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The official Conscious Cook recipe review (to be updated)!

Staples
Cashew cream
(sweetened)  I should have soaked the cashews the night before(I read this after I started the recipe) and instead pureed the cashew cream ingredients with the simmered soup. It still came out great.  (saskia)
This isn't anything new if you've ever made a cashew cheeze, or sauce, but it was great in the bisque. I can't wait until I have a vitamix, so that I can have a totally smooth cream. (AC)
Whipped cashew cream
(sweetened) to put on top of a caramel-hazelnut poundcake for dessert.  It had a great flavor, but never thickened up to "whipped cream" consistency.  I will make again, but it's more like a "sweet cream drizzle" than a whipped cream. (jessacita)
Starters and small plates
Artichoke and oyster mushroom Rockefeller
WOW.  I used kelp powder instead of nor and it was delicious.  I love how the artichoke leaves are inedible, except for a little delicious chunk at the bottom!  Be sure to serve with a discard plate for the leaves. (laurakins)
Fresh baked focaccia with caramelized onions
It turned out awful!  It never rose and was hard as a rock after baking.  I am wondering if there is a typo with the amount of flour.  6 cups seems like a lot.  I am currently making it again, but halved the flour to around 3 cups.  I will post results. (chloeandpenguin)
with a tad over 3 cups of flour is perfection.  I didn't caramelize onions this time, because I was afraid the bread wouldn't turn out again.  However, with just rosemary, red pepper flakes, sea salt & pepper there was plenty of flavor. (chloeandpenguin)
I didn't read these reviews ^ ahead of time, but also thought 6 cups of flour for focaccia seemed like a ton. However, I went with the recipe. I used most of the flour (not quite all), but did need additional liquid. Not a ton, but some. I used the dough hook stand mixer, and just kneaded until it came together. The dough rose really well. I baked for a few minutes longer, and I think it could have used a bit more than that. It's not my favorite focaccia at all. It's not chewy enough, and is a bit too thick. The onions were good, but not spectacular on it. I wouldn't make this recipe again, because I've made better. I also don't like how he seems to over complicate directions. (AC)
Grilled artichokes with Caesar dressing
So, even though I had a fairly large artichoke, even 20 minutes was too much cooking time, because it totally fell apart while trying to saw it in half (as directed!). Go figure. So I wasn't able to grill it (too bad), but I DID make the Caesar dressing. The dressing is tangy and pretty good, but it's hard to get over the fact that it seems to be 75% olive oil. YEP. It stayed reasonably emulsified. (fb)
Ponzu glazed tofu crystal rolls
Ah, I wish I had read more into the notes before this. It seems the ponzu is the ponzu-soy sauce, not straight ponzu (a citrus vinegar thing), so I just used to the citrus vinegar version, which was still pretty good and tasty. Overall this were pretty plain, and I prefer fresh rolls made with the typical things instead. However, using ponzu with tofu is a good idea, so there's that. (fb)
Quinoa maki with avocado and Cajun portobello fillets
Didn't like. The quinoa never held together quite like rice would, so the roll couldn't be cut. Apparently you can cook quinoa in a specific way to make it work (more water, overcook it), which is probably what I should have done. I didn't particularly like the combo of the cajun portobello + quinoa + nori either, so all around not a good dish for me. I prefer regular ole sushi. (fb)
Shiso bites

Sweet onion beggar's purses

Tempura beet rollatini with balsamic gastrique

Twice baked fingerling potatoes with crisped dulse
Delightful. While this could probably be easily made with regular, regular-sized potatoes, I used the teeny fingerling potatoes, which were great. I used flaked dulse, instead of crisping whole pieces, and just added it on top of everything. They're a little greasy, but good finger food/appetizer stuff. Would make again, probably with larger potatoes this time. (fb)
Salads
Bibb lettuce, shaved fennel, and grapefruit salad with pickled onion
Didn't use grapefruit. The pickled onion is great (sweet/tangy), and there was quite a bit of extra liquid, so I pickled some of the fennel too, which was also good. (fb)
Caesar salad with focaccia croutons

Fresh mint and cucumber salad with tahini vinaigrette
was simple and delicious.  I had a substantial amount of dressing left over.  It had an unexpected flavor that was almost tart.  I have been using it on sandwiches all week.  I will definitely be taking that to a summer picnic. (chloeandpenguin)
Green bean and fingerling potato salad with miso dressing
Not always a fan of miso, but it was good here. Salty/tangy dressing, could probably use something other than green beans if you wanted to. (fb)
Heirloom tomato salad with crisped capers

