I thought Veganomicon was supposed to be the ‘ultimate vegan cookbook’, but I think it may have been deposed.
I know I was probably the last vegan in the world to get my copy, but I’m absolutely loving Isa Does It! Before it arrived last month, I’d been imagining it to be a soft-covered book of about 100 pages – one of those cookbooks that are a bit like a thick magazine. It was such a lovely surprise to rip the package open and find a beautiful, big, hard-cover book with gorgeous colours and photos and illustrations.
I usually like to write notes all over my cookbooks – changes that I make to the recipes or which members of the family liked or hated particular dishes. I think I’m going to have to resort to post-it notes for this book, because I just can’t bring myself to write on it. The pages are far too pretty for my hideous scrawl!
You know how some cookbooks are great to browse, but the recipes are too intimidating or they just don’t work well – this one is not like that. Everything I’ve made from it has turned out really well (including Nacho Night on Christmas Day). And the recipes seem so different to those in most of my vegan cookbooks – rather than just different combinations of stir fries and pasta dishes, there are unusual nut creams and dressings, ‘meaty’ things (for want of a better term), and really practical information about tools and techniques.
On Isa’s advice, I’ve even gone and bought myself a cast iron frying pan and a metal spatula, so I can cook my burgers and tofu without a ton of oil and keep the browned surface intact when I flip them. I’ll let you know how that goes.
This weekend I made the Pizza Bowl (p. 204). It seemed like a much healthier way to get the tastes of pizza without the regret of all the fat and refined carbs. I was also fascinated by two parts of the recipe:
- cashew sauce (full of a whole lot of delicious stuff)
- vegan sausages (I wanted to try making my own).
Steamy Beany Sausages
I started by making up the Steamy Beany Sausages (p. 237). They were surprisingly quick and easy, and it was nice to have sausages and know exactly what was in them. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the directions said, “Don’t worry too much about shaping it, as it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.” And awesome it was! When I unwrapped the foil packages, there they were – actual sausages! (without the nasty bits)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the cashew sauce smooth enough – again. H (my daughter, who wasn’t home at the time) has mastered cashew sauce, but mine usually ends up grainy. I had the old ‘air pocket in the blender’ problem. Over and over I scraped it down, but it didn’t help much, and I finally gave up trying. H said I should have drizzled a little bit more liquid in while the blender was running. I’ll try that next time.
If you make this, hang on to any leftover sauce. We had it for lunch on Sunday mixed through a big pile of shredded vegies. Much tastier than your average coleslaw.
Silverbeet instead of kale
I did change the recipe slightly, by using silverbeet instead of kale (I had a huge bunch of silverbeet that was filling up half my fridge, and I wanted it gone!). Unfortunately, as cooked silverbeet doesn’t hold it’s shape as well as kale, it didn’t look quite as nice as the kale in the cookbook – but it did taste great.
And one from Veganomicon
Late last week I tried another of Isa’s vital wheat gluten recipes – the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. I thought these were a bit nicer than the sausages (probably because they were fried instead of steamed), and they were also fun to make.
Meaty Beany Chilli
Last night I made the Meaty Beany Chilli with Cornbread Muffins (p. 169, Isa Does It)…and forgot to take a picture. Here’s the video from Make It Vegan (I’ll let you imagine that mine looked as good as Isa’s).