You are here

Mini cookbook challenge

I'm going to try to work my way through more Isa/Terry recipes. They are all my favorite cookbooks, but I get caught up in other things. I'm going to start mainly with more things from Vcon and VWAV. Anyone else want to participate? I know some of you have already made like everything in them. I never really follow recipes exactly, but I want to make more of these things. I want to try to do..2? recipes a week. Isa and/or Terry books only!
Isa's new book, Appetite for Reduction is coming out around December, I believe. I've tested a lot of the recipes, and it's going to be good!

hmmm, Erin I tried those omelets once but kinda made a mess of it, you reminded me I need to have another crack!

Last night we had vege soup w/ Herbed Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits from VB.
Other than the fact that I still don't understand the difference between a 'biscuit' and a scone, we loved these.  I was a bit worried about them being a bit dry/crumbly after reading reviews and what Isa said in the book, but mine weren't dry at all, delightfully crunchy on the outside, fluffy inside and just the right amount of herby flavour, we thought.  Solid recipe, will make again! : )


Chickpeas Romesco (V-Con) - Fantastic!  Very rich tomato-roasted red pepper sauce that combined well with the chickpeas.  I accidentally bought a can of crushed tomatoes, which was fine since you purreed them I just purreed the red peppers (which I roasted myself...very easy) and mixed them with the crushed tomatoes, I splurged and got fire roasted organic tomatoes.  I opted for the white wine instead of the broth.  I ground the almonds with a mortar and pestle.  I cut the amount of sugar in half and was glad I did, could have done without even the teaspoon.  Instead of a red serrano chili I used Thai chilis that I have on hand.

The above was served on Saffron-garlic rice (V-Con) - which I liked very much.  I used a bit too much saffron as I wanted to get rid of some I've had forever it seems.  I used my rice cooker and used brown instead of white rice.  Loved it!

Inspired by the above garlicky kale, I made garlicky beet greens.


Spinach linguine with basil cilantro pesto and artichokes

Not as good as I thought it would be! I love pesto, but couldn't even tell the cilantro was in there, so it was just a not quite as good version of pesto. I added a zucchini to the saute which I really liked, but I didn't think the whole mixture/artichokes added much to the dish. The pesto just takes over in pesto fashion. I also didn't use the spinach linguine, but had whole wheat capellini. Still a good dinner, but won't make again.


Starry Fudge Shortbread from VCIYCJ:
These lil' bitches gave me a ton a problems, but they were DELICIOUS! I followed the directions exactly, but when it came time to pipe them into star shapes my ziplock baggies kept exploding and I would try to get all the dough into another one, after baggie #3 I decieded to just F-it and make them in circle/blobs and then dip them in the chocolate...good decision, omnis and vegans that had them this afternoon all LOVED them! Thin and chewy, the chocolate is great too! They were gone within an hour!

Midsummer Corn Chowder with Basil, Tomato, and Fennel
well, minus the fennel and tomato and plus zuccinni, red lentils, and this is hardley a review, yet I had to post that the Fresh Corn Stock (which is the following recipe in the book, and a MUST,) is wonderful, and would benefit ANY soup!!! I love it because its a way to use the corn cobs! I loved the soup, and so did my family! I have to always remeber to make that stock when I have corn cobs laying around!

Fresh Rosemary Focaccia
This is good, would probably be even better without whole wheat pastry flour that I used, but whatever, thats health for you. I also brushed the tops with roasted garlic, good stuff!!!!


Penne Vodka (Vcon) - Awesome!  Now I'm not sure if it would be an omni-pleaser due to the grainy texture, but we thought it was fabulous!  I don't know if letting the almonds soak in the sauce a little longer before blending would help or not - I might try that next time.  Really good flavor though.

hmmm, I wasn't overly impressed with this when I first made it, but make it ALL the time now (minus the vodka coz we didn't really see the point in that).  N is omni and he loves the red sauce with the ground almonds in.

BGS, what book is the focaccia in?  I keep having bread fails, but am tempted to try again.

I am so so excited with dinner tonight.  I am making the chickpea cutlets and herb scalloped potatoes (both from Vcon).  I really hope that they are good, I am huuuungry.


