Monday, May 3, 2010

Speedy Gourmet

What is it about gourmet recipe titles? They always just state exactly what's in the dish, like Tofu and Soba Noodles with Hot-Sweet-Sour-Pungent Sauce or Mangos with Lycees and Mint. I think it's the lack of originality in the names of most gourmet dishes that turns me off. I want cutesy names, like Tofu Surprise or Mad About Mangos.

But I'm glad the not-so-creative recipe titles in Speed Vegan: Quick, Easy Recipes with a Gourmet Twist didn't prevent me from actually trying anything in the book. This new cookbook by Alan Roettinger (published by the Book Publishing Company) promises fancy fare at a fast food pace. I made this simply-titled Spaghetti with Olives and Lemon in under 30 minutes:

The pasta is brown rice pasta, which I found surprisingly better than the whole wheat spaghetti I normally buy. The sauce is made from salty kalamata olives, lemon juice and zest, and garlic. I'm a huge fan of olives, especially kalamata ones, so this recipe immediately drew me in. I guess, in this case, the matter-of-fact title came in handy.

While the pasta was cooking, I also whipped up this tasty veggie side — Asparagus with Cannellini Beans:

So simple, so tasty. The asparagus is blanched to maintain a very crisp texture. I have a tendency to over steam asparagus, so I think I'll be blanching from now on. The topping is made from cannellini beans (duh), diced tomato, onion, fresh basil, and a touch of red wine vinegar. I think this also came together in about 30 minutes, and that includes washing and chopping veggies.

Speed Vegan features easy-to-whip-up soups, pastas, salads, vegetables, and sweets. Most are minimally seasoned and feature only a few basic seasonal ingredients. And I suppose, if you're in a hurry, the simply stated recipe titles (by the way, the tofu and mango dishes mentioned in the first paragraph are also in this book) might even help readers quickly choose a dish based on what's in it. As a girl on the go, this book is sure to become one of my staples.

11 comments:

Shannon-Rabbit Food said...

I've recently starting blanching my veggies as well. I think it makes a world of difference!

That asparagus looks amazing! I love that it's finally back in season. That pasta looks yummy too, says the kalamata fool.

Mihl said...

That sounds like exactly the book I need! I'm all about speet these days.

And, yes. Those gourmet titles annoy me, too. Especially because even a leave of basil would be listed.

T said...

I like those gourmet names- "seared seitan on sweet potato puree with sour cherry reduction and a sprig of thyme.." it makes me laugh.

Have to try brown rice pasta..

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

I've been wondering about this book. Thanks for the review! That pasta looks great.

jessy said...

i saw that book while in ny and thought it looked kinda neat. i might have to check it out as both the pasta and asparagus with white beans look wonderful! kalamata olives, garlic, and lemon sound like a great combination for the spaghetti, too. yummers, fo 'sho! when i went gluten-free dan and i were surprised that we loved the brown rice pasta as much as we do. not knowing what to think, we were pleasantly surprised - we both like it better than whole wheat pasta. :) i'm a big fan of cute 'n fun dish names as well - out with the boring and in with some creativity! ah ha ha!

Dianne said...

That book sounds perfect for me. I'm all about quick but elegant fixes, boring name or not. That pasta sounds great, too- I have some kalamatas and lemons to use up! Is there any oil in the sauce?

Christine (The Raw Project) said...

I've been looking into picking up a non-raw vegan cook book to try more vegan recipes and this may be the one. Thanks.

Kiersten said...

I never heard of that cookbook before. It sounds perfect though for when I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing! That spaghetti sounds really good!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh, interesting.. I haven't heard of this book.

Kim said...

Did you just make up the aspargus recipe or is that from a book too?

ashley h said...

I love the review. This book sound just like what I want for a cookbook to be.