My new favorite cookbook is The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.
I first learned about it when I attended a very fancy-schmancy dinner. At the end of the meal, our beautiful hostess stood up and said, “I’d like for you all to know that you just had an entirely vegan meal. Including dessert.” Well, that was music to my ears (Silver Lining)! I promptly went into the kitchen where the chef told me all about the book. My promptness continued the next day when I bought the book. I LOVE it.
Ronnen is not a preachy guy – at all. I love his quick look at why he is vegan: Health, Ethics, Planet, Helping Others, Because Albert Einestein Said So and Because Paul McCartney Says So.
I’ve been blabbing about it to friends and the other day, one girlfriend said to me, “Well, are you ever going to write about it?!?” Point taken. My hesitation has been that many of the recipes in this cookbook are a little more challenging than I usually prepare or put on Friday’s Fixin’s; however, I’m up for the challenge because whatever I make from this cookbook is AMAZING.
Below is one of the easier recipes. Hope you enjoy it! I also hope that you will check out this book and challenge yourself to try some of the recipes (though I imagine that for many of you complicated recipes aren’t as complicated for you as they are for moi!).
Grilled Artichokes with Caesar Dressing
- 2 fresh whole artichokes, trimmed (which means taking the sharp tips off!)
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large garlic clove
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- Caesar dressing
- Pour 1 inch of water into a steamer pot and bring to a boil. Place the artichokes in the steamer with the tips facing up, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until an inside leaf can be pulled out easily. Let cool.*
- Cut the artichokes in half from top to bottom (a very sharp serrated knife works best for this) and drizzle the insides with the oil.
- Finely mince the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest together, add the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle the mixture over the cut halves of the artichokes.
- Preheat a charcoal grill to high. Grill the artichokes cut side down until lightly blackened, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with Caesar dressing for dipping.
* You can feel free to stop here. Steamed artichokes dipped in the Caesar dressing taste heavenly!
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon capers, drained (I don’t usually like capers, but they are perfect in this recipe!)
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonaise (I used the Reduced Fat version. Just sayin’!)
- 1 teaspoon white miso paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon light agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil (As you may remember, my fave is either Lucini or Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Put the garlic, capers, mayonnaise, miso paste, nutritional yeast, agave nectar, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor to pulse and combine.
- With motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream. Continue to blend for 1 minute. Easy peasy.