Queued up next in the cookbook review department is The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe by Mark Reinfeld. A vegan tour of cuisine classics from Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, UK and Ireland, Greece, Germany, as well as a section on Europe Fusion. With a 150 recipes, where to begin?
First stop, Italy, Frittata with Artichoke Hearts and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (page 42). I was a little worried when the skillet with the frittata went into the oven as it was so full. As it turned out, no worries on any spillage, it shrinks down and fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma while it’s baking. I went with the recipe variation and added mushrooms and zucchini to pack in the goodies.
Next is the United Kingdom, home of the Welsh Rarebit (page 140), also known as Welsh Rabbit, and has nothing to do with little bunnies. It’s a savory sauce of melted cheese and beer over toasted bread slices. A beautiful Cheddar cheesy color, until the beer hit the pan and turned it into brown gravy color. But the flavor more than makes up for it.
Having never cooked with beer before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised I really liked it. Beer-Braised Greens (page 189, in the Germany section) is another beer recipe that turned out great.
Next to the recipes, there’s beer or wine recommendations. That along with a very helpful and knowledgeable Whole Foods beer guy made the beer selection easy and painless, especially for the clueless such as myself.
A goal in reviewing this cookbook was to only make recipes I’ve never tried before. Ever. That went out the window when I wound up short on time on the day I was planning on making gnocchi (I didn’t say the goal was written in stone).
There’s a little clock icon on recipes that might take longer than 30 minutes, the gnocchi was one of them. I ended up making Penne Pasta with Toasted Walnut Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes (page 22) but with spaghetti noodles instead of penne. It’s just your basic pesto recipe but I do like the many variations listed.
Getting back on track in the UK with Ginger Brew (page 153). A non-alcoholic take on ginger beer, it’s refreshing and bubbly. I made the raw version – quicker and easier than cooking down the ginger syrup.
Next is Germany for Apple Strudel (page 203). Although the recipe for the dough looks simple enough even for me, I did the quick and easy filo dough route. It was my first time using the frozen dough, so probably not as neat and tidy looking as it could have been, hence no picture. But still easy to whip out.
Then it’s off to France for Vegan Bouillabaisse (page 65). Any mention of bouillabaisse always reminds me of the scene from the Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr movie, An Affair to Remember, “Order the bouillabaisse. lt’s superb. Merci mille fois. Pas de quoi. Oh, shut up.”
The vegan version is superb too. Briny, not so much like seafood but more of a seaweed taste. It reminds me a bit of miso soup or Chinese seaweed soup but with Mediterranean flavors.
Last stop, Greece, for Baklava Roulade (page 179). I think I’m getting the hang of working with filo dough. Even though it’s not a 30 mintue recipe, it was actually pretty simple and easy to make. Since it’s not smothered in a sticky syrup, it’s very light tasting.
I didn’t get to the Spain and Portugal section or to the Europe Fusion. But I’m sure I’ll be back soon, there’s many more recipes bookmarked and just waiting for a visit. Below is a tasty souvenir from my trip through the cookbook, generously brought to you by the publisher:
Frittata with Artichoke Hearts and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 4 to 6
14 to 18 sun-dried tomatoes (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 (12.3-ounce) package silken firm tofu
10 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons chiffonaded fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1/2 cup grated vegan mozzarella-style cheese (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup of hot water until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well, and chop into small pieces.
2. Meanwhile, place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place the oil, onion, and garlic in the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Place the tofu, soy milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tamari, vinegar, turmeric, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes in a food processor and process until creamy.
4. Transfer to the sauté pan with the remaining ingredients, including the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes, and mix well.
5. Place the pan in the oven (if you are not using an ovenproof pan, transfer to a well-oiled 9-inch pie dish) and bake for 20 minutes. For optimal flavor and if you have more time, bake for an additional 10 minutes and allow to set until firm, about 5 minutes, before serving. Serve warm or cold.
Add 1 cup of diced mushrooms, peppers, or zucchini to the sauté pan after the onion has cooked for a few minutes. Cook for an additional 3 minutes before adding the ingredients from the food processor.
From the book The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe by Mark Reinfeld. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2012. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com
Disclosure: I received the cookbook free of charge from the publisher to review. The opinions and experience with the cookbook expressed herein are my own. There was no pay to say.
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