Gail Davis

Gail Davis

Posted November 20, 2011

Published in Food, Green, Health, Lifestyle

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Book Review: The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester

Read More: book review, crock pot, Gail Davis, Kathy Hester, The Vegan Slow Cooker

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I was bubbling with anticipation for the release of my friend, Kathy Hester's first book, The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour. You may wonder why, because when I first heard that she was writing a book, I didn't even own a slow cooker. But I've been a fan of Kathy's blog,Healthy Slow Cooking, ever since I learned that she can whip up the most enticing oatmeal recipes in her slow cooker. (Rather, in one of her many slow cookers!) She drew me in with her recipe for Carrot Cardamom Oatmeal(inspired by Indian Carrot Halwa), and she kept me coming back to her blog every day with recipes like Vanilla Fig Oatmeal Topped with Baklava Fillingand Pear Applesauce Cake Oatmeal. Although you can make any of her recipes on the stove top, since Kathy created them in her slow cooker, how could I notget one? Here's a photo of the Slow Cooker Kheer Oatmeal I made back in March. I think I ate this for breakfast everyday for two weeks! It was just that yummy! 

Kheer Oatmeal

When my copy of The Vegan Slow Cooker arrived in the mail, I had to stop what I was doing, rip open the package, and start picking out recipes to try! I was completely floored by the stunning collection of intensely flavorful recipes and gorgeous photographs nestled within its pages. (Kudos to photographer Bill Bettencourt. The photo of Balsamic Brussels Sprouts is downright sexy!) While I couldn't wait to dive in to each and every recipe in this book, quite possibly the most exciting find for me was the recipe for Tea-Scented Tofu, which I made with Mountain Rose Herbs Lapsang Souchong tea. This tea's strong, smoky fragrance is reminiscent of a campfire, and it enveloped our home throughout the night. I never imagined that I'd ever be making my own smoked tofu, but the results were so much more delicate and delicious than anything store bought, I don't think I can go back to eating packaged smoked tofu again.

KathyHesterSmokedTofu.JPGInspired by the mouthwateringly appealing photo on page 119, and being a fan of sweet-and-sour dishes, with my homemade Tea-Scented Tofu all ready to go, I set out to make the recipe for Sweet and Sour Smoked Tofu. Prepared with just a few simple ingredients, this dish was colorful and flavorful.

KathyHesterSweetSourSmokedTofu.JPGConfession time: Before becoming vegan (many moons ago), my boyfriend and I would dine out weekly weekly at an elegant (read pricy) restaurant. During these hedonistic excursions into gluttony, we'd polish off two bottles of chardonnay and indulge in the most decadent appetizers and entrees, finishing off these dinners with one of everything from the dessert cart. (I kid you not!) I won't go into the gory details about all of the animal products that comprised such meals, but the Eggplant Rollatini appetizer is the dish I remember most fondly. Each forkful of Kathy's Italian Eggplant Casserole with Cashew-Tofu Ricotta was every bit as delicious and transported me back to a very happy place and time.

KathyHesterItalianEggplantCasseroleTofuCashewricotta.jpgIt would never have occurred to me that one could make bread in a crock pot. Nor would I have ever thought of making cornbread with fruit. Again, Kathy amazed and delighted me with her Scrumptious Strawberry Cornbread recipe. Its perfect tender crumb and sweet corn flavor pair perfectly with strawberries. A little shmear of Earth Balance Coconut Spread, and I was on cornbread cloud nine!
KathyHesterStrawberryCornbread.JPGDessert in a slow cooker? Yep, you can make that, too! By now my readers know that I'm a rice-pudding fool, and this luscious Mango Coconut Rice Pudding not only tasted sensational, but the whole house smelled like coconut while it was cooking!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for KathyHesterMangoRicePudding.JPG
No need to worry if you've never cooked in a crock post before. The Vegan Slow Cooker contains all the handy tips and slow-cooker basics you'll need to start creating moutwatering recipes for everything from simmering soups to decadent desserts. So dust off your mother's crock pot—you know, the one that's been sitting idly in your cupboard for ages—or buy yourself a new one. (They're not outrageously expensive.) Just hink how nice it will be to wake up to a hot breakfast or have dinner waiting for you when you come home from work! With The Vegan Slow Cooker, you'll be able to start enjoying delicious home-cooked meals that are ready when you're ready to eat!