When I got a copy of the first Sexy Vegan cookbook, I had no idea what to expect. I've been riffing on how great the book was since that first recipe I completed and we all consumed the results. The second installment breaks the usual publishing trend: volume two rarely lives up to the expectations established by the first experience.
For this review the group of testers completely agreed: fabulous recipes that everyone wants to make again. The book is arranged in a menu-grouping format. I chose recipes from a couple different menus. We started with Mango Gazpacho. A blender was recommended for the soup; it was easy and effective. The flavor balance and texture was perfect. The size of the recipes, four servings, is nice for a small group or even a larger serving for two people. Often cookbooks make such a large amount the recipes become difficult to use on a regular basis. Patton breaks that trend.
We also tried the Quick Giardiniera, lightly pickled vegetables, as part of the main meal. For the test meal the gently brined cauliflower, red pepper, carrot and celery accompanied a marinated steak. We found it to be a good accompaniment. For my tastes, I'd use slightly less of the pickling mixture to keep the flavor more subtle. However, even two days after the meal we were snacking on the pickled items. With so many recipes to test even this smaller batch gave us leftovers.
The absolute highlight was the "Hearst of Palm Ceviche." I saw the recipe and had to try it because I couldn't obviously figure out how it would taste when done. The results are simply brilliant. The texture is so accurate that everyone was completely satisfied with the dish. A small amount of jalapeno is key. Even if you don't care for spicy foods, be sure to include this ingredient. That slight edge is pivotal to making this "mock" ceviche all it can be.
I have many other recipes to make as time goes on, including some of the cocktail combinations. Enamored of the food options, I'll try the beverages later. With the first three recipes completed and devoured it appears Mr. Patton has conquered another entire group of fulfilling dishes of good food that happen to be vegan. Whether you eat vegan all the time or sometimes, no one miss anything eating from the Vegan reality of this brilliant cookbook.