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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.4: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles and a review

Today was the last day to post the review for this month's Cook.Vegan.Lover Cookbook Club's pick, Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum. I had been enjoying the book so much I piggybacked one more recipe, Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles.
This dish was a delicious meal of contrasts. It was cool and spicy, crunchy and creamy and one of the lighter, fresher, meals in the book. It also looks really classy all put together but only takes about half an hour to make and much of it can be done in advance.
I may have mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of all sorts of slaws. This one takes it one step further. You start with a base of cabbage and carrot, add chopped broccoli and noodles and cover it all with a spicy tahini based sauce! I had actually bought some of those tofu shirataki noodles that are appearing on "the blogs" - particularly inspired by Rose's post - and used those here because I've had enough pasta lately (lasagna, orzo salad) and could always do with more protein.
The sauce itself was awesome. I might have liked it to have been a little thicker but I was low on tahini so that could have been the problem. I would love to make this again, maybe without noodles altogether, or with more vegetables. I wish I had chopsticks for a dish like this!

So this was the fourth recipe within the designated time period and previously had made one more. See:

Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad
Lemon-Cranberry Muffins
Sweet Chili Lime Tofu
Creamy Broccoli-Mushroom Bake

Of this small selection, I'd probably say the Sweet Chili Lime Tofu and the Chickpea/Artichoke salads were my favorites.
The layout of the book is great, with the focus on a photo of almost every dish (over 100 in the book) and a list of ingredients blocked off on the side. Overall, the font, the colors, and the photos are all very aesthetically pleasing.
The sections in the book are pretty standard: Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes and Light Meals, Soups, Pasta, and Desserts. The fact that Ulm gives pasta its own section, which most cookbooks don't, might key you in to this being a comfort food-heavy book. I don't typically enjoy those types of foods but she gives enough variation in recipes and room for options that most people will be satisfied.
The subtitle of the book is "Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day," which describes it well. The ingredients are for the most part easy enough to find (tamarind is probably the most exotic thing in there besides a few specialty Asian ingredients for two or three dishes) but Ulm does magical things with them. Not much equipment beyond a food processor is needed. She also specifically notes which recipes can be made in 30 minutes or so - so opt for those on a weeknight and other dishes for a party. The only thing you might want to keep in mind for the more decadent party dishes is that all recipes serve a low number of people (usually no more than 4) so certain dishes may have to be doubled.
I guess my one complaint is easily anticipated by those of you who know me: I'd like to see healthier foods, or at least a guilty admission of nutritional information. I'm pretty sure a lot of these recipes are high in fat and salt and I want to at least be aware of what is going into my body. Even the salads section is pretty short and contains cooked ingredients.
BUT I had a long list of dishes I wanted to make on first perusal and still want to come back to a bunch of them. This is a great, informed, and elegant but approachable cookbook.

Who has VYY? Any must-try recipes? And - who the heck else has tried those crazy tofu noodles?? I'm a little on the fence about them, if only because thin, squirmy white things make me balk but...I'd get them again (Rose I still want to try them your way!).


  1. I don't have the book but I love her blog and have actually made this particular recipe twice! It's great for barbecues and such since it can be served at any temperature. Her smoky miso tofu is amazing, too.

  2. Those noodles look super yummy! I don't have her book but I actually just found this recipe on my Vegan Yum Yum App I have on my ipod. Can't wait to try it!

  3. i love that cookbooks, but i haven't made those noodles yet. they look great! the chili lime tofu is one of my faves. i also LOVE the chard on toast points. it's a little salty, but i cut it down. and i make it on ciabatta for extra chewiness.

    stupid blogger won't let me sign in to post comments under my name, but this is sara from busy vegan mama :)

  4. I see so many words. This is a perfect before-bedtime post.

  5. Dianne, yeah, I was pretty intrigued by a lot of the tofu recipes actually. Thanks - I'll definitely try that one.

    VAVA, she seems to have a pretty obvious presence despite not blogging anymore!

    Sara, thanks for trekking by despite technological probs. Chard anything, I am ON IT.

    Shen, before or after the wine?

  6. Just tuning in after a few days much to catch up on!

    So, how did you like the shirataki noodles? Needless to say, I'm sure the sauce and the rest of the recipe was great...I've always been a big fan of Lauren, but I understand your caveat about the healthy aspect.

    I think her recipes are great...good concentration of flavor and pretty fool proof...even with her recipes on the old blog I think she did her due diligence...they always turn out pretty darn well. But, she does like the old earth balance and veganaise etc...and well, it goes without saying that you are one of the healthiest eaters I know...

    I've been thinking for a long time that I want this cookbook...but then I think again that I already have too many...I still use recipes from her blog, and some of them are regular favs at our house.


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