There are lots of vegan cookbooks out there to help you get a meal on the table quickly and easily – those are the kind that I turn to most often. And there are lots of vegan cookbooks with lengthy and detailed recipes for when you have the time and want to create really special meals (like when you want to impress those doubting non-vegan friends of yours…). In theory, I love to make gorgeous, complex, slow food, but in practice, most of the time I need simple, easy, delicious. Extraordinary Vegan by Alan Roettinger exists in the middle between those simple/fast cookbooks and fancy/slow cookbooks.
You’ve heard the expression “food made with love,” right? Well, I was thinking about this and wondering what it might really mean. What difference would love make? If there was love in the food, how on earth would it have gotten there? Then I had an epiphany: Attention is the currency of love. – Alan Roettinger
By using a few unusual ingredients and preparing meals with care and attention, Mr. Roettinger believes that the home cook can serve up simple, beautiful meals that go beyond the ordinary. He begins with a glossary of ingredients followed by a chapter on fundamentals – recipes like garlic oil, preserved lemons (you’ve got to make these!), and chocolate ganache. These basic recipes are often the “extraordinary” ingredient in Mr. Roettinger’s creations. Recipes for both savory and sweet breakfasts are up; then it’s on to sauces, dips and condiments followed by snacks; soups; salads; beans and lentils; pasta and grains; vegetables; and finally, simple yet stunning desserts that prominently feature fresh fruits (and a bit of chocolate, of course!).
I appreciate the book’s emphasis on whole foods, fresh ingredients, and complex flavors. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow and the full-page color photos elegantly showcase the food. For those of us living in rural areas, getting our hands on some of the more unusual ingredients (baharat, maca powder, ahi panca) might prove to be difficult (my local grocery doesn’t even carry tofu, let alone ras el hanout), but there’s not much one can’t get online.
To get your mouth watering, I’m pleased to be able to share Mr. Roettinger’s recipe for Chocolate-Banana-Mint Smoothie – a yummy and healthy way to start your day. And thanks to Book Publishing Company, I have a copy of Extraordinary Vegan to give away to one of my readers. You can enter the giveaway below. Entrants are limited to those in the U.S. and is open until midnight (CT) February 25.
- 1 1/2 cups coconut water or water
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder, or 2 tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa
- 8 pitted medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp. flax oil
- 1 tsp. maca powder, optional
- 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
- Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve at once.
- Reprinted with permission from Alan Roettinger and Book Publishing Company.