Last year for Christmas I got a slow-cooker. It was one of those kitchen gadgets that I got into for a while and then forgot all about. What a shame. As a way to get back into using it, I bought this cookbook by Kathy Hester: Vegan Slow Cooking for two or just for you.
When I first got the cookbook, I was happy to find that most recipes had a pretty picture next to them. I just hate it when cookbooks lack pictures. It also struck me that the directions for the recipes are really short: Add these ingredients in the morning, add those ingredients in the evening et voila. Not the best for beginner cooks.
The recipes are pretty diverse in that they make use of a large variety of spices and ingredients. There are also some interesting food combos in the book like the ‘Pear Chickpea Fall Stew’ or the ‘Tofu and Grape Stew’.
So far I’ve made seven recipes from the book. Here are my thoughts on them.
1. Wacky Cincinnati Chili: This was the first recipe I’ve made from this cookbook and also my least favorite. My slow-cooker (a medium Crockpot) cooks much faster than the 7-9 hours Kathy suggests. After seven hours, the mixture of my morning ingredients had become dry and overcooked. The end result was a bitter mess. Because of this experience, I reduced the cooking time of all the next recipes I’ve tried.
2. Hearty Lasagna layered with Nut Ricotta: This worked great in the slowcooker (with reduced cooking time that is). The flavor was great and it was easy to make. My only complaint is that the end result was a little too dry. I will add more sauce the next time I make this.
3. Bold Lemon Pear Spread: This recipe was so simple: cook up some pears with lemon juice, add sweetener, lemon extract and arrowroot and blend. The result was delicious. Sweetened sharp lemon. It kind of reminded me of Napoleon sweets (which are also vegan by the way).
4. Eggplant Tapenade: I made this recipe because I liked the idea of slow-cooking eggplant. It turned out ok, but I found that the amount of pitted olives (170 gram) was too much.
5. Overnight Tofu Root Vegetable Hash: This was basically scrambled tofu with pumpkin, potato and turnip. It was OK. Nothing more, nothing less.
6. Potato, Greens, and Chickpea Curry: This curry was full of flavour. I really liked the taste. The fact that you have to add cooked chickpeas as a morning ingredient means that they are extremely overcooked by the time the curry is ready, the potatoes were also overcooked, again.
7. Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling: This is basically a combination of quinoa, lentils and spices. I thought this would create a pleasant chewy texture. When I got home however, it had overcooked to make a mash. Too bad because the taste was good and the tacos were delicious, if only it had retained some of its texture…
As you can tell by all of this, I have very mixed feelings about the book. I have no idea if this is because my slow-cooker or not, but almost all of the recipes I’ve tested have overcooked.
I did like the variety of these recipes and the diverse use of ingredients. I am sure that the other (non slow-cooker) books by Kathy Hester are great, but this one just didn’t really work for me.