New Cookbook: ‘Isa Does It’

You guys. It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. Without boring you with too many details, work has been kicking my butt (in a good way) and my yoga teaching has been going well, too. Oh, and we got a new cat. By accident. We found this little guy hiding under the hood of our car while it was pouring rain, hence his name, “Honda.” Having a kitten has been quite an adjustment, especially with two older cats. Three cats are my limit. No, really.

Honda

But as far as food, we’ve been cooking up lots of great vegan meals lately. Isa Chandra Moskowitz of “Veganomicon” fame, and several other awesome cookbooks, has just come out with a new cookbook, “Isa Does It,” as well as a series of videos that showcase a few of the recipes from the book. So far, we’ve made the Nirvana Enchilada Casserole, Meat Beany Chili and Corn Muffins, and the New England Glam Chowder. All have been amazing and super, super easy to make, which seems to be the theme of the new cookbook.

IsaDoesIt

As much as I love “Veganomicon,” some of the recipes require lots of ingredients and lots of time. In “Isa Does It,” Isa focuses on simple recipes that pack a lot of flavor, which is exactly what we’ve been looking for lately. Since starting my job over the summer, I’ll admit to ordering takeout way more than we should. For that reason, it’s been nice to get back into the kitchen to make some new dishes. This week, in fact, we plan on making a curry peanut kale bowl and a thai chili recipe from the book. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out.

I hope you all are well!!

An Oldie but Goodie: Chickpea Cutlets, Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes

Chickpea Cutlets

I’ve made these Chickpea Cutlets from “Veganomicon” many times, and have even posted them on here. But for some reason, I’ve still struggled to get the texture right. This time around, however, I made progress.

First, I made sure to thoroughly mash the chickpeas. Second, I baked them (instead of frying), which gave them a firmer, meatier texture. I’ll definitely be baking them from here on out.

For the cabbage, I tried a new technique: I sliced a head of cabbage into 1-inch slices, brushed olive oil on both sides and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I baked the slices for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees — so easy and the cabbage was super-tender and caramelized. I could see grilling the slices, too.

Finally, I quickly mashed some potatoes with a little olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. For the sauce, I just mixed whole-grain mustard with vegan mayonnaise. A dollop of apple sauce added a touch of refreshing sweetness to the meal.

This is a great weeknight meal because it comes together pretty fast and is pretty cheap to make.

I hope you all are well! More yoga training this weekend. Have a good one!

My Favorite Winter Soup: French Lentil with Tarragon and Thyme (and a Side of Cornbread)

French Lentil Soup

Of all the recipes I’ve made from “Veganomicon” (and there are still a ton that I haven’t made), I’ve probably made this French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme the most. (You can find the recipe here.) The soup comes together really quickly; just chop the onion and carrots and throw it all into a pot to simmer. I like to serve mine with crumbled cornbread on top, making it a hearty and filling meal for a cold winter day.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

This is one of my favorite recipes from “Veganomicon” — the picture doesn’t really do it justice. Penne pasta is tossed with a cashew ricotta that is mixed with pumpkin, spices and caramelized onions. Walnuts are toasted with breadcrumbs and sage before being added to the top of the penne mixture. The entire thing is baked in the oven until it’s bubbly and delicious. It’s such a comforting dish.

I was able to find the recipe online here, but the cookbook itself is definitely worth the money.

I hope you all are well!

Chickpea Cutlets and Lemony Roasted Potatoes

These cutlets are one of the first recipes I made when I first received “Veganomicon.” They really are wonderful, but I still can’t get the shape right. Mine just kind of look like a big blob. I mashed the chickpeas with a potato masher, but, next time, I’m thinking of giving the chickpeas a whirl in the food processor to break them down so that I can form them into neater patties.

As for the Lemony Roasted Potatoes, this was the first time I’ve made them and they will definitely be in our regular recipe rotation. Wedges of potatoes are cooked down in a wonderful broth of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and herbs — super easy to throw together for a weeknight meal. Making them reminded me that I really need to dig back into that cookbook more because there are so many recipes that I still haven’t made.

A dollop of Dijon mixed with Vegenaise made for a nice dipping sauce.

