Monday, June 04, 2018

Wicked Healthy - Cookbook Review & Giveaway!


Here's a super fun and exciting new vegan cookbook to tell you about! I am so stoked to be a part of the Wicked Healthy blog tour. This book is so beautiful and interesting! 

For years it seemed like every vegan cookbook that was published was aimed at people who had never heard of avocado toast or overnight oatmeal. I like those things as much as the next vegan, but I don't personally need a recipe for them. Also, I'm super, super stoked that there are so many wonderful cookbooks to support people who are starting their vegan journeys. That said, it is so exciting and thrilling when I get my hands on a cookbook that is NOT aimed at beginners.

roasted garlic, oh how I love thee

Wicked Healthy is such an exciting book - it's aimed at a competent home chef who loves cooking and loves innovative and adventurous flavors. The book is absolutely beautiful and is really fun and inspiring just to read. Wicked Healthy is written by two brothers, Chad and Derek Sarno, and there is a distinctly masculine tone to the writing - like two brothers playing and sparring in the kitchen. It's not off-putting though, and it's nice to see this voice in a vegan cookbook, since that genre is largely dominated by female authors. Both brothers are also trained chefs, and that is another cool thing about this book - I didn't just make great recipes from it, I also learned some fun and useful new-to-me kitchen techniques from their recipes. I really love that!! It's so exciting when a good book also teaches you how to improve your own skills in the kitchen. 


super, super thin bread slices - a trick I learned from Wicked Healthy:
freeze the bread first and then slice it into the thinnest slices ever! GENIUS.
(this recipe is at the end of this post!)

As soon as this book arrived, I started flipping through it, staring at all the amazing pictures, and writing up a (long) list of all the recipes I wanted to try. Happily, the next week was the birthday of one of my very best besties and I had invited her and her family over for dinner. I decided to make five different recipes from Wicked Healthy to celebrate! 

When you love someone that much, you can make an entire 5-course meal out of recipes you've never tried before, because you know they will forgive you if the whole thing is a bust. Luckily, not a single thing I made was a bust. Far from it - we all loved our meal, and we had such a super fun evening together. 

1st course:
Cucumber, Celery, Green Apple, and Kale Juice!
(from Juices and Cocktails / Juices and Coolers chapter)

Lately I've been kinda into green juice! I don't have a juicer though, so I pureed everything in my Vitamix and then strained it through several layers of cheesecloth. This recipes makes two big glasses of green juice, but I made 5 little appetizer / palate cleanser glasses - one for each of us. It was very yum - perfect hint of sweet from the apple, and a good balance of flavors! 


2nd Course:
Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream 

I have the recipe for this beautiful and delicious salad at the end of this post! Check it out! 

Wow, dudes. Check this biz out. I was very proud of myself. I got this plating idea straight from the photos in the book - because as you have probably noticed, I am not generally a plating wiz. I am more like an eating wiz. It was so fun to make something so gorgeous and have it all plated and ready when my friends arrived. I really wanted her to feel special! 

This dish was so fun to prepare - there were many components, but none of it was difficult. The beets are roasted, the citrus is supremed, the little toasties are toasted, the tarragon cashew cream is pureed, the greens are tossed in dressing... It was such a pleasure to just take my time and enjoy all the different processes, and especially to have it all come together in such a beautiful and delicious result. 

feeling pleased with the outcome! 

3rd Course:
Minted Pea Ricotta and Zucchini Toasts

Oh man, I think these beautiful little toasts might have been my favorite recipe of the evening. These were so delicious - delicate and bursting with perfectly balanced springtime flavors. These toasts would be appealing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The toasts have a lovely ricotta mixture, topped with lightly seared zucchini ribbons, and a sprinkle of microgreens. I used my panino press to just lightly grill the zucchini ribbons. Lightly cooking the zucchini ribbons made them softer for a more delicate curl, prettier, and more tasty too. Win-win-win! 

The Minted Pea Ricotta mixture is absolutely stunning - a hint of lemon zest, shallot, and fresh peas (or frozen if it's not peak pea season!). One suggestion in the book is to use that ricotta mixture in homemade ravioli, which would definitely be 100% amazing and I would like to try that! 

The recipe calls for Kite Hill Ricotta as a base for the Minted Pea Ricotta. To that point, this book does call for a few brand name items in some of the recipes (Kite Hill ricotta, Ninja Squirrel Sriracha, Beyond Meat burgers). That's not always my favorite thing in a cookbook, but I don't mind it in this case. If you don't have access to those brands, you could easily adapt. And the recipes themselves really add a lot, so it's never just a recipe for a store-bought burger with ketchup on it or whatever. 

