Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World

| April 21, 2012 | 6 Comments

Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World

The Gourmet Slow Cooker and The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Volume II showed home cooks everywhere that a slow cooker is perfectly capable of turning out meals that are sophisticated enough to serve to guests. It’s simply a matter of using imaginative recipes that bring together fresh, flavor-packed ingredients—and then setting the timer.
 
In The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker, author Lynn Alley offers up more than fifty dishes, each one vegetarian, some of them vegan, and all of them deli

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Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

This is not your mother’s low-fat cookbook. There’s no foolish tricks, no bizarre concoctions, no chemicals, no frozen meals…no fake anything! Appetite for Reduction means cooking with real food, for real life. (Skimpy portions need not apply.) In Appetite for Reduction, bestselling author and vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz has created 125 delectable, nutritionally-balanced recipes for the foods you crave—lasagna, tacos, barbecue, curries, stews, and much more—and it’s all: O

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  1. Tilly says:
    117 of 127 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Disappointing, June 24, 2010
    By 
    Tilly (San Jose, CA United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World (Paperback)

    I had high expectations for this book but, in the end, I can not recommend it.

    I found this book in the wonderful, old-fashioned Shackford’s Kitchen Supply in Napa, California and I couldn’t wait to try the recipes. Since I prefer to grind my spices as needed, I was undaunted by that aspect of the book. I get most of my whole spices from World Market, or an Indian grocery store. I did have difficulty finding the whole allspice (I don’t normally use allspice), but I eventually found the berries at Smart and Final.

    The first dish I tried from this book was Moussaka with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Potatoes. The note for this recipe indicated that this dish baked in a slow cooker “may be a bit juicier than if baked in an open casserole dish in the oven.” Perhaps I am arguing semantics here, but I would describe the resulting dish as “watery” rather than “juicy.” I have never tasted actual moussaka before, so I cannot say whether this dish tasted similar, but I did not care for either the flavor or the consistency. I will not be making this dish again.

    The next dish I tried was Creamy Dal because I am on a continual search for a recipe for whole lentil Indian dal that rivals the dals served at my favorite Indian restaurant. This was not it. The recipe calls for 4-5 cups of water, indicating that 4 cups would produce a stew consistency, whereas 5 cups would produce a porridge consistency. Since I like the consistency of my dals somewhere in-between, I used 4-1/2 cups of water. However, the finished dal was extremely soupy – so much so that I believe the minimum four cups of water would still have made it too watery!

    In addition, I found that the proportions of the spices indicated in the Creamy Dal recipe were odd. The recipes in my Indian cookbooks use larger quantities of spices than this recipe did. I was especially baffled by the “pinch of curry to taste” which was to be added at the end of the cooking time. In my experience, if curry powder is used, it is usually included with the rest of the spices at the beginning of the cooking time, and it is measured in teaspoons rather than “pinches”. When the Creamy Dal was finished, the resulting dish was bland in comparison to the dals I have been served at Indian restaurants or even in comparison to those I have made by following recipes in other cookbooks. According to the options given in the recipe, I had already increased the amount of chili when I added the spices to the onion but, in the end, the balance of spices wasn’t right. I added more curry powder “to taste,” which improved the dish somewhat, but I will not be making this recipe again either.

    The third dish I made was Risotto with Lentils. I have made traditional risotto several times at home, as well as enjoying it in restaurants, so I have a fair understanding of what a risotto is and how it is made. I was surprised by the fact that the recipe called for water rather than vegetable stock and wine, since a lot of the subtle flavor in a risotto is supplied by the liquid. I also suspected that the stated amount of liquid might be excessive but I chose to give the author the benefit of the doubt. The recipe doesn’t indicate what kind of lentils to use (black, brown, red, yellow, or green) or whether they are whole, split, or hulled – the cooking times vary for the different forms of lentils; however, since there appeared to be hulled, split yellow lentils in the photograph that accompanies the recipe in the book, that’s what I used. Aside from that minor glitch, I followed the recipe faithfully.

