A raw foodie friend who lives on Kaui, HI raved about The Blossoming Lotus Cafe. She served me a dish which was inspired by something she ate there.
It was serendipitous that 'Vegan Fusion World Cuisine' recently showed up on my doorstep. Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi founded The Blossoming Lotus, and co-wrote the book with a large cast of beautiful, spiritual, creative, vegan artists and restaurateurs.
Vegan World Fusion Cuisine is first of all a glorious work of art, crammed with beautiful photographs and illustrations - Hawaiian landscapes, food, people, spiritual icons - inspiring quotes, lovely layout and text, all put together to showcase the recipes. Oh-My-God! The Recipes!
The recipes are part live food and part cooked - what the authors call transitional. I have to say that it would be easy to be a live foodie in Hawaii. I could happily have lived on avocados, papayas and mangos when I visited there.
And these recipes are truly inspiring - e.g. Santiago's Salsa Fresca. But really I'm more of a cooked foodie, so I was most interested in recipes such as 'Thousand Petals Tempeh Stir Fry', 'Sicilian Seitan With Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts', or Presto Manifesto Vegan Lasagna.
I loved the recipe names, and I loved that there are many recipes using tofu, tempeh and seitan, as well as a wide variety of whole grains and beans.
There are also wonderful desserts, with almost no sugar - maple syrup and agave nectar are often used as sweeteners. I was intrigued by a vegan pumpkin pie recipe using almond butter and soy milk, but not tofu - 'Prem's Pumpkin Pie'.
Vegan World Fusion Cuisine recognizes that some of us might need cooking lessons.
Besides the beautiful presentation and the incredible recipes, there's a marvellous section on vegan natural food preparation, with basic prepping and cooking techniques, how to make marinades and condiments, soup stock, soaking and sprouting, grain and legume cooking charts, and a sugar conversion chart.
In case you aren't a convert to a vegan, living food, organic, eco-friendly lifestyle, there's a thoughtful introduction, and excellent resource guide, to help you along. But the recipes say it best.
There may be vegan cookbooks that are more comprehensive, or practical, or inexpensive (this one is US $24.95) but very few this beautiful, spiritual, loving, and knowledgeable.
Vegan Fusion World Cuisine is worth having, and using daily, although it seems a sacrilege to muck up those beautiful pages, as I always do with cookbooks.Visit the Vegan Fusion website