Thanksgiving menu (tentative)

Thanksgiving is two days away and I still don’t have any plans. (Traditionally, I’ve spent the day with my parents and their friends. Lately, I’ve been spending it with my sister. This year, our plans have somehow fallen through so I’m left without anywhere to go or anyone to see.) So I’ve come up with a tentative Thanksgiving menu for me and Alex:

Roasted beet salad with warm maple mustard dressing

Mashed potatoes
Stuffed Thanksgiving burger patties

Roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, rainbow carrots)
Stuffing with pears and pecans

Sauces & Gravies
Mushroom gravy
Cranberry sauce

Pumpkin cheesecake with crunchy pecan topping (using homemade graham crackers)
Hot cocoa

I’m relying heavily entirely on the recipes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz for the special occasion. But the hot cocoa recipe is my own!

Hot Cocoa

1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 C white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 C boiling water
3½ C unsweetened soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Pour in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to scorch this mixture.
  2. Stir in the milk and heat until very hot (but not boiling). Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  3. Divide evenly among 4 mugs and enjoy!

We’re looking forward to a really mellow night in. Dinner will probably be followed by a movie and then slumber. (Maybe we’ll even do the dishes that night? But probably not.)

Easy does it

I’m completely in love with Isa Does It. That’s not a surprise, though, after I gave it such a glowing review when it arrived at my doorstep two weeks ago. (In fact, I was so enamored with it that I immediately ordered a copy for my sister, who is new to the world of veg eating and cooking.)

So which recipes have I tried?

* = Recipe that, because it was available online before the book came out, I used before I ever even got the book. Some were made again after I got the book, too!

Everything has turned out wonderfully so far! The only trouble I had was with the tempeh meatballs: the 1/2 cup raw diced yellow onion is too much for the recipe! It was mouthful after mouthful of raw onion. Otherwise, the texture and flavors are just right. In the future, I would either omit the onion altogether (and throw in some onion powder into the temepeh mixture) or halve the amount and perhaps saute them briefly before adding to the tempeh.

I’ve also had mixed results with the pillow pancakes. The batter comes out very thick and dense, which is weird to work with on a griddle. I also noticed that Alex doesn’t like them as much as other pancakes I’ve made but I like their puffiness and … I want to say “blandness” but that makes it sound like a bad thing. They are a great canvas for a warm, fruity compote, some coconut creme whipped topping, and confectioner’s sugar. (Is it still breakfast when it’s so decadent?)

There are so many recipes (and so many photos) in this cookbook that I’m doing to be busy for months making them all for the first time… And then making them over and over again as they become staples in my kitchen.

A vegan kitchen: new cookbook day!

I pre-ordered a cookbook back in May and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its late-October release… and it’s finally here!


Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz has finally hit the bookshelves and my pre-ordered copy arrived this afternoon. It felt like Christmas in my house, where the mail carrier played the part of Santa Claus, whose arrival I anticipated with tremendous excitement. When finally it was was delivered, I lovingly removed it from its box and carefully opened the covers, savoring the sound of the crisp pages turning for the first time. I was stricken by the gorgeous photos (taken by the incredibly talented Vanessa Rees), fun illustrations (drawn by the super skilled Erica Rose Levine), and quirky typography.

And then I started reading it. It’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Ms. Moskowitz (owning most of her cookbooks, reading her blog, following her on Twitter, and watching her videos) but, somehow, this book is making me like her even more. I love her no-nonsense attitude and her frank style of writing. It’s what makes me trust her and her recipes. She’s hilarious, too, which makes reading her cookbooks a pleasure:

…The eggplant really just disintegrates into the soup, to give it a meaty thickness. In traditional harira, lamb is used for that purpose, but, you know. . . .

This cookbook–whose subtitle is “Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week”–offers recipes for every occasion, as well as a primer in the beginning of the book about how to stock your vegan kitchen. There’s also an adorable section on “vegan butchery” that shows how to butcher tofu and tempeh. Most recipes are simple and include just a few ingredients (all things you should be able to find easily in most supermarkets), with notes about common substitutions and ways to make the dish even more phenomenal.

The book is huge (311 pages, including the index and appendices) with eleven chapters:

  1. Soups
  2. Salads
  3. Handheld
  4. Pasta & Risotto
  5. Stews, Chilis & Curries
  6. Stir-Fries & Sautes
  7. Bowls (& A Few Plates)
  8. Sunday Night Suppers
  9. A Few Basic Proteins
  10. Breakfast, Brunch & Bakes For The Morning
  11. Desserts

It lies flat, too! This is great when you’re actually using it in the kitchen: your can of chickpeas no longer has to serve double-duty as a paperweight.

It’s the prettiest cookbook I own and, though I fear staining the pages with sauce and wine, I can’t wait to add it to my regular rotation. It’s sure to become a favorite in my kitchen.