Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat

So who is Tal Ronnen?  Well, a talented chef no doubt.  Talented before he started cooking for Oprah.  Then he hit the lottery and was chosen to be the chef for Oprah on her diet cleanse.  The rest is vegan cooking history!
When we dine out at restaurants--being the visual learners (spenders) that my wife and I are, we order two ways.  We take the advice of our server if they can articulate the specials or popular menu items and it is something that fits into our diet lifestyle.  The other way we order is simply from the pictures on the menu.  Done.  A good looking picture sells us the dish every time.  In The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat the pictures of the ingredients and dishes knocked our socks off.  They are absolutely stunning; you have to see them for yourself!  So many vegan cookbooks lack true vibrant, eye popping visuals but this vegan cookbook made picture quality the focal point.  This doesn't take away from the content of the cookbook either.

The book gives an incredibly basic definition of 'vegan' to the effect of eating everything in the world except animal products.  How easy is that?  It dispels the top non-meat/dairy diet myths like 'not getting enough protein'. 

After the basics the author discusses his favorite ingredients with more rich photos.  Some of Tal's favorite herbs include thyme, saffron, basil (our favorite), rosemary, mint, and chives.  In fact, one of the recipes in this cookbook is made with a blackberry basil sauce.  Yes!  More and more we are incorporating thyme into our cooking regimen and my wife loves chives. 

This vegan cookbook is important in that it really promotes eating seasonally.  Eating seasonally encourages a more sustainable living.  By eating seasonally, you reduce the carbon footprint being stomped on the planet.  You support local farmers.  Best of all, when you become tired of eating the foods of the season a new one arrives with a fresh new slate of goodies to enjoy!  There is a winter dinner, spring dinner, summer dinner, and fall dinner incorporating only ingredients of the season.  I really enjoyed this aspect of the cookbook.  

The Conscious Cook includes plenty of delicious recipes that are filling.  If you are looking for vegan cookbooks where the pictures do the talking, this is the book.  The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat was fun, the food visuals were top notch, and we refer to it often for inspiration to try ingredients we don't often think to use.
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