Cooking with Minimalist Baker: a cookbook review

IMG_0122Minimalist Baker is a hidden gem among  plant-based/vegan cooking. Dana’s recipes are sometimes simple, sometimes complex, and always perfect; which was why when I found her new cookbook, “Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes” in my small, local library I was very, very excited.

Squee!!!

What’s the best way to actually use a cookbook you ask? Pick three recipes and test them out. I’ll be doing the same with Laura Miller’s new book, “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.

For this round of cookbook reviews I picked out Dana’s Super Green Juice, Savory Eggless Benedict, and Herb-Marinated Tofu (because I am the worst at making flavorful tofu, like seriously terrible at it).

First up, breakfast for dinner, aka the Savory Eggless Benedict. A few weeks ago I went and had brunch at a local vegan restaurant where I ordered, you guessed it, vegan eggs Benedict. The tofu egg patty was perfect, but the hollandaise left a lot to be desired and I think it’s because they used a cashew base for the sauce. Minimalist Baker’s recipe uses almond milk, flour, nutritional yeast, and other spices. Pan-roasted tomato slices, ripe avocado, and purple onions replace the eggs. My cook time took about fifteen minutes longer than the estimated thirty only because there was a lot of prep to set up.

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Look at that beaut.

Final verdict? 4 out of 5 stars. In my personal opinion, eggs Benedict (vegan or not) is nothing, and I repeat, nothing without a good hollandaise sauce. If the hollandaise is terrible then you’re just eating eggs (or in this case deconstructed gauc) on an english muffin. No one wants that. Minimalist Baker’s hollandaise had the tang and creaminess of a traditional hollandaise sans the eggs and butter explosion. I licked my plate. Twice.

Next on the plate was the Herb-Marinated Tofu. When I say that I am terrible at cooking tofu I mean that I can make a chocolate tofu mousse and a tofu scramble that is edible but not good. I want to eat tofu that makes me sing like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

Dana’s herb-marinated tofu was the answer. Basil, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic make for a beautifully delicious marinade. I think the secret, and maybe I shouldn’t share, is that Minimalist Baker has you soak the tofu cubes in a brine for one hour before marinating. Pure genius. I crumbled some of the finished tofu and put it on top of a Greek-style salad with some kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes and used some of the marinade as a salad dressing. The tofu has a texture like soft mozzarella after marinating overnight and a taste that’s between mozzarella and feta. It was magical on a salad and by itself. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

And finally, the giant green monster known as the Super Green Juice. I heard that when you drink green juices you turn into a magical unicorn with the superpowerIMG_0133s of a Victoria’s Secret model. While I can’t comment of if that’s true or not, I can comment on this juice. My blender was packed with spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro (a sketchy thing to add, but I’ll try it), celery, cucumber, lemon juice, banana (for more sweetness), pineapple, green apple, and fresh ginger. Basically everything except a green bell pepper.

Since I don’t own a juicer I was pretty happy that Dana had a little juicing hack up her sleeve. You blend up all of the produce and pour it into a clean kitchen towel to strain out the pulp. Once again Minimalist Baker, you are a genius.

Did it make a mess? You bet it did. Did I get green pulp everywhere including on my rented library book? You bet I did. Did I add too much ginger because I don’t know how much a “small knob of fresh ginger” is? Yes. Unfortunately, I did. After straining and chilling, I was left with a green juice that may or may not give me unicorn powers. I rate this juice at 3 out of 5 stars only because I think I added too much ginger which really overpowers everything, and not enough pineapple. But I couldn’t taste the cilantro, the celery or my most-hated food, cucumber.

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This juice is just too beautiful to look at.

Overall my journey into Minimalist Baker’s kitchen was a successful one. I will be buying my own copy because I love this cookbook and the library will have to pry it from my cold, green-juice clutching hands. “Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes” covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks and it seems like a great cookbook for new vegans, long-time vegans, and even omnivores who just want to learn how to cook more creatively.

Job well done.

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This post was not sponsored in anyway. All opinions are my own.

 

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