Have you ever looked inside a cookbook and been so in awe of it’s beauty and recipes that you couldn’t put it down? That is truly, honestly how I felt when I received Tess Master’s, AKA The Blender Girl, latest cookbook, The Perfect Blend. I was so honored that she asked if I would review it and share a recipe with you all. I have a lot of cookbooks and enjoy them, but I must say, this is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever seen. Like, ever. Everything from the colors of the pages, to the design, layout, personal photos and most of all, the versatility of photos on the pages, totally captivated my attention. Each dish is photographed beautifully and so different than the next, yet it all flows. I was turning the pages with complete excitement. I honestly can’t put it down.
That stew on the cover is the recipe I’m sharing today!
If you are not familiar with the amazingly, popular Tess Masters from The Blender Girl blog, well today is your lucky day. She is a powerhouse with this being her 4th cookbook, and is also the spokesperson for KitchenAid. She is allowing me to give away a cookbook to one lucky reader.
This is so easy for me to write about this book because of how much I love it so far. I love how many of the pages are different colors….some dark, some light. Most of the photos have a very gorgeous, dark and rustic natural feel to them, which is my favorite style. Not everything is on white! I love the realistic look and how all the colors of each dish pop so beautifully because of this. I also love how an entire photograph takes up both pages for the recipe and so artistically, the recipe is so perfectly placed. In other words, the photography style and setup was thought out very strategically. I know many may perhaps not notice or care about those things, but to me, I can feel the love that was put into this book by Tess. This makes me appreciate it so much.
See what I mean here in the recipe I’m sharing today, Sustenance Stew…the whole photograph was styled in a way to allow for a perfect placement of the recipe later on….brilliant.
So much thought went into this book and the design by Tess and it definitely did not go unnoticed by me! I really love photography and design so much, that every detail I picked up on. Can you tell I love it??
Now, what’s in this book, The Perfect Blend? I’ve gone on and on about it’s beauty and design, so what are the recipes?? Well, I was totally wrong in what I was expecting. I was thinking just a bunch of smoothies or soups based on the title. Oh boy, was I wrong! Tess has created 100 vegan and gluten-free recipes focusing on fresh ingredients. Every single recipe caught my attention…she uses the blender for a part of each recipe, but not for the entire recipe. The chapters are very interesting too..they are titled differently than most books. They range from “Energy”, “Detox”, “Protein”, “Weight loss”, to “Alkaline forming”, “Low carb”, etc. Some of the recipe titles will have you drooling. She has “Greedy Green Curry” pg. 82, “BBQ Mushroom & Bean Burgers” pg. 62, “Satay Skewers” pg. 56, “Cheezy Broccoli” pg. 45, “Tricked-up Tabouli” pg. 176, “Mind-blowing Moroccan Pizza” pg. 197. There are even some desserts, “Choc-mint Mania” pg. 202, “Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin Bread Pudding” pg. 206, “Caramel Cravings” pg. 188. See…not just all smoothies!
She also has a wealth of knowledge about many plants, nuts, vegetables, fruits and their human body health benefits. I loved reading about it. I have only made 2 recipes so far, but all I an say is WOW. Everything was beautifully balanced and delicious.
This stew was sooo good, I was in near tears…happy tears. The flavor from a good dose of fresh ginger, creamy roasted almond butter, tomatoes and red pepper flakes really packed a punch.
This sprinkle of chia seeds was a brilliant choice. I cannot stand chia seeds when they are soaked, but fresh as a topping, gave an awesome crunch. I never would have thought of that on a stew, but I loved it. As if that wasn’t fantastic enough on it’s own, it is also topped with chopped fresh avocado and sliced almonds. Then you place it on a bed of cauliflower rice. Simply dang delicious! Fresh, homemade, amazing stew. I omitted the 1 tablespoon of oil called for and sauteed the veggies in a little broth instead. Since my blog is an oil-free blog, I do need to let you all know that many of the recipes do call for oil. I know many of you are oil-free as well, so I do need to point that out. However, I am very good at subbing out oil and feel I can achieve this with most of the recipes. Some of them, probably not, but I feel the recipes are so top notch that the few I can’t, makes the book still so worth it. That is my personal opinion.
Today I’m sharing with you this incredible Sustenance Stew!
CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart
You can purchase the book here!
Sustenance Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook
- 2 medium heads cauliflower cut into florets
- 1/4 cup 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (NOTE: I did not use any oil in the recipe, See NOTES at the bottom)
- 1 teaspoon natural salt see page 139, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil NOTE: I did not use the oil, I just used a little bit of broth
- 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 2 cloves
- Natural salt see page 139 I just used sea salt
- 3 cups 720ml vegetable broth
- 2 14.5 ounce/411g cans whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups 570g peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
- 3 cups 210g chopped broccoli florets
- 4 cups 120g Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
- 1/3 cup 43g roasted almond butter
- 1/2 cup 14g loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
- 1 medium avocado pitted, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup 80g sliced raw almonds
- 1/4 cup 35g shelled hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds black or white
- 1/4 cup 10g pea greens
- To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
- Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined. (SEE NOTES at the bottom for oil-free)
- Transfer the "rice" to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the "rice" begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.
- To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil (I just used a little broth instead) and saute the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended. Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sauteed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender. Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.
- To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the "rice". Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.
I omitted the oil in this recipe. For the cauliflower, I just roasted the cauliflower on parchment paper and stirred it a couple of times during to prevent too harsh of browning. For the stew, I just used a little broth instead of the oil.
Nutrition per serving (based on 6 servings): 126 calories, 9.6 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 324.8 mg sodium, 8.8 g carbs, 2.8 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 3.6 g protein, 68.6 mg calcium, 1.8 mg iron
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