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The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat

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The Conscious Cook shows readers that avoiding the health risks and ethical dilemmas of eating meat and dairy does not mean sacrificing taste or satisfaction. The starters, soups, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts here offer culinary adventure that will truly revolutionize the way the world experiences meatless food. A former steak-lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for year The Conscious Cook shows readers that avoiding the health risks and ethical dilemmas of eating meat and dairy does not mean sacrificing taste or satisfaction. The starters, soups, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts here offer culinary adventure that will truly revolutionize the way the world experiences meatless food. A former steak-lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for years on a vegan diet that left him filled with cravings for meat and dairy. Frustrated by the limited options available and unwilling to sacrifice the delicious flavors he associated with eating meat, he decided to create vegan meals that could hold their own at the center of the plate. Chef Tal found that by applying traditional French culinary techniques to meatless cuisine, he was able to create delicious meals full of rich flavor and healthy fat—meals that any food-lover, even devoted meat-eaters, would find completely satisfying. Seventy groundbreaking recipes later, Chef Tal is ready to share his magic. The Conscious Cook features vegan versions of tried-and-true dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, Caesar Salad, Corn Chowder, and Paella, as well as adventurous new cuisine like Lemongrass Consommé with Pea Shoot and Mushroom Dumplings and Peppercorn-Encrusted Portobello Fillets. A full-color photo accompanies each of the recipes. Also included are engaging stories from influential people in the vegan world; a peek into Chef Tal's pantry and kitchen; a guide to eating seasonally; and a selection of dinner party menus.


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The Conscious Cook shows readers that avoiding the health risks and ethical dilemmas of eating meat and dairy does not mean sacrificing taste or satisfaction. The starters, soups, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts here offer culinary adventure that will truly revolutionize the way the world experiences meatless food. A former steak-lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for year The Conscious Cook shows readers that avoiding the health risks and ethical dilemmas of eating meat and dairy does not mean sacrificing taste or satisfaction. The starters, soups, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts here offer culinary adventure that will truly revolutionize the way the world experiences meatless food. A former steak-lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for years on a vegan diet that left him filled with cravings for meat and dairy. Frustrated by the limited options available and unwilling to sacrifice the delicious flavors he associated with eating meat, he decided to create vegan meals that could hold their own at the center of the plate. Chef Tal found that by applying traditional French culinary techniques to meatless cuisine, he was able to create delicious meals full of rich flavor and healthy fat—meals that any food-lover, even devoted meat-eaters, would find completely satisfying. Seventy groundbreaking recipes later, Chef Tal is ready to share his magic. The Conscious Cook features vegan versions of tried-and-true dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, Caesar Salad, Corn Chowder, and Paella, as well as adventurous new cuisine like Lemongrass Consommé with Pea Shoot and Mushroom Dumplings and Peppercorn-Encrusted Portobello Fillets. A full-color photo accompanies each of the recipes. Also included are engaging stories from influential people in the vegan world; a peek into Chef Tal's pantry and kitchen; a guide to eating seasonally; and a selection of dinner party menus.

