Gotta bake bread to break it.
There are four aspects essential to a good cookbook (meaning a cookbook that spends more time on the countertop than on a book shelf).
- First, the cookbook must contain colorful pictures of the finished product. Pictures inspire cooks to take the leap and make the dish and although my finished dish may not look as polished as the one in the cookbook, there is usually a close resemblance (note: all of the pictures below of the finished dishes were made by me).
- Second, the recipes have to call for mostly fresh and easily recognizable ingredients. No strange ingredients that require a special trip to search the aisles of specialty markets are allowed.
- Third, the recipes can’t be too complicated because who wants to spend hours making dishes that everyone devours in 15 minutes?
- And, finally the food has to taste really good as in “delicious, can I have seconds; this recipe is a repeat.” Read more
Eat your fruits and vegetables but make sure you leave room for dessert, as long as the dessert tastes excellent and is made with healthful, honest ingredients…
Imagine a cake without butter, sour cream, milk, or eggs that actually tastes rich and delicious with a light crumb and moist texture. Hard to do? Not if you’re making one of the cakes made from a recipe in More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally by Fran Costigan, a professionally trained pastry chef who has shown the world that desserts – and especially cakes – don’t need dairy products to be truly great and absolutely scrumptious. Read more
If food ingredient labels make your eyes glaze over, we hope that this book will open them instead.
Steve Ettlinger and Dwight Eschliman (of Twinkie, Deconstructed and 37 or So Ingredients fame) came together to create a book –Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products – that is both appealing to the eye and the brain. Noting that “almost everyone eats processed foods,” the authors set the reader at ease by pointing out the word “processed” needs to be considered with care because we often forget that processed food also includes the freezing, cooking, baking, drying, and pickling of food – processes that get a bad rep when additives (especially those with complicated hard-to-pronounce names) are added. Read more
Whether you’re new to or know your way around vegan cooking and baking, there are several websites and cookbooks that offer all sorts of alternatives to the traditional American diet. Ingredients, time, complexity, taste, and appearance are the five aspects by which I judge a cookbook or website and these eight are simply the best.
When I first started making vegan dishes, I often consulted three sites and their corresponding cookbooks, all of which are excellent for the novice vegan baker/cook: Read more
Much of our food system depends on our not knowing much about it, beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner; cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing. And it’s a short way from not knowing who’s at the other end of your food chain to not caring–to the carelessness of both producers and consumers that characterizes our economy today. Of course, the global economy couldn’t very well function without this wall of ignorance and the indifference it breeds. This is why the American food industry and its international counterparts fight to keep their products from telling even the simplest stories–”dolphin safe,” “humanely slaughtered,” etc.–about how they were produced. The more knowledge people have about the way their food is produced, the more likely it is that their values–and not just “value”–will inform their purchasing decisions.”
Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest. ~Michael Pollan
When I was 23 years old, I was asked to bring a dessert to a pot-luck luncheon at work so I decided to bring a homemade cheesecake. The night before, I got home from work late and didn’t have time to bring the cream cheese to room temperature so I took the 6 bars of Philadelphia Cream Cheese out of the refrigerator and proceeded to make the cake only to be asked the next day what the white clumps in my cheesecake were. Not one of my better baking moments but one I’ve never forgotten because I eventually learned that certain ingredients have to be at room temperature to blend properly. Read more
If someone told you a chocolate dessert could be unapologetically luscious, decadent and dairy-free, would you believe her? Fran Costigan, author, baking instructor, and vegan chocolate extraordinaire said just that and I really wanted to believe her but I had my doubts because most vegan chocolate desserts don’t taste as rich and scrumptious as those made with butter, cream, and eggs. How could they? Butter, like chocolate makes nearly everything taste better. But they can, and they do in a new cookbook called Vegan Chocolate. Read more
FIg Food Company was started in 2009 by Joel Henry whose company’s mission is to improve the health of people and the planet by promoting the consumption of plant-based food. The company makes, sells, and distributes nine organic and kosher 100% plant-based soups (in microwavable BPA-free pouches) that are low in sodium and offer a healthy alternative to the sodium-laden canned soups on supermarket shelves. But, what most people don’t know is Fig Food Company also sources, sells, and distributes eight types of ready-to-eat organic beans with no added salt, preservatives, or flavorings. Just organic beans and water so the flavor is simply delicious beans. Read more