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Book Reviews

Mistress Ginger Cooks

Book Review:
Mistress Ginger Cooks by Mistress Ginger
review by Marla Rose

She’s sassy in her green sequined dress. She’s got the razzle-dazzle with her bright pink bob. She’s  saucy with her confident, sharp-witted life lessons. She is Mistress Ginger and she is here to make you and the world we inhabit a little more vegan-fabulous.

Mistress Ginger Cooks!: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone, a new release from The Book Publishing Company, is a joyful and spirited romp through the collected musings, pointers and tantalizing recipes of performance artist and world-wise femme fatale with a heart of pink Mistress Ginger, who is also known as Justin Leaf in her spare time. Mistress Ginger just happens to be an ethical vegan in addition to everything else that is dazzling and glamorous (oh, sure, like nutritional yeast doesn’t scream chic) so with this publication, we are in possession of a treasure trove of the best guidance, wisdom and support in book form. Oh, and Mistress Ginger has lots and lots of recipes as well. She is the gift that keeps giving.

Mistress Ginger encourages us to do our best and get back on our pretty little bikes when we’ve hit a little roadblock in our path to vegan perfection. “Don’t try to be perfect,” she advices. “Leave that to me.” (I am so stealing that line, by the way.) To make the journey easier, though, Mistress Ginger provides all kinds of support, from tips for busy vegans to a list of pantry staples even seasoned vegans would benefit from looking through to a list of useful tools and appliances. Arranged in chapters that provide everything from breakfast (“Good Morning, Sunshine”) to Dessert (“Put a little Sugar in My Bowl”), we get beverages, salads, appetizers, soups, sandwiches, main dishes, sauces, menu suggestions and more.

With lots of fun, playful photos interspersed throughout of Mistress Ginger and her many suitors, the cookbook is a lively, frothy read. The introductions to the recipes are full of sass (consider, for example, this one to her Naughty Naan: “You go to an Indian restaurant, and boohoo! You can’t eat the bread because it was made with ghee, also known as clarified butter. Who the hell needs clarified butter? The only thing that needs [to be] clarified around here is this: butter is utterly unnecessary! You will soon realize this for yourself once you take a bite of my Naughty Naan, made naughty with a touch of the Mistress. Yes, it takes a little time to roll out the dough. Cry me a river, sweetheart! You’ll soon get over it. I’ve not only given you an alternative to naan, I’ve given you an upgrade. So stop your whining and start thanking me for bringing naan back into your life.”) How can you resist? The recipes themselves are easy and have entertaining commentary within (on the Presto Pesto: “Pesto should be mostly smooth with just the right amount of stubbly texture, like my men,” and “The flavor of the pesto by itself should be very bold, also like my men. Wow, I never realized how much my men and my pesto have in common. That must explain why I can’t get enough of either.”), which makes for a charming cookbook that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still provides the goods: from the Brazen Butternut Bisque to Fit-For-A-Queen Artichokes, we get a lot of tempting recipes shuffled through Mistress Ginger’s cheeky counsel.

I recommend Mistress Ginger Cooks! At a time when cookbooks seem to take themselves just a wee bit too seriously, this is a welcome breath of fresh, minty, fabulous air. Thanks to the Book Publishing Company for permission to reprint Mistress Ginger’s recipe, Gingersnatch Cookies.

Ah, here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for: a recipe with Ginger as the main event! Sink your teeth into my soft and chewy gingersnatch. I’m talking about cookies, you fiend! these gingery oatmeal cookies sparkle with a light sugar coating. they’ll lead you headfirst into my personal Kingdom of Sweets, where you’ll find me perched on my throne as the reigning queen of sugar and spice and everything nice . . . and everything naughty.

Gingersnatch Cookies

1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3⁄4 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup vegan buttery spread
1⁄4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

All hands on deck. Serious gingersnatch action (also known as “gingersnac- tion”) is about to transpire. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, oats, baking soda, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the egg replacer with the water in a food processor and process until frothy, about 3 minutes. How are you doing with the gingersnaction so far?

Put 3⁄4 cup of the sugar and the vegan buttery spread in a large bowl and mix using an electric mixer. Add the molasses, vanilla extract, and egg replacer. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture using a wooden spoon to form a dough.

Roll the dough into 24 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter. Roll each ball in the remaining 1⁄4 cup of the sugar to create a thin coating and put on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Gingersnatch Cookies will stay fresh in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Congratulations! You’ve had your first experience with gingersnaction. How was it for you? You know what they say: “Once you go gingersnatch, you never go back.”

Per cookie: 107 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 17 g carbohydrates, 118 mg sodium, 34 mg calcium, 1 g fiber

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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