You can find this recipe over here at Adventures In Cooking's blog post about Wicked Healthy
SO GOOD


4th Course:
Roasted Cauliflower Fagioli
(from Soups and Stews chapter)

I love a good veggie stew, and I loved the idea of repurposing Pasta Fagioli with a whole head of roasted cauliflower instead of all the pasta... to make it more veggie-dense. Three cheers for veggies! That said, I did also use the optional suggestion to add some little noodles - I used some of my tiny little noodles that are so small they are practically Israeli couscous. 

We all loved this summery stew, and there was even some left over for me to enjoy the next day. The recipe intro says that this stew will be even better the next day, and - uh - that was true! Next time I will just make it a day ahead of when I intend to eat it! Ha ha. 

This cookbook definitely has recipes-within-recipes: for example, in order to make this, I made the Nana Sarno's Red Sauce. Not paying attention, I ended up making about 8 cups of red sauce, when the Fagioli recipe only called for two cups. I used some later for another recipe from the book and froze some to enjoy later as well. 



5th Course:
Drunken Berries with Amaretto Gelato and Ninja Nuts

YESSSSSSSS. Hot DAMN this dessert was seriously something special. I won't lie... it was also a lot of work. But I was in the mood for a culinary adventure and I enjoyed every moment of the process. All the recipes in this book came together as described in the write ups, no surprises and no instances where something took twice as long to cook or burned in half the time. You know what I'm talking about. Because the recipes were so well-written, that made it easier and not stressful to embark on a big project like this. 

This was a real recipe-inside-a-recipe adventure:
Make the Mango Sriracha Caramel, to make the Ninja Nuts.
Make the ice cream base, chill, churn the ice cream
Cut and macerate the berries.
Assemble.
EAT!!!

Almost all the desserts in this book (there aren't too many) are fancy, complicated special-occasion deserts like this. Obviously, you could just make individual components - but based on our experience of this glorious gastronomic delight, I would suggest going the whole nine yards. This was seriously such a special and delicious combo of flavors and textures. Each component - the berries, the gelato, and the nuts - were excellent on their own, and just glorious in combination with each other! I'm quite sure that this was the best homemade ice cream I've ever made. Excellent flavor and texture. 


Mango Sriracha Caramel
This caramel sauce is called for in making the so called "Ninja Nuts" that were part of the dessert. It is so delicious! I made a half-batch, and was still left with a whole lot left over (the nuts recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons). Luckily, it is delicious, and it lasts a little while in the fridge. I couldn't find 100% mango juice, so I used mango-apricot juice, which worked wonderfully. The finished product is carmelly, mango-y, apricot-y, with a nice spicy kick at the end. So good!


Ninja Nuts!
These "ninja nuts" (so called because the recipe suggests using Ninja Squirrel Sriracha) are toasted almonds coated with the Mango-Sriracha caramel. I made these tasty little power nuggets to go with our dessert, but then Mr. VE&T completely fell in love with them and declared them to be the "all time flavor of flavors." So I have made several more batches since then! Once you've made the caramel, these are quick and easy to make. But be warned, they are really hard to stop eating! 


Beautiful berries macerating in a Chambord base
The "Drunken Berries" component of the dessert was just lovely - fresh berries macerated in a mix based on Chambord liquer. What a great idea. And it was so nice to pour a little extra of the liquid over the gelato. Such a great combo with the somewhat-subtle Amaretto Gelato. 



Since that dinner party, I've also made the Whole Roasted Zucchini with Red Sauce 
and the Sriracha Kung Pao Brussels and Tofu (but I made it with broccoli) - which was an instant favorite! There are still so many more recipes that I have my eye on to try:
Bibimbap
Grilled Cabbage with Mint and Peanut Butter Sauce
Kale and Avocado Salad with Wild Rice and Grapes
Spring Agnolotti
Black Garlic and Chive Panisse
Corn Dumplings in Corn Broth
Reuben on Dark Rye
Chocoholic Fudge Brownies with Sea Salt and Dried Strawberries 
... and so many more! 

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*GIVEAWAY!!*
I am so stoked that the publishers have offered for me to do a giveaway! To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post and tell me about your favorite fancy recipe to tackle at home, or what you'd like to try from this book, or really anything nice and relatively on-topic! Also, make sure to include your email address or a way to reach you, or I will just pick a different winner. Good luck! 

