I have spent all March cooking from this cookbook:
Ripe From Around Here: A Vegan Guide to Local, Sustainable Eating (No Matter Where You Live) by Jae Steele.
I shared with you some of my culinary adventures with Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, Roasted Applesauce, West African Stew, and, what I called, the Best Ever Vegetarian Split Pea Soup.
I loved all of these recipes and I know I will make them again and again.
I also tried several other recipes from the book with mixed results.
Oatmeal Raisin muffins were delicious, but crumbly. We made the most of their crumbly nature by cutting them in half and using them like the biscuit in strawberry shortcake, topping them with yogurt and berries.
I was really excited to try the baked beans, as we love our baked beans around here, but sadly they just didn’t work out for us. I kept having to add a lot of extra water as they thickened to the point of burning, and they ended up lacking in flavour.
Coconut Curry with Seasonal Veg was also disappointing. In this case, it may not be the recipe’s fault, as I had to play around with the spices a bit to use what I had on hand. We ate the curry with “Naked Oats” also called “Rice of the Prairies” which was also a new venture for us.
Coconut Curry with Seasonal Veggies over Rice of the Prairies
Ginger Miso Almond sauce was another recipe that I wasn’t happy with – until I changed a few things. I found the original recipe to be overpowered by the almond butter (but someone else might think it’s fine!) It’s not perfect for us yet, but it’s a recipe worth playing around with.
There are still several other recipes in the book I want to explore. I want to try making my own oat and nut milks, and have all the ingredients for making the dried fruit compote, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. And because this book works with seasonal ingredients, I only made recipes that used winter ingredients. There are so many other recipes I want to try when our garden is producing again, including Blueberry Peach Pancakes, Raspberry Millet Muffins, Herb Garden Hummus, Homemade Ketchup, White Bean and Lovage Soup, Roasted Fiddleheads with Garlic, and two different Pad Thai recipes, to name a few.
Curried Golden Split Pea Soup
Despite a few so-so recipes, I generally loved this book. I especially love the way it is organized. So many cookbooks that focus on seasonal ingredients are organized by season. This one is organized like a traditional cookbook, but uses symbols beside each recipe to show you in what season the ingredients will be available. I like the interesting descriptions for each recipe (it’s fun knowing the history behind things!), and like so many vegan cookbooks, it is packed with other useful information, such as how to start your own vermicomposter, which house plants to buy to purify the air inside your home, and recipes for simple household cleaners. The fact that it is Canadian makes it even more useful to me, as it is based on seasonal ingredients I can find right here (and the author does an excellent job of offering a wide variety of produce, and mentioning when a certain ingredient might not be available locally.) I am sure anyone in the Northern part of the United States, with their similar growing season, would find the same thing.
The recipes are not overly fussy, although some look quite beautiful, which makes this a perfect, all-around cookbook. And although it is a vegan cookbook, I think the recipes have appeal for a much wider audience (after all, my meat-loving hubby enjoyed these dishes too!) The recipes are very easy to adapt to your own tastes and preferences (I will admit to using butter and milk when trying out some of the recipes!)
This is a book I will definitely keep out of the library as long as I can! And when the librarians won’t let me keep it any longer, it will definitely be added to my “to buy” list.
This month I am cooking my way through “The Food Matters Cookbook” by Mark Bittman. I was inspired by the Food Matters Project and can’t wait to try out some of the recipes!