Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cookbook Potpourri

This is something that's a little off my beaten path, but we all have to eat. Summer is a more relaxed time for me; there's more time for cooking and eating leisurely meals.  Here are a few cookbooks that are keeping us well-fed this summer:

Vegan Yum Yum: Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day
by Lauren Ulm
Health Communications, Inc.
290 pages

This is a great everyday cookbook with simple, easy to follow instructions and plenty of gorgeous, full-color photographs.  Lauren Ulm has a website veganyumyum.com.  Her book has more than 100 recipes for everything from breakfast, to dinner, to dessert.  A few recipes call for exotic ingredients, but most of the meals here can be made from ingredients found at your local grocery store.  You don't need to be a gourmet chef to execute these recipes, and there are some vegan variations on traditional comfort foods, like baked macaroni and cheese.  I love the blueberry grunt, which sounds like a bizarre dish, but is really a sort of cobbler--super easy to make, and delicious.  This is a well written cookbook that is easy to use.

If you like desserts, you'll love the next two cookbooks:

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:  100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
paperback, $17.95
DaCapo Life Long

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:  75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
paperback, $15.95
DaCapo Life Long

I love cookbooks that have lots of pictures:  I really need to know what the finished products are going to look like.  Both of these cookbooks have full-sized photographs for each recipe.  More importantly, these baked goods are so wonderful that you will never miss the dairy ingredients.  The cookies are to die for.

Finally, by the same authors:
Veganomicon:  The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
DaCapo Long Life
298 pages
This cookbook is an inclusive and very instructional book for cooks who are already committed to a vegan diet, as well as those who might just be starting out.  There are great sections on stocking the vegan pantry, kitchen equipment, cooking and prepping terminology, and more.  There are also helpful and informative tips scattered throughout the cookbook--this is a book you might sit down and read, or you may just grab it and start on a recipe.  Again, the recipes don't all call for strange and exotic ingredients you'll only use once--a pet peeve of mine.  My daughter made "Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream" this weekend, and it was wonderful.  This is one of those cookbooks with the color photographs all in a center section, so you don't have the pictures right next to the recipes, but this is a minor quibble.  I'm looking forward to having this in our kitchen, and predict we will use it all the time.

Even if you aren't vegan, you might want to pick up a vegan cookbook and try a couple of recipes--you might be surprised at how easy vegan cooking is, and how little you will miss animal products.  It has been a slow journey for my family, and some of us still indulge in dairy products on occasion (names deleted to protect the guilty).  These days it seems as though there are vegetarians or vegans at every gathering, so its not a bad idea to have a recipe or two up your sleeve.

What are your favorite cookbooks?  Anyone out there tried any recipes from these cookbooks?  Or maybe you have a cookbook or a recipe you'd like to recommend?


Shannon said...

You're vegan? That's very interesting - I'm a vegetarian, but I often cook from vegan cookbooks. And a close friend of mine is vegan, so you may have given me some gift ideas for her! :)

BookQuoter said...

My daughter would love these cookbooks. She collects them and she is a wannabe vegan too! Thanks

bibliophiliac said...

@Shannon-not really a vegan, definitely a vegetarian. Both my daughters are vegan, so my husband & I are semi-vegan by default. I'm working toward it!
@BookQuoter-I'm working my way toward becoming 100%vegan. My husband & I eat vegan probably 1/3 of the time. Both daughters are vegan--it makes you cook all the time, which is good!

Aisle B said...

Where did you find these delicious vegan cookbooks? I actually have a friend and he'd be completely bowled over by the books you've displayed. I will forward the link to him and have him make something more than lentil soup for life :)

I would love to go vegetarian but the boys love their supply of beef too much to give it up. My husband's noble effort last all of 2 days before he became a carnivore again. Oh well A for effort ;)

bibliophiliac said...

@AisleB-giving up animal products is kind of like quitting smoking--it takes several tries! My husband and I went veggie once before, then started eating chicken again. Our daughter is the one who really converted us, mostly by preparing delicious vegetarian meals all the time!

Emily said...

I really like the vegan cookies cookbook. The authors explain everything very well, and are a riot to read, too! The Peanut Butter Blondies were really, REALLY good, as were the Citrus Glitters. I'm actually not a vegan, but I have friends who are. I do a fair amount of baking, so I thought it would be good to expand my baking horizons to include vegan-friendly goodies. I haven't tried out the cupcake cookbook yet, but it's definitely on my list!

Thanks for the review :)

bibliophiliac said...

@Emily-the Deluxe Cocoa Brownies are great, & the Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies are the best cookies I've ever had! Guess I like chocolate!

Emily said...

Oooh, those sound good. I'm a big chocolate fan myself :) I guess I'm just going to have to get a copy of this book. I had checked it out from the library and then made copies of a bunch of recipes, but tried to limit myself so I wasn't copying the ENTIRE book. I already have a large stack of cookbooks, though . . . Ah, well, what's one more? :)