Orange, Belgian endive, and quinoa salad with champagne vinaigrette
Went lazy with this, and instead of serving it in endive leaves, I chopped up the endive and put it in the salad (just as good!). Overall pleasant salad. (fb)
Quinoa, avocado, and sweet potato timbale with roasted tomatillo dressing
Used gold potatoes instead of sweet potato. Overall, really good. I have to say that using so little tomatillo at once seems a bit silly (I'd rather make salsa verde on the side or make a larger portion of the dressing). (fb)
Summer chopped salad

Very green salad with cucumber, kohlrabi, sweet onion, and herb vinaigrette

Scot's menu
Gardein chicken piccata
Yummmmmmmmm. This is so rich, and good. I used the gardein lightly seasoned scallopini for this (I've never seen plain "breasts"), and they worked great. I did try to flatten a couple of them, but I don't think it mattered. At first I was thinking how weird it would be to slice them on the bias (as the recipe says), but the breasts must be thicker. I had 4 pieces, and didn't need anywhere near 2 cups flour..maybe a few tbs. I also only used 1-2 tbs EB, and less oil. I still added too much oil, though..for my liking. The flavor is excellent. I didn't use 1/4 cup capers, but used enough to seem like they were prevalent in the sauce. I wasn't expecting P to like this, but he loved it. I'm going to add lemon zest next time. I didn't use the shallot. This would be an impressive dish to make for someone, but it's not difficult. (AC)
Seriously, this was OMG good.  Honestly one of the best things I've ever made.  I served it on top of angel hair with the Braised Kale from this same book.  The flavor was smack your lips, and lick your plate good! (eoberhauser)
F YEAH. There are a few recipes in here that make similar use of gardein chicken - the pine nut crusted one and the scaloppini - and I think this is the best. The gardein stuff really gets the best texture from pan frying like this. Pretty easy recipe, easy likeable. (fb)
Hot Italian banana peppers stuffed with fresh herb risotto and soy mozzarella, with fresh basil lime sauce
I made half the recipe, and it still makes A LOT. I only used some for stuffing, since I was using some wax peppers instead and just wanted to try out the stuffing thing. That came out pretty well, but the risotto is good enough on its own (doesn't have to be stuffed into something to make it interested). The lime sauce is pretty much as it sounds, and I added more basil to give it a little more flavor. I think it doesn't REALLY need that sauce. (fb)
Wild field green salad with sun dried cherries and blueberries, fresh strawberries, sunflower seeds, tofu ricotta, and a warm blueberry vinaigrette

Soups
Celery root soup with granny smith apples
This soup got really thick (not sure if it was supposed to). Before adding the apples, I thought it tasted surprisingly like gravy. After the apples, it tasted like gravy with apples  J really liked it, saying that it was good because it tastes like gravy. Yep. It would be fine without the apples, like with bread or croutons instead. Or over mashed potatoes... (fb)
Corn chowder