    The serving suggestion for this recipe was to accompany it with grilled vegetables, which I did. The vegetables were excellent; the risotto was overcooked and gluey. A risotto, by definition, should be creamy while the grains of rice remain separate and firm. This dish was a viscous mush, and it didn’t even have much flavor! It was a complete waste of ingredients, time and energy: I threw it out. I will definitely not be making this again!

    After three disappointing recipes, I am reluctant to try any more from this book. I like the theory behind this book. I agree with the practice of grinding spices as needed. I also agree with the practice of cooking some ingredients outside of the slow cooker and then adding them to the dish instead of cooking everything in the slow cooker. However, these principles can be applied to any slow cooker recipe. The fact remains that, while the recipes in this book may seem gourmet, those dishes I tried were extremely disappointing. I have had excellent results with recipes from the books “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson and “125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes” by Judith Finlayson, so I will continue to use them instead. I would recommend either (or both) of these books instead of “The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker.”

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  2. S. D. Fischer says:
    90 of 99 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    International Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes (Gourmet Yet Accessible), March 7, 2010
    By 
    S. D. Fischer (Washington, DC USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World (Paperback)

    I haven’t been overly impressed with the vegetarian slow cooker cookbooks that I have seen so I was happy to discover the publication of a new one. Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World doesn’t disappoint.

    In the introduction, the author discusses how she prefers inexpensive slow cookers over their fancier, more expensive counterparts (which often have more parts, such as digital control panels, that are susceptible to breaking). She mentions that the possible drawback of less expensive models, uneven heating, can easily be addressed by rotating the slow cooker insert midway through cooking.

    The author provides a brief overview of ingredients with helpful tips about selecting beans, choosing the specialty salt best suited to a dish (which she recommends but is not a requirement for recipes), and grinding your own spices for maximum freshness. The only equipment suggested is a slow cooker, immersion blender, electric coffee mill (for grinding spices) and a mortar and pestle (another way to grind spices).

    Recipes are divided into regions of cuisine: India, Mexico and the Southwest, Asia, Italy, France, Greece, and the Middle East. Recipes are mainly for main dishes and side dishes but there are a few for breakfast, appetizers and desserts.

    Of the 57 recipes, 17 are accompanied by a full page color photo of the finished dish.

    I liked that the author recommends a beverage for each recipe. For instance, she suggests a hearty red Tuscan wine with the Tuscan White Beans with Sage and Garlic and a “dry, acidic white wine such as an Alsatian Pinot Gris or a Riesling, or a good, fruity mountain red” with the French Alpine Cheese, Tomato, and Onion Soup. For the Barley, Mushroom, and Onion Soup, she suggests a beer.

    The first chapter provides the following recipes from India:
    -Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal
    -Curried Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger and Cilantro
    -Creamy Dal
    -Dal with Ground Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, and Cumin
    -Stuffed Peppers with Yogurt Sauce
    -Waari Muth
    -Potatoes and Carrots in Coconut Curry
    -Mogul Eggplant
    -Minted Potato and Chickpea Curry
    -Spicy Indian Lentil and Tomato Soup
    -Tomato, Rice, and Coriander Soup

    The second chapter includes the following recipes from Mexico and the Southwest:
    -My Favorite Chili
    -Vegetable Amarillo
    -Slow-Cooked Grits with Chili and Cheese
    -Spaghetti Squash with Mexican Spices
    -Mexican Black Bean Soup
    -Rustic Potato and Poblano Gratin
    -Stacked Cauliflower Enchilada with Green Chili Sauce
    -Sopa de Ajo
    -Mexican Chocolate Pudding Cake

    The third chapter features the following recipes from Asia:
    -Soy-Braised Potatoes
    -Potatoes and Peas in Red Curry Sauce
    -Margaret Hughes’s Green Vegetable Curry
    -Korean-Style Black Beans
    -Butternut Squash in Green Curry Sauce
    -Japanese-Style Braised Tofu

