Category Archives: cookbooks

Cookbook extraordinare: Ms. Moskowitz’s Appetite For Reduction

Prior to the release of Appetite for Reduction, I worked up my appetite for Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new vegan cookbook by making one of the sneak peek recipes off her website. The Baked Onion Rings turned out fantastic and upped my anticipation for the cookbook by 100%.

The first recipe that I tried from the actual cookbook pages were the  Chipotle Lentil Burgers.  They are spicy and delicious.  One of the big problems with vegetable burgers is that they do not hold together well.  Even if they taste great, but fall apart while cooking or while eating, they get a failing grade from me.  Moskowitz’s  burgers held up to cooking, despite begin flipped numerous times, and while begin squeezed between two halves of a whole wheat bun.  The recipe made 6 well-sized burgers and 1 each was all EPC and I needed, along-side our roasted vegetables, to be satisfied.   In addition the burgers are darn easy to make – another plus.

Now I had to decide what to make next.


I had a couple of ripe mangos in the fridge which prompted me to make Mango BBQ Beans and the suggested accompaniment, Fresh Corn and Scallion Corn Bread.  Both were good; however, EPC couldn’t get enough of the corn bread and for me the beans stole the show.  You know that rhyme that ends “and betwixt the both of them they licked the platter clean”, or something to that effect, well in the end it worked out well: neither of us fought over the leftovers. The recipe also prompted me to purchase my first bottle of liquid smoke.  I put in half of what the recipe asked for, because I was a little apprehensive of “smoking out” the beans, but I think Ms. Moskowitz got it right.

Sigh – I should have known better.

Finally, and best of all, the beans and the corn bread were both dead easy to make!

Her falafel recipe is fantastic too and best of all (like the onion rings) does not rely on a deep fryer for flavour.   The falafel came together in no time flat and I took her suggestion and served them atop organic greens, tomatoes, grated carrots and cucumber.  I probably took away the intended low-fat component to this recipe by topping the falafel patties  and greens with a tahini sauce, but I can’t have falafel without tahini!  Oh yes, I realized half way through my meal that I had forgotten to take a photo – I guess I was just too excited to get down to eating!

Next on my list was an easy choice: Curry Laksa.  You can never go wrong with coconut milk, veggies and curry!  And this recipe is oh so right!  The red curry paste, lime juice, ginger and garnish of cilantro quickly add flavour and pizzaz to this time saving meal.  I am a huge fan of coconut noodle soups and this is one of my favourites.  It is delicious and very quick to make.  Both EPC and I absolutely loved it.  I think the author is right when she says that this dish may not be authentic, but with the speed and flavour the lack of authenticity hardly matters.

Now that I have sufficiantly raved about the recipes I should talk a little bit about the overall content of the cookbook.  Appetite for Reduction contains 125 recipes divided into 8 sections: salads, sides, vegetables, beans, tofu and temeph, pasta, soups, and stews.  She also includes a special section on sandwiches and bowls.  In addition, the recipes are reviewed by a registered dietitian who also writes a introductory segment on vegan nutrition, containing info on vitamins and minerals and the scoop on good and bad fats.  Moskowitz also makes choosing a recipe easier for us by using icons with each recipe to identify it as soy or gluten-free and indicate whether the recipe can be made in 30 minutes and under and whether or not the recipe has “downtime”.  She also includes useful information and tips throughout its pages.  Best of all, the cookbook is written in Moskowitz’s standard cheerful and witty banter.

All and all I think this cookbook is fantastic.  I am not going to include any recipes because the cookbook was just released and I think you should pick up a copy for yourself or a as gift for a friend (and then borrow it!)  If you do want to give some recipes from Appetite for Reduction a try take a look at the website.  I think the Chickpea Picatta looks divine!

Click here to purchase from Chapters online, or Amazon.ca.  Just a note that on Amazon.ca you can take a look inside the cookbook!

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Another winner by Jack Bishop: Tempeh, Spinach and Onion Quesadillas topped with Avocado Chipotle Salsa

I managed to squeeze one last recipe out of Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen before I had to return it to the library.

Once again, the recipe turned out to be delicious. I think my husband might be starting to like Jack Bishop as much as he likes Peter Berley and Lorna Sass (maybe not as much as Lorna Sass – I think she is his favourite cookbook author of all time).

