Until recently, I wasn’t really part of the audience for 30 minute cookbooks. Cooking is a favorite hobby and I didn’t really see the need for quick and easy. Enter baby and suddenly finding even 30 minutes to spare is a challenge. For that reason, I’ve really grown to love the 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe. The book is divided by country with sections on England/Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Spain/Portugal and Fusion (which is really just a catch-all for a bunch of recipes from countries that didn’t get their own section). Each section begins with one of the author’s travel photos, has a little information about the food of the particular country or region and then goes on to the recipes. I like how this layout makes it easy to put together a themed meal. So far, we’ve had French night, English night and Italian night. The recipes I’ve cooked have been delicious and really did take just 30 minutes or less to cook. In short, this book delivers exactly what it promises — tasty vegan versions of European food that come together quickly.
Upon receiving the book, I began my culinary travels through Europe in the same place that I began my actual travels through Europe — England. The summer after I graduated high-school, I took a backpacking trip through England and Ireland with five of my friends. As a new vegetarian, I subsisted almost entirely on vegetable broth with tiny veggie chunks (called “vegetable soup”) and ham and cheese sandwiches, hold the ham (one piece of cheese on bread). Eventually, I made it to London and salvation in the form of Indian food. With that background, it was certainly a surprise to me that the England/Ireland Chapter of the 30 Minute Vegan was one of the most appealing. I immediately honed in on the tofu with horseradish cream sauce and decided to design a meal around it. For sides, I microwaved some potatoes and then finished them in the oven for speedy baked potatoes. I also roasted some beets because beets and horseradish are a fabulous flavor combo. The tofu itself was marinated, grilled and then topped with a quick pan sauce. That was a very tasty meal, indeed.
Next, I traveled to Italy where we dined on tempeh in asparagus cream sauce. For sides, I steamed some green beans and cooked some linguine that I tossed with garlic oil and the herbs used in the asparagus sauce (basil and parsley). My travel photos are below.