Cream of asparagus soup
This versatile dish, which can be made with broccoli instead, is a pureed soup with asparagus, olive oil, celery, spinach and an agave-sweetened cashew cream. I should have soaked the cashews the night before(I read this after I started the recipe) and instead pureed the cashew cream ingredients with the simmered soup. It still came out great. A standout above other cream of (insert vegetable here) soups I have tried because the cashew cream gives this soup a richer, nuttier and slightly sweetened, creamy flavor. Ladle into bowls and dress it with a dollop of the "cream," or parsley and a grind of pepper, and you've got a simple, yet elegant, dish to impress your guests. (saskia)
I just re-read saskia's review, and I didn't do a sweetened cream for this! I did the regular. Anyway, we enjoyed this soup. It's a simple, subtle flavor, but it's really good. I might even try this with roasted asparagus. I added a splash of white wine, and a bit of fresh thyme. I didn't add quite as much stock as it states, and upped the cream.  It's a thinner soup, but not too thin. (AC)
Lemongrass consomme with pea shoot and mushroom dumplings
FANTASTIC.  If you miss wonton soup, this is even better!  Just delicious.   I would suggest using a very light broth, or possibly even using water with a veggie boullion cube (or two)  (laurakins)
The consomme is pretty simple to make, and simple in flavor. The dumplings aren't too difficult. I'd rather make more dumplings to use up all the wrappers in a package, but oh well. I don't like oyster mushrooms too much, but this was fine, not too fishy. (fb)
Split pea soup with tempeh bacon and chipotle cream
Deeelicious. Best split pea soup, like, ever. Leeks are great here. I used the turtle island tempeh bacon stuff. The chipotle cream is good (and not super spicy), but not totally necessary. Good soup on its own. (fb)
Tomato bisque
I shredded the carrot, onion and celery with my kitchenaid.  I thought that would help give the soup a smooth consistency and I wouldn't need to blend as much at the end.  I think the soup would have had a more complex flavor if I hadn't done that, since some juice was lost in shredding.  Live and learn.  The fire-roasted tomatoes really add an almost smoky flavor.  I wonder if smoked sea salt would also complement this dish.  (chloeandpenguin)
This is FABULOUS. I wanted to stick pretty close to the recipe, (and I basically did!!!) so I don't think any of my changes were that significant. I did 1/2 onion, and 2 stalks of celery. I FORGOT to add my flour to the vegetables, so I just mixed it with a bit of water, and added that after I had added the liquids. I used crushed tomatoes. My blender is crappy, so I did this with food processor...which is never good with liquids. Mine was definitely not totally smooth (b/c of the cashew cream), but it worked fine. It was pretty smooth. I'm glad I fought the urge to just leave it chunky. This has so much flavor, and the bay leaf gives it that smokiness. It definitely reminds me of good non-vegan tomato bisques. Love it. (AC)
Cashew cream really makes tomato soup tastier. Good, kind of peppery because of the roasted tomatoes (the canned varieties I found also had peppers), would make again. (fb)

Sandwiches
Cajun portobello sandwich with avocado and remoulade
Remoulade - great. Pretty similar in taste to the remoulade in Vegan Brunch. Not such a huge fan of the cajun portobellos though - maybe it's something in the spices. Dunno. (fb)
California gardein chicken salad
Not so special. I think that gardein needs to be cooked (like pan-fried) before being in this form, because otherwise it's just mushy here. Nothing special really going on either. (fb)
Gardein "steak" sandwich with watercress, red pepper, and horseradish mayonnaise
I made a version of this.  I realize the  guy is employed by Gardein, but I couldn't see buying the steak strips, and then individually wipping off the spices.  Seems too silly.  Instead I used tofu and loved it.  I never use dehydrated onion and garlic..use only fresh or powdered, so I used powdered and it was very good.  I made the mayo to go along with it and it was very good.  I was frustrated in my effrorts to find horseradish that didn't had added egg yolks, so I just bought a used wasabi paste instead and it was delish.   Instead of red pepper, which I had on hand, I decided to use tomato and used some dark green leafy lettuce instead of watercress. (tweety)
HELL YEA. The steak rub + steak stuff is great. Pretty salty, but great. Horseradish mayo is good, nothing too spicy or anything. Would make again. (fb)
Herbed cashew cheese baguette with tomato and watercress
This is more about the cheese than the sandwich. COMMENCE REVIEW. It's not clear if you're supposed to drain the cashews before blending (doesn't state), and I did drain them and it blended fine. It was easy to get the cashews smooth after the extensive soaking time, using a regular food processor. I got the probiotic stuff from amazon, which was cheaper than the HFS. I let the cashew + probiotic/water mixture culture for 14 hours, after which it didn't seem much different at all, in texture, flavor, or smell. Too bad. I thought the amount of salt/onion powder in the final seasoning is a bit excessive, but it mellows out upon sitting in the fridge (still, less could be used). Ultimately the cheesiness came from the flavors of the ingredients, not the culturing. That said, it's quite good, and might be spreadable but very thick, and it more the stuff of sandwiches and crackers (vs something that could be made into a sauce or on pizza or whatever). Ultimately, it seems like a good recipe for "cheese," but wouldn't be worth the effort of culturing and waiting all that time. However, I didn't clean the cheesecloth right away, and after a few hours, the residue on the cheesecloth actually smelled cheesy. Maybe i didn't let it culture long enough - it's not stated exactly what temp it should be cultured at, so maybe a warm room temp isn't warm enough. Figured it out when making the macadamia cheese that a longer culturing time (about 4 or 6 hours more) is much better for the actually making a difference, though the seasoning still has a big part in making it cheesy. (fb)
Mediterranean chickpea wrap
Unexpected simple, cheap recipe to make in here. Not the most amazing thing (I only like chickpeas so much anyway), but good. (fb)
Tomato, mozzarella, and pesto panini
This pesto is weird - a butt ton of arugula, and a little basil? Ha! I tasted it after making per directions, and it just didn't have the herby flavor of regular pesto, and was a bit too oily. So I added extra extra extra basil, which yielded a more pestoy pesto. (fb)
Vietnamese style tofu hero with Asian slaw
This was one of those "OMG...this is so good" recipes.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I didn't have chives (which I swear I bought but they disappeared once I got home) so I used the tips of some scallions.  The store didn't have daikon so I made the "slaw" with carrots and regular radishes, but used only the carrots on the sandwich.  I mixed the chili oil and mayo prior to spreading it, otherwise I was true to the recipe and it was sooooo good. (tweety)
This sandwich is really good! KMK and I made it while she was visiting, and it's delicious. We used green onion instead of chives, added a bit of water to the marinade, and used cabbage in the slaw. Delicious flavors! I've actually already made it a second time (dinner tonight), and made slaw with carrots and bell peppers. I recommend a metal pan instead of glass, because the tofu didn't firm up as much in the glass. Will make this again! It's pretty simple once you get everything together. (AC)
At first I was all "hah, plain tofu" but then I was like YEAH TOFU. The tofu itself is pretty simply flavored, but combined with the chile oil mayo stuff is quite good. However, the chile oil doesn't really fully blend with mayo (maybe if you were making a lot and used an immersion blender, idk). (fb)
Chad's menu
Beet ravioli with balsamic pickled figs and green garlic oil

