Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

(Nederlandstalige versie)

I missed Friday’s MoFo prompt (may make up for it later), but I had to come back to tell you about my favourite cookbook! You probably know about it already because it’s a vegan classic, and it definitely deserves all the love it gets: my favourite is Veganomicon.

Veganomicon

This may be the book that’s taught me the most about cooking. It was one of my first cookbooks when I went vegan back in secondary school, and I’ve cooked from it more than from all my other beloved books. I’ve even used it in my BA thesis! (It was on recipe translation.)

The book

Thankfully, this book was built to last. The pages in mine are stained, and the cover may have accidentally been used as a cutting board (Once. Maybe twice?) – but it’s not even close to falling apart.

The book isn’t picture-heavy (the only photos are inserted in the middle), but I still find myself wanting to try every single recipe when I leaf through it. Isa and Terry’s writing is so entertaining that I’m inspired just reading their descriptions, and I can always find pictures of the final dishes on forums and blogs.

The recipes

Veganomicon has been so useful to me while learning how to cook. It starts with basic techniques and cooking times for vegetables, grains, and beans. The mix-and-match chapter provides simple ways to flavour those foods and to pair them with vegan proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan. But this book definitely doesn’t consist of basic recipes only – it provides full menus with everything from spicy tempeh nori rolls and chestnut-lentil pâté to heart-shaped apple galettes and jelly donut cupcakes. To give you an idea, these are some of the recipes I’ve tried.

My favourites: Walnut-mushroom pate (page 64), Quinoa salad with black beans and mango (page 84), Snobby joes (page 98), Marinated Italian tofu (page 128), Chickpea cutlets (page 133), Pumpkin baked ziti with caramelized onions and sage crumb topping (page 194), Tofu ricotta (page 206), Cashew ricotta (page 206), and Fresh rosemary focaccia (page 220).

Others I’ve loved: Grilled yuca tortillas (page 49), Acorn squash and black bean empanadas (page 55), Samosa stuffed baked potatoes (page 60), Curried carrot dip (page 62), Sun-dried tomato dip (page 62), A hummus recipe (page 67), guacamole (page 69), Chocolate chip brownie waffles (page 74), Blueberry corn pancakes (page 76), Black bean burgers (page 98), Cornmeal-masala roasted Brussels sprouts (page 107), Eggplant-potato moussaka with pine nut cream (page 164), Leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits (page 172), Red lentil-cauliflower curry (page 186), Lasagne marinara with spinach (page 196), Almesan (page 207), Backyard BBQ sauce (page 207), Poppy seed-cornmeal roti (page 221), Carrot-pineapple sunshine muffins (page 226), Chewy chocolate-raspberry cookies (page 234), Fudgy wudgy blueberry brownies (page 242), Lower-fat deep chocolate bundt cake (page 256), and Chocolate ice cream (page 261).

Roasted eggplant and spinach muffuletta sandwich

I’ve posted about recipes from this book before, but I wanted to try another one just for this review. The roasted eggplant and spinach muffuletta (page 100) is a huge sandwich stuffed with spinach, roasted aubergine/eggplant and peppers, and olive and sundried tomato relish. I’ve always wanted to try it but I’ve never had exactly the right ingredients, so this time I decided to just make it with what I had.

Muffuletta

I used all green olives instead of half kalamatas and I chopped them by hand instead of using a food processor, I left out the celery seed, and I roasted my own tomatoes and yellow peppers. I also couldn’t find a good round loaf of bread that wasn’t way out of my usual price range, so I made my own – which meant I made two smaller sandwiches instead of a single big one.

Muffuletta

What a sandwich. I was planning on serving it with a soup, but once we’d tried a bite of the muffuletta we decided it would make a fine dinner on its own. I still think it would be nice with a lentil soup for a bit more protein, but I was surprised by how filling the sandwich was with just vegetables and olives.

This muffuletta works best if you make it well in advance so the olive relish has plenty of time to soak into the bread. I took mine out a little early so I could take a picture, but I have leftovers steeping in the fridge so I can’t wait to go and eat them.

