This DVD couldn’t have come along at a better time. Just yesterday, my husband uttered one brief sentence that I never could have imagined emerging from his lips, “I have been thinking about going vegan.” My jaw dropped to the floor, I had to quickly reach for the nearest chair to sit down, lest I collapse onto the floor. The only word that I could muster was, “huh?” After all, I married a self-proclaimed ‘meat-man.’ With the number of times he had stated that his body just needs meat, I am surprised it wasn’t written into our wedding vows. Yet, in the past six months he has submerged himself into the world of physical fitness, and come to love the energy-packed smoothies and hearty salads that I strategically place in front of him at the first grumpy sign of hunger. It seems, he has been noticing that meat and eggs ‘drag him down’ just as dairy once did.
Unfortunately, I have a small repertoire of vegan dishes swimming around in my brain, not enough to fill my husband’s meat-craving appetite. This is where Everyday Dish quickly came to my rescue. This vegan version of an efficient cooking show covers a variety of recipes, from main dishes to desserts. The three chefs (whom I will name below) quite literally bring you into their kitchen, and step you through 15 easy (yes, I said easy) vegan recipes. While the DVD includes printable versions of recipes for you to use offline, the friendly presentations really did help to address any concerns or fears of preparation that were still lingering in my mind.
I was immediately impressed with the DVD layout, which allows you to pick the recipe you would like to watch. This is awesome for when time is short. Watch a five-minute clip here, a ten-minute clip there, and before you know it, over a dozen easy recipes have subtly been added to your menu!
The featured recipes are equally divvied up among three well-known vegan/vegetarian chefs: Bryanna Clark Grogan, beyond famous for her many entertaining-style cookbooks; Dreena Burton, a veg writer, cookbook author, and obvious lover of vegetables and grains; and Julie Hasson, cookbook author and sweet tooth extraordinaire.
Bryanna was an excellent chef to start with, as her careful explanation of each detail made me feel at home in the vegan kitchen. The recipes she chose to showcase exhibit her penchant for entertaining; from the quick and easy (her famous Brown Gravy and Lemon Lime Bars) to more elaborate “meat” dishes (Neatballs, “Chicken” Cutlets, and “Pork” Tenderloin). At first, I assumed that Bryanna must be a carnivore trapped in a vegan body, yet, her style quickly revealed a desire to create delicious “substitutes” for those who have difficulty with the transition. While I was intrigued by the neatballs, and do think the gravy will make its way into our dinners, the soy base of several of the dishes may cause me to backburner them. Though I have no proclamations against soy, sizable servings do not agree with my husband’s stomach. No reason to start him off on the wrong foot!
Moving onto the cheerful Dreena, a true Food Network natural. She exuded a confident presence, professional mannerisms, and exceptional clarity. I must admit her recipes were also the most appealing to me. Obviously full of flavor, yet based in grains and vegetables, Dreena made a strong bid for my all-natural side. Taking the traditional and adding some simple pizzazz was her signature. The menu included Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, Chickpea Sensation Patties, Lemon Herb Tofu, Peanut Sesame Hummus, and of course, a dessert … Chocolate Mint Melties!
Julie was last but certainly not least for my recipe viewings. Her boisterous introductions quickly eased into a casual and friendly attitude that made me feel as if I was chatting with her from the barstool across the counter. Julie’s love for cooking is certainly not reflected in the amount of time she spends in the kitchen. Though her dishes are made from scratch, each is incredibly simple, un-intimidating, and well suited to almost any palate (including little ones). Of course, her love of sweets (Triple Chocolate Pudding and Nora’s [Chocolate] Cake) and comfort food (Taco Supremo, Deli-Style Noodle Soup, and Diner Loaf) also comes shining through.
As mentioned, the DVD comes with printable versions of the recipes to use while cooking, including a few bonus recipes! While the written recipes are certainly enough to get the job done, I must admit, watching them in action with additional commentary on the why’s and how’s added some confidence to my own ability to tackle these recipes. Not to mention, the recipes that appeared lengthy when written, somehow seemed less overwhelming.
The recipes are succinctly written, with important notes where appropriate. However, it would be great if they were in a uniform format. Each seemed to possess a different font and layout, returning a scattered feeling to my cooking desires. With the cohesiveness corrected, I could truly enjoy this wonderfully underwhelming array of recipes with absolutely no hesitation.
Everyday Dish can be purchased directly from the Everyday Dish TV website, where a host of other wonderful recipes and how-to videos reside!
Cookbooks by these Great Chefs
Bryanna Clark Grogan:
Authentic Chinese Cuisine: For the Contemporary Kitchen
Nonna’s Italian Kitchen: Delicious Homestyle Vegan Cuisine
20 Minutes to Dinner: Quick, Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Vegetarian Meals
The Almost No-Fat Cookbook: Everyday Vegetarian Recipes
The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook: Festive Vegetarian Recipes