Recipe Reviews: The Veganomicon

I’ve been slowly working my way through some of the recipes in the Veganomicon that interest me. I think they have a lot of great recipes. It is an informative book and the descriptions before each recipe are cute and humorous. My main issue with the recipes are the fact that they do not take into account the time that prep work takes. My carrots, peppers, onions, garlic do not always come magically sliced, minced or chopped. Since I am not a professional cook and have very limited machinery, slicing onions take forever and I’m very sensitive to the sulphur (which means that I cry like a little girl whose just lost their favorite doll). I’ve been mostly satisfied with the recipes in the book, but they are time consuming. Very time consuming.

This last weekend I decided to throw a BBQ to celebrate being accepted into my credential program at San Jose State. I wanted to make one vegetarian dish and Andrew was going to bbq some meat. I ate red meat for the first time in a couple months, but more on that later. I decided to make the Manzana Chili Verde and Skillet Corn Bread. I adapted the corn bread to be made in a piece of bakeware and with spelt flour. I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of white flour that I use.

I’m not going to write the recipe for the Manzana Chili Verde since it’s incredibly long, but I will note that the recipe says 1 hour to make. This is ridiculously underestimated. You would have to be Speedy Gonzalez or Flash Gordon to make this recipe in an hour. It took me at least an hour and a half, probably closer to two hours. The prep work took me forever since I’m a slow cutter. The recipe does not include the prep time for cutting all the vegetables. Also, I had to extra beans to make this hearty enough to be a chili. We ended up using it more like a dip than eating it out of a bowl. It was very tasty, but I don’t think I would make it again.

I will give the recipe for the cornbread since I made some adaptions. I really enjoy the way it came out. It has a heavy corn taste and a very dense moist texture from the spelt flour. The only critique I have of the recipe is that it also took much longer than it said in the book. The book says that it needs to cook for 30-32 minutes. Mine nearly took forty-five minutes. I find that this is a trend in this book. Either my oven is screwed up or the authors of this book have a super oven.

Skillet Corn Bread (Basic Corn Bread)

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (recipe uses soy)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup spelt flour (original recipe uses all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a square baking pan with spray oil or whichever type of grease you like.

2. Combing the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle as you prepare everything else. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the milk mixture adn oil. Use a spoon to mix together until just combined; some small lumps are okay, but try to get rid of large lumps.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-32 minutes. Now, mine took much longer than this. Keep checking with a sharp knife or toothpick to see if ti comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Today I some of my leftover cornbread with a third of a can of black beans, some mozzarella cheese, and tapatio sauce. It made for a tasty, delicious lunch.

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