Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone
Ann Gentry is Hollywood’s go-to vegan chef and mom. The creator, founder, and operating owner of the popular and chic vegan restaurant Real Food Daily, the only restaurant in the Los Angeles area that serves a 100% vegan menu using zero animal by-products and foods grown exclusively with organic farming methods, Gentry shares her secret recipes in Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone. As a mom herself, Ann knows how to feed a hungry family on an affordable budget. But you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy Vegan Family Meals. Moms, chefs, foodies, and families can all enjoy expanding their cooking repertoire with this book filled with easy to prepare, scrumptious, healthy recipes and tips for the real food pantry. Whether you’re a time-strapped cook or a seasoned pro in the kitchen, Vegan Family Meals demystifies vegetarian and vegan cooking by offering more than 100 deliciously fresh and simple to prepare recipes, many of which are gluten free, and all of which are satisfying and healthy dishes for everyone to enjoy.
With this cookbook feature and recipe highlight, we’re thrilled to welcome Sheri as a new Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook. Sheri, a native Californian who tends to cook with an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan meals that appeal to eaters with varied diets, focuses on comfort foods and baked goods. An impressive fact (among others) about Sheri is that her blog, Pork Cracklins, just celebrated its eighth anniversary — yes, eight years! Head over there to find out about ice cream, wine, and why a mostly vegetarian/vegan blog is named Pork Cracklins. And while you’re there, don’t miss her amazing cookbook collection.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:
Vegan Family Meals is one of those cookbooks that I want to sit down with and pore over, dreaming about the beautiful, delicious food that’s going to come out of my kitchen. I was already a fan of Ann Gentry–her first book, The Real Food Daily Cookbook, is painstakingly thorough and full of flavorful dishes.
For me, the measure of a good vegan or vegetarian cookbook is that it has to appeal to a range of diets–from vegan to omnivore. I don’t want the meat eaters at my table to feel like the meal is missing something, and I don’t want things like vegan sour cream to taste like an unnatural, weird substitute for something that normally adds something special to a dish. I also don’t want to run around town searching for obscure ingredients that I’ll never use again. The enchilada recipe that I tried uses some unusual ingredients–kombu, umbeoshi paste and ume vinegar, but they’re all readily available at the local natural foods store. And they’re great ingredients to have on hand if you do any vegan or vegetarian cooking.
Vegan Family Meals is divided into several sections: Breakfasts, Snacks and Sandwiches, Soups, Family Style Salads, Simple Meals, Grains and Vegetables, and desserts. There are helpful technique and ingredient tips throughout the book, making it a valuable reference for healthy eating.
I tagged a bunch of recipes in the book and had a hard time deciding what to make first. I’m a bit time-crunched since my kitchen is about to be non-functional for a couple of weeks for a minor remodel. I like that the book has recipes that range in effort and time. Ann includes make-ahead tips, so I decided to start with Pinto Bean Enchiladas, made over a couple of days (see below). After making that one, I couldn’t wait to dig into the book again, so I threw together a The Summer Blueberry crumble as well. It’s a lightly-sweetened version with an oat, nutty topping and it’s a breeze to make. We thought it was delicious warm out of the oven, and perfect for a summer evening.
The week after I started cooking from Vegan Family Meals, I met Ann at an event at 18 Reasons in San Francisco. It was a casual dinner with about twenty people, family style with conversation with the author. We had edamame hummus (high on my list to make next), chilled zucchini soup, and a perfectly cooked quinoa salad. Ann is just like her book–approachable, and passionate about good, quality food.
If you’re ready to try some of the vegan recipes in this book, we recommend starting with pinto bean enchiladas.