Title: The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook
Author: Kim O'Donnel
244 pages; Softcover $18.95 US/$24 CAN
Publisher: DaCapo/Lifelong Cambridge MA 2010
Reviewed by, Ana Susi, November 2010
Many people, for various reasons, choose to
limit or cut meat entirely out of their diet. I tried my hand at
this as well, lasting 7 years before finding my iron and energy
slump at an all time low and a diet so boring and carb laden, I
was starting to wonder if food would ever fulfill me and excite
me the way it had in my pre-vegetarian days. With Kim O'Donnel's
cookbook, The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes
Carnivores will Devour, I found excitement and inspiration for
cooking sans meat using vibrant, seasonal vegetables and,
surprisingly, not wanting to slip in a piece of meat or cheese
somewhere to give the recipe some much needed oomph. Not only
were the recipes fulfilling and quite healthy, they had me
preparing tofu and vegetables in ways I had never eaten before
and will definitely be eating over and over again.
I prepared the Pepita-Crusted Tofu, Dino-Mash, and the Black Bean-Sweet Potato Chili. I was expecting the tofu to be interesting, but the heat, spice, and texture of this dish was simply addicting. The suggested accompaniment to the tofu, Dino-Mash, was smooth, comforting, and delicious. This meal lives up to the book's title and makes for an impressive, healthy meal for any vegan foodies you may be entertaining. Being a huge sweet potato fan, I found the chili hearty, vibrant, and balanced compared to a more fattening meat based chili.
Kim O'Donnell's cookbook reads like a Food Network show sounds, with Kim being the friendly, easy going host that writes with novices and experienced chefs in mind, making you feel as if she's right there with you, guaranteeing you a successful meal. The recipes can easily be altered to suit your vegetable preferences and tastes and use ingredients you'll be able to find easily and affordably. This cookbook creatively puts produce in the spotlight and will more than satisfy the appetites of all who attempt these well thought out choices.
Makes 4 servings
Although a high-protein flavor chameleon, tofu is typically a hard sell with the meat set. I'd be lying if I told you it tastes like chicken, and its squishy marshmallow-like texture takes some time getting used to. But a meatless cookbook without tofu? That just didn't seem right.
As a culinary writing fellow at the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I dreamed up this dish with the tofu-reticent in mind. The magic flavor element is a pumpkin-seed pesto seasoned with garlic and cilantro, an irresistible combo that delivers both herby tang and nutty richness. As for the texture kinks, the tofu is sliced into thin "cutlets," which facilitate a toothy crust when baked in the oven. The result: the "most chickeny" tofu that did ever pass my lips.
Do try it with the Dino-Mash, my take on colcannon, the classic Irish mashed potato and cabbage dish, updated with Lacinato (a.k.a. Dinosaur) kale.
Kitchen Notes: The first thing you should do is roast the garlic for the Dino-Mash, as it will take 50 minutes.
Ingredients:1 (14-ounce) package fresh extra-firm tofu, preferably organic