Macademia caprese
A CONTINUATION OF CHEESE CULTURING ADVENTURES. The macadamias didn't smooth out quite as much as the cashews while blending, but I actually liked the bit of texture better than the totally smooth cashew stuff. I decided to let the probiotic-nut mixture sit longer than before by 4 hours, and boom, cheesiness. It's not a sudden strong cheesy flavor, but it's definitely distinct from the initial mixture. The texture doesn't really change. I realized while it was culturing that the instructions here indicate to leave quite a bit of liquid with the macadamias for blending, and I'm not sure how that would have worked out - maybe more liquid would help culturing, but I'm not confident it would ever really firm up, since the cheese I've gotten isn't significantly firmer or dehydrated. Overall I prefer this to the cashew for texture and flavor reasons (sorry beloved cashew, but I think macadamias work better in this type of role). I used a little less salt than directed, and half as much onion powder as directed, plus a little garlic powder; I didn't want to cover up the culture flavor, and from the cashew cheese, all that seasoning doesn't seem totally necessary. With this, I'm going to try culturing with other nuts - first up, walnuts and pecans YEEEAAAAAHHHHHHH (fb)
Wild mushroom farinata with artichoke aioli and roasted cherry tomatoes
Look at this recipe. Look at the amount of oil in that batter. WHAT. what. Whatever, I did it, and you know what? It was delicious. Don't judge me. The first crepe didn't turn out great, but every subsequent one turned out well (used a cast iron pan). Wasn't sure I'd like it because I'm not the hugest fan of chickpeas, but it ends up a little more like bread and less like a chickpea thing. For the mushrooms, I used maitake/poule des bois, which went well with the aioli. The aioli was fine, though I think I might prefer something simpler (like vegan mayo mixed with garlic or roasted garlic). It's not artichoke aioli in that artichokes are blended in or anything, they're just mixed in (in case anyone hates artichokes or doesn't want to use like half a can of them). For the tomatoes, well, I think there must be something wrong. 250 for 10 minutes doesn't roast or cook them at all; not sure how cooked they're supposed to be, but it does say their skins will be cracked. So I upped the temp to 350 and roasted for another 15 minutes, which worked well (roasted tomatoes = delicious!). I bet you can do the lower temp, but just much longer (I think AVK has a slow-roasted recipe that has them in the oven at 200 for hours... but it's great). Anyway, overall good recipe, and the amount of oil in the farinata isn't a typo or gross. (fb)
Entrees
Agave lime grilled tofu with Asian slaw and mashed sweet potatoes
OMG. So beautiful and delicious!  I used an old george foreman grill to sear my tofu.  YUM! (laurakins)
Just made the tofu. Pretty simple deal, kind of like the grilled tofus from veganomicon. (fb)
Artichoke ricotta tortellini with saffron cream sauce

