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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we review a cookbook that offers over 100 recipes for soup that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.

The 30 Minute Vegan, Soup's On:
More than 100 Quick and Easy Recipes
for Every Season

By Mark Reinfeld

Da Capo Press , 2014

Paperback, $17.99

Not much time to cook? Worry not. Mark Reinfeld has some speedy and tasty answers. The 30 Minute Vegan, Soup's On is the fourth book in The 30 Minute Vegan Series that responds to his fans' desire for more of those quick and easy recipes.

Reinfeld begins by dispelling the notion that soup preparation is time consuming and labor intensive. He wants each of his readers to become "a rock star soup creator." His goal is to have his disciples create thousands of vegan soups and stews using his template cooking technique.

30 Minute Vegan, Soup's On "Vegan Fusion" is the name Reinfeld gives to his cooking style that emphasizes

  • Combining ingredients from different cultures in the same dish
  • Using natural methods of growing food and employing organic ingredients
  • Avoiding packaged and processed items as much as possible
  • Eating locally grown foods whenever possible by signing up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or visiting farmers' markets
  • "Preparing food can be a special and healing time for you to connect with nature in your own kitchen," says Reinfeld. He stresses the calming influence that can be nurtured in the kitchen and the love that can be infused in the food prepared. Playing soft music, lighting candles, and placing flowers can make the kitchen a special and creative place.

    The author divides the book into six major sections. He begins with The Art of Soup Creation where he explains his Template Recipe format by featuring the creation of various soup stocks and their ingredients. Here he includes stocks that feature mushrooms, roasted vegetables, dashi, or Tamari.

    In Part 2 he describes vegetable-based soups that do not have to be blended. In this selection the reader will find unusual recipes like Cleansing Burdock Soup with Ginger and Dandelion Greens, Fried Green Tomato Soup au Gratin, Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup, and Truffled Wild Mushroom Consomme with Frilled Baby Asparagus.

    Soups and Stews with Grains, Legumes, and Pasta are embraced in Part 3. The aspiring cook will enjoy delights like Andean Inca Stew with Quinoa, Un-Chicken Noodle Soup, and Black-Eyed Peas and Collards Stew.

    In Part 4 Reinfeld covers Creamy Blended Soups. "This is the section where vegan soups truly shine," he writes. He feels dinner guests will "ooh" and "aah" when they sample long-standing favorites like Cream of Mushroom Soup or Corn Chowder that come to life when blended. These creations are bound to make people exclaim, "I can't believe its vegan!"

    Soup aficionados will enjoy making and eating creations like Italian Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Bavarian Asparagus Soup with Hazelnuts, and New England Chowder (without the fish).

    Mark Reinfeld Soups are often raw, but many people may not think of soup as a dessert. In Part 5 the author dips into the raw to create some novel soups. Few will be able to resist creations like Raw Chocolate Mint Soup with Raspberries, Creamy Brazil Nut Fig Soup with Kiwi Compote, and Spicy Kale Soup with Pepitas.

    Garnishes and Sides are featured in Part 6. Some of the recipes create add-ons like crispy sunchokes or vegetable chips to provide texture and flavor to the soup while others help to turn the soup into a light meal with recipes like Cosmic Cornbread, Herbed Bread Sticks, and Tapenade.

    The book concludes with four Appendixes that cover Preparation Basics, Seasonal Growing Charts, Supplemental Information, and Additional Resources. The 10-Day Vegan Fusion Culinary Immersion provides the reader with a one-page guide to achieve this goal.

    An extra bonus is a six-page insert of luscious looking full-color photos showing some of the eye-appealing soups described in the volume. Numerous sidebars throughout the book feature Reinfeld's Chef's Tips and Tricks.

    As many vegans realize, soup can be a great starter for a meal, the basis of a light repast, or a hearty and wholesome meal. In The 30 Minute Vegan, Soup's On, Mark Reinfeld has added another 30-minute gem to his list of books that make vegan cooking so much easier and peaceful. The recipes are not only delicious, but they also display the mantle of good health.

    Click here for past book reviews

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