You know what I love? I love waking up to the smell of slow-simmered onions and spices. I love knowing at 8 a.m. that my dinner for that night is already cooked. I love throwing shit in a pot, clicking a switch, and calling it supper. And that's what you get in Carla Kelly's new cookbook, Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking.
I was sent this book to review a few weeks back, but I wanted to try a couple of recipes before giving my full report. The book is loaded with all kinds of meals that can be cooked in a Crock Pot. We're not just talking soups and stews (although there are lots of those). There's an Asparagus and Pine Nut Risotto, a Tomato Salsa Pasta Bake, and a Not-Meat Loaf. There's even a whole chapter on Curries and Asian-Inspired Dishes!
My first meal from the book came from that chapter. I just couldn't resist trying the Soy Curl Vindaloo:
I had a bag of Soy Curls and some red lentils in my cabinet just waiting for a good use. And girl was this ever a good use! The curry-spiced lentil and Soy Curl mash, served over brown rice, just melted in my mouth. I put the stuff in the Crock Pot at night, went to sleep, and woke to the heavenly smell of an Indian restaurant.
I used 3 cups of rehydrated Soy Curls instead of 3 cups of dry because the recipe didn't specify, but I did find that the dish had too much vegetable stock left in the morning. So I bet you're supposed to use dry Soy Curls. Quite frankly, I'm stingy with my Soy Curls since I have to order them, so if I made this again, I'd probably stick with the 3 cups of rehydrated curls and just add more lentils and less liquid. For this serving, I poured off some liquid, and it was perfect!
I had no problems whatsoever with this "Ham" & Pea Soup though:
Green split peas are slow-simmered with a homemade smoked tofu "ham," and it's really out of this world. I may never eat split peas without tofu ham again! The tofu gets its smokiness from Liquid Smoke, it's saltiness from soy sauce, and that special brown sugar taste from maple syrup. Fabu!
I'll be making more from this book for sure. I think next I'll explore the Chilies and BBQ-Inspired Dishes chapter. There's a Maple-Infused Sausage Chili that sounds delightful, and a Coffee'd Tempeh Chili (made with espresso!) that I cannot wait to put in my mouth.
Besides the delicious recipes, perhaps one of the coolest features of the book is the Cooking Times List that lists every recipe according to how long it takes in the slow-cooker. You can flip back there and choose a recipe based on how much time you have. How cool is that? Got 3 hours? Make the Cheese-y Mac. How about 10 hours? Spiced Sweet Potato Satay is the way to go.
Carla's book is perfect for working ladies and dudes who just don't have a million years to slave away in the kitchen. And even for those lucky enough to be able to stay home all day and still pay the rent, you can use this book to get your butt out of the kitchen and into some fun. Go for a bike ride while your soup cooks or read a novel!