Asparagus and Meyer lemon risotto
I was sure the store had Meyer lemons, but they did not. I used the regular and some tangelo. I've made better risotto! It was good, but not the greatest. I just sauteed the asparagus. I didn't use the optional cashew cream. I prefer just making risotto on my own, as he complicated the directions once again. It's not bad by any means, but not the greatest. (AC)
Cornmeal crusted tempeh with smoked tomato sauce, green chile relish, black bean puree, and braised kale
Didn't make the relish. The tempeh with the sauce was good and a little vinegary tasting. The black bean purée is kind of a funny fancy name for was is essentially refried black beans (whatever, guess it doesn't sound as glamorous). I think the tempeh and sauce can easily be made on its own without losing much from not having the other sides. (fb)
Free form ravioli with tofu ricotta and arugula pesto

Gardein chicken scaloppini with shiitake sake sauce, braised pea shoots, and crispy udon noodle cakes
God damn this was a lot of steps. First, the noodle cakes didn't stay totally in cake form while frying, but they got crispy anyway and were good. The pea shoots were easy, taste kinda grassy (never had them before). Before making this, I kinda didn't like the gardein stuff much because of the slippery kind of texture it takes when stewed/heated in any liquid, and it was from making this that I realized it has a totally different texture when sautéed/etc. I liked that part. The mushroom sauce, though, was way too mushroom for me, and I like shiitakes. It had a really strong flavor. I know that as 'fancy food,' you don't eat too much of this at once, but it was still too strong. It was also a pretty greasy dish altogether... but J loved it. I let him have it all, 'cause that mushroom sauce was everywhere. (fb)
Old bay tofu cakes with pan roasted summer vegetables, horseradish cream, apples, and beets
I made only the tofu cake portion of this dish, and they were really delicious.  I baked them at 450 for about 15 minutes on each side instead of frying.  They were crispy on the outside & I didn't miss the frying at all.  I don't think the texture is anything like crab cakes, but the flavor is really good.  I also didn't toast the nori as instructed because I didn't feel like it. I made my own horseradish tartar sauce to top the cakes, and that really made the flavor stand out.  I don't think I'd serve this dish to company, but as a tofu lover, I really liked it. (jessacita)
just made the tofu cakes and the horseradish cream. The horseradish cream is pretty mild and non-spicy. The tofu cakes didn't hold together amazingly, but didn't completely fall apart. Love old bay spice, and these are overall pretty good but make little effort to taste like crab cakes. Not for those who dislike tofu, in other words. (fb)
Paella with sausage,  nori dusted oyster mushrooms, and wine braised artichoke hearts
Yeah paellaaaa. I used dulse flakes instead of nori, and didn't make as much oyster mushroom as directed (it's a ton!). I used tofurky sausage instead of field roast (TOFURKY IS BETTER Y'ALL). The rice itself came out great, and a little greasy. I think the sofrito from Viva Vegan may have a leg up on this one, but this functions well for this recipe. (fb)
Peppercorn encrusted portobello fillets with yellow tomato bearnaise and mashed potatoes
The portobello stuff is overall fine, nothing amazing but not bad (I admit I'm not crazy about portobellos). However, LOVE the yellow tomato sauce (er, bearnaise). Sweet-tart deliciousness. Yellow tomatoes = awesome. (fb)
Pine nut and basil seared gardein chicken with lobster mushroom beurre blank, braised kale, and roasted fingerling potatoes
SO GOOD. First off, I can't find the Gardein chick'n breasts in my area yet.  (There are other varieties of Gardein being sold, but nothing like these.)  So, I made seitan instead, and breaded the fillets with his pine nut breading.  Pine nuts are hella expensive right now ($22/lb!!!), so I used 1/2 pine nuts, and 1/2 macadamia nuts.  I also added a little nutritional yeast to the breading mixture. It.was.awesome.  I served it to my boyfriend (vegan), and two friends (omni), and everyone flipped shit.  They couldn't stop raving over how amazing it was.  The mushroom sauce was fantastic - but I couldn't find lobster mushrooms, so I used 1/2 shitaake, and 1/2 crimini.  I'm sure it would be "extra special" with the lobsters, but this was easier & I'm sure less expensive.  Made a salad instead of kale, so I can't speak to that - but the fingerling potatoes were great!  Simple, perfectly seasoned, and delicious. I'm not sure how helpful this review is because I obviously didn't follow the recipe to a T - but it was great inspiration, and I LOVED the mushroom sauce & pine nut breading idea.  I think I'm making that for Thanksgiving. (jessacita)
So, it doesn't totally specify how much the pine nuts are supposed to be ground down. I blended it a fair amount, with still some texture, but it looks like from the cover photo maybe they're left mostly whole. The way I made it, I don't think the pine nuts added a whole lot. The breading stuff ended up being soggier because of them, and I didn't get much of that great toasted pine nut flavor, which is too bad considering how expensive they are. Additionally, there was a lot of breading left over, so I saved it and reused it a couple times more (definitely worth saving considering the cost!). Gardein cooked this way is always good, but the breading here wasn't as great, though maybe it would be better if the pine nuts are more whole. The lobster mushroom beurre blanc - there was no way I was going to find lobster mushrooms, so I used oyster mushrooms and added some dulse flakes. This was, to be brief, great. it's a tart and greasy (in the best way possible) sauce, without being too fishy from the oyster mushroms (if that's what you use). I wasn't incredibly precise with the brunoise, and just kinda finely diced them, and nothing seemed to suffer from that. (fb)
Tempeh creole over brown rice
Not having creole seasoning, I used old bay seasoning, which was good here. Overall this was good, a little vinegary, definitely helped along by the seasoning. (fb)
Whole wheat penne with San Marzano tomatoes
I used "San Marzano-style tomatoes" instead of the actual thing (ha), and this was pretty good. In the end it's just pasta and sauce though, so nothing that I would jump at to make again, though it does make me consider using this style of tomato more, whatever that style means...(fb)
Dave's menu
Asian tacos with kinpira and spinach sesame salad
Hmmmmm so I used regular taco shells instead of frying a few wonton wrappers (SRSLY) and didn't make the spinach salad. The kinpira was pretty regular, nearly identical to the recipe on the package of gobo/carrot I was using. The meat stuff and napa was fine. It was nothing that really stood out. (fb)
Beet mosaic with gold beet vinaigrette, balsamic glaze, and cucumber salad

