Friday, March 8, 2013

Addicted to Cookbooks: PPK collection

As a long term vegetarian I frequently get asked for recommendations for good vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. I usually steer potential cookbook buyers in the direction of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero of Post Punk Kitchen Fame.
Here are some short reviews of the cookbooks pictured above.
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (co-authored) - The tiny square trilogy of vegan dessert cookbooks are amazing as well as being cute. Recipe include drop cookies, wholesome cookies, bar cookies, fancy cookies and rolled cookies. This is THE book for vegan cookie monsters. Favourite Recipe: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pie in the Sky (co-authored) - This book came out while both authors were working on independent projects and it shows in the quality and breadth of recipes included. Most of these recipes are actually cobblers and not pies. Additionally, most are fruit pies which are easy for the home cook to veganize from traditional recipes. I purchased this book to complete the trilogy!  Favourite Recipe: Pucker Up Raspberry Pie
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (co-authored)​ - This is the first in the dessert trilogy and by far the best. Published in the height of cupcake mania it includes a vast array of cupcake and frosting recipes. It may seem passe now but this cookbook really revolutionized vegan desserts. Favourite Recipe: Mucho Margarita Cupcakes 
Vegan Brunch (Isa Chandra Moskowitz) - I pre-ordered this cookbook (first time I have ever done that) and was very disappointed in the quality and creativity of the recipes included in this cookbook. The recipes appeared poorly tested and I experienced many disappointments in the kitchen. So many in fact that I have traded this book for another! Favourite Recipe: Buckwheat Waffles 
Vegan with A Vengeance (Isa Chandra Moskowitz) - This is a well used cookbook and was the first of Isa's cookbooks. It is a funny basic cookbook that covers a wide variety of different food styles from Jerk Seitan to Green Thai Curry. Favourite Recipe: Chocolate Pudding
Veganomicon (co-authored) - The subtitle of this tome is 'The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook'. The depth and breadth of the recipes in this cookbook make it a modern classic. Additionally, the index in this book is great which makes it very easy to look up a recipe. If you are going to buy just one cookbook, this is the one! Favourite Recipe: Chile Cornmeal-Cursted Tofu Po'Boy
Viva Vegan! (Terry Hope Romero)​ - Terry's first solo cookbook is a Latin Dream with recipes tamales, tortillas, and churros. I have really enjoyed cooking new-to-me recipes such as tamales (which have become a comfort food staple!) Favourite Recipe: Pickled Red Onions
Vegan Eats World (Terry Hope Romero)​ - A recent publication Vegan Eats World is full of interesting classic international recipes that allows vegans to travel the world through the kitchen. I have not made that many dishes from this book but those I have have been interesting with complex flavours. One thing I do not understand is her decisions regarding the naming of dishes. She refers to the French flatbread Socca as 'chickpea crepes' while both naan and roti are called as such. It seems arbitrary.  Favourite Recipe: Potato Pierogi with Fried Onions
Isa has another cookbook - Appetite for Reduction - which after my disappointment with Vegan Brunch I have not purchased. (She also has a soon-to-be-released Isa Does It.) When I leafed through Appetite it seemed similar in style and coverage to Veganomicon and also included ideas for salads and bowls that I can create without a recipe. I enjoy Terry's solo books of international recipes as they challenge the palate and the mind.
While the creativity of these authors (especially Isa) has waned in recent years perhaps due to publishing deadlines, as a duo they can still rock the vegan cookbook world! Cookbooks like Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World have encouraged vegans with tasty, approachable, and reliable recipes for years. 

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