Sunday, 23 August 2009

Cookbook challenge, week 1, day 1 - Veganomicon

The cookbook challenge is upon us, and I've already gotten 2/3 of the way through the goal of 3 recipes over the course of the week! As I mentioned yesterday, this week's challenge is Veganomicon. In addition to what I've made today, I'm going to attempt the following recipes this week - Roasted Garlic Marinara (p. 205), Beanballs (p. 189), Miso Tahini dressing (pp. 93-94), Almost All-American Seitan Pot Pie (pp. 159-160) and/or Leak and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits (pp. 172-173), Applesauce-Oat Bran muffins (p. 229), and Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake (pp. 256-257).

I'm being a bit ambitious since, as a housewife, I have quite a lot of time on my hands. Also, I've never made any of these recipes before, and some of them have ingredients that I'm not sure I even like (i.e., leeks), so I'm kinda stepping out of my comfort zone with this. But then, it wouldn't be much of a challenge if I made stuff I make all the time (hello, chickpea cutlets!).

Like I said, I've made 2 things today - Mac Daddy (pp. 195-196)

and Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 237).

I chose these two for basically the same reason - using up ingredients that I otherwise rarely use. I've had a bag of macaroni in my cupboard for at least a year, and I've only used it once or twice. So, even though I only had enough macaroni to make 1/2 recipe of Mac Daddy, at least I finally used up the rest of the package. As for the cookies, I bought a bag of oat flour without really knowing what to do with it, so I checked the index, and this recipe called for oat flour. Sold!

So, tonight's dinner was 'steaks' made from Vegan Dad's Hickory Smoked Veggie Turkey Lunch Meat (grilled on my kickass combo thing that my sister gave me as a wedding present) and Mac Daddy using the chickpea and pea variations:

I've seen a lot of blog posts reviewing Mac Daddy, and the best was that it was just OK. I'm glad that I ignored the nay-sayers and made this, because it was lovely. Admittedly, it lacks...something...but it's so difficult to say exactly what that it seems wrong to say that it's a bad recipe because of this. Compared to the vegan mac 'n' cheese in a box, this is far, far better, and close enough to 'real' mac 'n' cheese that it would satisfy a craving. When (not if) I make this again, I'll probably try the tofu variation, and maybe make a bit more cheezy sauce. It could just be lacking in the fat that would've been present in the tofu. Still, I keep taking bites when I go into the kitchen, so it's definitely a keeper.

Since I used it here, I'll review the Vegan Dad recipe. It's nice, but it's a bit bland. Mike liked it, and it's supposed to be for his lunch, so I guess it doesn't really matter. However, I think all it really needs is to maybe use veg broth in place of some or all of the water. I'll probably make this again (since it makes an assload of fake meat), so I'll try that and see how it goes.

The cookies - oh my. Let me just point out, these are gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies, and they are absolutely delicious. Also, the recipe states that it makes 18 cookies, but I got at least 5 more than that. Anyway, I think Mike and I have eaten at least half of them already. The dough seems a bit loose in the bowl, but they spread nicely and come out pretty uniform. If you take them out just at 10 minutes (or maybe 30 seconds earlier), they're nice and soft. I've been looking for a cookie that comes out relatively uniform, flat, and soft to make sammich cookies. Henceforth, this will be my go-to recipe for sammich cookies. They're nearly perfect. My only complaint is that they have kinda a lot of fat, so I might sub out some of the fat for applesauce next time I make them. I've heard cookies turn out more cake-y with applesauce, which might actually be good for my purposes.

Since we'll likely finish off most of the cookies quickly (Mike just asked for more again), I'll probably have another cookbook challenge post tomorrow.

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