Penne Vodka

This was one of the first recipes I made from “Veganonicom” when I first became vegan. It’s really simple to put together, and I even found the recipe online. The sauce consists of a basic, garlicky marinara with red pepper flakes for kick and vodka. The sauce is simmered for about 20 minutes so that the alcohol dissipates and the flavor infuses the sauce. Slivered almonds are added to the sauce right before it’s blended. And if you have fresh basil (I didn’t in this case), add a chiffonade of it on top.

I will say, it’s important that you have a blender with a tight lid because you’ll be blending hot liquid. I haven’t made this recipe in a couple of years because I didn’t have a blender, and an immersion blender won’t cut it. I recommend placing a towel over the lid and holding it down tightly as you blend the sauce just to be safe.

On the side, I included baby spinach with a warm poppy seed dressing, as well as an assortment of olives.

Vegan Food Happenings

Hey there. Sorry for the lack of posts. Work’s been, um, interesting. Sadly, it’s been zapping any extra energy I’ve had to cook/take pictures/blog. But I thought I’d share a few pictures of some dishes I’ve made the past week or so.

Maple-Almond Granola (from “Vegan Soul Kitchen”)

This recipe is super-easy to make and it makes a ton of granola. But it keeps for a month, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it on your yogurt and berries.

French Lentil Soup (from “Veganomicon”)

My husband started a new job this week (yay!) that has regular hours and he has access to a microwave. I can’t tell you how much this is going to help with our lunch planning. This week, I made this French Lentil Soup recipe, along with cornbread, for our lunches. It’s very filling, very healthy and easy on the budget (much cheaper than buying canned soups).

Also, we received our Vitamix a few days ago and are already in love. We’ve made a few smoothies from the included recipe book, but I’m looking forward to trying it for a vodka sauce recipe tonight. If it turns out well, I’ll have a post up on that this weekend.

I hope you all are well!

Recipe: Spinach Mushroom Lasagna

I love lasagna. It’s up there on my list of comfort foods. I had actually planned on making this last week, but kept putting it off — lasagna’s not the quickest meal to throw together. It doesn’t exactly fit in with my detox plan for this week, but I still feel like it’s a healthy, hearty meal.

I don’t have exact measurements for this recipe because, well, I didn’t really measure out everything. I just added and tasted it as I went. So, if you do have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments. It does make enough for two full layers in a 9-in x 13-in casserole dish.

For this particular lasagna, I followed Veganomicon‘s recipe for Cashew Ricotta, which is absolutely amazing if you haven’t tried it. As far as the sauce, I sauteed half a yellow onion, three cloves of garlic and one finely diced carrot. To that, I added a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, along with dried basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. (I tend to like my lasagna on the dry side, so you may want to add an additional can of tomatoes if you prefer a saucier lasagna.)

To cut down on pots and pans, I used the same pot that I used for the lasagna noodles to cook down a large package of frozen, chopped spinach and 8 ounces of sliced button mushrooms. Finally, I layered it all in baking dish, topped it with extra sauce and a sprinkle of basil and nutritional yeast, and baked it for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

A spring mix salad, crusty bread and olives rounded out the meal.

Enjoy!

Mini Potluck Meal

I don’t often make meals that feature a lot of sides. My meals usually consist of a soup with cornbread, or a casserole or main dish with a quick salad. I don’t know why that is because I love having lots of options on my plate. I’ve always been a fan of potlucks for that reason.

For this dish, I went all out. I made the Atomic Tofu Pecan Loaf (which I’ve featured on here before) in my slow cooker, and a side of roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. Looking for a second side, I found a Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf recipe in Veganomicon. It was so good and so, so easy to make.

All in all, it was a healthy and hearty meal that warmed our bellies on a cool spring day.

Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad

This pasta salad recipe is an oldie but goodie. It was one of the first recipes I made when I first purchased “Veganomicon.” The base is made up of Vegenaise, white vinegar, sugar, salt and lots of cracked black pepper. Shredded carrots, radishes and peas are then tossed with the dressing and macaroni. The recipe makes a ton, so it’s perfect for a cookout or potluck alongside some barbecue-baked tofu and corn on the cob.