Grilled shiitake mushrooms with polenta, roasted Japanese eggplant, and smoked paprika creme
The paprika creme didn't have much flavor. I mean, it's basically cashew and paprika by itself, and it tastes like that, which is too bad because I usually really like stuff with smoked paprika. The best part of this whole thing was the polenta (polenta!). The eggplant didn't quite roast properly - always hit or miss with the ones I buy, idk - and the mushrooms were, you know, mushrooms. Polenta's good, though. (fb)
Desserts
Black pepper shortcakes with blackberry basil sauce and cinnamon cream

Chocolate chip peanut butter cake with berry sorbet

Coffee date cake with coconut Irish cream sauce

Lemon pistachio cookies with wild blueberries

Oven roasted banana rum cheesecake with spiced pecan crust and maple rum sauce
Made this for dessert at Christmas...it was outstanding.  Be prepared, however, as roasted bananas smell a little wierd.   (closetvegan)
Hey, I forgot to review this one!  I made it for my birthday party in October & everyone loved it.  Quite a few non-vegans said they liked it better than "regular" (i.e. dairy) cheesecake.  Every aspect is amazing from texture to flavor to overall awesomeness.  While a bit time consuming, it is also a lot easier to make than I expected.  (JessaCita)
Seasonal fruit in papillote with whipped cashew cream

Tropical tapioca pudding

Vanilla bean panna cotta with orange sauce

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I made a modified version of the Pine nut and basil seared gardein "chicken" with lobster mushroom beurre blank, braised kale, and roasted fingerling potatoes recipe.  SO GOOD.

First off, I can't find the Gardein chick'n breasts in my area yet.  (There are other varieties of Gardein being sold, but nothing like these.)  So, I made seitan instead, and breaded the fillets with his pine nut breading.  Pine nuts are hella expensive right now ($22/lb!!!), so I used 1/2 pine nuts, and 1/2 macadamia nuts.  I also added a little nutritional yeast to the breading mixture.  It.was.awesome.  I served it to my boyfriend (vegan), and two friends (omni), and everyone flipped shit.  They couldn't stop raving over how amazing it was.  The mushroom sauce was fantastic - but I couldn't find lobster mushrooms, so I used 1/2 shitaake, and 1/2 crimini.  I'm sure it would be "extra special" with the lobsters, but this was easier & I'm sure less expensive.  Made a salad instead of kale, so I can't speak to that - but the fingerling potatoes were great!  Simple, perfectly seasoned, and delicious.

