Here's a question asked by many vegetarians and vegans: "OK, we know we should eat veggies, grains, and beans - but how do we make them taste good?"
Vegan Fire and Spice answers that question.
"It's amazing to realize that in our very own kitchens, we can have the world at our fingertips ... with the mere twist of a spice mill, you can treat yourself to an astounding variety of global dishes."
As always in Robin Robertson's cookbooks, Vegan Fire and Spice is more than just recipes - it's a series of cooking classes. Robin begins by unfolding the mysteries of hot spices - their properties, how to use them, and where to find them.
Be sure to pay close attention to Robin's directions for handling hot chiles! She also discusses all the other ingredients in the book - vegetables, cooking oils, beans and broth.
Robin Robertson invites us to play with the recipes, talks about basic kitchen equipment, and explains how the book is organized - it's well arranged and indexed for maximum enjoyment of your world food tour.
Vegan Fire and Spice recipes are Robin's vegan adaptations of traditional ethnic recipes from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the southern United States. She makes them easy and accessible - replacing some of the more exotic ingredients with easily available alternatives - with no big differences in taste.
For a sample recipe, I chose Jamaican Style Picadillo because it was extremely flexible and easy. It was so good I had to make it twice, and already I want to make it again. I happily tweaked the recipe - no Jamaican curry? maybe green curry paste will work; peas don't appeal, but I have some green beans; no almonds? cashews will do; not fond of raisins but love black olives. Etc.
As Robin Robertson says, "While such substitutions may make some of these dishes less than authentic, the trade-off is that they enable virtually anyone to prepare exotic-tasting dishes in their own kitchen with ingredients that can be found in most supermarkets."
Robin's Fire and Spice recipes are different from our typical daily fare, and a great way to expand our menus. What I especially like is that these are time-tested, flexible recipes, where you can use what you've got in the fridge. They can easily be tailored to your family needs. I tried several recipes from Vegan Fire and Spice, and and can't wait to get back and visit other regions.
All our taste testers agreed - the results were outstanding!