Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cookbook Challenge 2: Week 6 Caribbean Vegan

I realize I'm doing this out of order but I am super excited about everything I cooked this week!  It was the 6th week and we could cook out of VCTOTW or use it as a freebie.  Well, right before I went home for the holidays, I received a review copy of Caribbean Vegan.  So, I decided to cook from it.  The book had been on my wishlist for awhile so I jumped at a chance to do a review.  I've been steadily making my way through the book and made a lot of recipes this week so I could give a very fair opinion.

Saint Lucian Bake, grapefruit, Everyday Vegan Ham, scramble
There are over 100 authentic recipes, with tons of tips throughout.  I was pretty surprised by everything I learned by reading through this book.  First of all, I never knew the Caribbean had such a strong Indian influence.  This book has a ton of delicious curries, stews, and rotis.  I immediately gravitated towards those because I have a major love for Indian cuisine.

Herbed Sada Roti and Eggplant Choka
The book is divided into 9 chapters: condiments and sauces, breakfast dishes, appetizers, soups and stews, entrees, side dishes, Caribbean tea party, desserts, and drinks and cocktails.  The easiest way for me to cook through this book was to head straight for the condiment section.  There are plenty of recipes that require condiments or sauces from this section.  My suggestion is to start with the: Bajan Seasoning, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, and Bajan Pepper Sauce.  These are the three that seem to be used most often.  I totally fell in love with the pepper sauce.  It's this vibrant yellow color with a kick of mustard and spice.  So good!

Dal Puri Roti w/ Sauteed Spinach
Dal Puri Roti w/ Curried TVP Stew
This book really opened me up to a new kind of cuisine and different methods of cooking I never knew about.  Also, this is pretty cheap cooking.  A majority of the ingredients are found in the produce section for less than a dollar.  There are a few specialty items that may require a Caribbean or Latin market: banana leaves, ackee, breadfruit, and yams.  These aren't in too many of the recipes, though.

Chickpea Curry and Spinach Rice
There were plenty of dishes that I fell in love with.  First and foremost, every baked good I tried was absolutely divine.  My favorites were the banana bread, herbed sada roti, and dal puri roti.  I also gained a new respect for chickpeas.  The way that Taymer handles them in this book has resulted in some of the tenderest and most flavorful chickpeas I've ever had in my life.  I feel like that's a bold statement for a vegan to make, but I stand by it.  I also fell in love with the doubles (especially the chickpea stew), the chickpea curry, Creole sauce, ham, and eggplant choka.

Coconut Flan
1. Bajan Seasoning: Super easy to make and adds so much flavor to the dishes.  It makes a lot and lasts up to a year in the fridge.  Love this stuff!
2. Bajan Pepper Sauce: Bright yellow and seriously flavorful.  This is spicy and great.  Another recipe that is used a lot in the book to flavor dishes.
3. Green Mango Chutney: Unlike the mango chutney I'm used to, this is not sweet.  It's salty and garlicky, a pleasant surprise!
4. Creole Sauce: I'd like to bathe in this...or at least drink it from a cup.  It's this wonderful tomato based sauce filled with slivered onions.  So good over the tofish and cou-cou.
5. Saint Lucian Bakes: This was my first time ever seeing a recipe that used baking powder call for a dough rise.  It really makes a fluffy, chewy, crusty combo that just cannot be beat.
6. Herbed Sada Roti: These take about 3 hours to make, but they are so damn worth it.  The edges get pillowy and delicious.
7. Eggplant Choka: Simple, spicy, and undeniably delicious.  This is a classic breakfast dish in the Caribbean and I can see why!
8. Curried TVP Stew: This is rich and has so much depth of flavor!  It calls for Marmite or Vegemite, which adds a nice beefy undertone.
9. Chickpea Curry: I fell in love with this!  The eyes-roll-back-in-your-head kinda love.  So flavorful and delicious.  Very simple to make as well.
10. Everyday Vegan Ham: This ham really reminded me of the stuff I used to eat at Christmas.  Spiced beautifully with a great smoky flavor.
11. Trinidadian Doubles: Streamline this process by making the chutney and filling while the bara rises.  This is really an epic meal.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon so you can take doubles for lunch all week.  Drool.
12. Cou-Cou and Tofish: Amazing!  Anything with okra is automatically awesome in my book.  I really like the tofish marinade.  Just delicious!
13. Spinach Rice: A super simple side, but really satisfying.
14. Dal Puri Roti: Just wrap me up in this stuff.  Flaky roti filled with dal.  Nuff said.
15. Sauteed Spinach: The dish seems really simple, but it is mighty flavorful.  Spicy and delicious!
16. Banana Bread: Dense, moist, delicious.  Not too sweet.  The first banana bread I didn't feel the need to smear with Earth Balance.  Fantastic straight out of the fridge!
17. Coconut Flan: This is creamy and delicious.  Really easy to make.  Not overly sweet.  The pineapple and cherry addition makes it super purty.

