The first book up in Lindsay's cookbook club is Veganomicon.
I've had this book probably since it came out but have only made a few recipes here and there. Widely considered to be the ultimate vegan tome, I'm glad for a chance to use and critique the book.
There are a ton of recipes in here but for the first recipe I picked "Spicy Tempeh with Broccoli Rabe and Rotelle" because I thought it would appeal to G and because all the ingredients interested me. Plus, it seemed like the perfect hearty dinner: a protein, a carb, and a vegetable. Also, for a cookbook of this depth, there are not a lot of photos, so I wanted to pick a recipe that did have a photo so that I would kind of know what I was going for.
The meal was one of those with a 45 minute icon and even for someone like me who runs back and forth constantly checking the book to see if I'm doing it right, the whole thing came in under an hour. I got the ingredients at Whole Foods - that's another post, but I love that place - though most of them probably could have been purchased at a regular grocery store except for the tempeh.
Anyway, as I served it, Greg mentioned how he never eats pasta as sauceless as this was. It has a sauce, but it is absorbed into the tempeh. We agreed that it probably would have been better with more sauce on top. Both the tempeh and broccoli rabe are a bit bitter which I generally don't have a problem with but they would have improved, or at least been more widely palate-friendly, with a bit more sauce. I might make some more up today to throw on top of the leftovers (which it looks like I'll be eating solo). Luckily the sauce is pretty simple.
Apparently G doesn't like tempeh and now I feel bad because I also deliberately skipped a step of frying the tempeh. I actually do enjoy it and even eat it straight out of the package sometimes so I felt there was enough oil in the rest of the recipe that I didn't want to fry the tempeh, despite that probably firming up the texture and perhaps selling G a little more on the tempeh. Oof. Sorry.
Anyway, I'd still recommend the recipe even if I don't make it again. It makes a lot and it's pretty healthy (except for the oil! What is up!). I love the addition of fennel seeds and I love any opportunity to eat broccoli rabe. If you make this (or have) and don't skip the frying of the tempeh, let me know if that changes anything taste or texture-wise. It might even help if you dry-bake it but that would obviously be another step.
Poor Greg suffering through both the horrible meal I served him and my taking a photo of his bowl:
What a trooper.