    The next chapter includes recipes from Italy including:
    -Cracked Wheat Berries with Honey and Ricotta
    -Risotto with Lentils
    -Polenta Lasagna with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce
    -Barley, Mushroom, and Onion Soup
    -Polenta Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce
    -Tuscan White Beans with Sage and Garlic
    -Fonduta Piemontese
    -Red Wine and Cherry Risotto

    The fifth chapter includes recipes from France including:
    -French Alpine Cheese, Tomato, and Onion Soup
    -Cold Provencal White Bean Salad
    -Scalloped Potatoes Auvergnats
    -Smoky Potage Saint-Germain
    -Egg, Cheese, and Onion Quiche
    -Uncle Bob’s Green Lentil Salad
    -Steamed Artichokes
    -Walnut and Apple Bread Pudding

    The next chapter includes the following recipes from Greece:
    -Greek-Style Fava Beans and Tomatoes
    -Stuffed Greek Onions
    -Greek Lemon, Artichoke and Egg Soup
    -Potato, Artichoke, and Mushroom Stew with Kalamata Olives
    -Stuffed Peppers Florina
    -Moussaka with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Potatoes
    -Wild Mushroom Stew on Noodles
    -Yellow Split Pea and Oregano Puree
    -Baby Limas with Spinach

    The last chapter includes recipes from the Middle East including:
    -Lebanese Eggplant Stew
    -Chickpea Fattet “Tostadas”
    -Hot or Cold Lentils in Lemon Juice
    -Armenian Apricot Soup
    -Armenian Khavits
    -Chickpea Harira

    Most of the ingredients should be available in Whole Foods and other high-end grocery stores. The exception would be some of the spices (such as galangal, also known as Thai ginger), varieties of dried mushrooms and certain peppers. The author recommends Penzeys Spices for hard to find spices and also recommends five websites for specialty sea salts. I should note…

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  3. Little Amy Dorrit says:
    50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Many recipes inconvenient, April 25, 2010
    This review is from: Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World (Paperback)

    Upon first glance at this book, I thought I was going to really like it. I already have a large collection of vegetarian cookbooks, but I was drawn to this book as it has the type of recipes that appeal to me. I also like that the book has very nice pictures and that the author offers serving suggestions.

    I was anxious to try the Dal with Ground Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom and Cumin. Unfortunately, when I looked at the recipe, I noticed it called for cinnamon stick, whole cloves, cardamom pods, and cumin seeds. The instructions say to grind these to a powder. I then noticed this is the case for many of the recipes, especially those that interest me. The required grinding negates what I like about slow cooking- that it simplifies my meal preparations. The author offers an explanation in the beginning for why she grinds the spices, but it is just not realistic for me. Plus, I have had great meals using powders and have not been more impressed with personally ground spices.

    I did try some of the recipes that don’t call for grinding. The Korean Black Beans, super-easy with only 4 ingredients, tasted ok I guess, but needed something more. The Japanese style braised tofu with miso was also just ok, even though I’m a big miso fan, and it wasn’t a hit with others. I wanted to try the Curried Chickpeas, but I was not going to grind cumin seeds, peppercorns, whole cloves, and cardamom pods. The Chili required grinding as well.

    I’d be interested in one recipe after the next only to be disappointed by the extra work (including the extra clean-up). In my opinion, a “simple” recipe does not add unnecessary steps, and the word simple is right on this cover. Conversions for using pre-ground spices were not provided. Therefore, this book is not for me. If this is not an issue for you, perhaps you’ll like it.

    By the way, many recipes contain dairy and honey. A few have eggs. However, there are also a number of vegan or easily adapted recipes. Nutrition information is not provided. It is a paperback book of the type that would probably stay open on its own with frequent use.

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  4. A fellow reader says:
    113 of 114 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Tested and approved!, December 9, 2010
    By 

    This review is from: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes (Paperback)

    I was a cookbook tester for this cookbook. I tried it on my husband, unsuspecting family members and unsuspecting friends. The recipes were a big hit and would even shock others by saying they were low fat and good for you! Not only is it a cookbook, but it has a lots of tips, tricks and includes a nice section about nutrition. I made approximately 50 recipes from the book total with most of them being huge hits. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone whether you are vegan, vegetarian or just interested in incorporating plant-based meals in your diet.

