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Vegan for the Holidays


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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarian Reading



Each issue the VIP birds will endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book that contributes to vegetarian enlightenment. In this issue we present a book that features outstanding flavor and easy preparations in tried-and-true recipes from a well-seasoned chef and cookbook author .



150 VEGAN FAVORITES

By Jay Solomon

Prima Health, 1998



In his introduction to150 Vegan Favorites Jay Solomon, chef, restaurateur, and food writer, dashes the common myth that vegan food is boring. With enthusiasm he touts that today's vegan pantry is overflowing with a myriad of grains, legumes, potatoes, woodsy mushrooms, squashes, yams, seasonal vegetables, soy products, spices, herbs, and chiles.We noticed that chiles are a favorite ingredient in his cupboard. To encourage the reluctant cook, he offers many recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

The book's contents are unfettered by photos, unique layouts, or even color. However, the recipes are simply arranged, clearly stated, and easy to prepare. The author states that the ingredients are fresh and readily available in most grocery stores. They are. Only a few ingredients require a trip to an ethnic market.

Solomon As a prelude to the soup section, Solomon generously shares his four secrets to achieve the best flavors and textures in the preparation of the ultimate comfort food, a satisfying bowl of soup. He explains that first step is to create a base with sauteed vegetables. The second is to add body and substance with broth or stock, dried seasonings, and squash or root vegetables. Step three is to simmer and stir with patience. Finally, step four is adding the finishing touches such as fresh herbs, vegetables, and a little twist of the pepper mill. We thank Jay for these four easy-to-follow tips. Following his preparation tips are 25 soup and chili recipes that will tempt you to haul out the stock pot and start chopping veggies.

The author has an exuberant flair for recreating traditional meat-based international cuisines in the vegan style. Following his innovative suggestions for the use of herbs, spices, and fresh ingredients, one can truly enjoy preparing the cuisines of the world with his flavorful recipes. In fact, we've found our kitchen soul-mate in Jay Solomon, with his creative flair for combining uncommon ingredients.

There are several winter squash recipes that demonstrate his familiarity with this under-appreciated, nutrition-rich vegetable. He thoughtfully includes a brief glossary describing ten different squashes to enjoy during the chilly months of winter.

With spoon in hand and a quick stirring motion, Jay Solomon turns ordinary dishes such as potato salad into memorable palate pleasers such as his Gourmet Potato and Beet Salad. We've never added beets, sunflower seeds, horseradish, or apple cider vinegar to a potato salad, but the recipe whet our appetites to try it.

We would be remiss, however, if we overlooked the many pasta and rice recipes that do not list whole grain pasta and brown rice in place of the refined products. Not that we couldn't substitute with whole grains and brown rice, but we consider each book a silent teacher. Why not teach the reader that for health's sake it's beneficial to use those products that are least refined. Also worth a mention is the use of honey, white sugar, and brown sugar that those fully committed to a vegan lifestyle would find objectionable.

Aside from the very few negatives, we can honestly recommend 150 Vegan Favorites. Solomon's recipes with masterful food marriages make this almost pocket-size, inexpensive cookbook a delightful addition to the cookbook shelf.

Jay Solomon is a prolific cookbook author. We perused five of his published works and found them equally abounding with creativity, though not all of his books are vegetarian or vegan. Three titles impressed us.

  • Seven Pillars of Health, an outstanding presentation of today's nutrition basics with some recipes included.
  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Entertaining, vegetarian recipes presented in an appealing menu format with tempting photos.
  • The Global Vegetarian, Adventures in a Meatless Kitchen, a culinary journey that provides the reader with international vegetarian recipes.


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