30 review for The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    This isn't a bad cookbook, but it is NOT for me. I picked it up because I'm always trying to get more vegan cooking ideas, and the pictures were pretty. However, I also need to eat gluten free and yeast free, so vegan recipes are usually hit and miss for me. This cookbook was certainly no exception, using Gardein "meat" and nutritional yeast in many of the recipes, as well as straight up gluten like bread. So many of the recipes I simply wouldn't be able to make for myself without significant mo This isn't a bad cookbook, but it is NOT for me. I picked it up because I'm always trying to get more vegan cooking ideas, and the pictures were pretty. However, I also need to eat gluten free and yeast free, so vegan recipes are usually hit and miss for me. This cookbook was certainly no exception, using Gardein "meat" and nutritional yeast in many of the recipes, as well as straight up gluten like bread. So many of the recipes I simply wouldn't be able to make for myself without significant modification. Many of the others look pretty and sound great--but they also look and sound like a lot of work. Would I love to go to a restaurant and order Green Bean and Fingerling Potato Salad with Miso Dressing, Fresh Mint and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette, Cajun Portabello Sandwich with Avocado and Remoulade, and Old Bay Tofu Cakes with Pan Roasted Summer Vegetables, Horseradish Cream, Apples, and Beets? Sure! But when even typing out the recipe takes forever, you can guess it won't be a one pot meal, or even close. I'd eat the dishes that are safe for me, if someone else made them for me. But I simply don't have the patience to make such complex dishes most days--or to arrange them so artistically. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the interview and "guest chef" section inserted throughout. in general, the format felt choppy and distracting, although some of the information was interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    My favorite parts of this book were not the recipes. The book is gorgeous and the photos are beautiful. I loved the little mini interviews with people such as the person who brought quinoa to the United States and with guest chefs who have their own restaurants. My very favorite photos were the two page spreads of his favorite: greens, mushrooms, superfoods, etc. I also liked the small amount of “why vegan” information. Re the recipes: they’re good for cooks who like to spend a lot of time and ef My favorite parts of this book were not the recipes. The book is gorgeous and the photos are beautiful. I loved the little mini interviews with people such as the person who brought quinoa to the United States and with guest chefs who have their own restaurants. My very favorite photos were the two page spreads of his favorite: greens, mushrooms, superfoods, etc. I also liked the small amount of “why vegan” information. Re the recipes: they’re good for cooks who like to spend a lot of time and effort making gourmet meals. Aside from the fact that I’m impatient in the kitchen, most of these recipes didn’t appeal to me. Tal Ronnen missed rich animal product foods and here he tries to recreate their flavors and textures. I’m really glad this book is out there because more people are liable to be willing to eat vegan meals/become vegan knowing they can eat this way. I thought I was in major trouble and that I wouldn’t find even one recipe that appealed to me. Finally, on page 145 I found the first recipe I could see trying and enjoying: mashed potatoes. Then, I found (only) five more such recipes. The other five are the free-form ravioli with tofu ricotta and arugula pesto on page 146, the Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms with Polenta, Roasted Japanese Eggplant, and Smoked-Paprika Crème (well, I probably would want someone to make this one and maybe it’s available at Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles, I think Tarzana/I’ve always wanted to go there, as it’s a recipe from their chef) on page 175. The other three recipes are desserts: the lemon pistachio cookies with wild blueberries on page 202, the chocolate chip peanut butter cake with berry sorbet on page 210, and the vanilla bean panna cotta with orange sauce and the Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle on page 218. I don’t regret buying this book because I want to support this author, but I do regret writing my name in it, because after reading it, I don’t think I’ll ever use it as a cookbook, and I suspect it would find a better home elsewhere; it would have made a more pristine gift or a welcomed swap without my name in it. Ah well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I bought this book for my mom for Christmas this year - haven't given it to her yet. I flipped through the whole thing and read all the non-recipe text last night. This is an incredible book. Not only do the recipes look amazing, it is beautiful! There is a picture to go with every recipe, and the book is in full color. I am psyched to own this myself and try some recipes. Also, spread throughout the book are interviews with and recipes!! from several top chefs around the world - most notable to I bought this book for my mom for Christmas this year - haven't given it to her yet. I flipped through the whole thing and read all the non-recipe text last night. This is an incredible book. Not only do the recipes look amazing, it is beautiful! There is a picture to go with every recipe, and the book is in full color. I am psyched to own this myself and try some recipes. Also, spread throughout the book are interviews with and recipes!! from several top chefs around the world - most notable to me were the chef from Saf in London and the chefs from Candle 79 in NYC. The Saf chef contributed his cashew cheese recipe, which is phenomenal I'm told by a Londoner friend. It is made with probiotic cultures using the same process as dairy cheese. One staple ingredient in this book is cashew cream - my mouth waters just thinking about it. There is a recipe for it up front, and it is used in many of the following recipes. Anyway, the premise of this book is that Chef Ronnen was struggling with his vegan diet - he missed meat and dairy and really rich foods, so instead of backsliding, he took the positive, solution-focused approach and developed very rich, filling vegan recipes. Perfect for me since I'm always looking for a meal that really hits the spot. People like Chef Ronnen just make me so optimistic and happy about the future of veganism.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat is such a beautiful book. The photographs are extraordinary and the recipes are easy to follow. My husband and I have already tried several recipes and used this cookbook as our guide for a dinner party--we even gave away a copy of the book as a prize for one of our lucky guests. Tal provided us with a taste of reality--that going vegan is not about living without anything; it's about living with new and exciting pos The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat is such a beautiful book. The photographs are extraordinary and the recipes are easy to follow. My husband and I have already tried several recipes and used this cookbook as our guide for a dinner party--we even gave away a copy of the book as a prize for one of our lucky guests. Tal provided us with a taste of reality--that going vegan is not about living without anything; it's about living with new and exciting possibilities. In addition to the gourmet in you, the book provides fascinating facts and insight about choosing to eat and live this way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan (aka Just My Op)

