Friday, October 5, 2012

Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food and Library Love (VEGAN MOFO: DAY 5)

Usually, I buy cookbooks, I don't take them from the library, but this cookbook-having thing is getting a little out of control.  I shouldn't have so many, but I love them!  It's not the worst vice ever, but still.

The Carnegie Library and I have become BFFs since I moved to Pittsburgh.  You can look up and reserve a book online and they'll email you when it's at the library branch where you asked it to come!  That's seriously nifty.  I mean, you hear about a book on NPR, you reserve a copy, when it's your turn on the reserve list, you get an email that it's waiting for you.  And by then, you'd more or less forgotten about the book, but it's such a pleasure to not have to forget--to just get books lent to you to borrow and read. Then you don't have to find some place to store them because you just return it to the folks who lent it to you, just give it back, all civilized and shit.  Yes, I know, you all understand about how libraries work.  But still, I feel it's important that I encourage others to enjoy our public libraries, because, damn, they've got a lot of books.  Pretty much everything you ever wanted to read.  They also have DVDs!  I hear the kids are into those these days.

Point is, I've been taking cookbooks out of the library to try 'em out, and I reserved Alicia C. Simpson's new book Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food.  Damn, she crams a lot of info into that title!  I would have omitted the "and Easy" part because ease is implied by the quickness, but, really, who am I to lecture anyone else on brevity?  I don't remember where I saw it, but I'd found out that there were recipes for making fancy popcorn in the book, and fancy popcorn is my junk food of choice.  Even before I started really eating healthy, I didn't keep any processed snack food in my home, opting instead for popcorn kernals (it's better if you have to prepare your junk food, don't you think?) and trail mixes.
That one is the BBQ Popcorn.  I've also made the other popcorn recipe, Sticky Bun Popcorn, and I'd say the sticky bun one is better.  I don't have a popcorn popping machine, and her directions have you putting canola oil into your machine and then adding melted popcorn on top at the end.  But I always just cook my popcorn in a spaghetti pot with Earth Balance melted amongst the kernels, so I didn't use canola oil and didn't add any EB at the end, and didn't have super-buttery popcorn, which is fine by me, because these are a really satisfying and flavorful snack food even without more than doubling the fat.  Both recipes contain two tablespoons of sugar.

I also made the Baked Risotto from this book.
Pretty good!  I like that it's colorful.  However, it would have been better if I'd really finely diced the carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash.  Then it would have been extra-special colorful, and, more importantly, each bite could have had a consistent texture.  Also, the recipe didn't have enough salt, but, you know, that's no big.  To each his or her own on the issue of how much salt should be in stuff, and if it seems like too little to you, you can always sprinkle some on, but if it seems like too much to you, you can't sprinkle the salt off, so.

And while I was eating risotto for a few days, I also made myself the split pea soup for which Ms. Simpson has a recipe.  I don't remember exactly what it's called, but I know that she says it's, like, the best soup ever or something like that.  It's not, it's a little plain.  But I liked it, I ate it up.  Only, with sriracha in it. 
Wouldn't it be terrible to not like spicy food and not like sriracha, and therefore not be able to jazz up anything in an instant?  OK, maybe not "I've had a pencil permanently lodged in my brain since middle school" terrible, but certainly at least "Our picnic got rained out" terrible.  Not the worst thing, but pretty sucky, actually.  Wet sandwiches.


  1. I'm a cookbook fiend too! They're so fun to flip through, especially before bed. Usually the cookbooks I score from the library are non-vegan. And Sriracha is a magical sauce, it instantly improves pretty much everything it touches. Wet sandwiches make my heart sad, ha ha.

  2. I've been eyeing that cookbook, so thanks for the review! And seriously, about sriracha. It's my go-to fix for all things bland. Loves it.


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