Monday, 8 November 2010

Vegan MoFo Day 8 - Cookbook Challenge Week.

It's Cookbook Challenge Week! I'm a bit nervous about this week as this blog's more about reviewing restaurants than home cooking, I hope that I can make food look good even though I'll be plating it myself!

I have A LOT of cookbooks and I feel that most of them really don't get used enough. Although I do genuinely love to cook I often find myself relying quite heavily on processed foods & (delicious) meat substitutes - I'd like this to change & MoFo seemed like a good time for a challenge. So, I made a list of all the cookbooks I have & would like to use more & all week I'll be picking the name of a cookbook from this pile...

...I was going to pick them out of a hat but sadly I couldn't find my one and only hat! I'll then be using a random number generator to pick a page & that's what I'll be cooking that day. If a recipe I've made before comes up I'll be skipping it as that wouldn't be much of a challenge. I'm shooting for three recipes a day but if they're crazy involved or just make way too much food I'm going to do two.

First outa the 'hat' was 500 Vegan Recipes.

The generator picked page 182, Caramelised Onion Tart with a Sweet Potato & Sage Crust. This isn't something I'd have picked myself as Mr Jojo hates onion & the first ingredient, canned sweet potato, is not something you can buy here but this is a challenge so I started off by making my own sweet potato puree.

I got my sweet potatoes ready...


...and with a little help from the vegan twitter-verse I decided to roast and then puree the potatoes rather than boiling or steaming. It was decided that that would give them a better flavour.


Next up I made the dough for the crust, caramelised me some onions & made the parmesan-like sprinkles. I've never made dough using bread makers yeast before or caramelised an onion so this recipe was definitely throwing new things at me from all directions. I was also a little worried about whether the dough would rise as my house is pretty cold but I took it into the bathroom with me whilst I showered & that definitely helped! After 18 min's in the oven look how awesome it turned out.


I'm SO excited that my first cookbook challenge recipe was a success. This was really delicious & I'd definitely make it again, I'd consider changing the topping next time so my husband could eat some but for now I'm quite happy to scoff the lot! The only (very minor and totally my fault) problem here was that the onion's needed to be softball sized & I think mine must've been smaller as I think there should be a little more topping - also I kinda burnt some of them as I got distracted by Jersey Shore!

Second out of the hat was Vegan With a Vengeance & the generator picked Page 188, Sparkled Ginger Cookies. Wow, another recipe I probably wouldn't have chosen - I'm not the biggest ginger fan but I certainly do love cookies so I was convinced this would turn out okay.


This pick turned out to be much better than just okay, in fact I ate 6 of these whilst they were still on the cooling rack - they're delicious & I think they'll make excellent christmas cookies. I did cut down the amount of ginger in the cookie by 1/2 a teaspoon as I wanted to be able to eat them & as it turned out that's just the right level of gingereyness for me.

Third pick of the day was Viva Vegan!


I love this cookbook, I bought it because I've loved everything Terry Hope Romero's been involved in before but having never tried any South American food before I wasn't sure if I'd like it - so far I've LOVED everything & have been super excited to have my eyes opened to a new cuisine.

The random number generator picked page 100 - Chimichurri baked tofu. This is another recipe that I wouldn't have picked as the chimichurri sauce (page 42) is described as a spicy pesto and as regular readers of my blog will know, I can't handle much spice. I really wanted to stick to the challenge though so I made the sauce with less paprika & I totally left out the red pepper flakes.


We obviously couldn't just eat the baked tofu on it's own & it certainly wouldn't have gone with either of the other recipes I picked today so we served it with another Viva Vegan! recipe, yellow rice with garlic (page 96) and steamed broccoli. It made for a good quick dinner, which is great as we're just about to head off to London to see Less Than Jake (Yay!)

See you guys tomorrow for more cookbook challenge fun & don't forget to enter my competition.

34 comments:

  1. Whoa, I'm so impressed! that's quite a challenge to make whatever the random number generator chooses for you :) Everything looks amazing and I'm glad it all tasted even better than you'd expected.
    Can't wait to see your other posts - good luck Jojo!

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  2. Everything looks amazing! That sweet potato onion tart sounds fabulous and I still haven't tried the chimichurri tofu and I really want to know because it looks great.

    I am impressed that you stuck with cooking things that were inaccessible/not appetizing! I would have been saying...uh.. skip...thats a practice.

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  3. I love your challenge idea! And that you made your own sweet potatoes and carried on even though it wasn't as convenient. Awesome.

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  4. Wow, what a brilliant start to the cookbook challenge. It all looks fantastic. I make those cookies a lot but haven't tried the other two recipes. I'm like you with spice, well hot chillis, it's not like I don't like the taste, I just have a physical reaction and end up having massive coughing fits, eyes streaming etc! Quite embarrassing when out in public and I accidently eat something with a bit of chilli in!

