In honour of my trip to Calgary tomorrow I thought that I would showcase my other favourite vegetarian cookbook. (I’m not a vegetarian, I promise!)
This cookbook hails from a little eatery on the hip 17th ave in Calgary call the Coup. It’s a kitchy little place that I discovered when my best friend, who is a vegetarian, requested to go there for her birthday one year. The menu is lovingly crafted and healthy to boot! The flavours are dynamic and one of a kind. We ordered their famous “Beatnuts” to start. I noticed upon entering the restaurant that they had a cookbook available. I had one bite of that starter and said if this recipe is in the book – I’m buying it for both of us. Well, thankfully, it is. I’ve made this recipe countless times, it is one of my absolute favorites. I think one of the reasons I like it so much was because the restaurant serves it on a bit of goat cheese and with cucumber slices instead of crackers or chips. I honestly had never thought of serving a dip with cucumber slices instead of the bread product and it is ingenious!
The book’s name: meet the coup cooks is a play on the name of their lounge, Meet and the restaurant, The Coup.
The great feature of this cookbook is that not only the fantastic food but the straight forward, no nonsense way that the recipes are presented. It has a clean layout and everything is very easy to follow. I like that in a cookbook. I’m very much the kind of person that doesn’t read a recipe all the way through and when they’re complicated I have a tendency to miss things. With this book, you really don’t. The “method of madness”, as they put it, is simple sentences instead of long paragraphs making it easy to just skim the recipe, see what you need and dive right in. Each of the recipes feature a little symbol for ease of use as well. The little V in a circle means the dish is vegan – meaning it contains no animal products of any kind. The “df” means dairy free; the “gf” gluten free and the “nf” nut free. It’s a handy guide for those looking for a specific dish. While I don’t subscribe to the whole raw vegan diet there are even a few recipes, like beatnuts, in here that meet the specifications of a raw vegan diet.
I think the only down side to this book is that the quantities the recipe states it makes can be a little off. The beatnut recipe, for example, says that it makes 6-8. Being a small family I always cut the recipe in half and that half recipe still serves 4-6 people. I, once, quadrupled the recipe to serve 70 people and ended up with enough to serve almost 200. We had beatnuts for a month! Luckily it’s fabulous on pretty much everything and therefore wasn’t too much of a chore to eat. (We still had to throw some out as it did mold and go bad.) Another example is the apple, parsnip and caraway soup, while flavourful it seems to be a bit off. I made the full recipe, which serves 6-7 people knowing that I’d have left overs to freeze. Well it ended up with enough to serve 10-12 people. Like I said, the yield on the recipes can be a little off.
I really like the variety of the recipes in the book. They’re all a little bit different than other vegetarian cookbooks. Which, like I said previously, can get quite tired and repetitive. A unique, at least so far in my travels, thing to this book is that the cream soups call for coconut milk instead of cream or milk. This adds a depth of flavour that I hadn’t experienced before.
There’s a little bit for everyone in this book. The section of appetizers make a great spread for a get together and the mains make great meals for everyday living. There’s even a great section on drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
My two favourite, go-to recipes from this book are definitely the beatnuts pate and the cashew yam burgers. The cashew yam burgers are amazing. Their flavour is so complex and yet so simple. When it’s topped with the beatnuts it’s even better. A word of warning about the book: they like their foods to be quite spicy. So if you’re not a fan of spicy add pepper according to your tastes instead of what the recipe calls for.
If you’re ever in Calgary I suggest visiting the restaurant for great drinks and a fantastic meal and to pick up this book.
meet the coup cooks is only available through the restaurant at this time.