Thursday, February 19, 2015

Keep It Vegan

What a cute cookbook!

That was my first thought upon flipping through Aine Carlin's Keep It Vegan: Over 100 Simple, Healthy & Delicious Dishes. First of all, Aine herself is just adorbable. She's a former actress-turned-food blogger who hails from Northern Ireland but now lives in Cornwall. She's pictured throughout the book doing various kitchen stuff — stirring muffin mix, chopping watermelon.

But most of the pictures in this full-color tome are of beautifully photographed entrees, appetizers, and desserts — perfectly rolled sweet potato & spinach sushi, bite-sized bloody mary bruschetta (it has vodka in it!), hearty stuffed mushroom burgers, and mouth-watering banana, peanut butter, & chocolate sauce sundaes.

Truth be told — I want to make EVERYTHING in this book. Especially the aforementioned sundae. But for this review, I only had time to try two recipes. Last week, I made the Hole Mole Black Bean Chili with Homemade Tortilla Chips.

I love chocolate in chili, and since chili season is damn near over, I figured I should make this before it was too late. Oh my gosh. This might be my favorite chili ever. The dark chocolate gave it such a thick and creamy, chocolatety flavor, and all the spicy stuff — habaneros (subbed for the red chile in the recipe), cayenne, chile flakes, hot sauce — worked together to add just the right touch of heat. Plus, there were red, green, and yellow bell peppers. Oh, and balsamic vinegar. I've never used that in chili, but it really added something special. Before serving, I also topped this with vegan cheese shreds and vegan sour cream because that's what you do with chili.

The recipe also includes instructions for frying your own tortilla chips. It's so simple! I may never need to buy pre-made chips again. Just chop up tortillas and fry in oil. The recipe called for flour tortillas, but I had corn ones in my freezer, so I used those. And I dusted them with chili-lime salt.

Last weekend, I made Aine's Bell Pepper & Pea Party Frittatas for a potluck. Sorry for the crappy photo, but I was at a potluck!

These are little mini frittatas made in a muffin tin. The "egg" part is made with tofu, and they're loaded with English peas, bell pepper, and parsley. I love a good vegan egg, and these were really yummy. Great party snacks!

The book is divided into breakfasts & brunch, mid-day meals & simple suppers, something special (for parties and special occations), sides & sauces, and sweet treats. As I mentioned before, I want to cook everything in this book — cumin-spiced carrots, snickerdoodle quinoa bowl, Indian-spiced tacos with mango salsa, balsamic & black peppercorn cashew cheese, and carrot cake bites. I'm sure I'll never get to all of these, but they're definitely on my list. Keep It Vegan has the potential to become a go-to volume on my cookbook shelf.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be that annoying, pedantic vegan, but Northern Ireland IS in the United Kingdom (for better or for worse depending on your opinion...) because the full name of my little country is *deep breath* the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", so I guess you could say she'd moved to Great Britain or whichever constituent country she'd moved to.

Bianca said...

Sorry about that! I'm not the best with geography! I will make the correction. Technically, she lives in Cornwall, so I'll just put that in.

Susan said...

So many lovely new books out! And me on a cookbook deprivation budget!
Some of those recipes sound really good.