04 March 2012

an expository moment on a vegan kitchen

Even I get sick of eating out sometimes.  Plus, nobody has infinite funds.  Well, nobody we know personally.  I'm sure Mittens could go out to eat every night.

Being vegan is a grillion times easier if you cook for yourself a majority of the time, but you guys, I want you to start with the right recipes.  It won't do if you go and start making cookies with tofu and whole wheat flour.  Gross.  My idol, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, will save you from this horrible fate.

Dear readers, here are my cookin'books.  Those 7 books on the left half?  Isa's.  She collaborates with Terry Hope Romero on a lot of 'em.  If I'd taken a picture of the insides of any of these babies, you'd see flour, cocoa powder, spices, and splatters on virtually every page.  My books are well-loved.

Your first and most important purchase should be one of two books.  Or two of two books.  Starting with Veganomicon!  This bad boy's got recipes for everything.  Its chapters include appetizers, brunch, salads, soups, one-pot meals, casseroles, pasta, breads, and desserts.  The index has several sections, such as gluten-free recipes and recipes under 45 minutes.  Did I mention that each recipe displays a time?  As in, before you start cooking, you'll know how long you're gonna be cooking?  'Nomicon tells you which recipes are supermarket compatible, so you don't have to go to a co-op or specialty foods store if you don't want to.  And the food is utterly fantastic.  Isa and Terry always have you cook with whole foods and NOTHING tastes sub-par when you follow their instructions.  There's this spicy-fennel-tempeh broccoli rabe pasta dish in there... and oh!  The chickpea patties taste so fancy.  Don't skip the cranberry-orange-walnut bread.  And go through every single cookie recipe.

The second book you must get to know is Appetite for Reduction.  You may notice the theme here seems to be losing weight.  I'll let you in on a little secret: the REAL theme is super great food that takes less than 45 minutes to make.  If I have people over and I'm making dinner for 4 or 6 or 8 (which I do a couple times a week, I'll have you know), I usually turn to Appetite for a curry and a salad because everything is SO easy and low stress.  And while we're on the subject of salads, you need to know that every single salad in this book is


If you're like most people, salads prolly don't do much for you.  (If you're Shelley, you eat nothing but salads.)  Just try one of these.  Perhaps the caesar salad with eggplant bacon.  Or the sushi roll salad.  Or the Vietnamese noodle salad.  You'll be making your own dressings.  You'll be on cloud nine.  And you'll never look at salad the same way again.

I'm totally cereal.

Here are Isa's other books that I own because I own all of her books because she's just the best and stuff and also because maybe I might have a little OCD I mean it's not like I alphabetized my cookbooks although I did alphabetize our movies.


Here's Vegan with a Vengeance, which is my most loved (i.e., disintegrating) cookbook of all.  The cover is taped on.  It was my very first vegan cookbook, given to me by my wonderful Auntie.  Changed my life!  Taught me how to cook.  And I will always treasure the chickpea-spinach curry.  And the SPANIKOPITA.  OMG.  You have GOT to make that.  Or just come over when I make it sometime, cause it's kind of a lot of work.  But I'll be the first to tell you that it's definitely worth every piece of ripped phyllo dough.

Vegan Brunch has tons of color photographs of all this delicious food.  You've never seen so many recipes for vegan waffles in one place.  And pancakes.  And breakfast risotto.  And fritatas.  Scones.  Cinnamon rolls.  Quiche.  Brie (yes, brie, and it ain't half bad).  My two faves are these muffin recipes - one for the best, most satisfying lemon poppyseed muffins you've ever had, and one for super moist bakery-style berry muffins.

And now, for the dessert cookin'books.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Vegan Pie in the Sky. Isa and Terry's baking recipes are phenomenal.  I just got Pie, and I'm obsessed.  I'm gonna make Matt a raspberry pie today, and I'm inordinately excited about it.  I even have these little cookie cutters so I can make the cute heart and star shapes on the crust just like in the pictures!  All three books are chock full of lovely color photographs.  I made GF cookie dough truffles yesterday based on a recipe from Cookies and they were a resounding success - Jana, Carla, and Kasey helped me consume about two dozen of 'em, and these fantastic women aren't even vegan!  (I'm pretty sure every time Jana popped one in her mouth, she said, "They're just so GOOD.")  Cookies also has THE best vegan brownie recipe on the planet.  I'm telling you.  And Cupcakes has all these genius flavor combinations, like cookies n' cream cupcakes, lemon blueberry creme cupcakes, chocolate cherry cupcakes...  Oh!  And margarita cupcakes.  Recipe calls for tequila.  Srsly.

You can find some or all of these books at any bookstore in the vegetarian cookbook section.  There ya go.  What began as a vague idea for helpful vegan kitchen tips turned into a commercial for Isa's books.  I'm not ashamed.  She deserves your cash.

If you'll excuse me, I have a pie to make.


  1. SALAD SALAD I LOVE SALAD. Sushi roll, noodle-iscious Vietnamese, faux caesar delights, orange quinoa.....oh me oh my!

    I'm sure Mittens disagrees.

  2. OH and that taco salad! With the chips on top! How is it so simple and so GOOD?

    I don't think Mittens has very good taste. See your facebook for details.