    3 1/2 stars. This cookbook is filled with gorgeous photography and delicious-sounding, elegant recipes. While I haven't tried any of them yet, I have no doubt that they are wonderful. Given that, it is not a book for the new vegetarian or vegan, or for the person trying to get dinner for a hungry family on the table in half an hour. While some of the recipes are pretty simple, there are quite a few less common ingredients called for, things that might be unavailable or intimidating for the beginn 3 1/2 stars. This cookbook is filled with gorgeous photography and delicious-sounding, elegant recipes. While I haven't tried any of them yet, I have no doubt that they are wonderful. Given that, it is not a book for the new vegetarian or vegan, or for the person trying to get dinner for a hungry family on the table in half an hour. While some of the recipes are pretty simple, there are quite a few less common ingredients called for, things that might be unavailable or intimidating for the beginning veg cook. Several recipes call for cashew cream, and there are two recipes for that. There is information on veganism without it becoming a rant, and profiles of different chefs, different ingredients, lots of bits of interesting information. Still, it is mainly a cookbook. Fairly early in the book, I found a mistake that bothered me. While explaining why cashew cream is a better choice than soymilk for sauces, the author states that soymilk has no fat. That is not correct, in fact the soy milk currently in my refrigerator has 35 fat calories in each 100 calorie serving. (There are low-fat and non-fat soymilks available.) Although cashew cream might very well make a better sauce or creamy base, the mistake made me wonder what others I might be missing. Grilled shitake mushrooms with polenta, roasted Japanese eggplant, and smoked paprika creme. Beet ravioli with balsamic pickled figs and green garlic oil. Vietnamese-style tofu hero with asian slaw. Quinoa maki with avocado and cajun portobello fillets. These are dishes that look fabulous and that I would never have dreamed of but would like to try. This is a great book for expanding culinary boundaries, but not a go-to every day kind of cookbook.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lauri

    Ok, this book gets five stars just for being GORGEOUS and well designed. Not to mention the fact that Tal tackles the "black hole" of vegan cookbooks: high end entertainment cuisine. Having said all of that, as your run-of-the-mill vegan, I find most of the recipes to be a bit out of reach. Some of the things he talks about I've never heard of (burdock, farinata). Still others I can't imagine how I'd even go about acquiring them (dulse, pea shoots, white balsamic vinegar). All of the recipes see Ok, this book gets five stars just for being GORGEOUS and well designed. Not to mention the fact that Tal tackles the "black hole" of vegan cookbooks: high end entertainment cuisine. Having said all of that, as your run-of-the-mill vegan, I find most of the recipes to be a bit out of reach. Some of the things he talks about I've never heard of (burdock, farinata). Still others I can't imagine how I'd even go about acquiring them (dulse, pea shoots, white balsamic vinegar). All of the recipes seem like they would take at least 2 full days to prepare and multiple stovetops. Having said that, they all look INCREDIBLE enough to potentially make all of this effort worth it. The sandwiches appear to be the most attainable -- Cajun Portobello Sandwich with Avocado and Remoulade won't even require me to hit a specialty grocery store. But the Cornmeal-crusted Tempeh with Smoked Tomato Sauce, Green Chile Relish, Black Bean Puree, and Braised Kale looks to be a bit involved for this home "chef". Overall, I'm pretty sure that you need to own this book if for no other reason than to look at the beautiful photos, drool all over them, and be inspired to one day recreate their subjects.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This isn't a beginner's guide to vegetarian eating, but it's a really interesting look at gourmet vegetarian cooking. I say gourmet, because there are recipes with many steps, many ingredients and some of those ingredients are very hard to find (or things I've never heard of, even as a 12-year vegetarian veteran). I like that it gave me ideas of things I've never thought of, like crisped capers, cashew cream, and tofu ricotta. I may not cook most (or any) of these recipes from start to finish, b This isn't a beginner's guide to vegetarian eating, but it's a really interesting look at gourmet vegetarian cooking. I say gourmet, because there are recipes with many steps, many ingredients and some of those ingredients are very hard to find (or things I've never heard of, even as a 12-year vegetarian veteran). I like that it gave me ideas of things I've never thought of, like crisped capers, cashew cream, and tofu ricotta. I may not cook most (or any) of these recipes from start to finish, but I like the inspiration. If I were a restaurant chef, I would be inclined to sell a number of these dishes on my menu, because they'd be eye-catching, tasty, and prove I was a damn good chef, which Tal Ronnen must be :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caity

