The Bottom Line
The sensually tempting photos alone are worth the cost of the book.
- Beautiful photos of every single recipe and condiment
- Will appeal to anyone intersted in fine dining and cuisine
- Foodies and gourmet chefs will love it, vegetarian or not
- Fills a void; very few vegan fine dining cookbooks available
- Only 75 recipes? Tal leaves us wanting more more more!
- ISBN 9780061874338; hardback; 250 pages; William Morrow Cookbooks, 2009
- Featuring 75 gourmet recipes that will appeal to vegetarians, vegans, gourmands and foodies
- Beautiful color photographs, ingredient guides and cooking and shopping tips.
- Sample Recipe: Fingerling Potatoes with Dulse Flakes
- If all that isn't enough: Oprah endorses it.
Guide Review - The Consious Cook, by Tal Ronnen
Perhaps the best priase this vegan cookbook can receive is that my non-vegetarian friends are absolutely salivating over it and asking to borrow it. This book is just that tempting. Just like Michaelangelo turned the human form into something transcendent and divine, tomatillos become seductive and heavenly when touched by the hand of a true artist such as Tal and his talented team of food photographers.
You won't find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies or veggie chili in here. These are classy, gourmet dishes. Just saying them sounds sensually suggestive: vanilla bean panna cotta, macadamia caprese, shiitake sake sauce. Chef Tal tempts the reader with five-star fine gourmet cuisine, including creative takes on meat substitutes, including a basil and pine-nut crusted "chicken" and "lobster" Beurre Blanc sauce.
But who buys a cookbook just for the recipes? It's all the other fun stuff included in a cookbook that reminds us why we savor the process of preparing and sharing a meal, and this is where The Conscious Cook truly shines. Besides the photos of prepared recipes, Chef Tal knows that not all of us are born gourmets. Do you know your enoki mushrooms from a white beech, or how to store fresh horseradish? Browse interviews with vegetarian chefs and photos of Tal's favorite vegan restaurants nationwide. Meet pickled okra and follow the adventures of quinoa from the high Andes to the mountains of Colorado.
Before I finish off with some more glowing praise, I'll mention that some of the extra tidbits are not listed in the contents, nor the index, making navigation a bit of an effort.
The Conscious Cook is like a Cinderella story for foodies. I'd love to lie tucked in bed, falling asleep to visions of chive infused oil, maple pecan rum vegan cheesecakes while Chef Tal spins tales of artichoke ricotta tortellini in saffron cashew cream.
See also: Top 6 Vegetarian Cookbooks