Book Review:Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For-From Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Da Capo Press, 2009)
Below is the vegan french toast I made from Moskowitz’s book:
When I first heard about Moskowitz’s new book, I was immediately excited. I am a big fan of brunch, but it’s always hard for me to find a place that sells vegan brunch food, other than the restaurants, Cafe Gratitude and Herbivore, located in Berkeley, CA. I was hoping that Vegan Brunch would allow me to create my own vegan brunch at home without a lot of fuss…and it does! First, the design of the book is well done. The pictures are colorful and enticing. I am not really one to pay attention to the Table of Contents of a book, but this one definitely got my attention. I wasn’t able to try out all the recipes in the book, but the ones I did try were delicious! I don’t have a waffle maker, but after looking at the waffle recipes in “The Sweet” chapter, I will be buying one shortly. My favorite grain to make pancakes from is buckwheat. Moskowitz has a Buckwheat waffle recipe that calls for wholesome yet simple ingredients. And though I am not a beer drinker, there is a creative waffle recipe on page 97 called “Chocolate Beer Waffles” that I need to try out, once that waffle maker comes in from Amazon.com.
Like I said, I am a big fan of buckwheat, so naturally, the first recipe I tried was the “Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes.” The recipe not only calls for buckwheat, but also quinoa and corn flour. The corn flour gives the pancakes a nice texture and taste that complements the buckwheat very well. It is also great to see a gluten-free pancake recipe that is both vegan, gluten-free and legume-free, as a I have quite a few friends who have challenges digesting both gluten and legumes. To top off my pancakes, I wanted something like whip cream, but not based on soy. Though I appreciate the many ways soy can be used, including as a whip cream, I wanted something different. On page 209, Moskowitz has an easy recipe for “Sweet Cashew Cream.” Luckily, I had plenty of cashews in the cupboard. I ended up eating more pancakes than I should have, but it was worth it! Also in the book are recipes for crepes, cornbread biscuits, and even bagels!
I don’t know how many times I have wanted a bagel from a cafe, only to find that there are eggs in the recipe. I also love sausages and am picky about vegan sausages sold in stores. It always seems that many of these store packaged vegan sausages have too many unhealthy additives in them. Moskowitz has recipes for “Chorizo” as well as “Cherry Sage” sausages in which you will find nothing but wholesome ingredients, such as navy beans, olive oil, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Lastly, what made me fall in love with this book was the “Banana Rabanada(Brazilian French Toast)” recipe. For the past few months, I have been trying to figure out how one makes French Toast without eggs. I tried Moskowitz’s simple recipe and was lifted into brunch heaven bliss. I don’t think I will ever pay for French Toast again!
If you are a vegan brunch nut like me, you will simply enjoy his book.