    This is an interesting book. I really enjoyed the interviews in the book as well as the authors lists of kitchen favorites spread throughout the book. The recipes were interesting but did include some ingredients that may be hard to find or intimidating for some chefs. The meals are also a little more complex definitely not something I would make everyday. That said I did try the Agave Lime Grilled Tofu with Asian Slaw and Mashed Sweet Potatoes which was both simple to make and really Delicious. This is an interesting book. I really enjoyed the interviews in the book as well as the authors lists of kitchen favorites spread throughout the book. The recipes were interesting but did include some ingredients that may be hard to find or intimidating for some chefs. The meals are also a little more complex definitely not something I would make everyday. That said I did try the Agave Lime Grilled Tofu with Asian Slaw and Mashed Sweet Potatoes which was both simple to make and really Delicious. I would recommend giving this cookbook a read but be aware it may not be the most practical cookbook depending on your kitchen style.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JoLene

    Disclaimer: I have not tried any of the recipes yet so I can't really give it a full 5 star rating. However, I have read all of the non-recipe material which covers interviews with key people in the vegan movement as well as restauranters. My motivations toward moving toward a more vegan lifestyle is due to health issues (breast cancer) as well as "green" reasons and this book certainly is inspiring (great food porn picks and mouth-watering recipes). Many of the recipes do have multiple steps so Disclaimer: I have not tried any of the recipes yet so I can't really give it a full 5 star rating. However, I have read all of the non-recipe material which covers interviews with key people in the vegan movement as well as restauranters. My motivations toward moving toward a more vegan lifestyle is due to health issues (breast cancer) as well as "green" reasons and this book certainly is inspiring (great food porn picks and mouth-watering recipes). Many of the recipes do have multiple steps so new cooks might be a bit intimidated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Miles

    This is gourmet vegan cooking at the top level. He makes it so easy for the home cook to understand and achieve such beauty in cooking. He also makes it beautiful. I love this cook book and when I want to treat myself I pull this cook book out and make something in it. It's such a delightful experience to cook from it. I just love it! This is gourmet vegan cooking at the top level. He makes it so easy for the home cook to understand and achieve such beauty in cooking. He also makes it beautiful. I love this cook book and when I want to treat myself I pull this cook book out and make something in it. It's such a delightful experience to cook from it. I just love it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I got this based on a vegan blog post about the old bay tofu cakes with horseradish cream. I've had a major obsession with horseradish lately. Gorgeous book, and there are a number of other recipes I've wanted to try. However, most of the ingredients are not ones I keep at home, and I haven't been inspired to go out and buy 20 new things for one recipe. Also, there's a big focus on fake meat-not really my thing. I got this based on a vegan blog post about the old bay tofu cakes with horseradish cream. I've had a major obsession with horseradish lately. Gorgeous book, and there are a number of other recipes I've wanted to try. However, most of the ingredients are not ones I keep at home, and I haven't been inspired to go out and buy 20 new things for one recipe. Also, there's a big focus on fake meat-not really my thing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martha Smith