Also, check out their Wicked Healthy Facebook page - they have links to other reviews and giveaways as well as some great videos with more recipes to try out. 

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Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream
Serves 6-8  

This  was  the  most  popular  salad  at  my  SAF  Restaurant  in  London.  Over  the  years  since  then,  I’ve  served  it  at  many  supper  clubs  and  dinners.  It’s  always  a  hit.  Slow  roasting  the  baby  beets  gives  them  a  deep  sweetness  that  balances  the  earthiness.  Watercress  brings  sharpness  and  bite.  Cashew  cream  contributes  richness.  Sherry  vinegar  has  the  spark.  Bread  crisps  give  it  crunch.  Between  the  textures  and  flavors—and  even  the  colors—this  sexy  dish  just  hits  all  the  buttons.  —Chad  

INGREDIENTS  

ROASTED  BEETS  
12  small  beets  (3  pounds),  rinsed,  stems  trimmed  
1½  tablespoons  everyday  olive  oil  
3  sprigs  fresh  lemon  thyme  or  regular  thyme  
Sea  salt  and  freshly  ground  black  pepper  
4  slices  fresh  lemon  
2  tablespoons  sherry  vinegar  
1½  tablespoons  chopped  fresh  chives 

BREAD  CRISPS  
1  small  baguette  (about  6  inches),  frozen  
1  tablespoon  everyday  olive  oil,  for  pan-frying  
1  teaspoon  granulated  garlic  
½  teaspoon  sea  salt  

ASSEMBLY  
About  1  cup  Tarragon  Cashew  Cream  (see  below)  
2  grapefruits  or  oranges,  segmented  
1  cup  small  watercress  leaves  or  microgreens  
½  tablespoon  best-quality  extra-virgin  olive  oil  
Squeeze  of  lemon  
Flake  salt,  such  as  Maldon  
Cracked  black  pepper  

TARRAGON  CASHEW  CREAM  
Makes  About  1¾  Cups  

INGREDIENTS  
1½  cups  raw  cashews  
About  1/3  cup  water  
Juice  of  ½  lemon  
2  tablespoons  nutritional  yeast  
1½  tablespoons  minced  fresh  tarragon  

METHOD  
1.  FOR  THE  BEETS:  Preheat  the  oven  to  250ºF.  Cut  a  giant  sheet  of  foil  twice  the  length  of  a  baking  sheet  and  place  half  of  it  on  the  pan.  

2.  In  a  bowl,  toss  the  whole  beets  with  the  oil  and  thyme  sprigs  and  season  with  salt  and  pepper.  Pour  the  beets  onto  the  foil  and  scatter  on  the  lemon  slices.  Leave  space  between  the  beets  so  they  can  steam.  Fold  over  the  other  half  of  the  foil  and  crimp  all  the  edges,  sealing  the  package  tightly.  Place  the  pan  in  the  oven  and  slow  roast  until  the  beets  are  tender  enough  for  a  fork  toslide  in  and  out  easily,  50  to  60  minutes,  depending  on  the  size  of  the  beets.  Open  the  package  and  let  cool.  

3.  When  cool,  put  on  some  gloves  to  prevent  staining  yourself  and  peel  away  the  beet  skins  with  a  paring  knife  (not  under  running  water).  Then  slice  the  beets  into  small  wedges.  At  this  point  the  beets  can  be  chilled  in  the  fridge  for  a  day  or  two  before  serving.  

4.  Just  before  serving,  toss  the  beet  wedges  in  a  bowl  with  the  vinegar  and  chives.  Taste  a  wedge,  then  season  with  more  salt  and  pepper  until  it  tastes  good  to  you.  

5.  FOR  THE  BREAD  CRISPS:  
Defrost  the  bread  slightly.  

6.  Heat  the  oil  in  a  frying  pan  over  medium-high  heat.  

7.  While  the  bread  is  semi-frozen,  cut  into  paper-thin  slices  on  a  mandoline.  Place  each  slice  one-by-one  into  the  hot  pan  and  cook  until  lightly  browned  and  crisp,  turning  for  even  cooking,  about  a  minute  per  side.  Place  on  paper  towels  and  immediately  season  with  granulated  garlic  and  salt.  They  will  crisp  up  as  they  sit.  

