Friday, March 28, 2014

Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen: A Review

I am sharing this review with you while wearing an extremely red face; I'm ashamed to admit that I've been holding out on you since January, but just haven't had the time to properly investigate and write about this cookbook until now. All I can say is: being a full-time student is very time-consuming, and I'm excited to have this last bit of spring break before embarking on another intense term.

In the meantime, here's my review of this wonderful cookbook!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen, but all the opinions stated and pictures are mine. 

I have to admit: when I first received this book, I was skeptical as to how many recipes I'd actually be able to try, given my numerous food intolerances and allergies. However, after flipping through and taking a careful look at each page, I started putting more and more post-it notes on pages and got more and more excited about trying the dishes. One of my favorite parts of the book is that each recipe has notations next to it, stating what country the original recipe is from (or at least inspired by), and whether it's quick and easy, low fat, gluten free, soy free, and/or nut free. Those notes were extremely helpful as I inspected each recipe; it saved me the time of looking at every ingredient to know whether or not I could eat the dish.

The PR sheet given to me with the book says this "innovative vegan cookbook combines the best of both worlds - comfort food and ethnic cuisine." I'd have to agree completely. Written by Joni Marie Newman (author of 500 Vegan Recipes, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutes [I LOVE that book!], The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, and Vegan Food Gifts [another one of my absolute favorites]), it was pretty much guaranteed to be a hit no matter what the type of food it covered. Although I don't normally find myself reaching for fusion-style cookbooks, this one turned out to be an exception, and I enjoyed every single thing I made.

I decided to make an exciting dinner for myself using four of the recipes found in the book. It was delicious and filling and, I have to admit, not all that healthy, so I'll probably stick to just one dish at a time in the future. However, for one night, I had a great time not thinking about calories or fat; I just enjoyed yummy tastes in my mouth.

I tried the Hot, Sweet and Sour Sauce (p. 25), the Smoky Chili-Lime Sweet Potatoes (p. 118), the Hot, Sweet and Sour Cabbage (using the aforementioned sauce, p. 122) and Pupusas Gorda (p. 95). These weren't the most photogenic foods, but here they are in their delicious glory:

I can't wait to make more dishes out of this cookbook. I have my eye on a Garlic Orange Sauce (p. 19), Potato Mochi (aka Japanese Potato Cakes, p. 32), Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili (p. 70) and Sweet Orange Basil Curd (p. 150), just to name a few.

Thanks to Fair Winds for letting me try out this wonderful cookbook, and thanks to Joni Marie Newton for writing another great addition to my cookbook collection!

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