So, hopefully, I've done this book justice.  I absolutely adore it!  I love getting excited about new cookbooks and this one has so many things to "Squeeee" about!


Mandee said...

Fantastic review, Mo! I love Caribbean vegan but I haven't made that much, yet!

The curried stew and curried chickpeas looks SO good!

Jackie Smith (the other one) said...

Thanks, you've given me a place to start with this cookbook...Ryan bought it for me for Christmas, and I've been stumped.

VeganKitchenDiaries said...

Yom! I want some ROTI in my cakehole now.

Thanks for all yer nice comments. I love your blog. I'm especially jealous that it's always seems nice enough for you to eat outside!!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Wow, I have yet to get this cookbook but thanks to you that has to change. Awesome review!

Vampire said...

Wow <3

celyn said...

What an awesome review for an awesome cookbook!

Jenn said...

Nice review. That coconut flan looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I really want this book I love Caribbean food! The only problem is that I already have a Jamaican cookbook that I have made 1 recipe from! Your review makes me want it so bad!!!! Dammit.

Two Vegan Boys said...

WOW! All the food looks amazing. Yummy.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Um, can I come live with you? I want these!!!

T said...

Great review! Taymer is the best. I cannot wait for my parents to send it to me from the US. I'm also happy to hear that most the of the stuff is cheap!

Becky said...

Wow Mo, these all sound amazing! Beautiful pictures too. Another cookbook added to MY wishlist now ^_^

Michelle said...

This cookbook is going on my wish list! You did an amazing job with the review. Everything looks and sounds so good!

Sister Vegetarian said...

Thank you Mo for the beautiful pics and awesome reviews! You have me running to my kitchen for my next vegan creations! ~ Donna

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Yum! Everything looks so good.

Susan G said...

Thanks for the review! I have only made one thing from this book so far, and now I know what I want to try!

Sally Kitten said...

Hey Mo! I have something to give you but alas, can not find your email address... anyway... sind it here-
love xx

jessy said...

i love me some Indian eats so i'd definitely be down for some Caribbean ones. wows all around! everything looks damn tasty, especially the chickpea curry and eggplant choka. mmmmmm! i could get down with that flan, too. rock on, Mo! YAY!

Anonymous said...

I have been drooling over the post for nearly thirty minutes. Yep, I think I have to buy this book.

Do you think the recipes are pretty healthy and easy to make after a long day at work? I'm trying to focus on books like that so I can, uhm, not be uncomfortable this summer :)

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Lacey, it's not really low fat/fat free cooking, but I definitely think the recipes are healthy. There are tons of vegetables and fresh herbs featured, and I think it would be easy to lessen the oil when cooking the vegetables if needed.

Most of the recipes don't take an incredibly long time. However, a lot of the baked goods take hours so any recipe calling for them is time consuming. Well worth the wait though!

I basically fell in love with every stew I tried. Anything involving curry was amazing.

dreaminitvegan said...

Everything looks so tasty. I'm hungry now.

Coconut Flan is so good. Like you said not to sweet but so creamy and yummy! I made it for Christmas and it was enjoyed by all!

Kia said...

Hi! I love your recipes!!! I discover your blog right now and I like it!!! I'm Vegan and I have a blog…come in and leave me your review about it! Bye ^__^

Jaime said...

Thanks for the excellent review! I've had this book on my wishlist for a while now, but it's nice to get to know more about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed review! I picked up a copy of this a couple of weeks ago and now I'm even more excited to start cooking from it.

erinwyso said...

This all looks absolutely amazing -- very inspiring!

Emily said...

I'm glad to hear that the Cou-Cou and Tofish tastes good. My dad misses that from his country and I've been planning to make it for him.

Sally Kitten said...

Ps! Nice work on the review! The food looks divine :)

Anonymous said...

I really should get that book. I love Caribbean food but never really make it. I've put off getting it though because I think I might have difficulty finding some of the ingredients around here.

erinwyso said...

OMG coconut flan ... WANT!