Some would say I need another vegan cookbook like I need a hole in the head (a family expression--rather grim one, I've always thought.) Truth be told, they would be right, but a couple of weeks ago, at a Borders liquidation sale, I picked up yet another one, this one entitled VEGANIZE THIS by Jenn Shagrin. What compelled me to buy it was a recipe that caught my eye as I flipped through the pages--vegan braciole! WHAT, I remember thinking in the store. How is it possible to veganize cheese-filled steak (which is basically what braciole is, as most Americans of Italian descent know). Without another thought, I bought the book. When I actually started browsing it more intently and examined the recipes, I realized I might have been too impulsive in making this purchase, the braciole recipe notwithstanding.
The thing is, at this period in my life, I am severely time-challenged. Free time is something I rarely have and as I studied the recipes in this book, I soon realized that there are ingredients within the recipes that have to be premade first! Recipes within recipes--what the hell??? Vegan ricotta is required for the braciole as well as the "meat" itself--the book contains several homemade seitan recipes, depending on the meal you want to make. While some recipes can use tofu as a substitute, I do NOT recommend this book to you if you are even slightly gluten intolerant, as many of these dishes will require that "wheat meat." These meals are not for those like me who work long hours and don't want to spend what few hours they have each night before bedtime slaving over a hot stove.
Still, the dishes sound dreamy (you have to love a cookbook with a chapter titled "Recipes Guarunteed to Get You Laid"). I want so much to one day make the pan-seared white pepper tofu scallops with basil cream sauce served over linguine, or the pumpkin tartare over chickpea-black cumin crepe crisps with vegan sage and white ale browned butter sauce. I must confess, I am intrigued with the recipes for vegan prosciutto (!!) and vegan Cool Whip. There are even recipes for vegan twinkees and Doritos! A cookbook that provides recipes for both fancy dinner parties and an all-night gorge fest in front of the TV can't be all bad.
Still, you will need time--lots of it--and you will in some cases have to restock your pantry (if you get this book, stock up on Mimiccreme.) Sadly for me VEGANIZE THIS will come in handy only on long boring weekends when I have more time to make the ingredients and then the main dish. But I vow I will use it, if for nothing else, than to try the vegan braciole. The Italian blood in my veins won't settle for less.