Now that baby is a month old, I’ve come up with a system that allows me to actually cook dinner. (I start dinner during his afternoon nap and we reheat it at dinner time. I’m not sure what will happen when I go back to work, but it will probably involve a lot more pizza and Chipotle). As a result, I’ve been able to try some recipes from my newest cookbooks. Today, I’ll be reviewing Cookin’ Crunk by Bianca Phillips of the Vegan Crunk blog. Later this month, I’ll have a review of Terry Hope Romero’s newest book, Vegan Eats World.
Cookin’ Crunk focuses on veganized versions of Southern recipes — many with healthy twists (lots of whole grains and veggies here). My cookbook collection already includes several Southern cookbooks, but Cookin’ Crunk has enough unique recipes to allow me to justify the purchase. Some of the recipes that caught my eye are Chocolate Gravy, Eggplant and Creole Sausage Jambalaya, Mess O Greens with Turnips and Tofu Fish Fry. I’m also happy with the layout, which features one recipe per page — perfect for my cookbook stand — and a number of color photos.
So far, I’ve had good results with the recipes I’ve tried. I started with the Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Stix (page 91), which I served with “honey” mustard (made with agave) and a store-bought barbecue sauce. I wouldn’t call this recipe a miss, but it was my least favorite of the bunch. I followed my gut and halved the breading recipe, but I still had about twice as much breading as I needed to coat my tofu. The finished stix were nicely breaded and crispy, but they were a little lacking in the flavor department.
Next, I made the Dijon Pecan Seitan (page 100). Seitan chicken is coated in a pecan breading, baked and then covered in a maple dijon sauce. I tweaked this recipe a little by cutting down on the margarine in the sauce, which I don’t think negatively impacted the recipe. The seitan came out crispy on the outside, moist in the middle and the maple mustard sauce was a fun twist on a honey mustard. Here, the seitan is served with lemony roasted potatoes and roasted carrots and parsnips.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, so I couldn’t resist trying out the Cauliflower Creole (page 80). As it cooked, the Creole smelled very thyme-y, but the flavors of the finished dish were just right. The sauce tasted like the shrimp creole that my Dad used to make when I was growing up. I served the cauliflower with a simple beans and rice (saute diced onion, green pepper and garlic, add 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of “chicken” stock and a can of kidney beans) and biscuits.
The biscuit recipe is also from Cookin’ Crunk (Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits, page 136). As you can see, the biscuits rose nicely and they were light and fluffy even with the use of whole grain flour.
There are still a number of recipes from Cookin’ Crunk that I’m excited to try, so you can expect more recipe reviews in a future post.