Book Club Tuesday: Green Kitchen Stories

Just look at those Baked Pistachio & Herb Falafel! Devine! Looking at this dish I’m reminded that not long ago this type of recipe wouldn’t have even been in my consciousness.  As I’ve said before, I haven’t always been a vegetarian and it took almost 7 years with my vegetarian husband before I became a vegetarian (truth be told it wasn’t even anything my husband said much to his chagrin, it was an afternoon spent watching Oprah and  Michael Pollan discuss food that changed my mind). However during those first 7 years I never prepared any meat dishes at home but in the same breath we hardly ate any vegetables either. The truth hurts, so when I read the intro to Vegetarian Everyday I really identified with David’s comment: “I was the unhealthy vegetarian (yes, they do exist) who basically lived on pasta, pizza, sweets and ice cream.”  We lived on lots of pasta. Lots. Is there such a thing as a carb-atrian?! So when I decided to become a vegetarian I knew I had to emphasize the “veg” in vegetarian.

It’s been a very long journey to get to the style of cooking I lean towards and I think that after we had our first child I knew that I wanted to put my best kitchen foot forward for her. Since we introduced solid foods into her diet a year and a half ago I’ve actively sought out cookbooks that contain nutritious, delicious, and realistic “family” food. I want “everyday recipes” (as Luise and David put it) that are interesting and fairly simple to make.

My review today is fairly all-encompassing — I’ll be referring to their blog (Green Kitchen Stories), app, and cookbook (which is called Vegetarian Everyday here but everywhere else The Green Kitchen. Unfortunately I don’t have their Green Kitchen Travels but hopefully if my husband is reading this, my b-day is coming up. Hint, hint…). In all honesty I became a fan of their cookbook before their blog and ever since I made my first GKS recipe I’ve become enamored with their recipes!

Would you believe me if I told you that the first recipe I ever made from Vegetarian Everyday was the most popular photo that I’ve posted on my ShipshapeEatworthy instagram…ever?? True story. Last summer when my mom was visiting I saw a recipe for Red Lentil Polpette w/ Lemon Balm Sauce and decided to make it because I happened to have some lemon balm growing in my herb garden. Well, that dish was so delicious and simple to prepare but it tasted like it could have been served at the swankiest vegetarian restaurant. That’s how I feel now whenever I try their recipes — they take classic dishes and ingredients and put such a special spin on them. IMHO their approach to vegetarian cooking is unlike many other cookbooks and blogs. It really hit a cord for people on my IG because at 169 likes, it’s one of the most popular photos I’ve posted (to some that’s a small number but really means so much to me!) Anyways, my daughter loved them and I was happy that I could entice her to eat something I would have never touched as a child.

Speaking of which, feeding children is not an easy task. As I’ve said in some of my earlier reviews, my daughter started off eating anything I gave her to having pretty refined and particular tastes. I mean, she’s a lady of two after all. So I especially appreciate the fact that David and Luise write about what mealtimes look like at their house. If you’re cooking from scratch it’s a horrible feeling to spend time in the kitchen only to face the despairing and disgusted face of a toddler. I was keenly interested when I saw their Jan 14th newsletter in my inbox: The Mother of all Veggie Bowls. At first I was interested because both my husband and I love these types of dinners but as I started to read the post I realized that what I experience at home is not unlike what they describe and their solution is easy: “One method that always seem to work is when we place a mix of vegetables, grains, seeds, fruit and legumes on separate plates on the table and have a little Build-Your-Own-Dinner party. Then we can all pick our favourites.” Not complicated advice but it makes sense and it was nice to read about the experiences of other vegetarian families. While there are many dedicated sites for families and cooking not many have a vegetarian focus. So I gave their strategy a try — it worked well. I enjoyed my favourites (such as avocado, something my husband can’t stand), my husband enjoyed his, and my little one loved the Sundried Tomato and Red Lentil Spread, quinoa, and some oven roasted tomatoes even. Each one of us was satisfied without feeling like anyone was held hostage by another’s preferences.

As anyone who sees my IG from time to time will know that pizza is a pretty important dish — where would our Friday nights be without it? Intrigued by their recipe for Pizza w/ a Cauliflower Crust I boldly decided to sub our regular dough for one made almost entirely of cauliflower. While my husband was skeptical he appreciated the idea of getting even more vegetables into our diet. I loved the texture and taste (FYI I followed their tip for making it as a vegan alternative, which meant subbing the eggs with chia seeds and water).  So now when I can get cauliflower on sale I buy it with this recipe in mind (or their vegetable flatbread — another superb recipe but not vegan in case anyone is wondering).

What is dinner without something a little sweet? Take their Mocha and Black Bean Mousse Cake for instance — who knew that black beans could make such an amazing cake? (Here is where I’ll put a plug in for the Pulse Pledge — although so many of their recipes can help you on this pledge during the International Year of Pulses , this one would be a great one to start with if you haven’t already made your pledge…just saying). In the same token, who knew that black beans would make amazing cookies? I didn’t until I gave their Chocolate Black Bean Cookies a try! I discovered this recipe on their Desserts app. I find both their apps (Desserts & Green Kitchen) great — I love having cookbooks on my tablet for easy browsing and as I make the recipe the app disables my sleep mode so no having to touch my screen with dirty fingers. Bonus! Each app is full of their blog favourites and I find it convenient to use. Also, many of you who’ve read some of my other reviews know  that cost is a big thing for me. These apps are a great investment in your cooking/kitchen because you get so many recipes for a fraction of what a cookbook costs at a store.

If you’re curious about other recipes I’ve made from the Green Kitchen check out my hashtag #gksse — keep in mind as I continue to try their recipes I’ll keep adding to this hashtag. Aside from their fantastic recipes I really admire their honest and humble approach to their craft. As David put it a few days ago on his IG: “After more than six years of blogging, I still have a hard time gripping that the recipes we create in our little Stockholm kitchen, actually are being cooked (and photographed) in kitchens around the world. I think that is what I love most about @instagram. Not that I get to share my own photos, but that we get to peek into those kitchens and seeing our recipes in action.” When I read this I really appreciated how much they care about creating useful and tasty recipes. More importantly when a recipe isn’t good, they’re honest and don’t post it (read here for the deets). If all food bloggers where as honest and transparent as Luise and David there wouldn’t be any disappoint home cooks along with wasted time, effort, or ingredients.So happy to have found the Green Kitchen Stories (in an effort not to gush, I’ll simply urge you to give their recipes a try! You won’t be disappointed!) See you next Tuesday!

** Due to unforeseen circumstances, blogs images prior to 2018 were deleted. Some images were recovered or replaced, some were not. Please accept my apologies if the text refers to an image that is no longer present.**

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