I am so excited for this book! For real friends. I was excited before I even had a copy of the book. I absolutely love the idea of making everything from scratch. This might come as a surprise to some of you, as I am generally a pretty lazy… er… clever cook, and like to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You see, when I was a wee little muffin, my friend Katherine and I decided that we were going to own a bakery when we grew up. S & K Bakery we decided to name it (so clever, I know). My parents thought this was a much better hobby than TV and so they bought us all the yeast and flour two little bakers could ever need. Oh my, did we bake some serious bread. Loaf after loaf, we made braided challah, cinnamon swirl loaves, crusty baguettes, doughy pretzels, you name it! I thought it was so amazing that you could use just a few simple ingredients and have your very own homemade bread, still warm from the oven.
While I don’t often bake bread anymore, (I will be trying some recipes from this book soon) I am very into the thought behind this new cookbook The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner, the art of making your own staples. Vegan butter, almond feta, macaroni & cheese mix, not nog, oh my, so many glorious recipes to be made!
You may remember Miyoko from her other cookbooks, Artisan Vegan Cheese, The New Now and Zen Epicure, and Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional. She is no newbie to the cookbook world. I have the Artisan Vegan Cheese book and love it, but have yet to really make much from it as it takes days, or even weeks before you get to eat your final product. I am way too impatient for that. So when I saw Miyoko’s new book, I was thrilled to see that all of these recipes were mostly very quick, even the cheese recipes!
WHAT I LIKED
- The photography is GORGEOUS, and the paper the book is printed on is so silky smooth, it’s a really high quality book.
- No leaf is left unturned. I feel like Miyoko really covers all of the basic pantry items, everything from mayonnaise, to vegan fish sauce, to not-ella chocolate hazelnut spread, to vegan butter, to yogurt, to quick cheeses, to soup stocks, to unsteak, to pancake mix, to crackers, you dream of it, she has included it.
- These recipes let you make your own homemade versions of many processed vegan foods, meaning they are likely to be healthier, more affordable, and probably way tastier!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Some recipes contain some difficult to find ingredients such as liquid lecithin, agar powder, and yuba. You can generally find these products in health food stores or order them online on Amazon.
- Some of the recipes used waste from other recipes. This is a good thing because it’s great to not waste food, but I also found it a bit annoying as I wanted to make the “San Francisco Fab Cakes” but the recipe required “okara” which was the pulp leftover from the soy milk recipe. There was no sugguested replacement here, and I didn’t have much interest in making soy milk, so that was a bit of a bummer. I did see substitutes for these ingredients in some recipes, but not all.
If you are interested in making some pantry basics, whether it be as adventurous as UnRibs, or as easy as Pancake mix, this is the book for you! I know I will be continuing to test these recipes for many years to come.
GET YOUR COPY OF THE HOMEMADE VEGAN PANTRY HERE!
The first recipe I tried was Brilliant Bouillon. I’m someone who often cooks with veggie broth, but I never seem to remember to buy it, so this recipe was perfect! It was as easy as grinding up some dried mushrooms which I already had in the cupboard, and mixing a few things together. Before I knew it, I really did have Brilliant Bouillon! I made a cup of broth to test it out and it was really flavourful and delicious. The broth did have some bits of spices and mushroom that I hadn’t ground up enough, so I will make sure to really powder the ingredients next time, but it tasted so darn good that I was a-ok with that.
Next up, Well-Crafted Macaroni & Cheese Mix. I love the idea of this recipe, make a big batch and anytime you’re in a quick rush for dinner, boil some pasta, mix with this powder and some non-dairy milk. Presto! Dinner complete. I love it. This pasta turned out super yummy but I wasn’t sold on the cheesiness of this dish. It was really more of a lovely creamy sauce than a cheesy sauce to me. Even though it didn’t have all the cheese flavour I was looking for, I still devoured two giant bowls, and so did my friends.
I wanted to get really get to the meat of the book (ba dum dum tsk) so I tested out the Peppy Unpepporni. My dad is part of an Italian sausage making group (yes, that’s a thing), and when he tried this pepperoni, he said it was better than some of the meat versions he had tried! Boom! Nailed it Miyoko. It’s pizza night tomorrow and I can wait to load up my pizza with this fun unpepperoni. Want to try a pantry basic for yourself? How about trying this Glorious Butterless Butter!
- 11/2 cups melted refined coconut oil (not extra-virgin coconut oil)
- ½ cup Creamy Soy Milk with No Beany Flavor (page 51), Almond Milk (page 54), Cashew Milk (page 53), or Cashew Cream (page 56), or store-bought nondairy milk
- ¼ cup canola, grapeseed, or light olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender and process at medium speed for about minute.
- Pour into a container of your choice—something made of silicone is great, as it will pop out easily, but any storage container will do (line it with wax paper first for easy removal).
- Set it in the refrigerator for a few hours until hard or in the freezer to expedite hardening. This glorious butter substitute will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks or many months in the freezer.
Lecithin is an emulsifying agent generally derived from soybeans. It will help mix oil and water and prevent separation. If you can find only lecithin granules, you’ll need
to use two to four times the amount of the liquid lecithin called for.
CULTURED BUTTER Replace the nondairy milk with 1⁄2 cup plain nondairy yogurt, or add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the nondairy milk.
REALLY HARD BUTTER This is helpful for making puff pastry, croissants, and the like. Increase the coconut oil to 21⁄2 cups or substitute deodorized cocoa butter for 1⁄2 cup of the coconut oil.
WHIPPED BUTTER Increase the canola oil by 1 tablespoon and process at high speed in the blender for about 2 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible.
UNSALTED BUTTER This is often called for in buttercreams and some desserts. Simply omit the salt!
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