Friday, December 4, 2009
A Great Day with a Girlfriend is Good for the Soul
Yesterday was a fabulous day for me. I hope you all had an equally good day. Mine started meeting my girlfriend Sue. We had decided that we were going to take a somewhat challenging omni cookbook and rework the recipes to make them vegan and healthy, one at a time. My friend Sue and her husband John aren’t vegan, but they do eat a lot of low fat vegan meals. Yesterday was our day to go to the bookstore and pick out the book we were going to veganize.
There were so many to choose from but we decided to start with “ad hoc at home” by Thomas Keller. The book is beautiful and uses meat, cheese and fat routinely. We think we can tackle almost all of the recipes in this book and will be doing this in the coming months. At the moment, our plan is to select 6 recipes each week to make and then get together to shop and cook enough for us for lunch and then meals for both families for later in the week. This is going to be a huge amount of fun and we can’t wait to get started. I will be documenting things as we go. Right now I haven’t decided if I am going to post those recipes here or on a separate blog. Does anyone have a strong opinion on this? I am leaning toward a separate blog since all the recipes will be modifications of recipes from one specific book.
There were also a few more cookbooks purchased. Seriously, who can go to the bookstore and only buy one cookbook? Not me. Both Sue and I also bought the new book by Tal Ronnen, “the conscious cook”. This book is gorgeous. I perused it cover-to-cover last night when I got home. That is how I read cookbooks. I don’t want to miss anything. To say this book is inspiring is an understatement. What I like the most is that it focuses on beautiful food that you can feed to vegan and omnivores alike. This book will get a lot of use at my house. However, the book isn’t perfect, in my opinion. The author does use products I won’t buy, like store bought vegan dairy substitutes. I will substitute my own homemade version of these products. Overall the book is amazing and almost perfect. I will be using this book in the coming weeks and will write a proper review after I have tested some of the recipes.
I also bought “The Candle Café Cookbook” yesterday. This book I have only skimmed, but it appears to have a lot of great recipes in it as well. My only complaint on first review is that it doesn’t contain the beautiful glossy pictures the other vegan book includes. Beautiful pictures really make a recipe come alive for me and I miss them when they aren’t there.
Being part Italian I am also a sucker for authentic Italian cookbooks. On the sale rack in Borders I picked up a classic book “The Fine Art of Italian Cooking” by Giuliano Buglialli for $4.99. This was clearly the best bargain of the day. I will be using and veganizing this one every chance I get. Italian food is my favorite cuisine to cook and eat so this book will get a lot of use.
After cookbook shopping we decided that it was time for lunch and headed over to Great Sage. This is lovely restaurant that is vegetarian and vegan. The food is beautiful and well prepared. We shared a plate of vegan nachos with house made cheese sauce, beans, chili, and fresh jalapenos. The nachos were nothing short of amazing. I would not have believed they were vegan had we had these anywhere else. When Sue asked how the cheese sauce was made we were told they made the sauce with Daiya cheese. Amazing stuff that Daiya cheese.
For our entrée we ordered another daily special the Thai marinated veggie kebobs over fried rice. The rice had very little fat and the veggies had a nice flavor. My only complaint is the marinade was a little too salty, but that may be due to the fact that I don’t use much salt at home.
After lunch we stopped at Roots (the grocery/health food store) that is affiliated with Great Sage. I was so thrilled that they had Daiya cheese for $7.99 a pound. I can’t wait to use some of this over the weekend. When I do I will do a complete review so that you know how it reacts with heat. Also at Roots I picked up so cocoa nibs and powdered acai (which I will add to smoothies). It was a great shopping day.
Next we went to Home Goods since I had told my father I would pick him up another set of sheets. Since he hates shopping I frequently pick up these types of things for him when I am out running errands for myself. I love Home Goods and almost always find something that I don’t really need, but want, when I am there. This time it was a large footed Italian bowl and a two adorable little embossed bowls. You will be seeing both of these on the blog filled with food sometime soon, maybe this weekend.
When you go shopping for ceramics do you always check the country of origin, or I am the only one? I am so afraid to buy anything like this that is made in China that I won’t buy something if that is where it is made. The ceramics I picked up yesterday were made in Italy and Portugal.
After shopping we stopped back at Sue’s and had a cup of tea and looked through both “ad hoc at home” and “the conscious cook”. So many beautiful recipes it is hard to know where to start. What a great problem to have. I really want to run in the kitchen and start cooking now.
I will be back later today with a recipe or two, maybe inspired by one of the new cookbooks. For now I am off to get in some exercise. I hope you all have a happy and healthy day.