Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cookbooks for the vegetarian-inclined, creative, 20 something cook+ Baked Banana

Standard

Heeeey blog,

 

So with finals looming, my procrastination is at an all time high. Have you read every pug-related Buzzfeed article? Cause I have (the winners: 41 reasons why pugs are the best, and pugs in Halloween costumes). I have also spent far too much time online (window) shopping at Forever 21, which has led me to the question:  WHO comes up with the slogans for their shirts….?!

00107637-02

 

{My disappointment in this shirt also stems from the fact that I initially thought it said Tinder Thug, which I thought was actually kinda hilarious}

Anyways, at least some of my extracurricular activities during exam period are productive. I tend to go to the gym more, take study/coffee breaks with friends, and also read cookbooks before I go to bed. I’ve been struggling lately with insomnia, and have found that taking a few minutes to turn off bright screens and read before bed helps me fall asleep/unwind. It also has the unfortunate side effect of making me crave delicious, well made food but that’s tends to be pretty normal for me anyways.

So here is a list of my favorite cookbooks thus far!

1. The Flavor Thesaurus

flavor thesaurus

I mentioned this book here, but it’s so great it’s worth talking about twice. This book is not exactly a cookbook per se, in that it doesn’t have any strict laid out recipes. Instead, it groups common food items into basic flavor categories such as bitter, earthy, salty, sweet and has sections on each food item in that category that lists interesting pairings. Some are pretty basic, such as chicken and red pepper, but others are pretty out there, such as thyme and chocolate. What I love about this book is that it kind of reads like a novel, and is peppered with really interesting short recipes. It doesn’t have any pics, but the author is funny and tells lots of anecdotes about the pairings or history of food. I also appreciate that it’s more of a guide for cooking, and it’s been the source of a lot of cooking inspiration for me. Honestly, if you know someone who likes to cook, and you want to buy them a present, get them this.

2. The Flavor Principle

flavor principle

Now this book. Thiiiiiiiis book. This book contains the recipes that make me feel like a real chef. The kind of basic yet brilliant recipes that perfectly showcases the ingredients, without having too much or too little. It’s written by the Food and Wine editors of the Globe and Mail, and also has a somewhat unconventional format. The book is divided into sections dedicated to flavors but provides full menus based off these flavors. So there’s an umami chapter with 3 or 4 full menus dedicated to dishes rich in umami. What’s unique about is that they provide a wine/beer/liquor pairing with every dish. Normally I just kind of ignore the Wine/Spirits column in the Globe (gimme a liter of sola and call it a day, amirite), but this book is slowly changing my mind about how much wine pairings can add to a dish. It provides menus based off foods from lots of different cultures, and has some really unique recipes (chilled avocado apple soup, irish cheddar ale chard pie, etc). Also the food photography is beauuuuuuutiful. It is probably the least vegetarian cookbook in this list, and features a lot of pork/beef/lamb/seafood recipes.

3. Fresh Cookbooks

fresh cookbook

 

Big surprise that this is on here. I have raved about Fresh here and here (I’m still determined to continue the Feelin’ Fresh series). I love love love this restaurant, and make  a point to go whenever I’m home. It’s pretty nostalgic for me, as I first starting going to Fresh when I was an angsty teen swimming at U of T. The only thing that could get me in a frigid pool at 7 am on Sunday morning was the promise of Banana nut pancakes from Fresh. Now I go there when I’m in my fave part of Toronto, or visiting some of my BFFs who live around there now (Jk, I’m not that popular. It is the same BFF every time. Happy belated bday, Effie!). Or I drag my baby sis there when I’m craving sweet potato fries, and she obliges cause she loves me.

Since I love this place so dearly, it was only a matter of time before the fresh cookbooks made their way into my life. While I don’t think this book really stands alone in terms of writing style or pictures, the fact that I can have access to fresh-style food and recipes whenever I want is what makes it a part of my top list of cookbooks. Their dressings and sauces are incredible, and it’s definitely the cookbook I use the most.

4. Veganomicon

veganomicon

This book is like the grandma of all vegan cookbooks. But like, a really hip, sassy grandma who lives in New York and has an epic spice collection. Isa Chandra and Terry Romero were sort of pioneers in the vegan restaurant industry, and their Post-Punk Kitchen video series and website were one of the first vegan blogs. It’s is light on the pictures, but their recipes are pretty creative. Like, tempeh miso sushi rolls is the first recipe in the book. And the desserts section is droooool inducing. What they can do with entirely vegan food is cool, although I find that they focus a lot on the whole ‘meat substitution’ format of vegan/veggie cooking, as opposed to creating meals that incorporate veggie protein (which I like more). They use a lot of seitan, which is a gluten based vegan protein source (kinda looks like chicken breast, but not really), and I don’t love it, so I skip a fair amount of these recipes. This works out okay, because this book contains a LOT of recipes. I haven’t even gotten through half of my flagged pages since I bought it, and I bought it two years ago

 

So there ya have it! Those guys are really my faves, and I’ve read each one cover to cover at least twice. Whether you’re looking for a gift for your foodie friend, or you just saw this post on Facebook and wondered if my blog was any good (Answer: duh. it’s great), I hope you enjoyed it!

 

Before I go, I wanted to share one GENIUS snack I’ve been eating lately: baked banana. Anyone who knows their way around a campfire has probably seen this snack before: you make a slit in a banana (peel on), stuff it with yummy stuff, then wrap it in tinfoil and nestle into embers of fire while fearing for your fingeys.

blog

 

{My photo looked….unappetizing to say the least. So you’re welcome for this pretty one I borrowed from Google}

Well YOU CAN MAKE THESE AT HOME GUYZ! Really. Just replace fire with toaster oven. Or real oven. Just not microwave (tinfoil and microwaves do not mix). I added chocolate chips and pb, but marshmallows could be interesting?!

As far as cooking directions go, I put mine in the toaster oven at 350 for 15 minutes and it could have used a bit more time, but I was too hungry and had already cleaned a spoon so…

 

Here’s a song I’ve been crushing on lately