The successes I have had with Jack Bishop‘s recipes have led me to conclude that I will be ordering a copy of this cookbook and his Italian vegetarian cookbook in the not too distant future.  I always (except in very rare occasions) order new cookbooks online. It is considerably cheaper and you are not limited by the often meager bookstore selection.

For any of you that wish to take an in-depth look at Bishop’s interpretation of Italian vegetarian cuisine, a limited preview of this cookbook is available at Google Books.

Guess what!  When I was looking up the link for the book preview I noticed that A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is featured there as well.

How exciting is that!

Google Books and the local library are two great resources for test-driving cookbooks.  After all, cookbooks are quite expensive and do take up a bit of room, so it is important that they fit the bill and provide interesting and inspiring dishes for you to cook (and eat).

Well, I won’t be cooking too much over the next 10 days.  We are taking some deserved summer holidays.

Until then…

Tempeh, Spinach and Onion Quesadillas with Avocado Chipotle Salsa

1 medium ripe avocado, cubed
1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce minced, with 1 teaspoon of juice (these are available canned in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store)
2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Salt

1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 8 oz package of tempeh, lightly steamed or sautéed until heated through ( I use Green Cuisine smoked tempeh)
2 cups of spinach, packed
4 flour tortillas
Monterey Jack cheese, grated (enough to please)

First, the salsa:

  • In a small bowl combine avocado, cilantro, chipotle chiles and sauce, lime juice and salt.
  • Stir to combine.

Next, the quesadillas:

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the onions and cook until lightly browned (this will take about 15 minutes)
  • Add the cumin and stir.
  • In the last few minutes of cooking add the tempeh cubes and stir to coat with onions
  • Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  • Lay 1 tortilla in a large skillet and top with cheese, add a thin layer of the tempeh spinach mixture and top with more cheese.
  • Top with a tortilla and cook on medium heat until brown.  Flip, and repeat on the second side.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Slice each quesadilla into quarters and top with salsa.

Click to print

To tired to cook? Try Short-Cut Vegan.

“I am too tired to cook”.

I hear this a lot from my friends, my coworkers, my husband, and from my own two lips.

If you are too tired to cook, what are you eating?  Processed food.  Take-out.  Cereal.  Potato chips (been there, done that). A can of soup.  This is expensive, if you are eating out all the time, or just plain unsatisfying and unhealthy.

That is where Lorna Sass’s Short-Cut Vegan comes in.

I can get really caught up in cooking.  Not that I usually make things that are extremely involved, but cooking takes time.  Sometimes you would rather spend your evenings reading a book or watching TV and unwinding after a long day.  So just because you aren’t into cooking up a storm for a weeknight dinner, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a new recipe.

Fast cookbooks are all the rage these days, but many of them are not really that fast.  Or if they are fast, they are not “lazy fast”:  there is too much chopping, or stirring, or too many pots to wash up afterward.

Short-cut Vegan is fast and I mean really fast.  In addition, many of the recipes fit into my category of “lazy fast”.  The nice thing about this cookbook is that you can stock up on a few handy items and, should the mood not to cook strike, you can easily whip up a healthy dinner and have a few leftovers for lunch the next day without going through too much pain.

Over the last month I have made some quick and easy recipes from Short-Cut Vegan: Caribbean Black Bean Soup, Udon with Green Beans and Peanut SaucePosole, Bean and Corn Chili pictured directly above and Curry in a Hurry pictured at the beginning of the post.  They have all been quick and tasty – just as promised.

A month of recipes from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

I thought I would begin concluding this month’s focus on Lorna Sass by giving you a quick tour of her wonderful cookbook Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  Of course, the month is not over yet, so you can still look forward to more delights from Lorna’s Short-Cut Vegan before month’s end!

Over the last month I have blogged about  three delicious recipes from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure: Thai ChickpeasNew Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, and Caribbean Rice and Beans.  All these dishes turned out fantastic and both EPC and I loved them. Unbeknownst to you, while I wasn’t blogging about the great dishes from this cookbook, I was making more of Lorna’s pressure cooker creations on the sly.  In fact EPC even got in the fun!