    As gourmet vegan cookbooks go this is wonderful. I am an advanced cook so this book is not intimidating for me. Recipes range from one hour to 3 hours. I adjusted the recipes and omitted all nuts, oil, salt and sugars to make healthy. I love that almost all the recipes have a mouth-watering photo of finished product.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    Gorgeous book with pictures of every amazing looking recipe in the book. Unusual or hard to find ingredients & complicated preparations combined with my desired limited time in the kitchen discouraged me from trying any of them yet & I need to return it to the library now.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelle

    Fantastic cookbook. Yes, the photos are gorgeous. Yes, the recipes, somewhat involved. However, everything I have made from Tal's book has turned out beautifully delicious. Even five asparagus-hating boys, aged 8 to 17, loved the cream of asparagus soup. Fantastic cookbook. Yes, the photos are gorgeous. Yes, the recipes, somewhat involved. However, everything I have made from Tal's book has turned out beautifully delicious. Even five asparagus-hating boys, aged 8 to 17, loved the cream of asparagus soup.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    This is a beautiful book to look at, just not realistic at all as a cookbook. Unless you are a professional chef with access to a variety of exotic, and most likely costly, ingredients, it is likely to sit around gathering dust. I returned this book without even attempting any of the recipes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    These recipes were a bit too extreme of a change for me. They looked delicious, but I'm not quite ready to go so completely vegan. I just can't picture myself making my own cashew cream... These recipes were a bit too extreme of a change for me. They looked delicious, but I'm not quite ready to go so completely vegan. I just can't picture myself making my own cashew cream...

  17. 5 out of 5

    T.L. Cooper

    I bought The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen even before I adopted a plant-based diet because I was intrigued by the recipes in the book. I've made several of the very interesting recipes in The Conscious Cook. I rarely make the recipes in it anymore, but I keep this cookbook on my shelves and occasionally use it as a reference or for inspiration. As I sit here looking through the cookbook, I'm tempted to make some of the recipes again soon, adapted to fit my cooking style which doesn't include the I bought The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen even before I adopted a plant-based diet because I was intrigued by the recipes in the book. I've made several of the very interesting recipes in The Conscious Cook. I rarely make the recipes in it anymore, but I keep this cookbook on my shelves and occasionally use it as a reference or for inspiration. As I sit here looking through the cookbook, I'm tempted to make some of the recipes again soon, adapted to fit my cooking style which doesn't include the oils and the highly processed foods he includes. Beyond even that, many of the recipes require ingredients I don't necessarily keep in the kitchen, so I'd need to shop for them. This is probably the main reason I don't use this cookbook as much as some of the others on my shelves. Many of the recipes are also quite involved and time consuming. That said, the recipes I have tried all tasted delicious, so if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it's a cookbook worth having on your shelves. I don't intend to relinquish my copy any time soon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    if you are already vegan, the ingredients and techniques may be familiar. For those who are new to it, carefully read the ingredients sections before you buy the book or get started. You’ll need cashew cream, Dulse, vegan mayo, earth balance, and that’s just in one recipe. And, while there is a brief ingredient list, it is in no way comprehensive nor is there a glossary, so you may find yourself looking up, ponzu or shiso. Some of these ingredient can be subbed with dairy products like earth bal if you are already vegan, the ingredients and techniques may be familiar. For those who are new to it, carefully read the ingredients sections before you buy the book or get started. You’ll need cashew cream, Dulse, vegan mayo, earth balance, and that’s just in one recipe. And, while there is a brief ingredient list, it is in no way comprehensive nor is there a glossary, so you may find yourself looking up, ponzu or shiso. Some of these ingredient can be subbed with dairy products like earth balance with butter but others are not easily replaced, nor are suggestions offered. Recipes emphasize mimicking meat and cheese dishes with vegan ingredients. If you are looking for vegan steak or fried chicken, you’ll find it here. As a non-vegan, for me this book is too much work, for a vegan looking to cook some serious recipes, this cookbook may be welcome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Uhhhh, these recipes are like, waaaaaay too fancy for me. This is serious gourmet style cooking, only with a bunch of Gardein and Field Roast products in them, so take that with a grain of salt. Seemed like a weird mix to me, and I think overall this book just feels very dated to me now--I'm really not a big fan of the layout or photography. But I can kind of see how this might have seemed pretty awesome back in 2009 before there were vegan cookbooks EVERYWHERE. Uhhhh, these recipes are like, waaaaaay too fancy for me. This is serious gourmet style cooking, only with a bunch of Gardein and Field Roast products in them, so take that with a grain of salt. Seemed like a weird mix to me, and I think overall this book just feels very dated to me now--I'm really not a big fan of the layout or photography. But I can kind of see how this might have seemed pretty awesome back in 2009 before there were vegan cookbooks EVERYWHERE.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    So that you are forewarned, this is not aimed at the home cook. This is a level of fussiness that you would likely only find at fancier restaurants. They look very nice and are probably very tasty, but they will never be made by me unless I were having a very ambitious dinner party. So, if you were looking for recipe ideas to incorporate more veggies and less meat into your daily life, this book is not it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Viriam