    Also I credit this cookbook with teaching me how to cook tofu. The lettuce wraps with Hoison-mustard tofu recipe taught me an easy technique for cooking tofu that I’ve been able to incorporate whenever I want tofu. The basic baked tofu recipe also gave me an easy technique for baking tofu that again I’ve been able to expand upon.

    The cookbook also includes a variety of different recipes. You want Thai? Ethiopian? Mexican? Italian? Vietnamese? Peruvian? Caribbean? Indian? Middle eastern? The book has you covered. What if you want traditional American style food? Well the book has that as well.

    I have also gone through the book and listed my favorite recipes and things I’d recommend and added a star next to the ones that are probably my top favorites.

    Sanctuary salad dressing
    Quinoa salad with black beans & toasted cumin seeds
    Cool slaw
    Caesar Salad with eggplant bacon*
    Vietnamese Rice noodle salad with grilled tofu*
    Caulipots
    Silky Chickpea Gravy
    Polenta stuffing
    Cranberry-Cashew Biryani
    Scarlet Barley
    Unfried fried rice
    Butternut Coconut Rice
    Tamarind Quinoa
    Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale*
    Chickpea Piccata
    Hottie Black eyed peas and greens
    Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli
    Caribbean Curried Black-eyed peas with plantains*
    Black bean, zucchini and olive tacos*
    Basic baked tofu
    Apple-miso tofu*
    Lettuce wraps with Hoison-mustard tofu
    Red Thai Tofu*
    Red Wine & Kalamata Tempeh
    Buffalo Tempeh*
    Tortilla Soup*
    Arabian Lentil & Rice soup*
    Peruvian purple potato soup
    Curried Chickpeas & Greens
    Potato Spinach Curry
    Portabello Pepper Steak Stew*
    Veggie Potpie Stew
    Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits*

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  5. Hi says:
    102 of 106 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Helpful, December 3, 2010
    By 
    Hi (Someplace) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes (Paperback)

    I like “Appetite for Reduction” because the author gives nutrition info for each recipe which is a first and unlike her other books. It is also a more health conscious collection of recipes and is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. I own all of Isa’s & Terry’s other books and I guess I would consider myself a fan by now. I usually stick to a healthy and nutritious diet under a certain number of calories per day, and I had to choose carefully which recipes I’m making in their previous books. But looking through “Appetite for Reduction,” there really are no questionable recipes for those who wish to eat healthy. Everything is healthy here, and it doesn’t skimp on flavor at all. I’m marinating the tofu from one of the new recipes right now…Masala Baked Tofu. Very simple and I can’t wait to taste it!

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  6. K. DeGroot "ska kid kate" says:
    103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The perfect cookbook, December 1, 2010
    By 
    K. DeGroot “ska kid kate” (Peoria IL) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes (Paperback)

    I love Isa’s recipes and make them as much as possible, the problem is that my mister mister is gluten intolerant so a lot of my all time fave recipes are out for him and then we are making 2 separate meals because he is not vegan and I like my vital wheat gluten. I pre-ordered this book the minute that I found out that it could be pre-ordered and I am so glad that I did. I’ve had the book for 2 days and so far have only made 1 meal out of it but it was a total Isa recipe, FULL of flavor with a decent portion size but here is the best part for us– not only is it a vegan cookbook but MOST of the recipes are gluten free! This means that we are back to only making one meal per night and eating some of the greatest food that either of us have ever had. The salad recipes aren’t boring at all which makes me happy because I do get tired of salad but she has a Pad Thai salad recipe that I just can’t wait to make– lots of intriguing ideas in this book, that’s for sure. I am not vegan for weight-loss but I am a little “well fed” and this book could not have come at a better time for me. This is one of those must-have-vegan-cookbook-library books.

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