One Saturday, I whipped up Quinoa Vegetable Soup for lunch.  This was EPC’s favorite recipe out of the cookbook (so far)!  He couldn’t put his finger on why he loved this dish so much, but I think he really enjoys the taste and texture of quinoa.  Quinoa has more protein than other grains, plus it is gluten-free and makes a great quick-cooking substitute for brown rice.

On the following weekend EPC made the Zucchini Bisque with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil.  One of his favorite vegetables is zucchini, so I wasn’t at all surprised when this dish came under his radar.  The following day I came in from a walk, intending to have leftover soup for lunch, when to my surprise he was finishing off all the leftovers!  It is nice to see my husband excited about Lorna’s book and wanting to get on the pressure cooker bandwagon.  He is always up for making recipes that are as easy as they are delicious.  However, I do wish he wasn’t as excited about eating them, so I could have at least a small bowl of leftover soup!

Over the last month I only had one mishap.  This occurred when I made the mistake of using the bean cooking chart from my pressure cooker instruction booklet, instead of the one located inside the cover of Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  The beans were so soft, they were unsuitable for the dish I had in mind.  Of course hindsight is 20/20, so when I took at look at Lorna’s bean cooking chart inside the front cover of this cookbook and noticed her cooking times where bit shorter, I realized that I should have used Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure as a reference, which would have left me with an intact bean rather than the resulting mush.  I will know better for next time.

That brings me to the great thing about this cookbook, not only is it chock full of over 150 delicious vegan recipes, but it also includes grain, bean and vegetable cooking charts.  She also discusses pressure cookers at  great length, covering such topics as  How to Care for the Cooker, The Language of Pressure Cooking, and What Size Cooker Should I Buy?.  I found all these tips quite helpful and the format considerably engaging in comparison to my instruction manual.

In the introduction Lorna devotes a few pages to menu combinations, such as Vegan Thanksgiving, Curry in a Hurry and American Creole, which gives you an idea about which direction to head if you have a certain flavour craving.  The cookbook is well-organized and I am glad that it sticks to a traditional layout.  Although quite popular these days, I will confess that I do not enjoy when a cookbook is organized according season or menus.    Perhaps I am behind the times, but I think a cookbook is more functional when you can browse through the soup section if you are feeling like soup, rather than having to flip from page to page using the index as your guide.  Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is divided sensibly into soup, grain, bean, vegetable, sauce and dessert sections.

That’s right, I said dessert.

Lorna does feature a section on vegan pressure cooker desserts.  It definitely piqued my curiosity and I had to try one.  She provides thorough instructions on how to make a wonderful steamed blueberry pudding cake.  I was blown away that I could make a cake in the pressure cooker and have it turn out fantastic!  The great thing about this cake is there is no oil, it is sweetened with fruit juice and maple syrup and it is totally vegan.  Although not a dessert, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure even has  a recipe for steamed Boston Brown Bread. How much fun is that!

I have really enjoyed using my pressure cooker to make Lorna’s great recipes, so I am disappointed that she does not have another vegetarian pressure cooker cookbook.   I figured my pressure cooking adventures would be limited to one cookbook.  Luckily, when I was browsing through her other cookbooks on Amazon.ca I noticed that Complete Vegetarian Kitchen has pressure cooker instructions for many of its recipes.

I guess I need to make room for another cookbook!

Lorna Sass Month: This is a vegetarian cooking blog and, don’t worry, this is the meatiest Cookbook Cooks is gonna’ get!

As you may or may not know, Cookbook Cooks has dedicated the  month of March  to the Queen of Pressure Cooking, Lorna Sass.  Although Lorna was vegan for many years, a point reflected in her many vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, she also has a number of non-veg cookbooks (one of which won a James Beard award!).  For a complete listing and description of her cookbooks take a look at her website.  In case you are wondering, I figured that I couldn’t really do Lorna Sass Month justice if I did not touch on her other bodies of work – vegetarian or not.  That is the purpose of this post.

Since I purchased a pressure cooker of my own at the beginning of the month, a popular topic of conversation with my coffee/lunch group at work has been pressure cooking.  In fact, one of my meat-eating co-workers has even asked to borrow my pressure cooker when I take holidays this summer so he and his family can try it out!    Being the nice guy that he is, he even asked if I was comfortable with him cooking meat in it.  Of course I don’t mind, and I will be delighted to share my pressure cooker with him.  Afterall, it really takes recipe sharing to the next level, and how much fun is that!