    A good vegetrian cookbook. If you like gardein a lot this is the cookbook for you.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MissAnnThrope

    The Conscious Cook is a gorgeous book with mouth-watering pictures accompanying nearly every recipe. I love the blending of different flavors from around the world, especially the Japanese and French combination. I think this is a great book for those transitioning into the vegan lifestyle because the meals are flavorful and hearty. The richness of the recipes will be enough to satisfy any vegan newbie. However, this book assumes the reader has advanced cooking knowledge, so this may not be begi The Conscious Cook is a gorgeous book with mouth-watering pictures accompanying nearly every recipe. I love the blending of different flavors from around the world, especially the Japanese and French combination. I think this is a great book for those transitioning into the vegan lifestyle because the meals are flavorful and hearty. The richness of the recipes will be enough to satisfy any vegan newbie. However, this book assumes the reader has advanced cooking knowledge, so this may not be beginner friendly. You're presumed to know how to "cut into brunoise" and chiffonade, so be sure to brush up on your knife skills. If you have hours to devote to your meal preparations, then this would be a great book to add to your library. For every day cooking it is just too complicated and time consuming. The salad section is the simplest, and could be used in everyday meals. Also, Ronnen uses a few exotic ingredients that could be hard to find unless you do an online search for them. I think I would dig this book out for special occasions or for days I'm craving a hearty "meaty" meal. There are quite a few recipes that use processed foods, such as fake meats, processed soy proteins, vegan mayo, and vegan margarine. I prefer to focus my nutrition on whole foods, so while these specific recipes look delicious, I doubt I will make them. Oddly, Tal Ronnen states in the introduction how his diet is based on unprocessed foods. Yet, he uses Gardein, Vegenaise, and Earth Balance in many of his recipes. Although, he does include such processed items, there are also a ton of other recipes that don't include these ingredients. Sure, these recipes are complicated, but this book is innovative and takes vegan meals to an exciting new level. This book is for the true foodie, who just happens to be vegan. Due to time restrictions, I sadly will not get a chance to try these gourmet recipes too often. But I can guarantee that whenever I have a free weekend, I will be delving into this book to try out some of these recipes. I hope there will be more books from Ronnen in the future, preferably one that focuses on simpler, everyday meals.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Tal Ronnen sounds like a great chef who can make vegan food taste "normal". He takes classic French training techniques and applies them to food that is animal-product free. He claims that even meat-eaters can enjoy his recipes. Maybe if I were eating them in a restaurant, I would; however, in this format, I didn't get much out of the book. Why? Almost every recipe has at least one ingredient that will leave the ordinary cook scratching their head, such as nutritional yeast, seitan, tempeh, red p Tal Ronnen sounds like a great chef who can make vegan food taste "normal". He takes classic French training techniques and applies them to food that is animal-product free. He claims that even meat-eaters can enjoy his recipes. Maybe if I were eating them in a restaurant, I would; however, in this format, I didn't get much out of the book. Why? Almost every recipe has at least one ingredient that will leave the ordinary cook scratching their head, such as nutritional yeast, seitan, tempeh, red palm oil, miso, Japanese sea vegetables, special imported soy sauce, etc. Not to mention imitation everything: fake broth, fake butter, fake cheese, fake chicken, fake cream, and so on. Veganism comes across as an unnatural diet in which people rely heavily on scientifically engineered food to survive. Maybe that's true, but if so, it sounds highly unnatural. Another pet peeve about this book: The blatant cross-advertising for his business buddies, from restaurant owners to chefs to the originators of meat substitute products. Also, what is up with this: after he writes an introduction to a dish, turn the page and there is a huge quote from said introduction. Do we really need a reminder on the very next page? It felt very redundant after a while. Maybe some vegan people with a lot of time on their hands will appreciate this cookbook, but I didn't feel that it was accessible to the average American home cook.

