Lucky for me I have been good about selecting recipes at random for this project, as they have, for the most part, turned out quite well. The second recipe from the cookbook Vedge was as equally amazing as the first. I selected the Oyster Mushroom and Corn Chowder recipe so I could use my favorite Big Island-grown Ali’i mushrooms, which are not oyster mushrooms, but in my opinion, make a better substitute for this soup. This chowder is kind of the perfect marriage between corn chowder and clam chowder because the mushroom has a similar texture to clams. Just writing this and thinking about the smokey, rich broth and chunks of mushroom, makes my mouth water! We are big-time corn chowder fans in this house, so I was taking a risk trying to get folks to like a different version of something they already loved. If you make corn chowder the standard way, with bacon and milk, you might be surprised to learn that this version is completely vegan. The secret to this dish is Old Bay Seasoning, and you are tricked into thinking that there might be a piece of clam or smoked meat in there somewhere, but there isn’t. I used Kabocha squash cubes instead of white potato and coconut oil instead of olive oil. In the photos, the little bit of oiliness on the top came from my overuse of coconut oil when I sautéed the onion and garlic, but it was still so ono. This recipe was rich and deeply satisfying. A keeper, for sure.
That concludes my two recipes that I will be doing for this book. I’m going to move on because I know from the two recipes that I sampled that I will definitely be keeping this book. I love it so much, I just needed to remind myself to pick it up and use it once in a while.
*A few things about this book:
It’s actually hard to write a review for this book because I have so many fabulous things to say, that I don’t know where to begin. Like a lot of my other cookbooks, it is filled with gorgeous photos and is stunningly beautiful. The recipes are, for the most part, simple in form and have an amazing amount of flavor. The instructions are easy to follow and this cookbook is such an impressive and delicious collection of plant-based recipes, I can see why the chef/owners have a wildly successful restaurant in Philadelphia. (This book has convinced me that I will need to make it a point to eat there the next time I’m in Philly.) Make no mistake, I am an omnivore, but I eat sustainably raised meat in moderation and serve multiple vegetarian or vegan meals throughout the week. This is a cookbook for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. It’s THAT good. I’m truly in love.
So what’s the negative side, if there is one, to this cookbook? Some of it is what I call “fancy-food” and there are items that may be somewhat exotic or harder to find, like hearts of palm or white eggplant. Also, as much as I really love the photos, not all recipes have photos of the food. Sometimes the photos are of people drinking wine at their restaurant and it feels at times like an ad or promotion. I found that when I first got this book, I skipped any recipes that didn’t have a final photo. Yes, visuals are important to me, but thankfully I have tried some without the photo(s) and they turned out great. What this is not, is a book about boring green bean casseroles and pasta plates with veggies. Nope, this cookbook allows you to create beautiful, healthy, and most of all, AMAZING food that looks like you just sat down at their restaurant.
If you would like to create restaurant-quality vegetarian and vegan dishes at home to impress even your most staunch meat-eater friends, you may find this recipe in this beloved cookbook on Amazon.