Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Cookbook Review: Vegan Fire and Spice December 20, 2012

I picked this little gem up in Portland at Powell’s books several years ago. We’d had good luck with Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker so I thought this one was worth a shot. I love it. There’s nothing in this book that hasn’t been delicious. I’m not super fond of the Senegalese soup, because I don’t know about apples in broth with yogurt, but Patrick likes it.  I like how cuisines are grouped together. There’s an Asian section broken into countries/regions, same for Europe, Africa, and the Americas. I find myself (surprisingly) cooking a lot from the African section.

Last night, we had some friends over, one of whom is now gluten-free, one is vegetarian, no sugar, and one is not good with very spicy foods. Cooking for disparate needs is a challenge, but one I love. We had a lot of spinach, so we were basing a meal around olives, cheese, and Jaleo’s Catalan Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts. I looked at this book for other ideas. The Spain section yielded “Vegan Paella,” “Patatas Bravas,” and a “Basque Chickpea Soup.” We were in business. FYI, Trader Joe’s tempeh is not gluten free, so Patrick got some other from Whole Foods. The meal came together easily (I like cooking from her books because every thing starts out the same, onions, garlic, in oil in a pan, then moves to variation). We only have two! working burners currently. It’s a pain, but we’re reluctant to do much about it right now.

All went well, until I sat down to eat, leaving Spanish Lentils on the stove. They burned. All this Spanish cooking made us miss our friends J & G who used to cook all kinds of delicious Spanish delicacies. They even once roasted a whole pig, but that was before we were friends with them.

My friend brought some fig and pine nut bread from a DC bakery. Wow. With blue cheese on it, out of the world!


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