  24. 4 out of 5

    AJ LeBlanc

    I give this one star, but others are going to give it five. I like basic New England food. I don't like anything spicier than garlic, onion, or red pepper. Curry scares me. Is my food boring? Maybe, but that's the way I like it. Now get off my lawn. This book was way to chic-chic for me. There's great information about the benefits of going vegan, but I wouldn't make anything as listed. There is a fantastic recipe for cashew cream that I do see myself using, but I think it is something I would hav I give this one star, but others are going to give it five. I like basic New England food. I don't like anything spicier than garlic, onion, or red pepper. Curry scares me. Is my food boring? Maybe, but that's the way I like it. Now get off my lawn. This book was way to chic-chic for me. There's great information about the benefits of going vegan, but I wouldn't make anything as listed. There is a fantastic recipe for cashew cream that I do see myself using, but I think it is something I would have found eventually in other recipes I'd want to make. My biggest pet peeve with cookbooks are recipes that call for a small amount of something. I hate buying an entire jar of something only to use a tiny bit and then having to figure out how to store it until the next time I make something similar. 90% of the time I end up throwing it away. In a perfect world I'd make a huge batch of whatever and freeze it, but that doesn't work for every food. Or I'd plan several meals around this one thing, but that's not realistic either. I'm glad I got this from the library and don't have to hunt for the receipt to return it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I love cookbooks. And this is a gorgeous cookbook. But as one for people transitioning to a new style of cooking/eating, it was a bit too complex. Another reviewer mentioned that at least in every recipe there was one ingredient that left the home chef scratching their head. Though I knew what the ingredients were, the cost of them as well as locating them in the first place in regular old Idaho or Utah is next to impossible. These chefs live and cook in big cities. Finding those ingredients is I love cookbooks. And this is a gorgeous cookbook. But as one for people transitioning to a new style of cooking/eating, it was a bit too complex. Another reviewer mentioned that at least in every recipe there was one ingredient that left the home chef scratching their head. Though I knew what the ingredients were, the cost of them as well as locating them in the first place in regular old Idaho or Utah is next to impossible. These chefs live and cook in big cities. Finding those ingredients is not difficult. However, if you are living in a town of less than 10,000, you will need to either order online or take a road trip. This is not against the recipes or the author - it's a fact of life. Chefs of this caliber (who make delicious looking and sounding food) simply don't live on a small salary in small town America. I found the guidance in "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone much more do-able. Though her ingredients were as nearly impossible to locate, her recipes, manner and advice on making this change were realistic for my location and my season of life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I loved the interviews in this book! They were very interesting and informative. It is rather fake meat heavy as he states that he loved meat and wanted to explore those tastes in vegan cooking which is great for some people, but as someone who doesn't enjoy the taste of meat, I mostly skipped over two chapters. Nearly all of the recipes are extremely elaborate and ingredient-heavy but some can be simplified. Others, I will never be able to make due to the intricacy involved, ingredients that ar I loved the interviews in this book! They were very interesting and informative. It is rather fake meat heavy as he states that he loved meat and wanted to explore those tastes in vegan cooking which is great for some people, but as someone who doesn't enjoy the taste of meat, I mostly skipped over two chapters. Nearly all of the recipes are extremely elaborate and ingredient-heavy but some can be simplified. Others, I will never be able to make due to the intricacy involved, ingredients that are difficult to find, and lack of certain equipment like a pasta maker. There are lots of creative ideas like the ravioli made of beet slices instead of pasta dough, caprese with macadamia cheese, and a vegan version of Bailey's Irish Cream. Most of the recipes say salt to taste but I tried a couple with specific measurements and it rendered the focaccia so salty that it was nearly inedible. I used less than a quarter of the amount stated for the cashew cheese and it was still a bit too much. I would put much less salt than specifies and taste it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I have officially reached the point where I sit down and read cookbooks cover to cover. I enjoyed "The Conscious Cook," though it's not my favorite of the vegetarian/vegan genre. I'm still pretty new at this vegetarian lifestyle, so I liked a lot of the recipes for staples like cashew cream and recipes for making vegan cheese. I did feel that the author was pushing certain products and kept thinking "does he have stock in this company?" On the other hand, there are both good and bad vegetarian s I have officially reached the point where I sit down and read cookbooks cover to cover. I enjoyed "The Conscious Cook," though it's not my favorite of the vegetarian/vegan genre. I'm still pretty new at this vegetarian lifestyle, so I liked a lot of the recipes for staples like cashew cream and recipes for making vegan cheese. I did feel that the author was pushing certain products and kept thinking "does he have stock in this company?" On the other hand, there are both good and bad vegetarian substitution products, so a recommendation never hurts. Many of the recipes were pretty fussy and haute cuisine for my tastes, but I love that there are options for all types of preferences in the vegan community. I'm definitely going to give the "chicken" salad recipe a try.

