Book Report: Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan & Tattooed

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I just got my copy of Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan & Tattooed by Cecilia Granata who is Italian, a long time vegan, and a tattoo artist. Meet Cecilia in this video about the book here.

What a quirky and terrific little cookbook! It is filled with tattoo inspired food art and rustic traditional Italian recipes that are either accidentally vegan or veganized. Probably my favorite thing about this book is that Cecilia often doesn’t give measurements, exact directions or how much to expect out of the recipe. It is based on the idea that cooking is an art and it really is a personal project in terms of how much of this, that or another ingredient you want to add to a recipe.

So that makes all of the recipes easy to follow and easy to make. There are over 100 in the book and I have earmarked tons of them. There are appetizers, entrees, salads, soups, burgers, creative risottos and pestos, pizza, pasta, and cookies. And recipes for homemade veg-mozzarella and vegan ricotta.

One of my favorites – and it is simple but smart – are the Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. I always have tomatoes in the house – my son and I eat them every day. But even we can’t eat them all. When I have too many I oven roast them whole but I like Cecilia’s way better.

Cut tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet cut side up with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 until the tomatoes are golden and delicious.

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Another favorite is the Aphrodisiac Asparagus. In fact, there is a whole chapter on aphrodisiacs! In this case, pour vegan sour cream over cooked asparagus and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Toast under the broiler for five minutes for serious perfection. Note: I made my own sour cream with cashews, filtered water and fresh lemon juice.

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There is a recipe for sautéed yellow peppers with raisins and pine nuts – a combo I have made with chard but will be delectable with peppers – and a splash of balsamic. There is a salad that is potatoes and green beans mixed with pesto, like Ligurian pasta but without the pasta. In the burger section, there are broccoli and cauliflower burgers and the “good burger” made with oats, quinoa, millet and carrots. And I can’t wait to make the chocolate-hazelnut cookies as soon as I get my hands on hazelnut meal!

The recipes in this book mesh well with my style of cooking. I love when I find new ideas to add to my repertoire! Buy this book and enjoy some traditional Italian cooking veganized!

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