questions that add special meaning to the recipes.  You know that the author has done her homework.

4. The colored photos and colored borders with icons that reflect the seasons (blue with a snowflake icon for winter, orange with a sun icon for summer, green with an umbrella icon for spring, and tan with a brown leaf for fall) make the book visually pleasing and easy to navigate.

5. The recipes are enticing, even the ones with more ingredients than I would normally choose to try. (The desserts list more of the sweet stuff than I normally use, so I may have to adjust that.)

6. Because the recipes are vegan, people who have allergies to dairy can use them; people who avoid eggs for health reasons can enjoy them; and people who want to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and whole grains in their diets can certainly prepare these dishes.

When I read a cookbook, and I do mean read, I always like to know the author’s philosophy. In the case of Patrick-Goudreau, as a vegan I already know she will have no animal products in her recipes. In her “Intimacy of Food” (pages 14 & 15) she says:

“I didn’t stop eating animals because I didn’t like the way they tasted. I stopped eating animals and their ‘products’ because I didn’t want to contribute to the violence and exploitation of another when I didn’t have to. It is an empowering way to live.”  The author’s passion for good food and her dedication to eating consciously “show up” throughout the book.  She lives her philosophy every day, in the kitchen and in the rest of her life.

While going through the book, I made a list of the recipes (200 in all) I wanted to try and my list has about 50 recipes on it.  So I may not accomplish what Julie Powell did in Julie & Julia, but I am going to have a great time with these 50!

The book is published by Fair Winds Press, costs $19.99, and is available at all major bookstores and online. I love it so much I bought one for my older daughter, who also is not a vegan, but avoids eggs and dairy, and also loves the kinds of foods Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has chosen for The Vegan Table.

Today I am including the recipe for Carrot Ginger Soup, which I made last week and loved it. It is very gingery, so if you love ginger, you will love this gorgeous looking and spicy tasting soup. I hope to include other recipes from this book in future postings. EnJOY!


Carrot Ginger Soup

*Oil free, wheat-free, soy-free

(Note: In the book the ingredients are on the left and the directions are on the right, which is how I would like to post all my recipes, as well, but the format here doesn’t let me do so. es)

This soup is a staple in the Patrick-Goudreau household, because it is incredibly easy to make, delicious to eat, and beautiful to behold. Plus, both carrots and ginger have long been regarded for their aphrodisiac qualities. (My note: This last sentence is apropos because the recipe is from the Romantic Dinners for Two chapter.)

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) water, for sauteeing
1 large-size or 2 small yellow onions, coarsely chopped  
2 teaspoons (6g) finely chopped garlic  
7 or 8 carrots, peeled and cut into circles
2 medium-size yellow potatoes (Yukon gold is author’s favorite)
2  1/2 teaspoons (5g) finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 to 5 cups (940 to 1175 ml) vegetable stock
(store bought or homemade, p. 213*) or water with vegetable bouillon cube)

* Will post stock recipe on another day.

Directions

Heat water in a large-size saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add a small amount of water if the pan gets too dry. (My note: I like that the author sautés in water, as I usually do.)

Add carrots, potatoes, ginger, salt, and pepper, and enough stock to cover the vegetables. (You may not need all the stock.) Reduce heat to medium and
and cook until carrots and potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Transfer to a food processor, and purée soup until creamy.  Return puréed soup to a pot and heat. Season with salt as needed, adding just a pinch at first and more if necessary.

YIELD: 2 to 4 servings

SERVING SUGGESTIONS AND VARIATIONS

* Try serving this dish with a nondairy sour cream or Cashew Sour Cream (to be posted later)

*Serve hot, garnished with a sprig of parsley (I used sunflower greens. es)

*Always err on the side of caution. Add just a pinch of salt at first, and add more as needed.

Per serving: 145 calories; 2 g/ fat; 3 g protein; 31 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiver; O mg cholesterol;1566 mg sodium

COMPASSIONATE COOKS’ TIP:  To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the conversion is simple: Reduce Tablespoons to teaspoons (e.g. 2 Tablespoons (3 g)
fresh oregano equals 2 teaspoons (2 g)  dried oregano.) Ginger, however, is an exception to this interchangeable rule. If a recipe calls for fresh ginger, you cannot substitute it with ground. Stick with fresh ginger for this recipe. (I agree! es)



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