8.  TO  ASSEMBLE  EACH  PLATE:  
Spread  1  to  2  tablespoons  cashew  cream  in  a  line  on  the  bottom  of  the  plate.  Arrange  the  beets,  citrus  segments,  and  bread  crisps  over  the  cashew  cream,  alternating  the  pieces.  

9.  Toss  the  watercress  with  the  olive  oil  and  lemon  juice  in  a  small  bowl.  Arrange  the  dressed  watercress  over  the  top  of  the  salad.  Finish  with  a  pinch  of  flake  salt  and  cracked  black  pepper.  

PRO  TIPS  
*To  get  a  jump  on  things,  make  the  cashew  cream  and  beets  up  to  2  days  ahead  and  chill  them  in  the  fridge.  You  can  even  make  the  bread  crisps  a  day  ahead.  Then  just  assemble  everything  and  serve.  

*Look  for  a  mix  of  colorful  beets  like  orange,  red,  and  Chioggia  (candy  cane).  

*Instead  of  crisping  the  bread  in  a  pan,  you  could  toss  the  paper-thin  slices  with  olive  oil  and  bake  in  a  single  layer  at  350ºF  until  crisp.  

Excerpted  from  the  book  THE  WICKED  HEALTHY  COOKBOOK  by  Chad  Sarno,  Derek  Sarno,  and  David  Joachim.  Copyright  ©  2018  by  Chad  Sarno  and  Derek  Sarno.Reprinted  with  permission  of  Grand  Central  Life  &  Style.  All  rights  reserved.    

34 comments:

  1. I’m so hungry after reading your post! What an awesome cookbook! I would first try the chocoholic fudge brownies with sea salt and dried strawberries. I would buy the cookbook for that recipe alone, yum!

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  2. Gorgeous platings and inspiring flavor combinations! I may only get as far as roasting the beets for this recipe, but I think that would still be incredibly delicious by itself.

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    1. Hello Hannah, if you only get as far as the beets you will be content and so happy...the beets were unbelievable ..so sweet and tender ..it will compel you further into the recipes!

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  3. Wow! I would love to win a copy of the Wicked Healthy cookbook. I want to make every single thing you made - the beet salad with citrus and tarragon cashew cream is so beautiful and the minted pea ricotta zucchini toasts sound delightful and don't even get me started on that dessert, you know how I feel about gelato!

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  4. Everything looks so delicious! I would really love to make the caramelized almonds, but everything looks wonderful-I’d really Love to challenge myself with this cookbook.��☺️ My favorite thing to make when trying to impress is Fran Costigan’s ‘chocolate cake to live for’-everyone loves it and my mom declared it ‘THE cake’!
    My email islrsjose@yahoo.com. Thank you! ��

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  5. Oh man, I am so not in a place for fancy recipes right now. But the reuben on dark rye sounds really good.....

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  6. Grilled cabbage with mint and peanut butter sauce?! YUM! I want to try all the recipes you made for your (lucky) friends birthday. What an exciting book! My email: Sara.querbes@gmail.com

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  7. I love fagioli so I think that would be the first thing I would conquer (definitely with the added pasta!). But the kung pao tofu sounds amazing as well. I love anything with brussel sprouts!

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  8. Well you made my day..the photos here make me salivate ..that special friend sure was touched honored and delighted ..you are such a sweet friend...indeed.

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  9. I´d love to try the mango sriracha almonds!

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  10. Recently I have been making something surprisingly yummy for breakfast. I call them Crescents. Start with cooked whole millet and then add raisins, walnuts, grated carrots, grated fresh ginger, and cinnamon. In a blender purée an apple with soaked flax seeds. Mix together and use an ice cream scoop to get uniform portions. Roll into a ball and then place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Once on the cookie sheet shape them into crescents. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and let cool before storing them in a tightly sealed Tupperware container in the refrigerator. Before serving, toast them in a toaster oven. Between the distinctive flavor of the ginger and the sweetness of the raisins and the unexpected crunch after toasting—it’s fantastic! My email address is elsaweber4@yahoo.com

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  11. The minted pea ricotta would be the first thing I'd make. I recently tried out jackfruit gyros for some friends, they were a hit! My email: alisha.migliore@gmail.com

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  12. I would love to make the Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream. <3 both beets and "the little dragon"! Hoping you'll need my email! :) karengdelaney {at) yahoo [dot} com.

