A vegan kitchen: bookshelf

My arsenal of vegan cooking literature contains 11 cookbooks and 3 magazine subscriptions:

I like some of the books better than others for their practicality. For example, I really want to like Vegan Eats World but I find the recipes hard to follow because of the hard-to-find ethnic ingredients and elaborate techniques. I already keep my pantry very well-stocked–there’s no need for me to buy ingredients that I’ll use only once. So despite the pretty pictures and delicious-sounding names, I can’t truly rate this book because I’ve only made two recipes from it. (However, they are a couple of my favorites that I’ve made multiple times.)

On the other hand, some titles are staples in my home. I make bean-based sausages and tempeh bacon from Vegan Brunch on practically a weekly basis. The weekly Saturday tofu scramble is based on a recipe in the same book. Similarly, Veganomicon contains recipes that I go back to week after week: Chickpea Cutlets (with the coordinating Mustard Sauce), Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots, Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry, Cheater Baked Beans, and Smoky Grilled Tempeh. There are also two breakfast recipes that I like: Banana-Nut Waffles (which I’ve modified to make pancakes) and Blueberry Corn Pancakes.

The magazines also provide a lot of good ideas. Some vegans disapprove of Vegetarian Times because many of the recipes depend on eggs and cheese. While this is true, I have not been disappointed with their vegan recipes and I’ve been able to veganize most of their other recipes that strike my fancy. This month’s issue (September ’13) was particularly vegan-friendly: 22 recipes are specifically designated as vegan (out of a total 35 recipes in the issue)! I had a blast trying out a bunch of them. My favorite from this issue turned out to be a super simple one: Sweet Potato Bowl with Chimichurri. It’s so delicious yet so simple. I’ve made it almost every week since I’ve received the magazine. And it’s one of those foods that doesn’t even need sprucing up for lunch the next day so one recipe easily lasts me two days as my partner and I have it for dinner one day and then have leftovers for lunch the next day*.

If I’m in a pinch, Google is my friend. It’s helped me find some great vegan blogs: Olives for Dinner, Oh She Glows, and Lunchbox Bunch. And, of course, there’s The PPK. I’m a big fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz (…if you couldn’t tell by my cookbook collection) so having access to even more of her recipes is absolutely amazing.

I’m not big into baked goods but whenever the craving hits, I’m usually looking for a cookie or a muffin–not an elaborate pie with a homemade crust or a tart with a raspberry reduction. My favorite cookie recipe is the simple & delicious vegan chocolate chip cookie from Oh She Glows. I’ve also made The PPK’s best pumpkin muffins with fantastic results. When a craving for donuts strikes, though, I … Well, I don’t even bother trying to make my own. I will never match–let alone surpass–the greatness that is Dun-Well Doughnuts in Brooklyn. This way, donuts have to be earned as we’re rarely in East Williamsburg.

* I was a dedicated brown-bagger before Mark Bittman advocated for it. My “brown bag,” though, is a set of glass food containers I got from Reuseit a few years ago. They’re amazing and can really handle a beating. I’ve been commuting by bike and bringing my lunch to work on a daily basis for almost 2 years and I’ve carried everything from soups and soy yogurts to pastas and casseroles without incident!





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