First off the cover is just stunning. The Nori- and Sesame- Crusted Seitan practically jumps off of the page at you. The photography in this volume is some of the best food photography I have seen (and believe me, I've seen a lot of it...especially this month!!). I truly believe the saying that you eat with your eyes first. Well, my friends, I have feasted and now need to be rolled out the door. The enticing pictures make it nearly impossible to chose what to try.
The term foodie is so well worn, but I am indeed one of those types. I love stunning presentations, complex flavors and textures, new and unusual flavor combinations and don't mind spending a lot of time toiling in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, when time allows, spending quality time in my kitchen is one of my favorite past times. While I am sure there are dishes in this book that do not fit that description, the ones that do have stolen my heart and I look forward to recreating these delicious works of art.
The author gives a short and sweet introduction and then get right into the recipes. There is a nice brief glossary and a list of resources in the back of the book. The index is easy to use. But there is not much else in the way of guidance in the book. This book might not be a beginners cookbook, but for the novice or experienced cook the authors' no nonsense, get right to the cooking approach makes this book just right.
One of the best dishes I ever made from Candle 79 was from the greatly missed Vine and Dine feature. It was the Chile Grilled Tofu with Avocado Tomatillo Sauce (pg. 76). Click here for more on that dish with picture! It makes my mouth water every time I think of it!
Whenever I have the opportunity, I love to wow my non-veg friends with some impressive vegan fare. I found my opportunity this time when my sister threw a "girls' night in" party. Everyone was to bring an appetizer. I knew I could find that wow factor in the Candle 79 Cookbook. As I paged through the book, I saw a beautiful picture of the Arancini with Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce (pg. 15). This was it!
I made the Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce (pg. 116) first. While it was simmering, I started working on the Arancini (which is a fancy pants name for risotto balls). Now risotto is not really hard to make, but it requires patience and almost constant stirring once the process gets started. So I made sure to set up a good mis en place so I wouldn't have to leave my needy starch. I subbed tofu bacon I had left over from another recipe for the tempeh bacon. It worked OK, but I am quite certain in hind sight that the tempeh bacon would have been much better. I rolled the lovely slightly sticky risotto orbs in panko and Fred browned them to crispy perfection.
The texture was amazing and they were so perfectly golden. The flavor was a little on the bland side. I think next time I will use a rich veggie broth in the risotto and up the spices in the tomato sauce. A little tweaking and they will be even better next time. The girls loved them. After the party, one of the girls mentioned she had to hold back so that others could have some!
Every so often I like to do the swanky fine dine. For today's giveaway, leave a comment about an unforgettable fine dining experience, a dream dinner you'd like to have or even a restaurant you have always dreamed of going to by midnight MST tonight 10/11/12. This one if for US shipping only.
Tomorrow the winner will be announced an excerpt / recipe from the book will be posted, so make sure to check back!