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  13. I don't usually cook fancy, but I am a HUGE brownie fan. The first recipe I'd try would be the Chocoholic Fudge Brownies with Sea Salt and Dried Strawberries! Those sound delectable!! My email is aimeesavon@hotmail.com

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  14. Your enthusiasm really seems totally justified: that book sounds awesome! I'm intrigued by the Sriracha Kung Pao Brussels and Tofu, but really, all of the recipes you've mentioned would be serious contenders for the first spot on my list of recipes to try.
    As for something fancy I make, well, I'm not sure how fancy other people would find it, but the asparagus and tarragon pizza (with homemade crust) I've made recently was wonderful! I have to make it at least one more time before asparagus season is over.

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  15. Would definitely like to make bibimbap.Nice way to up the veggies and I adore Asian foods.
    mss50099@yahoo.com

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  16. Whoa this sounds amazing. I'm like you on the plethora of vegan cookbooks aimed at beginners -- I'm glad they're there, but they're not for me. So this seems very special! When I have people over I tend to do taco bar -- the basic components aren't hard, but there's so many of them that it feels special, as do the homemade tortillas, which really amp up the special factor! sdavissecord @ gmail .com

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  17. i want those drunken strawberries - yummm. or the chocoholic brownies. tell me were they totally awesome? actually everything you made sounds great.

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  18. OMG I have been coveting their cookbook for a while; everything looks so good and I'm so glad you shared your experience with us! I am dying to try that beet salad, and I love that you mention you also picked up some useful kitchen techniques; always handy!! Thanks for that gorgeous review, Amey! Miss you!!

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  19. I don't have any vegan fancy meals that I have been able to tackle recently but I'm starting to cook again so I look forward to trying more extensive recipes.

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  20. Wow this book looks amazing! the first thing I would like to try is the Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Tarragon Cashew Cream. It looks particularly awesome on your gorgeous black plates!! You don't say if this giveaway is open internationally. If so I would love a chance to win. Thank you Amey <3<3 miafaletti at g mail dot com

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  21. Holy cow! This all looks incredible, and I love it that you made so many dishes. Obviously, you're really feeling this book. That's such a good tip to freeze bread first to get really thin slices, and grilling zucchini ribbons for extra elegance. I'm always a little more excited about a food when grill marks are involved! The first thing I'd make from this book is bibimbap!

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  22. I would say that a fancy meal that I made that took some effort because of multiple components would be none other than your birthday lasagna! It was some work to make the sauce, ricotta, cashew cream and veggies but totally worth it! :)

    Wicked Healthy looks like a great book!

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  23. I'm so excited about this book! Your fancy salad plating looks incredible! Initially I was most excited about trying their patented mushroom-pressing technique, but having read this post I'm intrigued by the sound of those corn dumplings. Thanks for the great giveaway, Amey! lydiarosewebster@gmail.com

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  24. Everything looks so good! You do the best cookbook reviews! I'm glad I didn't get this one though, I can tell it's not for me.

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  25. I've made and enjoyed several of Chad Sarno's raw food recipes. I am looking forward to this cookbook. The first recipe that caught my eye is the Plant-Based BLT Sandwich (PBLT!).

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  26. Omg these recipies are divine!! I am having a get together this weekend and will serve the Minted Pea Ricotta and Zucchini Toasts!!

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  27. I used to cook fancy dinners when I cooked for my family. Now my daughter cooks for me so I will have her make me a fancy dinner from this book if I win. =)

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  28. I love Italian food so that spring agnolotti sounds very appealing!

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  29. Wow, that whole meal sounds amazing, but I think the most exciting thing are those beautiful almonds! They sound like exactly the best snack, or even a great green salad topping. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! hampiesandwiches at gmail

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  30. I love these fancier type of cookbooks. I would love to tackle a fancy dessert like at vedge with their miso ice cream!

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  31. Everything looks so beautiful! Those ricotta toasts definitely speak to my heart, even though we can't get Kite Hill here. I am sure I could just make some almond ricotta myself. I have a super fancy book called Great Chefs Cook Vegan, which I have never made anything from because it is super technique heavy, but little guidance. Wicked Healthy sounds like just to book to help develop my skill set!

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  32. I think I want to make everything you made, but especially the minted pea ricotta and zucchini toasts. For some reason that is just screaming at me. It looks so good!

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  33. Many thanks for this giveaway, Amey! Right now my energy & ambition are low, so the almonds are about my speed, but I'd love to try their Bimbambap once I'm more focused and rested. And even it I didn't end up making many of the recipes, I'm sure I'd learn a lot by reading descriptions of new-to-me techniques.

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