A considerable number of my readers are not vegetarians, so I thought it might be a good time to dispel any myths that pressure cookers are just for beans, vegetables, and grains.

Of course I cannot speak from cooking experience, but I have seen recipes for chicken, ribs, and meat based stews and soups in my pressure cooker instruction booklet.  If I have peaked you interest, take at look at Lorna’s website and blog.  Her website features such recipes as Southern Split Pea Soup with Ham and Chuckwagon Beef Stew with Cheddar Smashed Potatoes taken from her Pressure Perfect Cookbook and The Pressured Cook, respectively.   Her blog even has a recipe for cooking Penne with Meat Sauce in the pressure cooker.  Of course her cookbooks (and blog) also contain vegetarian recipes, so you can give these a try to find out how easy and tasty vegetarian cooking can be.

I am sure that these recipes will inspire you and make you a pressure cooker convert in no-time!

Oh, and if my husband is reading, don’t worry honey,  I don’t have plans to become a meat eater any time soon!

Cookies, Cookbooks and Printable Recipes!

Oh joy!

What a great week for receiving packages of cookbooks in the mail.

On Wednesday EPC and I received our much-anticipated “Christmas Chapter’s gift card” cookbooks. Then on Saturday I went to the courier’s and picked up a package of review cookbooks from Lorna Sass.

Needless to say I am very behind in my reading.

Although I have not had a chance to comb through the new additions to my cookbook shelf, I do have a few cursory ideas.  After noticing that Totally Vegetarian has about 3 vegetable burger recipes and reFresh has one, I thought I should do a veggie burger cook-off and see if I can find a few top burger recipes for you all to try.  Furthermore, I received a veggie burger recipe from a friend a few years ago and cut one out of the newspaper just last week, so it is time I put these recipes to the test!

EPC and I love eating veggie burgers with roasted root vegetables or a side salad, but have avoided them as of late, because we have gotten quite tired of store-bought. In that case, the burger cook-off will be appreciated at my house. What a better way to get reacquainted with our favorite quick meal by trying out some homemade concoctions.

I plan on revisiting Mexico quite often, if only in taste, by trying out some recipes in A Taste of Mexico by Kippy Nigh.  I can only hope the flavours will bring the warm weather and sunshine north!

In order to make the recipes I selected for this week I needed to take a trip to the Mexican grocery.  Here I was able to pick up  dried guajillo chilies and dried epazote, a popular Mexican herb.  I recalled that a few of the other recipes called for smoked dried chipotle peppers , so I picked up a bag of those for another day.  In fact, I don’t think I will have any trouble finding items from Kippy’s ingredient list here in Edmonton.

Since Lorna Sass was kind enough to send me two of her great cookbooks: Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure and Short-Cut Vegan, I thought why not dedicate a month, perhaps February or March, to Lorna Sass, featuring her cookbooks and recipes. According to the reviews I have read so far this will be a real treat.

The excitement doesn’t end there!  Lorna Sass is an expert on pressure cooking and if I manage to secure a pressure cooker for my birthday I will be learning how to cook yummy vegetarian meals quickly.  Quicker than you or I could imagine.  The cover on her cookbook promises “two-hour taste in ten minutes”!

Finally, I have figured out how to include printable copies of the great recipes that I post on Cookbook Cooks, so you can look forward to that when I get to the cookie part of this post.  Thanks to Closet Cooking! I know from experience that a recipe is more likely to be tried if one can print it off and have it handy while cooking!

As you may have guessed I baked some cookies today.  They are wholesome little egg-free snacks made with whole wheat flour and honey.  I found the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks Uprisings: The Whole Grain Bakers’ Book.

Jammies – you can look forward to about 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (I did not add salt, because I used salted butter)
Your favorite jam (I used tart chokecherry spread)

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • In a large bowl, whip the butter with a blender
  • Add the vegetable oil, honey and vanilla extract and beat until mixed
  • In a separate bowl mix the flour, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add the flour to the oil and honey mixture and mix well.  The dough may be quite crumbly, but it will stick together just fine.
  • Roll the dough into small balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Make a dent in the top of each cookie with your fingertip and fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
  • Bake at 350°C for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown and the jam bubbles a little

Click for printable version