23 August 2011

Christy Morgan's ‘Blissful Bites’ is a must have vegan cookbook

My love of cooking began when I was a teenager watching my Mom prepare dinner on a nightly basis. I wasn’t afraid to jump right in and learn and, more importantly, experiment with new flavors. Ah the memories.

Considering that was a few years ago—okay maybe more than few—my experiences in the kitchen have enabled me to reach a point in my culinary life where following recipes is a rare happening. Even though my switch to a completely animal product free diet no longer allowed for fallback staples, like meat and cheese, I have found a way to get by without a whole lot of assistance.

Well that was until the good folks at BenBella books sent me a pre-release copy of Christy Morgan’s (The Blissful Chef) new vegan cookbook ‘Blissful Bites.’

This gem of a plant-based powered recipe manual arrived in the nick of time, as I was beginning to fall into a bit of a cooking rut. And trust me no one wants to find themselves in the purgatory-like world of uninspired vegan fare.

Since my culinary wheels have recently been stuck in the mud, I wasted no time when ‘Blissful Bites’ arrived. I quickly began to thumb through the colorful, easy-to-read pages to find inspiration, and with over 175 recipes to choose from, boy did I ever.

But before jumping into the faux meat and potatoes of ‘Blissful Bites’ let’s start at the beginning.

Morgan’s new cookbook starts with a wealth of information including tips on pantry basics (basil, nutmeg, etc…), baking ingredients (flours, sweeteners), details on the tools of the trade from knives to food processors to steamers and other helpful tips for those entering into the world of plant-based cooking.

Additionally there is the handy dandy “how to read this cookbook” section that sets up one of my favorite features of ‘Blissful Bites’: The recipe color coding by season. For example green is for spring and red is for summer, so on and so forth.

Also icons appear underneath all of the recipe titles guiding readers with dietary restrictions in choosing preparations that are free of allergens such as gluten or soy.

An icon that busy vegans will find particularly useful shows the number 45, which simply means a recipe will take less than 45 minutes to make—including prep time.

And speaking of the recipes, you won’t be disappointed.

The first delectable dish I had to try was the “Un-tuna Salad.”

One of my all time favorite things to eat for lunch during my pre-veg days was tuna salad, so to say I was looking forward to trying this plant-based, mercury-free version would be an understatement.

The results were downright amazing, how amazing you ask? I had to make two full batches the first day as my family of five devoured this delicious cruelty-free adaptation of a childhood favorite in mere minutes.

The next day we had lentil burgers for dinner so I decided a nice addition would be tempeh bacon. I broke out my copy of ‘Blissful Bites’ and went to work. Again I was beyond pleased.

Next will be mock tuna, then tempeh Ruebens, after that the sushi rice bowl, then… you get the point, I’m pretty fired up and rarely do I get fired up about a cookbook.

Trust me when I say there is a recipe or 10 for just about everyone in 'Blissful Bites.' Yes even for those in your life that are the most ardent meat eaters.

So do I recommend purchasing 'Blissful Bites' when it officially hits the shelves, virtual and otherwise, this September  now? YES!

NOW available through Amazon: Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

Also for our West Coast readers, meet Christy in person at one of her book tour stops! Click here for dates and times.

Eric Fortney | Facebook |@elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: Facebook