I'm not sure how helpful this review is because I obviously didn't follow the recipe to a T - but it was great inspiration, and I LOVED the mushroom sauce & pine nut breading idea.  I think I'm making that for Thanksgiving.

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Oh, I also made the Whipped Cashew Cream (sweetened) to put on top of a caramel-hazelnut poundcake for dessert.  It had a great flavor, but never thickened up to "whipped cream" consistency.  I will make again, but it's more like a "sweet cream drizzle" than a whipped cream.

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Duuuuuuuude. Just reading the names of these recipes I already know I've GOT to have it! Hello, Amazon.com. So nice to see you again...

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Duuuuuuuude. Just reading the names of these recipes I already know I've GOT to have it! Hello, Amazon.com. So nice to see you again...

I so recommend it!  Some ingredients are hard to find and/or pretty darn expensive, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book for a beginner vegan who isn't adventurous or open to improvising when necessary...  But it's a really great, unique book full of "fancy," creative recipes!

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The Lemongrass Consume with Dumplings is FANTASTIC.  If you miss wonton soup, this is even better!  Just delicious.  I would suggest using a very light broth, or possibly even using water with a veggie boullion cube (or two) -

Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller- WOW.  I used kelp powder instead of nor and it was delicious.  I love how the artichoke leaves are inedible, except for a little delicious chunk at the bottom!  Be sure to serve with a discard plate for the leaves.

Thai Spring Rolls - AMAZING.  The sambal oelek (i used thai curry sauce)  is the perfect accompaniment.  Rather than slicing them, I left them whole like traditional rice paper rolls.

agave-lime tofu with asian slaw and cashew cream whipped potatoes- OMG.  So beautiful and delicious!  I used an old george foreman grill to sear my tofu.  YUM!

LOVE, laurakins

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Thai Spring Rolls - AMAZING.  The sambal oelek (i used thai curry sauce)  is the perfect accompaniment.  Rather than slicing them, I left them whole like traditional rice paper rolls.

Do these have another name? Are they the crystal tofu rolls?

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Gardein "steak" sandwich with watercress, red pepper, and horseradish mayonnaise

I made a version of this.  I realize the  guy is employed by Gardein, but I couldn't see buying the steak strips, and then individually wiping off the spices only to put more spices on.  Seems too silly.  Instead I used tofu and loved it.  I never use dehydrated onion and garlic..use only fresh or powdered, so I used powdered and it was very good.  

I made the mayo to go along with it and it was very good.  I was frustrated in my effrorts to find horseradish that didn't had added egg yolks, so I just bought a used wasabi paste instead and it was delish.   Instead of red pepper, which I had on hand, I decided to use tomato and used some dark green leafy lettuce instead of watercress.

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opps....was trying to edit a typo and messed up.   ;)

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Vietmanese-style tofu sandwiches

This was one of those "OMG...this is so good" recipes.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this.

I didn't have chives (which I swear I bought but they disappeared once I got home) so I used the tips of some scallions.  The store didn't have daikon so I made the "slaw" with carrots and regular radishes, but used only the carrots on the sandwich.  I mixed the chili oil and mayo prior to spreading it, otherwise I was true to the recipe and it was sooooo good.

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Vietmanese-style tofu sandwiches

This was one of those "OMG...this is so good" recipes.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this.

I didn't have chives (which I swear I bought but they disappeared once I got home) so I used the tips of some scallions.  The store didn't have daikon so I made the "slaw" with carrots and regular radishes, but used only the carrots on the sandwich.  I mixed the chili oil and mayo prior to spreading it, otherwise I was true to the recipe and it was sooooo good.

That recipe does look really good!! I want to make that sometime.

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Tomato bisque

-This is FABULOUS. I wanted to stick pretty close to the recipe, (and I basically did!!!) so I don't think any of my changes were that significant. I did 1/2 onion, and 2 stalks of celery. I FORGOT to add my flour to the vegetables, so I just mixed it with a bit of water, and added that after I had added the liquids. I used crushed tomatoes. My blender is crappy, so I did this with food processor...which is never good with liquids. Mine was definitely not totally smooth (b/c of the cashew cream), but it worked fine. It was pretty smooth. I'm glad I fought the urge to just leave it chunky. This has so much flavor, and the bay leaf gives it that smokiness. It definitely reminds me of good non-vegan tomato bisques. Love it.

Cashew cream

-This isn't anything new if you've ever made a cashew cheeze, or sauce, but it was great in the soup. I can't wait until I have a vitamix, so that I can have a totally smooth cream.

