Thursday, November 4, 2010

Great Chefs and Cheap Beer

I don't usually cook very complicated recipes. I generally like what I eat to be straight forward, bold, rib-stickin' goodness. Tonight I decided to try something a little different.

A while ago, while trolling through my favorite used bookstore, I came across a copy of Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Because the Wife collects vegan cookbooks and never passes up the chance to buy a cookbook she's not seen before, this one ended up in our cart. To be sure, I was intrigued by recipes like Avocado Cotton Candy and Warm Heirloom Tomatoes with Fava Beans and Crisp Squash Blossoms, but would I really ever make any of this stuff?

See, I do about 95 percent of the cooking around the house. It's a great buffer to let my mind switch gears from work-mode to home-mode, and it gives me a great chance to play with our cutlery (knife sharpening has quite inexplicably become obsession of mine recently). Until now, though, I'd never really thought to crack open this cookbook.

Honestly, if I were ever to be included in a cookbook, you certainly wouldn't be including "Great Chefs" in the title; certainly no one would by a cookbook that's just called "Cook Vegan," so now you know why I'm not exactly a household name. What I'm trying to say here is that anything that I would attempt from this cookbook would end up being a stretch for me. And in order to contemplate the possibilities that lay in such a cookbook I'd need beer. Cheap Beer.

After last night, I decided to honor the season a bit more. Though I'd never meant to diss on Autumn, tomatoes and bell peppers aren't exactly associated with post-Halloween foodstuffs, especially not in a climate that has, at least once in my life, had more than two feet of snow on the ground at this time of year. With that in mind, I decided I'd make Roast Vegetable Pot Pie [1], chock full of carrot-y, turnip-y, leek-y goodness.

And the Wife's review: Well, I have to start by saying that this is the first time that her and I have really not agreed on the outcome. She felt that, though she could see where the recipe was going, it was just not that great. She was impressed with the "healthiness" of it, but it only managed 2.5 out of 5 stars. And, to be fair, it was a pretty healthy recipe. I felt that the recipe was very well put together and it was the execution that was perhaps lacking. The fennel in the crust nicely complimented the savory vegetables that lay within. I'd have scored it a little higher.

[1] Thompson, Bradford. "Roast Vegetable Pot Pie." Recipe. Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Ed. Linda Long. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2008. 38-39


  1. The problem with that book, I've found, is that they are great chefs cooking vegan. Not great vegan chefs cooking vegan. There is a big difference.

  2. Megan: Agreed. It's does some interesting things that I would never had thought of, but some of the recipes also does some things that make me wonder if the author has ever made a vegan meal before.

  3. Hi! If you don't mind me asking which chef in the book made the pot pie? I am just really curious. I don't have the book - I just create stuff in my kitchen and get hints from the internet.

  4. Heya, vegandiabetic, It was Bradford Thompson.