Oh sorry, the focaciccia and soup are in Vcon, it was relatively easy...those herbed scalloped potatoes sound good!


How long is this challenge going to be?

Tomato couscous with capers (VCon) - quick, easy and good.  I made it to go along with the beans below.  I didn't have diced tomatoes so I used stewed.  I used the option ground cloves and it added a nice flavor.

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms (VCon) - very good!  I rarely cook white beans, so this was a treat.  Relatively easy to make, after the 8-hour soaking.  I used baby portabella and didn't quite have 1/2 pound, but it was a good flavor.  The water entirely absorbed or was cooked off and the beans were nice and soft and had a mashed potato type texture that I really liked when combined the the olive oil that was used to sautee the leek and mushroom.  I rarely cook wth leeks and it was a nice flavor.


I dunno. However long.


Everything looks/sounds so good!  One of these days I gotta get my hands on a copy of Veganomicon...

Last night we had the Puttanesca Scramble from Vegan Brunch which was the first recipe I made after receiving this book from hh! : )  It was just as nice again : )

To go with I did some Roasted potatoes
Not really a recipe, but delicious all the same.  

I also did some misc veges with the Maple Mustard Glaze from VWAV.
My favourite part of this was my husband's face when he tasted it!  He thought they were just regular roast veges and wasn't expecting flavour explosion : )  Big thumbs up and definitely storing this one in the memory to use again.  I only made enough sauce/glaze to coat the veges rather than having them more saucy, and we thought it was plenty flavourful enough, so I would do it that way again.  


Gallo Pinto (VV) - This was good. I'm surpried I liked it since it had liquid smoke and cumin in it (not a fan, usually). Very hardy and filling. I will make them again  ;)b

Banana Wheat Germ Muffins (VCON) - I made these sans bananas...and used dates instead (always check your supplies before you bake...oops). They actually turned out good. I'd love to try them with bananas next time  :P

Espresso Fudge Brownies (VCIYCJ) - I love these and the combination of coffee and chocolate in general. I added coffee extract to make the coffee flavour more pronounced. So good.


I finally got Vcon thread updated again, and added everyone's reviews! Great jobs!!!

I made the recipe I was most looking forward to this week:

German chocolate cupcakes (VCTOTW)
Absolutely delicious! I've made the basic chocolate cupcakes several times, but I think this was actually the best batch. I followed the recipe exactly, but didn't use liners. The frosting is a perfect "German chocolate" type frosting, and tastes amazing. These are some of my favorite cupcakes! Mine took fewer than 18 minutes-about 16.

Coconut pecan fudge frosting
Amazing for the German chocolate cupcakes. I used soymilk, cornstarch, turbinado sugar, and sweetened coconut. I only used 3/4 cup sugar, and added a drizzle of brown rice syrup just to make up for the no molasses. Mine took quite a long time to thicken, but I also wasn't diligent about whisking continuously. After I finally started whisking, it took about 7 minutes, but it had already been cooking for quite a while. I think it finally came out to the correct consistency. I don't know how well it would do out in a warm environment, but I'm keeping them in the fridge just in case. I didn't have the whiskey to add. I think my 1/2 cup of pecans was too scant, so I'd just add more next time. Other than the long cooking time, perfect! I think it makes a bit more than is perfect for the 12 cupcakes.    ..I just looked at the picture in the book, and the frosting looks a lot thicker (dry?) than mine. Huh. Well, I like the consistency I ended up with!


Buttery Lemon Cutout Cookies - I didn't like these. They had an odd texture and not much flavour. I'd rather not make them again :(


Man those look good!
what makes them 'german' chocolate?

danni, were your cookies kinda rubbery?  I made those last weekend, but messed around with the recipe so I didn't review them, but yeah, the texture was off...


what makes them 'german' chocolate?

A German chocolate cake is always a chocolate cake (duh) with a coconut pecan frosting, sometimes with chocolate frosting too.

Contrary to popular belief, this cake did not originate in Germany. Instead, the name derives from Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, which was created in 1852 by an Englishman named Samuel German for the Baker's Chocolate brand. The original recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" was sent by a Dallas, Texas homemaker to a local newspaper in 1957. The cake became quite popular and General Foods — which owned the brand at the time — distributed the recipe to other newspapers in the country, and sales of Baker's Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73%. The possessive form (German's) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the "German Chocolate Cake" identity we know today.