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  5. That is such a cool idea!! I kind of want to try it, myself... The meals you made look fab!

    Jes

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  6. You did a great job on everything! I think that's such a cool idea. It got you venturing out of your comfort zone, something we should all do every once in a while!

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  7. I love the Sparkled Ginger Cookies - I made buckets of them for gifts last Christmas.

    Great blog! I love how you've decided to select your recipes for the Vegan MoFo challenge.

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  8. 500 vegan recipes is one of my top 3 favorite books; because it's by one of my favorite food bloggers. I haven't made anything from there that wasn't amazing...
    try the mexiquinoa :)

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  9. Fun idea!

    I am so making those ginger cookies. Yummy.

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  10. your food looks amazing!! yummy! i want those cookies :)

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  11. Wow, that's a cool idea for trying new recipes. Looks like you worked hard, but I'm glad all the recipes worked out and look really yummy!

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  12. Yay, sweet potatoes! I love your blog! I visited Scotland about 3 years ago and loved it.

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  13. The Scotland comment was in regard to your visit to Edinburgh...So much fun!

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  14. What a fun challenge... I have food envy over every recipe!!

    How spicy was the chimmichuri on a scale from 1-10? I am slowly being more tolerant to spice so wonder if this is a recipe worth making.

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  15. Fantastic and totally impressive! I can't believe you plan to do two to three recipes a day! Everything you chose today looked great. Funfun!

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  16. WOAH! Three types of awesome all in one place! That all looks so good.

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  17. Wow, what an impressive challenge. And everything looks great! Especially the Chimichurri baked tofu makes me want to lick the screen.

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  18. Woah, what are you talking about that tart looks amazing and very restaurant worthy! Sounds like an adventurous challenge- congrats on getting featured on the Mofo blog!

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  19. Goodness gracious. That's so impressive! I want to try those cookies now.

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  20. I too am impressed. I'd be far too scared to randomly pick and cook a recipe like that. It's an awesome idea though because I have so many recipe books and tend to make the same thing over and over and over again. It really would force you to try something new.

    The sweet potato tart looks interesting. And the tofu and rice look sooooo good!

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  21. Wow, so much good cooking in one day! Very impressed!

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  22. If I used your random number generator idea I probably would be having an easier time picking out recipes for my cookbook challenge. Good idea! I loooove the ginger cookies from VWaV!

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  23. Your first two recipes are two of my very favourites, hands down. I make those cookies all the time - and that tart is so amazing!
    I still need to get Viva Vegan! On my christmas list.

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  24. holy smokes! nice work - i probably would have just made the cookies and called it a day. how un-mofo of me! everything looks darn tasty!

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  25. Cool idea. That tart looks fricken good!

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  26. i don't even know where to start!!! everything looks soooo super good - you did an absolutely excellent job with plating and presentation, fo 'sho!

    roasting your own sweet potatoes for puree beats the canned crap any day. plus, homemade = bad ass. w00t! the onion tart with a sweet potato & sage crust look perfect, as does the chimichurri baked tofu. yum, yum, YUM! the sparkled ginger cookies are adorable, and i'm glad you liked 'em! i think it's so awesome that your random picks were recipes you wouldn't have choosen on your own - trying something new & different can produce some delicious results. we have a bunch of cookbooks that sadly, we've only ever made 1 or 2 dishes from. i really your idea Jojo - and i'm thinking i might just try this at home, too! thanks!

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  27. Wow! That tart looks intense! Well done!

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  28. Good idea to have a randomly pick recieps....sometimes we all need a little push to try something new...!


    I feel so lame when I have a cookbook that I have only cooked two things from...DOH!

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  29. Everything looks great! I also love that onion tart, so I wouldn't feel too guilty about not sharing. Also, that yellow rice is the best thing ever considering how simple the ingredients are!

    I need to use my cookbooks, too. It seems like I collect them, but don't actually use most of them!

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  30. You're so good to cook things you weren't so keen on, I always feel like I revert to my childhood when I picture something I don't like and refuse to cook/eat it.

    I'd love a cookie (or 6!) and some chimichurri, looks delish!

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  31. I really love this challenge idea of yours! And your food looks so good!

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  32. Such a fantastic idea JoJo! I might have to steal it for when I get to using my cookbooks. I like the whole random recipe aspect.

    Also, the food looks great!

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  33. Great photos and fantastic idea! I'm definitely going to adopt this into my own practice to break out of my own comfort zone. It will help me use the cookbooks hanging out, unused, and unloved.

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  34. You have no reason to be concerned about posting your own kitchen adventures. You rock! Everything looks incredible.

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