  28. 4 out of 5

    lindsay

    let me summarize this book: 1) very very complicated meals that take forever to prepare, require expensive ingredients, etc 2) kind of an advertisement for this certain kind of fake meat, which i guess some people might be into? but i was not into it 3) because of the fake meat, it is almost impossible to make a lot of the recipes without some kind of meat analog, and if you are not into it, well 4) the pictures are very pretty 5) the idea of cashew cream, though written about in bryant terry's (much let me summarize this book: 1) very very complicated meals that take forever to prepare, require expensive ingredients, etc 2) kind of an advertisement for this certain kind of fake meat, which i guess some people might be into? but i was not into it 3) because of the fake meat, it is almost impossible to make a lot of the recipes without some kind of meat analog, and if you are not into it, well 4) the pictures are very pretty 5) the idea of cashew cream, though written about in bryant terry's (much better) book, was a gem this is very fancy vegan food for people who want to eat very fancy vegan food, and people who either do not want to know that they are eating vegan food, or people who are really into how "difficult" and crazy it is to be vegan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Overall many of the ingredients are hard to find and the directions not always clear. Yet the end results were always very good. An example of confusing directions, one recipe calls for you to preheat the oven to 200. But you never actually cook anything in the oven. I read and reread to see if I was missing a step. Nope, just preheat the oven and then...um, walk away? And the elusive Gardein 'chicken' breasts, I've tried 3 different stores, including Whole Foods, and no luck. So, I've been usin Overall many of the ingredients are hard to find and the directions not always clear. Yet the end results were always very good. An example of confusing directions, one recipe calls for you to preheat the oven to 200. But you never actually cook anything in the oven. I read and reread to see if I was missing a step. Nope, just preheat the oven and then...um, walk away? And the elusive Gardein 'chicken' breasts, I've tried 3 different stores, including Whole Foods, and no luck. So, I've been using actual chicken. GASP! Even with all the headaches of finding everything, I liked this cookbook. So, I'll be returning the one I've been using to the library and buying my very own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I had high hopes for this cookbook. When I finally got it I was super disappointed to see that he uses tofu in almost all his recipes. From research I've done I have learned that tofu is not the super food everyone thinks it is. It's actually very harmful and messes with hormones and other functions in the body. Too good to be true. He also uses a lot of vegan substitutes like tempeh and vegan sour cream. Read the label on those products. They're worse than their "regular" counterparts, I think. I had high hopes for this cookbook. When I finally got it I was super disappointed to see that he uses tofu in almost all his recipes. From research I've done I have learned that tofu is not the super food everyone thinks it is. It's actually very harmful and messes with hormones and other functions in the body. Too good to be true. He also uses a lot of vegan substitutes like tempeh and vegan sour cream. Read the label on those products. They're worse than their "regular" counterparts, I think. A few good recipes for salads but other than that I am glad I didn't buy this book. Back to the library it goes.

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