I dunno, but it's a tasty combo. I've always loved it, and that is a perfect rendition.


so, finally getting round to this weeks reviews (so far).

Chickpea cutlets (Vcon)
yep I really really liked these.  I made them exactly as the recipe stated except I left out the lemon zest (didn't like that idea) and accidentally used 2/3 c VWG (stupid me!).  So they were a bit dry, but totally my fault.  I baked them and I really liked the texture.  We got 5 patties out of the recipe and I think next time I'll try to get 6, and make them a bit thinner.  I loved the herbs/seasoning, but I'll also play around with other seasonings.  A really really good recipe as is, and also lots of potential for playing around with.

Herb Scalloed Potatoes (Vcon)
I made these to go with the chickpea cutlets.  They were good, but mine didn't cook through properly, not sure why.  They were nice, but I think I prefer ACs barfy potatoes.

Basic Scrambled Tofu, with mushrooms (VB)
I made this for my Sunday lunch.  I wanted tofu scramble and for the first time in my life I followed a recipe, just for this challenge!
I would never have put thyme and cumin together for a scramble but they worked really well together.  I was very pleased with the end result, which I didn't expect.  Before I made the recipe, I was thinking I wouldn't like it because it would be too plain as there were so few ingredients.  I should have know better, because I love jake's scrambled 'eggs' on VW.  This recipe was great.  I loved it, and wish I'd made a bigger batch.  I made a qurter batch as the recipe said serves 4 and there was only me eating it.  However as I only had it with toast it wasn't enough for me (or I'm just a pig).  In future I would make the whole recipe to serve 2.
I'm making it again this weekend, for me and N and I'm sure he'll like it.


Curried Split Pea Soup (VWAV) - Wow!  This was really fantastic!  I had no idea it was going to be sooo delicious!  The spicing was perfect, even though I wasn't 100% accurate with my reminded me of x-mas, probably the cinnamon....I pureed it a little bit with the immersion blender, not smooth, but not super chunky - it was perfect!  Now I must make this for my dad!

Braised Cauliflower with Three Seed Sauce (VWAV) - unlike fb, I love cooking with seeds!  Just seeing the little black mustard seeds in my food makes me yes, I thought this was great!  I really love tomatoes and cauliflower only complaint would be that I would have liked it a bit 2 jalapenos didn't give it much - good flavor though!


hehe, thanks shell!

I'm not sure if I'm going to make vwav falafel or vcon eggplant peanut soup today.

eta: ooooh. or maybe that cauliflower! I've been meaning to make that. Those look great, special girl.


that cauliflower does look good, Erin!
I was out at my parents' place for dinner last night so didn't get to cook, not sure what we're having tonight but I'll try and sneak at least one recipe in...
: )


I took inspiration from Erin!

Coconut rice with toasted coconut (VWAV)

I used brown rice. It looked delicious, but was slightly disappointing. I think it was my first time cooking with a cinnamon stick, and 1. it fell apart, so I had to pick the pieces out 2. I thought the flavor in the rice was a bit odd. I liked the rice ok, and loved the toasted coconut, but would do without the cinnamon. I would probably add more zest next time, too. I didn't have any problems with cooking, or sticking (but didn't do the 20/10 thing, since I had brown rice).

Braised cauliflower with three seed sauce (VWAV)

Delicious. I'm always looking for more ways to make cauliflower, and have planned to make this recipe several times. I guess I ran out of mustard seeds previously, so I used some mustard powder, and subbed coriander seeds. I used 3 peppers with seeds, but couldn't sense any heat! Good, and quick. Seems like a Tweety type of dish. ; )


I think it was my first time cooking with a cinnamon stick,

really?  For some reason that surprises me!  I have slow cooked curries and things for a million hours with cinnamon sticks in them and they haven't crumbled/fallen apart at all, so don't think that's a normal thing and get put off using them!  Maybe yours was old/something?
Happy the cauliflower was awesome though, I'm seeing that coming up in our menu very sooooon! : )



Log in or register to post comments