A few months ago we were offered a copy of Betty Goes Vegan for review purposes. Jane agreed to cook up three recipes and we'd review them. In the meantime, we've suffered a series of unfortunate events, including a disaster with our refrigerator which resulted in a lot of eating out. (So far 2013 is not starting out to be our best year; not the worst either, but not the best by far!)
Anyway, the first recipe Jane made was the Limoncello Bundt Cake. Yum. Instead of making it in a bundt pan however, she made it in two separate loaf pans, one for us, and one for me to bring to the office. It wasn't the prettiest cake she's ever made, but it was a huge hit with everyone. Having grown up in the NY metro area, we both had fond remembrances of the lemon cakes our friends nonnas would make. This is a more-than-satisfactory vegan version of that treat. Although, for us, it is more of a refreshing summer treat. (I know I took a few pictures of this cake... but I can't find them anywhere!!!)
Next we had the Champagne and Hazelnut Risotto with Vegan Chicken. Another hit for us. Jane has always wanted to try her hand at risotto, but was always intimidated, thinking it was a lot of work. Betty promises that this is a superasy dinner that anyone can use to turn any night into date night... But supereasy? Jane didn't think so. Risotto requires constant attention, so if you're looking for a quick weeknight fix, this isn't the recipe for you. But the dish was creamy with complex tastes. However, I'm not so sure you need to crack a bottle of champagne for this one. White wine will probably more than do the trick.
Last night, Jane made Quiche Lorraine, although she cheated a bit and used a store bought vegan whole wheat crust. The quiche was delicious. It was my favorite of the three recipes. I loved the smoky taste to it. Jane's been making vegan quiches for a while. She makes a really good version with onions and asparagus, but this is truly reminiscent of the quiche I had growing up. Some of you may be too young to remember but there was a book published in the early 80s entitled "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" -- but I am here to reaffirm that they do, and it's not just because their wives make them... I hope Jane makes this often.
The cookbook is a lot of fun. The recipes are interspersed with a bit of trivia. For instance, did you know that there is no Betty Crocker, but rather she is a creationg of a Gold Medal/General Mills advertising campaign? We didn't. Some of you may take issue with the fact that most recipes rely on mock meats, but you can always make your own seitan to sub in. This is a great book for the new vegan. It's not scary and it doesn't call for ingredients you can't find in your local grocery store.
Jane is very excited to try the Chai Tea Cashew Ice Cream and the Green Lentil and Leek Shepherd's Pie. I've hinted to Jane that I'd like her to try the Cheezy Jalapeno Corn Bread next time she makes her chili. Many of the recipes bring back memories of our childhoods... They have 9 different Whoopie Pie recipes. I'm really hoping Jane will make me some! First I have to convince her that we have to buy a Whoopie Pie Pan.