As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back (in my review of the NYC Vegan cookbook), I've never been to New York City. It's on the bucket list for sure. Just hasn't happened yet. And of course that means I've never eaten at the legendary Blossom Restaurants.
Blossom opened in Chelsea in 2006 and then spread to Manhattan. The restaurants are among those eateries that every vegan has heard of and plans to dine at someday (if they haven't already). The menu features organic and innovative vegan fare that's both upscale and yet somehow approachable and lacking pretension.
The owners Ronen Seri and Pamela Elizabeth have a new cookbook, aptly named The Blossom Cookbook, that reflects that same vibe. They've taken some of Blossom's classic recipes and presented them in a way that any cook, no matter the skill level, would find approachable. Yet they're still fancy and would impress vegan and omni diners alike.
Even way down here in Memphis, I've heard all about Blossom's famous Seitan Piccata. It's the stuff of legend, and when I saw a recipe in the book, I knew I HAD to make that.
This is a deceptively easy recipe that involves breading and pan-frying seitan (I used Sweet Earth) and creating a quick, tangy sauce with white wine, capers, and lemon. It's served over mashed potatoes (a classic, no-frills recipe) and sauteed garlic kale. This was such a hearty meal, and the lemony seitan paired perfectly with the garlicky greens and starchy potatoes. I can see why the dish is so famous! In the recipe intro, they say actor Ted Danson used to come in for this dish all the time!
I also tried their Quinoa Salad. I made this simple recipe for a potluck picnic with some friends in Elmwood Cemetery a few weeks back.
This is another of those recipes that looks way fancier than it is. It's simply quinoa with black beans, red bell pepper, radish, corn, and a lemon-tahini sauce. That's topped with pepitas and guacamole. The guac really makes this salad, and I doubt I'll be able to eat quinoa salad without guac ever again.
The book contains 80 recipes — some very simple, like tofu scramble or vegan grilled cheese, and others very fancy, like pine nut-crusted eggplant or porcini phyllo cigars. But even the fanciest recipes have an average of about 10-12 ingredients. The sophistication is in the simplicity with these recipes, and that's a great thing for a home cook.
I love that there's an entire chapter devoted to sauces. Think pistachio sauce, vegan bleu cheese sauce, cashew cream, and hollandaise. And the dessert chapter is especially impressive (raw key lime pie! phyllo apple sticks in brandy sauce! gluten-free lemon poppyseed cake!).
While it may be years until I make it to the real Blossom restaurants, at least I've got this book now to tide me over.