I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my cookbook collection: Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week! I’ve been eagerly anticipating Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest cookbook for months, and I was so happy the day it finally arrived in the mail. I’ve long admired her culinary prowess (hello, Veganomicon, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Post Punk Kitchen…), but Isa really pulled out all the stops with this book.
Isa Does It is full personality. It’s warm and inviting, and its tone is sassy and conversational. It’s like you have a friend showing you the culinary ropes. And everything is better when you have a good partner, right? The pictures are stunning and plentiful (I’m not sure of the exact ratio, but there’s a picture for almost every recipe).
Its focus is on “recipes, tips, strategies, and even some philosophy to make your time in the kitchen as productive, easy, and hopefully even as fun as possible!” Mission accomplished! Isa walks you though equipping your kitchen, stocking your pantry, vegan butchery (tofu/tempeh) and cooking with ease (mise en place, for example), and then she shares 150 fresh recipes spanning many cuisines.
Most of the recipes really can be made any night of the week. Some require a little advance planning, such as soaking cashews, but many don’t. The easy-to-follow recipes are designed to impress, they don’t require special, high-dollar kitchen appliances to make, and most of the ingredients can be found in the average supermarket. If I had to recommend one all-purpose vegan cookbook, this would be it.
I have what some would call a cookbook addiction, but it’s rare that I find a cookbook whose recipes I want to make cover to cover. This is one of those books. Here’s a glimpse at my progress so far.
Scrambled Chickpeas. This twist on the classic tofu scramble is a nice change of pace. In it, the tofu is replaced with partially mashed chickpeas, and then mixed with caramelized onions, garlic, dill and lemon. With each bite, I fell more and more in love with this simple dish. Breakfast-for-dinner nights will never be the same!
Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils. One can never have too many kale salads in her repertoire. At first glance this salad may sound too simple — kale, roasted butternut squash and lentils — but don’t let that fool you. It’s hearty, filling and incredibly tasty, and the mustardy vinaigrette takes it over the top.
Cheddary Broccoli Soup. I’ve never been a fan of the classic cheddar broccoli soup, but this guilt-free soup is ridiculous! Cashews, nooch and miso combine to form a wonderful creamy and cheesy base, and then it is brimming with garlic, onions, carrots and broccoli (of course). No matter how many times I make this soup, I always crave more.
Pizza Bowl with Greens, Sausages & Olives. Because pizza is always a good idea, and this bowl is full of so much goodness — brown rice, lots of kale, yummy sausages (I used Tofurky sausages), olives and any other pizza toppings you want to throw in. Oh, and a roasted red pepper sauce to tie it all together. So good! The sauce makes a great sandwich spread, too.
Sticky Orange Chicky Stir-Fry (made with another recipe in the book, steamed chicky seitan). Sautéd onions, bell peppers, green beans and chickpea-based seitan strips are coated in a spicy and sweet (and slightly sticky) orange sauce with hints of ginger. Perfection. Who needs takeout?
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Seared Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cream. This dish always makes dinnertime feel fancy. Made-from-scratch gnocchi topped with flavorful Brussels and slathered in a creamy cashew and white wine sauce with hints of tarragon. If you bake the sweet potato in advance, this comes together so quickly. You can impress everyone at your table, and no one will suspect that it took less than 30 minutes!
No matter your comfort level in the kitchen, Isa’s approachable style to cooking will surely have you whipping up masterpiece meals in no time, and maybe even enjoying the process as well.
With the holidays just around the corner, I can’t imagine a more perfect gift for the person that loves to cook (or even the reluctant cook!) in your life than Isa Does It!
Have you cooked from Isa Does It? What are your favorites?