Sample recipes

If you don’t have Veganomicon and you’d like to try a few dishes before buying it, these are recipes from the book (some slightly modified) that are available on the PPK blog.
Potato latkes
Seitan piccata
Eggplant potato moussaka with pine nut cream
Quinoa salad with black beans and mango
Chickpea cutlets

Links of the day

Picking a favourite cookbook is hard! I was happy to see fellow MoFo bloggers highlighting some of my other favourites, including Appetite for Reduction (on Vegan Eats & Treats) and Vegan Brunch (on Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen). I also loved seeing recipe recommendations for books I want to use more often, like Authentic Chinese Cuisine (on Dandelion Vegan Blog), Isa Does It (on Vegan Crunk), and Vegan Eats World (on Vegan à Montréal).

And of course I’ve read many reviews of wonderful cookbooks I don’t currently own – but I expect everyone’s added lots of cookbooks to their wishlists after today, so I’m not going to tempt you by linking to more of them. :) Instead, check out Zsu’s round-up of the second week of VeganMoFo!

Flatbread and falafel

(Nederlandstalige versie)

There are few meals that can’t be improved by adding good fresh bread, and from the MoFo posts I’ve seen today, I think most of us agree that trying to choose the best sandwich ever is both impossible and pointless. Instead, I’ll just add another great sandwich to the ones that have already been posted today.

Now, I know from listening to The Sporkful that not everyone considers wraps and flatbread to be proper sandwiches, and I see their point. But why would we exclude them when they’re so delicious? They have the same basic components as other sandwiches. I think the perfect sandwich is different for every person and every occasion, so I like sandwiches like these:

Flatbread with falafel and toppings

You make a big stack of flatbreads, decide on a few fillings, and surround them with little bowls of everything you have that looks good, then everyone assembles their own sandwich the way they like it. Today, I tried to recreate a falafel sandwich that I love from Maoz: falafel (recipe from Jerusalem), hummus, aubergine, and as many veggies as I can fit on top. (There were actually a few more toppings that didn’t make it into the photo — it was too dark to take pictures indoors so I’d put everything outside, but then it started raining and I had to rush back inside for fear of soggy flatbread!)

Oh, and those are waffle-cut potato crisps on the top left. So good! I make them by using a waffle cutter that looks more or less like this. They’re more annoying to cut than regular crisps or chips, but I had to make them for Best Sandwich Night.

Links of the day

This post from Rosie’s Vegan Kitchen and this post from Flicking the Vs just made me realise I should have put those waffle crisps IN my sandwich instead of on the side. D’oh!

Gobbler slices and homemade ciabatta

We spent some time house-sitting for my parents this summer, which was pretty great—we got to hang out with the cats and rabbits, enjoy the sun in the garden, and prepare summer meals in my parents’ kitchen. I love our kitchen in The Hague, but it’s always good to be cooking back home. I especially enjoyed trying out my parents’ bread machine, so we ate a lot of sandwiches. This one was my favourite:
Gobbler sandwich It’s a basic wheat bread from the machine’s instruction booklet with rocket, tomatoes, red onion, the gobbler slices from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day (recipe online here), and a herb dressing from the same book. This was the first time I’d made seitan specifically to slice into sandwiches, and I really like how it turned out. It took me a while to try the recipe because I couldn’t find the instant tapioca it calls for, but I ended up using dried sago, which seems to be very similar if not the same thing. The little balls provide an extra textural element that other seitan recipe don’t have, so I’m glad I gave them a try, but if you can’t find the tapioca I’m sure the slices will still be delicious without it. The seitan recipe makes a lot and freezes well, so it’s good to keep on hand for quick sandwich making. It also seems like the kind of recipe that lends itself well to variations and substitutions, so I’d like to try it with other herbs and spices as well.
Ciabatta
I also enlisted the help of the bread maker for my first homemade ciabatta. I’d been meaning to make this bread for a while, but knowing how sticky the dough can be I decided to let the machine do most of the work. I used the method from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen which includes a biga (pre-ferment) recipe that makes enough for several batches of ciabatta. The loaf pictured above was my second try. The first batch was good, but not as airy as I would’ve liked, so I left the dough to rise a little longer the second time. This batch was pretty much perfect, although I should have taken it out of the oven a little earlier—the top was almost burnt! This bread was much chewier and crustier than the shop-bought ciabatta I’ve had, and much cheaper as well, so I definitely want to see whether I can make it without the bread machine at home.

Speaking of inexpensive food, VeganMoFo is coming up, and I’m doing a budget theme. More on that tomorrow!