Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dawn's Unsolicited Advice

Dawn’s Fave Vegan Resources, Tips, Tricks & Unsolicited Advice:

Guys, here is a post about some of my favorite vegan stuff, cookbooks, blogs, websites and the like.  This is not a comprehensive list by far, just some highlights.  I am going to just type until I get tired and then post it.  I can always answer any specific questions right here on the blog or on facebook if that is easier.  Don’t be afraid to post to the blog, folks.  No worries.  Okay, here we go in no particular order:

Get one or two cookbooks you think look really fun and fit your cooking style.  If you consider yourself a “foodie” and already love to cook, then go with something a little more sophisticated, if not go with something more basic.  Go hog (or saag ;-) wild on amazon shopping for cookbooks, but visit http://www.vegan.com/ first so that they get some kick-back.  Actually Erik breaks down some more “basic” cookbooks and some more “advanced” ones for you already: http://www.vegan.com/cookbooks/  I already liked to cook and had been cooking for years so I wanted to start with the more “advanced” books as they got me all worked up and excited about making impressive vegan stuff first time out of the gate.  And it was totally fine for me, but if you aren’t comfortable, go with some of the Erik’s basic choices!

Here is a list of my vegan cookbook collection to date and why I like each one.  I only have seven, so don’t worry J :

Three by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero:
Veganomicon Great for basics (nice chapters at the beginning, pantry items, “how to cook a vegetable” and “how to cook a bean” chapters are great) as well as for advanced/gourmet vegan entrees, snacks, sandwiches, desserts, etc.!
 Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World Because, um, there are vegan cupcakes to be baked!
Vegan Brunch I love to make brunch/big breakfasts on Saturday and/or Sunday, and this fit the bill.  Have made and loved the pancakes, banana flapjacks, tempeh bacon, waffles, homemade vegan sausages, tofu scramble, vegan quiche, and probably a bunch more, and they are all amazing.
All their books are great, but hey, I’m no millionaire.

On recommendation from Isa, I also got:
The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld. Gourmet stuff, here! Made the carrot-ginger soup with lemongrass stock from this book and it was amazing.

Because I LOVE baking and eating baked goods: The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  This is actually one of the best baking books I have ever read.  She is incredibly detailed in a helpful way, troubleshoots every possible baking problem with specific advice for how to fix cookies, yeast breads, cakes, etc. etc.  Great. Oh, and great recipes!

And yes, I am 50% Italian and sort of speak Italian, so needed this: Nonna’s Italian Kitchen: Homestyle Vegan Cuisine. Bryanna is serious, dude, so don’t mess with her.  She knows her stuff and can kill anyone in an iron chef battle.

And 50% American, so I needed this: American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes.  Get this one if you are telling me that your husband is the one who doesn’t want to eat vegetables J

Now let’s talk about web resources.  See those blogs posted in the right hand column of this blog? Yeah, I actually read those.  And a LOT of other ones.  Blogs are so much fun and folks are so generous with their time and free information. They are one of the most amazing aspects of the modern internet, in my opinion. 

You can get updated information by subscribing to blogs or “friending” these guys on facebook or tweetering them on twitter.  For those of you just entering the blogosphere, note that often websites and blogs have different content, you should check out both to see what suits your needs.  I always do both. And you’re already not surprised.

Cook along with Isa & Terry in The Post-Punk Kitchen, both the website http://www.theppk.com/ and the blog are awesome resources for all things vegan cooking & baking.  They have a friendly and welcoming punk-rock tone.  

Susan of the FatFree Vegan Kitchen, at http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/ is a wonder.  I have made a surprising amount of her recipes, including her pumpkin pie cheesecake for Thanksgiving this year and it was amazing: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/11/double-layer-pumpkin-cheesecake.html.  That one is definitely not fat free, though! Thank goodness!

The Betty Crocker Project is a vegan version of Julie&Julia.  The Shannons are so cute! http://www.meettheshannons.net/ 

In case you haven't noticed, vegans tend to be unique folks, myself probably included (you can tell me the truth, guys.).  Vegans tend toward the anarchistic, pro-punk rock, do-it-yourself, anti-establishment and paradigm shifting type.  Just like in all walks of life, some vegan folks are irreverent, naughty and hysterically funny.  Some are serious, focused, true animal welfare advocates or environmentalists with no tolerance for part-time vegans, vegetarians or the new breed, the “flexitarian.” They aren’t mutually exclusive, but Lindy Loo is that hysterically funny, irreverent vegan.  She doesn’t seem to post a lot, but her posts are really funny.  And her mock tuna salad kicks a**.  http://yeahthatveganshit.blogspot.com/2007/08/mock-tuna-salad.html

One of the first blogs I subscribed to was http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/.  Sometimes irreverent and sometimes serious, Claryn seems to have gotten more serious over the past year.  Maybe she is getting older.  Here is the first recipe I made from her blog, and it is a great one.  I’ll probably repost the link over the summer when zucchinis are taking over your CSA box: http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/?p=777  

Want to delve into the issues? Visit http://www.vegan.com/ for serious vegan activism, article posts, reviews, great book lists as well as links to vegan resources.  Heads-up, Erik makes no apologies for doing everything 100%, he is a dedicated vegan so don’t be put off by his direct tone.  He’s got a LOT of great info and you will learn a lot from him.

Oh, and films, there are a lot of great documentaries out there about the food/meat industry.  If you haven't already seen them, try Super Size Me and Food, Inc. for starters.  There is also a new documentary coming out that looks great, called Vegucated, here is the film's website, where you can see the brand new trailer they just completed: http://www.kindgreenplanet.org/programs/glasswalls/ and you can follow them on both FB and Twitter.  Looking like Spring, 2011 for the film release! Looking forward to that.

Always great for amazing photos and links up to the appropriate blog: http://www.findingvegan.com/.

Oh, and this was a useful find, lists a lot of vegan/veggie faux meat products: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/a-list-of-veggie-meats/   You can subscribe to that blog, as well!

I should have been in bed two hours ago, but this was worth it.  Hope this helps some of you to experience the vegan world with a little more confidence.


P.S. I forgot one of my favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.  It is a nice big cookbook and is vegetarian/pescatarian, I had it before we went vegan, but has a LOT of vegan recipes and many that are easily made vegan.  Also, I forgot Cooking the Whole Foods Way by Phily peep Christina Pirello.  Uber healthy and fun vegan fare.