Monday, August 16, 2010

Ripe From Around Here

This week, another cookbook review...the latest from Torontonian Jae Steele.

Ripe From Around Here / Jae Steele
Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, c2010.
263 p.

Another wonderful new cookbook I received from the publisher, this is the second book by Toronto nutritionist and cook Jae Steele. I bought her first one and have enjoyed it, so was looking forward to this one as well.

Steele is a holistic nutritionist, so her books are each nearly half full of information and tips about healthy vegan eating, vitamins and antioxidants and so on of various foods, how to prepare foods best and all sorts of fascinating things like that. It's very useful even for those who are quite well versed in the subject and I can imagine it would be invaluable for new vegans. In this one she also talks about the benefits of eating locally, and provides a how-to on composting.

I've tried quite a few of the recipes in this book, being fortunate enough to test a few for the book in its pre-publication state. A couple of the recipes have become staples for me: the pesto potato salad was amazing and simple -- my husband thinks it should be called Dangerously Delicious Potato Salad. And I love the Arame Broccoli Salad; broccoli, sesame seeds and arame (seaweed) tossed in a luscious dressing of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and dulse powder. I serve it over buckwheat noodles with a bit of extra dressing, and it is fantastic. Even non-seaweed eaters enjoy it.

There are many tempting recipes, using generally familiar ingredients, though a few are a bit more expensive or hard to find, especially when you're not in a big city. These are usually not quick and dirty recipes, rather some may take a little more time. They do use quality ingredients and feel a bit more 'gourmet' than instant. Not all take loads of time -- the Arame salad only takes about 20 minutes, but the focus is on fresh produce and homemade meals, not fast food or the use of ready made veggie products. She also places strong emphasis on eating locally, so if you're interested in the slow food movement or local eating or veganism - any of these are important parts of her presentation.

This book is well worth perusing, with lots of information and rigorously tested recipes. Jae Steele also has a website where she shares quite a few of her recipes so if you want to try some out, pop on over to A Domestic Affair. There are recipes for a whole meal, from drinks to desserts, shared generously amidst lots of news about what she is up to next. (my fave? Flax Maple cookies. Yum.)

Both this book and her first one, Get It Ripe, have tons of ideas for the adventurous vegan cook. They are mostly text, with a few central photos of some very delicious looking meals. This would be a good addition to a vegetarian or vegan kitchen.


  1. I often seem to forget about Meatless Monday until I see your posts on Tuesday but I always appreciate your reminders and cookbook recommendations. It's great to hear from a real person about what's good!

  2. This looks great. I went directly from your post to my library page to place a hold. Can't wait to try that potato salad...

  3. Adding to my library list now. (I try out almost all cookbooks via the library before purchasing these days.)

  4. Lisa- I'm glad to know it helps! And you could just have a meatless Tuesday instead ;)

    Carin - oh, it's good. I made it with a purchased vegan pesto - I didn't have enough basil. Was still great.

    sassymonkey - I do the same - nearly always try them out first except for these few fave authors I have

  5. I've almost given up on ways to convince myself that I can truly enjoy seaweed when it's not holding a sushi roll together, but I might just try this one more recipe... ::grin::

  6. Buried in Print - hope I haven't steered you wrong! ;)


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