Posted by: Grub | October 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday – Our Favourite Cookbooks

Tonight has to be a quickie post, as I (hopefully) just finished working for the night and need to clean up the kitchen (and eat leftover mini pumpkin pies).  I thought for our top ten tonight, I would list my top ten favourite cookbooks.  Chad’s list may differ, so maybe I’ll let him comment if he would switch anything else in (hint, hint, partner in blogging).  So, without further adieu (what does that mean anyways?), here they are:

10. Yellow Rose Recipes – Joanna Vaught
This book has my favourite seitan recipe in the whole world (mustard crusted seitan, so ridiculously good) as well as many other easy and tasty recipes.  It is also probably the cutest book I own, as the pictures in the book are all drawn by a friend of the author, whose drawing I really love.  Sadly, it is no longer in print.  😦  (Further sadness: Joanna is not writing cookbooks anymore, although I do have her two follow-up Potluck Mania zines.) I am not sure that I can bear to risk lending it out, but I will share recipes if anyone is interested.

9. The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen – Peter Berley
This was an early purchase for me, and remains one of my favourite cookbooks.  It is arranged seasonally and is full of both simple and more complicated recipes full of fresh veggies and beans and whole grains.  I love the mustard green beans and the romaine with miso vinaigrette and the celery salad and the stuffed collards and… pretty much everything.  There is a crazy delicious recipe with Savoy cabbage in it in there, but I can’t find it right now to tell you what it is.  SO GOOD.

8. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian – Mark Bittman
This is my current kitchen bible.  There is a recipe for pretty much anything and everything, and all are simple, relatively quick, and highlight fresh produce.  Although the cookbook is vegetarian, there are many vegan or veganizable recipes.  He also has lots of great, easy bread recipes and lots of international flavours.  Highly recommended if you are looking for an all-around resource.

7. Vegan Soul Kitchen – Bryant Terry
I haven’t cooked as much out of this book as I would like, but what I have made has been fantastic.  In particular, there is a spicy tempeh recipe with cherry tomatoes and creamy polenta that is amazing (albeit not a quick recipe) and a great BBQ tempeh sandwich.  I was hoping to get to some of his peach desserts this summer but they will have to wait for fresh peaches next year. I also love that he pairs his recipes with music and writes a lot about his family and his food memories.

6. Eat, Drink and Be Vegan – Dreena Burton
Dreena writes great family-friendly and healthy recipes, and she is a local (from White Rock), which makes me love her even more.  We have a number of her recipes on constant rotation in our house, and I find that this book is one that I pull out when I am looking to make a great dip or appetizer for Book Club – they are all awesome, and there is a whole chapter on different hummuses (hummi?). She is coming out with a new book in the spring (I think) that I can’t wait for.

5. Vegan with a Vengeance – Isa Chandra Moskowitz
So this is where my list gets funny.  I love everything that Isa has ever written, and have never encountered a cookbook author with more reliable recipes. This was her first, and was probably my first vegan cookbook. There are so many things in here that I love, from the pumpkin muffins, to the pancakes, to the biscuits and tempeh sausage gravy, to the pomegranate BBQ tofu, to the chocolate pudding, to the peanut butter pie, I could go ON and ON and ON.

4. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
This book is my birthday cake bible.  (Funny, since it is a cupcake book.)  I have never, ever brought leftovers home from a work birthday cake, and in fact, we are always challenged to slice ever thinner slices. There is everything in here – basic chocolate and vanilla, some lower-fat recipes, gluten-free basic flavours, and then lots and lots of fantastic flavour combinations and decadent frosting and toppings.  You will never need to make a non-vegan birthday cake again.

3. Vegan Brunch – Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Brunch is honestly my favourite meal – what better excuse to have both sweet and savoury breakfast options on the same plate, especially at dinnertime?  This book is full of all kinds of pancakes, waffles and French toast to go beside my tofu and tempeh scrambles, tofu bennies and tofu omelettes. It also has the best muffin recipes I have ever made.  There are so many things in this book that I still haven’t tried – cinnamon rolls! pierogies! bagels! I love brunch!

2. Vegan Diner – Julie Hasson
I have talked about this a few times on the blog this year.  It is a beautiful cookbook with simple, delicious recipes that we have had nothing but great success with.  A really good and easy chicken-style seitan recipe (steamed), homemade BBQ sauces (yes, two), chocolate chip cookies, banana pudding pie, and most of the components to make the Mississippi Bowl from the Native Bowl food cart in Portland.  I have lots on my list still to try, including at the top of the list the pastrami-style seitan (for a Reuben) and the chocolate cherry cake.  Highly recommended.

1. Veganomicon – Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Probably my favourite of all, Veganomicon has a mix of everything – comfort food, international flavours, easy recipes, hard recipes, fancy recipes, simple presentations, lots of veggies and beans and grains, cookies, cakes, desserts.  I can’t even count how many recipes I have made from this book, and many are among my all-time favourites.  Tamarind lentils.  Chickpeas romesco. Smlove Pie. Chewy chocolate raspberry cookies. Lemon Coconut Bundt Cake. Chickpea cutlets. Chickpea noodle soup.  These are a few of my favourite things.

(*** I am about to cheat.  Appetite for Reduction, also by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (in case you are counting, that is five Isa titles) should really be on this list, but the book is in such high rotation that it isn’t even on the shelf with the most used books, it is on the cart in the kitchen, and so I missed it until I got the end and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t on the list. This is my go-to for quick, low-fat, easy weeknight meals that are tasty and healthy.  Definitely my most used cookbook of the year.)
(*** Since I didn’t give AfR a number on this list, it is still a Top Ten list, right? RIGHT?)

There are many, many other cookbooks that I love that didn’t quite make the list today, but maybe would have on another day.  Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero is full of delicious vegan Latin food that we love, and Hearty Vegan Meals by Joni Newman and Celine Steen is another book that is relatively new but holds a lot of promise (I currently need to be eating low-fat rather than full-fat, but I am hoping to be back to some full on hearty eating soon).  Two other resource-type books I would highly recommend are 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison (my first vegetarian cookbook, a gift from my RLM colleagues, including Chad, way back in the day).

It occurs to me that I should have included a photo of our cookbook shelf, but it is way too dark right now, so maybe I will update this post in the morning. And, on that note, off to bed!

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