Bake and Destroy (Page Street Publishing, 2013) is a refreshing breath of air in a sea of new cookbooks touting the plant-based diet. Read the title again, Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans. Remember when I talked about not all vegan diets being healthy? I don’t have to be a good vegan to cook from this uncomplicated, straightforward cookbook. And neither do you.

And Natalie Slater does not disappoint. Between Samosa Joe Cupcakes and Jackfruit BBQ, these recipes allow for canned goods, and well, processed tofu. It doesn’t take a genius to make the recipes in this cookbook, and that was Natalie Slater’s evil plan all along. Make it accessible. Make it easy to figure out. Common ingredients for the common vegan metal head and punk rocker.

The book is split into sections. First comes “Sweets and Treats”, because, eat your dessert first. In it there is a recipe for Caramel sauce. I’ve been looking for this particular recipe without knowing it. I had found a few that were interesting, but I like Bake and Destroy’s take on this make-all-ice-cream-in-the-world better. It uses maple syrup and that makes it less likely to burn. And arrow root! In a book riddled with corn, which I can’t eat, at least she did not call for cornstarch. Thanks Natalie, something I don’t have to figure out with all the food allergies.

Next up is breakfast, it is easily a big portion of the book next to the sweet stuff. She titled this “Morning Munchies” (read the book to find out why). It contains everything from the Non-cop Out Tofu Scramble to Chai Berry Muffins. Included is the Banana Carrot Cake Donut recipe. Once I acquire the mysterious donut pan, I will be making these donuts for my spouse. Because, who doesn’t love a good carrot cake donut? The catch is being able to make this recipe gluten free. Armed with some GF flour and xanthan gum, I’m sure I can figure it out.

The breakfast recipe that has my attention is the You Don’t know Jack Hash, made with jackfruit. There are two restaurants in my city that are using some version of this. How do I know? I’ve eaten them. And then I read this book and the recipe is in my face. Now I’ve got to track down that canned jackfruit. Or go to the little Asian market around the corner from my house and see if they have any fresh. They did a few weeks ago. It would be interesting to cook this recipe 100% from scratch and not from a can. And being the curious, trained chef, I believe I can accomplish this goal. It just might take a little longer for breakfast. Good thing I’m armed with a crock pot and some of Ms. Slater’s attitude.

The “Party Hard Entrées” section touts several drool making recipes. One of them uses jackfruit again for BBQ called Cannibal Corpse Crock-pot. Similar to the breakfast dish with a few tweaks. I will hunt down this jackfruit and bring it home and make Natalie proud!

Processing Not Parm from Bake and Destroy

Processing Not Parm from Bake and Destroy

Then we arrive at the “Party Hard Snack” section, with recipe names like French Fry Taco and Indian Buffet pizza, but my interest was in the recipe for Not-Parm, a vegan’s version of Parmesan cheese. This is easily my favorite from this entire book of new favorites. With the right ingredients and five minutes I had this one done and in the shaker. It came out tasty and, yeah, it’s going on everything from salads to pizzas. It might even be used as a topping for baked Mac n Cheeze. Bake and Destroy explores the possibility of Nacho Muffins. Not something I’ll be cooking for myself because they are corn muffins, but I just might make them to take to a share food party.

I like when I read something and enjoy it. I face many culinary books, and some of them make me shudder, not because they are bad or wrong. It’s that they have so much content. I read them so that I can increase my food knowledge base and share that with you guys. It’s a joy to come across something that I can read simply for the pleasure of reading. And eating (after I make the food of course).

Now get out there and make some vegan food that you can share with the world! The secret is, don’t tell them it’s vegan.