This is a much-needed cookbook in the vegan world, particularly since "holiday" is not just the four usual American Christian holidays. The definition...moreThis is a much-needed cookbook in the vegan world, particularly since "holiday" is not just the four usual American Christian holidays. The definition expands to sports events, other cultures, and other religious observances. Each chapter is just begging for a party, and I got excited.
Recipes I'm most excited about: Grilled Box Choy with Sesame-Ginger Sauce (Lunar New Year) Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Lunar New Year) Miso-Ginger Braised Tofu over Bamboo Rice Pilaf (Lunar New Year) Sweet Fried Dumplings with Blood Orange-Ginger Sauce (Lunar New Year) Passion Fruit Creme Brulee (Valentine's Day) Chopped "Liver" (Passover Seder) Joy's Grandma's Seitan Brisket with Roasted Carrots, Shallots, & Turnips (Passover Seder) Chickpea Crepes with Berries & Vanilla-Lavender Cream (Passover Seder) Spring Vegetable Salad with Fava Beans, Peas, Asparagus, & Lemon-Chive Dressing (Easter Brunch) Stuffed Avocado Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette (Cinco de Mayo) Chile-Crusted Grilled Corn (4th of July Backyard Barbecue) Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples, Cranberries, & Maple-Cayenne Dressing (Thanksgiving) Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup with Truffle Oil (Christmas)(less)
Sean Brock is making quite a name for himself, one of the younger southern chefs who are true to their roots but also commit to using local ingredient...moreSean Brock is making quite a name for himself, one of the younger southern chefs who are true to their roots but also commit to using local ingredients and local farmers. He has also done considerable research about what used to grow in the south, specifically in the low country surrounding Charleston, and has made great efforts to bring those ingredients into his restaurant(s). I knew a bit about him but was really impressed by the recipes and the ingredients he is using in his restaurants. It explains a little why they are so expensive (the reason I haven't yet gone when I visit Charleston, although I suspect I've had some of the food from its place of origin - shrimp from Shem Creek, gold rice grown the old way, etc.)
The cookbook includes creative recipes using ingredients specific to the low country, but he does allow that you may not have access to those heirloom and local items. When he claims they will be best using those ingredients, I believe him. I happen to have some Carolina Gold rice at home from Anson Mills, so you'd better believe I will be using it in the recipes in which he specifies that ingredient. One is "Charleston Ice Cream" which is just a creamy preparation of the rice, hardly altered from just using that ingredient. Another is "Squash Seed Risotto."
Full disclosure - I am a pescatarian, meaning I am a vegetarian who also eats fish. While I am intrigued by Brock's exploration of local poultry, pork, and lamb, and greatly admire his efforts to only buy from humane, organic growers, I can't really weigh in on those recipes. That also has kept me from eating at his restaurant, but now that I know his personal cooking goals include frequently making entirely vegetarian meals, I know he has the ability to cook without a meat-centric dish. You would be surprised at how many chefs freeze up at this idea! It's just a fact of living in South Carolina that a farm-to-table restaurant will be very pork-centric. We have some great local growers, I just don't eat it.
To that end, there are other recipes I am eager to try (half baked goods, what can I say, I'm a baker): -Corn-Goat Cheese Soup with Shrimp and Brown Butter Chanterelles (I can get low country shrimp, local goat cheese, fresh corn, and local mushrooms at my downtown farmers market and this recipe would be a good reason to splurge) -Salad of Plums and Tomatoes with Raspberry Vinegar, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Pesto (plums and tomatoes together?) -Creamed Corn (his grandma's recipe) -Pickled Shrimp with Cilantro and Fennel (a southern staple) -Audrey Morgan's Apple-Sorghum Stack Cake -Chocolate Alabama Stack Cake (love the story with this one) -Rhubarb Buckle with Poppy Seed-Buttermilk Ice Cream -Carolina Gold Rice Pudding with Candied Kumquats (less)