Friday, April 29, 2011

Jamaican Night and Cookbook Review

When a Borders near my house was closing, my wonderful hubs went with a friend and graciously looked through the vegetarian cookbooks for me!  And I didn't even have to ask, so sweet. 

There he found many sub-par books, and many without photos for every recipe (a big must for me to really enjoy my cookbook).  Amongst the picked through remains he came across a book I had long since asked for: The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour .  On Amazon, it has a great Look Inside! feature that allows you to browse the recipes, some even in their entirety.  I had a list of recipes I wanted to try from the get-go, and have done the following (sans photos-sorry, I know, I am a slacker). 

* Spinach and Feta Crostada - easy and very good- wouldn't use the vinegar next time
* Stuffed Shells with Winter Ragout- again, easy and pretty good though I didn't use stuffable pasta- bit too 
    tomatoe-y for the hubs
* Jerk Tempeh and Zesty Pineapple Salad (pictured)

So, before I started writing this post I thought I had made many more, only to realize they have been on my menu plan for quite some time only to get knocked aside from a busy schedule. 

Many of the recipes have more ingredients than I care to use on a weeknight meal.  I have been desperately trying to get our grocery bill to a lower level while also trying to have more whole foods in our diets.  On the latter point, the book is handy as everything is homemade, from the crusts to the sauces.  *score*  Our weeknights have been booking up and on nights with activities, the hubs is in the door at 6:30 and we are out of it by 7:00.  I am lucky enough to get home by 5 at the latest, and some days I exercise, some days I make food (consuming instead of expending). 

Another meh point for the cookbook is that it is carb-heavy somewhat, though you are obviously by no means limited to the menu planned for you in the book- it just helps. 

And final critique, I know few hardcore meat-eaters who would try tempeh or tofu.  My parents and siblings to start with...though my mom may venture one bite.  My in-laws will try it, may even eat it, but probably ask not to have it again (i.e. the Easter dinner tofu curry scenario).  The only people I know to be willing to try/enjoy such substitutions are those who are generally flexitarian anywho or are adventerous in their eating. 

No worries though, there are many faux-meat-free dishes throughout the book, many bean heavy.  I am anxoius to try the tempeh-hoagieletta, homemade falafels, and the pot pie (made it to the menu several times only to be bumped off due to crust making time crunch). 

The recipe pictured above was delicious.  I actually used the last of the jerk sauce last night and paired it with bell pepper slaw (good though I would not put in the dijon mustard next time- the spicyness killed it). 

While the tempeh was tasty, the pineapple salad was a-mazing.  I would eat this once a week it was such a good balance of flavors. 

The jamaican style peas and rice I used black beans (we like them better than black eyed peas) and accidentally added the entire can of coconut milk.  We had rice and beans for days, the portions were a bit off in that respect. 

Overall, great meal, and I will use both the jerk sauce and the pineapple salad recipe again and again. 

Look out for more recipes from this cookbook in the future.  And look out for our first CSA box, probably in late May or early June!  I am going to try to get to the farm tour and take some photos.  But I am so excited for this season to kick off- plus more friends joined this year!

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