Spaghetti Memoirs

Life Is All About Balance

Spaghetti Memoirs is a blog about my efforts to balance good/healthy foods, great drinks, work and exercise. All the recipes are gluten free and all the cocktails are amazing. 

'It's All Good'- Vegan Recipes

Overall:

My adventures into Gwenyths vegan-ville did not have a good start but progressed into something better. While there were a few recipes that I liked, and would even go back to and modify to my taste- I would not really recommend someone use this as an introduction to vegan cooking. Too many of the recipes would give a first time vegan- or their dinner guests- the idea that vegan-food is bland- which it is not. For food allergies, this book is a good start, for veganism i'd recommend Veganomicon

One major downside is that there are very few vegan entrees in this book that are not soups. If it's summer you would just get to eat a bunch of sides. 

First Meal

Japanese Style Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Scallion Pancakes with Brown Rice Flour

Grilled Corn: Korean Style

Flourless 'Anything' Crumble

Meal 1

Notes: The carrot ginger dressing had promise but when the recipe was followed it came up short in flavor. More vinegar, more honey and more miso would have helped up the flavor. Maybe even some peanut butter -still vegan. I had high hopes for the pancakes because i'm usually a big fan but they were very doughy and had almost no flavor. I recommend thinning out the batter a lot more so that you can get a good cook on them and not just dough with scallions in it (update- I tried this and it still was doughy). I also added some vegan sour cream and hot sauce to give them more flavor because alone they were pretty bland. I loved the Korean style corn. It caramelizes the sugar in the corn and tops it with spice. Always a hit at my house. The crumble was really good and really easy. I liked the surprising crunch that the quinoa gave the top but I would have doubled the batch to give more coverage. Make sure to use in season berries/fruit since the recipe really empahasizes the natural flavor and sweetness of the fruit you use rather than overpowering it with sugar. Overall the meal was nothing terribly exciting. Based on this collection of recipes, if someone used this book as an introduction to vegan cooking they would leave thinking that it was overall boring and lacking in flavor- a common misnomer already. Giving Gwenyth Paltrow some credit, I may have picked recipes that were blander so I still charged on into the next day.

Second Meal/Day

 (I just cooked recipes all through the day)

Sweet Potato 5 Spice Muffins (Breakfast) 

Arugula Salad + Shallots with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Risotto  with Peas + Greens

Darleens Cheesecake

Notes: These recipes were MUCH better than the first when it came to flavor and spice. With that said, several did still serve better as a 'start'- like with the elimination diet recipes. The apple cider vinaigrette was a really good light, yet tangy dressing and paired really well with a peppery arugula. The bestie and I made this during that really hot spell in the west so light and refreshing was GOOD. I liked the lemon and peas in the risotto - I was worried about the lack of cheese- but it could have done with a little more depth of flavor. Darleens cheesecake did not taste like cheesecake, didn't have much depth of flavor, but it did taste good. More like a custard cake than cheesecake (do NOT attempt if you are looking for vegan cheesecake. just appreciate it for what it is). The sweet potato muffins were dense, but moist and tasted good with coffee the next morning. I would want to look at way to make them fluffier. Overall, I enoyed the food - and so did the bestie- and it all came together really quickly.

Third Meal/Day 

Scrambled Tofu (breakfast)

Arugula Salad + Green Goddess Dressing

Easiest Posole

Charred Corn with Sage

Banana 'Ice Cream' with Sweet & Salty Roasted Almonds

Almond Butter Cookies with Salt

Notes:  I really like scrambled tofu as it serves as an amazing medium for anything you put in it. Because of that, I was a little surprised at how bland and one note the recipe was. I added some shitake mushrooms, garlic, scallions and it upped the flavor. Sprinkle with a little hot sauce and you're off to a good start. :) I know so many people that are obsessed with green goddess dressing (thank you Trader Joes) and this recipe seemed to work well. It had good flavor, was creamy, and was jam packed with herbs. Even my meat loving boyfriend liked it and put it on his juicy lucy hamburger. I was really looking forward to the posole- I am a big fan usually. While it had some flavor from the roasted veggies (I did them on the BBQ) I still found myself wanting more depth of flavor in the broth itself. The sides that it recommends (radish, avocado, cilantro, limes, onions) in the recipe are a good pair and give it a unique dynamic overall. Charred corn is charred corn. She really talks up the influence that sage has on it and I didn't really see it doing too much. Next time i'll add more. The cookies were simple and great! Be careful not to cook them too long otherwise they will just dry out your mouth. Cooked right and they offer a really gentle 'peanut butter' cookie flavor. Pairs well with coffee in the morning. I have made banana ice cream before and I did not really like the addition of so much liquid. It made the bananas liquidy and mucous-like in texture. Don't add so much liquid (or no liquid at all) and banana 'ice cream' rocks.