Well known to all, I’m a meat ‘n potatoes (with lots of butter and sour cream) kind of girl. But I love a good adventure, which, to me, is the world of vegan cuisine.
I’m not afraid of tofu, beans, or margarine, and I love vegetables and soy milk! Ok that’s sort of a lie; I don’t like tofu yet. I’ve had tofu about three times so far, in my life. My friends and I even threw a Tofu Party with Tofu Dogs in the bedroom of our roommate while he was away on vacation. (Long story,) but the point is, I keep trying. I know there’s something I must be missing…
I’ve been flirting with this book forever now. Every time we go to a bookstore, I’ll pick it up and read a few pages, and put it back down. But I finally said enough is enough! I need you Veganomicon because 1: Your name is super cool, 2: I like vegan cookbooks and 3: I’ve got two books at home written by these same authors and they’re fantastic!
As a gift from the BF, I received the Vegan Cupcake cookbook a couple of years back. I was really confused as to why he thought it appropriate to get me a vegan cookbook.
“I know it seems weird,” he said, ““but I’ve heard amazing things about the cupcakes in this book.” And he was right. So, not to get off track from the main feature, but do yourself and your loved ones a favor and GO GET ONE OF THESE BOOKS. Seriously.
This book offers an incredibly friendly and helpful voice to the reader. First time tofu-ers will feel at ease, because everything is well explained to them, while veteran vegans will enjoy the new recipes, and cooking technique tips along the way.
Which leads me to my first “I love this book because…” point: There’s a whole section about kitchen equipment in the front of the book.
Again, something for the amateur and the pro, helping you along the way. I feel that 90% of cookbooks that offer taking the time to explain the basics, are really encouraging and want to do more than just sell their cookbook; they want to sell you the idea of feeling comfortable in your kitchen.
There’s even a great section in the back that helps you create a menu, perhaps for a dinner party, with themes!
So I was thumbing through the recipes, and landed on Tofu Ricotta. Italian, of course, right? Well, I figured it would be something easy to start with, and easy to compare to the non-vegan way. So I went out to the store, and bought some vegan Mozzarella, and started my little experiment by making stuffed shells.
I didn’t have any basil on hand, so I used parsley. No biggie. For the sauce, I used my marinara, which you can use as well, here. For the regular-ricotta shells in this experiment, just mix together all the same ingredients, minus the yeast flakes, and obviously using regular ricotta instead of tofu.
The tofu mixture almost looks like scrambled eggs. But, I’m still giving it a go.
Well… it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I wasn’t expecting it to taste like ricotta, I’m no dummy, but there was nothing satisfying about the filling. The texture wasn’t at all similar to normal ricotta. The tofu was clumpier, grittier, and firmer than the ricotta, and was very bland.
BUT this is not because this recipe is flawed! This was a well written recipe, and if you are vegan, it works almost as well as normal ricotta as far as application goes. But if you’re not vegan, and if you love dairy ricotta, you’ll find the texture and the flavor from the tofu substitute are far off from sweet and creamy dairy ricotta.
I still love this book, and recommend it highly. I went through and bookmarked about ten or so recipes I want to try… but I might stay away from the “substitution” recipes. This has marked my fourth time having tried tofu, and it aint lookin’ too good on statistics. I’m still not giving up, because I want to like tofu. I know there’s something I’m missing, I’ve just got to find what that something, is.