Adler, Debbie. Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-Free and Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery. Harlequin. Oct. 2013. 160p. photos. ISBN 9780373892822. pap. $19.95. COOKING
Adler, accountant-turned- owner of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes, has written a cookbook filled with recipes from her Los Angeles bakery. Adler describes common staples found in her bakery and where they can be purchased (a detailed list is available in the “Resources” guide), as well as common cooking techniques, such as how readers can make their own gluten-free flour and seed butters from scratch. One chapter is devoted to savories, but this book is primarily concerned with satisfying one’s sweet tooth, with chapters on muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, bars, and donuts. Adler highlights sensible advice on the nutritional properties of ingredients such as coconut, sunflower seeds, and turmeric, with relentlessly perky prose (“Get ready for your closeup, Miss Seedy, because you have the lead role in this jelly roll”). Each recipe is accompanied by gorgeous color photographs and nutritional information per serving. VERDICT A cookbook that will fill an admittedly small niche but one with an enthusiastic following. Recommended for readers looking to bake without allergens, gluten, or dairy products.
Garratt, Nicky. Mango and Mint: Arabian, Indian, and North African Inspired Vegan Cuisine. PM. Oct. 2013. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9781604863239. pap. $17.95. COOKING
Touring on the road as a punk rock musician, Garratt found that tasty vegetarian meals were in short supply—an experience that inspired him to pen his debut cookbook. The work includes standard sections on breads, main dishes, salads, desserts, and more but also features two bonus chapters. “Ganging Up” instructs readers on how to bulk up on staples such as precooked legumes, spice blends, and sauces to make cooking easier and more efficient, while “Recycled” contains tips on using leftovers, foraged items, and homegrown herbs and will appeal to frugal cooks. Garratt does readers a service by highlighting cuisines from regions that offer so much by way of vegan fare that they won’t miss the lack of meat. A comparable read is Sally Butcher’s The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian: Modern Recipes from Veggiestan; her book spotlights vegetarian food from the region, albeit with dairy and eggs. VERDICT An entry-level and nontraditional approach to Indian, North African, and Middle Eastern vegan fare. Connoisseurs of these cuisines will need to look elsewhere for more depth, but this title will appeal to vegetarians and vegans seeking global inspiration to make everyday meals more flavorful using fresh, unprocessed ingredients and simple cooking methods.
Hester, Kathy (text) & Kate Lewis (photos). Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You: More Than 100 Delicious One-Pot Meals for Your 1.5-Quart or 1.5-Litre Slow Cooker. Fair Winds: Quayside. 2013. 176p. photos. index. ISBN 9781592335633. pap. $19.99. COOKING
Hester (The Vegan Slow Cooker; The Great Vegan Bean Book) presents a collection of unique small batch recipes, from breakfast to dessert. As in her first slow cookbook, Hester covers staples including stews and unexpected treats such as cookies. The book opens with a brief overview of slow cooking and vegan alternatives for meat and dairy; subsequent recipes introduce both basic ingredients (e.g., nut ricotta, spice blends), as well as hard-to-find items. Dishes such as Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni or tamarind tempeh will satisfy a range of palates and diverse dietary needs and preferences. Recipes contain oil, soy, and gluten-free options, and substitutions for many dishes make the most of seasonal vegetables or whatever grains and proteins are on hand. Hester provides a nutritional breakdown of fat, protein, cholesterol, fiber, and calories per serving along with each recipe. The text is accompanied by beautiful photographs, demonstrating that slow-cooked food can be vibrant and colorful. VERDICT Vegans, vegetarians, and anyone seeking healthy, appetizing slow cooker recipes in small portions will find this title informative and inspiring.