Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lick the Bowl Roots-Holiday Cooking

I have decided to get back to my Lick the Bowl roots.  While this blog was originally intended to discuss food allergy related material including recipes and news items, I realized that my life was not just about food allergies.  Don’t get me wrong, they take up a big chunk of my energy, but the blog seemed to take on a persona of it’s own and I liked the direction it took.  Nevertheless, it’s holiday time and the one thing I love to do is experiment in the kitchen. 

A few weeks ago, I received a fabulous new cookbook from my Facebook friend, Nava Atlas.   It’s funny how people find each other in this big, wide world because prior to Facebook, Nava and I never knew each other.  Nava is an author and illustrator of many well-known vegetarian and vegan cookbooks.  She also has her own website Vegkitchen.com.  Some of her books include Vegan Express, Vegan Soups and The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, amongst many others.  

Nava found an anecdotal article I wrote for the Baltimore Jewish Times a few years ago (see below) http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/national_news/in_pursuit_of_the_vegan_matzo_ball/  and decided to contact me on Facebook.  From that moment on we became Facebook acquaintances and she recently featured my challah recipe on her website Vegkitchen.com   http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/special-occasions-and-entertaining/jewish-new-year/egg-free-challah/#more-5695.

She has been very supportive of my newbie attempts at writing about recipes/food allergies and has been a source of guidance especially when I needed to make a vanilla allergy-free birthday cake a few years back and didn’t even know where to start.  Nava graciously sent me a complimentary copy of her new cookbook Vegan Holiday Kitchen (on shelves now) and I just had to blog about it because I think it’s fabulous.

I am the first to admit that I am an okay cook…not great…serviceable.  I have many food challenges in our home.  I have a carnivore-lovin’ husband, an egg and nut allergy son, along with a self -proclaimed, vegetarian who is also lactose intolerant.  It’s hard to find something that everyone can agree on especially at dinnertime.  Holidays are an extra source of stress, because when we travel or go to someone else’s house, I always have to worry about what the allergy child can eat.

Nava’s new book Vegan Holiday Kitchen has so many recipes that I am itching to try.  The beauty of the book is that everything is vegan, a.k.a egg and dairy free and many of the recipes are gluten free for those of you who suffer with gluten allergies.  I love this book because it is unpretentious and makes me feel like I can cook great meals without necessarily being a great cook.  Nava understands that we lead busy lives and can’t take a lot of time looking for exotic ingredients. She is a firm believer in good quality shortcuts and doesn’t sniff if you want to use store bought vegetable stock as opposed to making it yourself, pre-made pie crusts, etc..in order to “free up your time for all  the other dishes you’ll need to prepare from scratch.”  I love that.  

The recipes are clear, concise, and there are beautiful photographs of many of the finished products and both Jewish and secular holidays are included.  There is something for everyone.  I have my eye on the gluten-egg- free potato latkes and the gluten-egg-nut free kugel.   Both look fabulous, easy, and very tasty.  The latkes can either be made with (believe it or not) oatmeal, or quinoa flakes.  Nava insists they are the best and that no one can tell there’s oatmeal.  I will definitely try them and let you all know!

If you are looking for a great cookbook, I highly suggest this one.  I am so touched that she sent it to me and I plan to make very good use out of it in the near future. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. Cookie Season is Upon Us
Get ready for some awesome cookie recipes that are egg-dairy and nut free…created by moi just in time for cookie season!! The bonus of these recipes is that they use all natural ingredients, whole wheat pastry flour, no butter, cholesterol free, and even have reduced sugar.  I just made a batch of Oatmeal Raisin and my kids (who normally don’t even like oatmeal cookies went crazy over them)!

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