If anyone has heard Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s wonderful podcast, you are well aware of her congeniality, her positive approach to vegan education, and her courage to help the world face the ugly truth about what is happening to animals. Well known for her first cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking, Colleen has surpassed even that remarkable standard in vegan cookbooks with the addition of her new book on entertaining. Like Colleen herself, this new cookbook is filled with helpful ideas; it is like having a lovely visit with the compassionate Colleen. “Compassionate Cooks’ Tip,” “Food Lore”, and “Did You Know” segments are scattered throughout the book. There is even nutritional information included following each recipe. The pictures are plentiful and stay with the recipe, rather than being inserted in the center of the book, making it easy to see how things are supposed to appear and glance to see how much trouble each recipe is to create. The paper is high quality and the size is just right, a large square paperback with over 300 pages of recipes and entertainment suggestions. Even if you only use the book to create four or five meals, it would be worth the reasonable price of the cookbook.
The beautiful presentation of the food is a bonus, too. With entertaining, we always want something that is pretty well fool-proof and looks grand as well as being tasty and appealing. I tried her pizza dough recipes and made the marinara sauce for starters. The pizza was very easy and with her tips on checking for viability of the yeast (I keep a jar on hand because I bake so much), it was a touchdown. I made her marinara sauce, too, which was simple to make and tasted great, although I wanted to add something to it for a pizza topping. With pasta – terrific. I also tried her baked falafels – the greasiness of most falafel recipes turned me off in the past, but these were simple and easy to make. They have a little kick to them, too, which I loved. Tucked into a pita bread with lettuce and tomatoes, they made a most satisfying and beautiful lunch.
After perusing the cookbook, I found I had so many pages bookmarked to try that it will take me til Christmas to get them all made. Colleen has ample ethnic cuisine offered, including kugels, risotto, masoor dal, lasagna, latkes, timbales, spring rolls, and Swedish meatless balls. Tips for entertaining are plentiful and very useful, as well as complete menus for different types of entertaining. Organized by the type of entertainment as well as by season, it is an easy book to maneuver. With articles on The Intimacy of Food and Creating a Romantic Dinner as well as helpful ideas for the vegan cook as well as those who are hosting vegans, it is overflowing with good ideas. It is one I know I will be returning to again and again over the years. And, I still have to try the Beet Bundt Cake, the Elegantly Simple Stuffed Bell Peppers, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies, the Flourless Chocolate Tart, the Lavendar Lemonade… .