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs158.snc3/18563_479741070532_507120532_11217029_7051240_n.jpg

I would recommend this as an appetizer/soup to impress guests!

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Oh...I just bought a huge bunch of raw cashews........mmmmmmmmm

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Gardein "chicken" piccata

-Yummmmmmmmm. This is so rich, and good. I used the gardein lightly seasoned scallopini for this (I've never seen plain "breasts"), and they worked great. I did try to flatten a couple of them, but I don't think it mattered. At first I was thinking how weird it would be to slice them on the bias (as the recipe says), but the breasts must be thicker. I had 4 pieces, and didn't need anywhere near 2 cups flour..maybe a few tbs. I also only used 1-2 tbs EB, and less oil. I still added too much oil, though..for my liking. The flavor is excellent. I didn't use 1/4 cup capers, but used enough to seem like they were prevalent in the sauce. I wasn't expecting P to like this, but he loved it. I'm going to add lemon zest next time. I didn't use the shallot. This would be an impressive dish to make for someone, but it's not difficult.

Cream of asparagus soup

-This versatile dish, which can be made with broccoli instead, is a pureed soup with asparagus, olive oil, celery, spinach and an agave-sweetened cashew cream. I should have soaked the cashews the night before(I read this after I started the recipe) and instead pureed the cashew cream ingredients with the simmered soup. It still came out great. A standout above other cream of (insert vegetable here) soups I have tried because the cashew cream gives this soup a richer, nuttier and slightly sweetened, creamy flavor. Ladle into bowls and dress it with a dollop of the "cream," or parsley and a grind of pepper, and you've got a simple, yet elegant, dish to impress your guests. (saskia)
-I just re-read saskia's review, and I didn't do a sweetened cream for this! I did the regular. Anyway, we enjoyed this soup. It's a simple, subtle flavor, but it's really good. I might even try this with roasted asparagus. I added a splash of white wine, and a bit of fresh thyme. I didn't add quite as much stock as it states, and upped the cream.  It's a thinner soup, but not too thin.

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs386.snc3/23598_481901350532_507120532_11234926_7431120_n.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs386.snc3/23598_481901340532_507120532_11234925_6673369_n.jpg

The recipes in this book can seem a bit daunting (plus, there's so much gardein), but they have all been so good. If nothing else, definitely great for special occasions.

eta: special thanks to lebkuchen for trading this book to me : )

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Old bay tofu cakes with pan roasted summer vegetables, horseradish cream, apples, and beets

I made only the tofu cake portion of this dish, and they were really delicious.  I baked them at 450 for about 15 minutes on each side instead of frying.  They were crispy on the outside & I didn't miss the frying at all.  I don't think the texture is anything like crab cakes, but the flavor is really good.  I also didn't toast the nori as instructed because I didn't feel like it.  :P  I made my own horseradish tartar sauce to top the cakes, and that really made the flavor stand out.  I don't think I'd serve this dish to company, but as a tofu lover, I really liked it.

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I promise this book has actually done me a disservice.  The pictures are so incredible on every page that once I try to emulate a recipe it never looks anywhere near the finished product from the book!

Now of course, the meals are divine, but just when you think you are moving up in the vegan cooking world I open this book, glance at the pictures and I am quickly reminded that I have quite a long way to go!

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Vietnamese style tofu hero with Asian slaw

This sandwich is really good! KMK and I made it while she was visiting, and it's delicious. We used green onion instead of chives, added a bit of water to the marinade, and used cabbage in the slaw. Delicious flavors! I've actually already made it a second time (dinner tonight), and made slaw with carrots and bell peppers. I recommend a metal pan instead of glass, because the tofu didn't firm up as much in the glass. Will make this again! It's pretty simple once you get everything together.

http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs478.snc3/26167_10150151445360533_507120532_11883862_6098656_n.jpg

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Glad you enjoyed those Ally, I did too.  :)

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Gardein Chicken Piccata  - Seriously, this was OMG good.  Honestly one of the best things I've ever made.  I served it on top of angel hair with the Braised Kale from this same book.  The flavor was smack your lips, and lick your plate good!

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs041.snc6/167100_10150132270119359_681159358_7845818_627911_n.jpg

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Oven roasted banana rum cheesecake with spiced pecan crust and maple rum sauce

Made this for dessert at Christmas...it was outstanding.  Be prepared, however, as roasted bananas smell a little wierd. 

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