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Although there are times where I hate to admit I grew up in the Bible-thumping South, there are aspects of living here that I enjoy. Growing up, traditional Southern foods were a staple in my family’s diet. I was raised to eat things like cornbread, cabbage, sweet potato biscuits, pound cake, and sweet iced tea. I knew what grits were when I was old enough to talk. Every house I went to had bacon grease reserved for cooking.

Needless to say, I’m not so much a fan of those same foods today as I used to be, mainly because so many of those dishes features animal products in one way or another. Even the corn would be “seasoned” with bacon fat, and everything had lard in it. So I was obviously excited about my new copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen arriving today. After glancing through it a few times, some of the recipes do look a little daunting, but that just means it’ll be more fun! 🙂

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I immediately wanted to try one of the book’s recipes, but being ridiculously low on groceries, I was limited. But I had a beautiful green cabbage that I had bought that I was dying to cook anyway, so I settled on the Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage. Because I’m a cheap skate, I was forced to use a relatively small pot, which meant I could only fit half the cabbage in there. I didn’t think about that at first, so I ended up with half a cabbage where it called for a whole one, but with all the oil and seasonings. It was still good though!

I also don't have a big enough bowl...
I also don't have a big enough bowl...

I think cabbage is absolutely beautiful (especially the red ones!), but the thing that makes cabbage so special to me is the smell when it’s being cooked. As soon as I get a whiff of cooked cabbage, I’m instantly taken back home.

isn't that beautiful?
isn't that beautiful?

I enjoyed cooking this dish because it was so nice to look at. The oil made the cabbage shiny, and the mustard seeds and red pepper flakes gave it some color.

The whole plate
The whole plate

Since cabbage isn’t exactly filling, I decided to go further with the whole “southern” plan for dinner.  A couple days ago a friend and I made a quinoa curry dish that only called for half a can of kidney beans. I used the Cajun-Creole Spice Blend recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen, which I imagine would be tasty on just about anything. I also steamed 3 small turnips that were on their last days and threw on a slab of Earth Balance.

The meal was really good. The cabbage really did taste close to what I remember eating growing up, even though it didn’t have a ham-hock or bacon in it. It’s a little spicy (always good) and I hope it’s a good indication of how much I’m going to enjoy the rest of this cookbook.

I can’t wait to make more meals from Vegan Soul Kitchen. This one was so easy that I’ll be making it many, many times.

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