Many of you asked for more vegetarian recipes in the launch of this cookbook column but you also asked for cookbooks for special diets each week. So today we’ll be focusing on vegetarian/vegan friendly cookbooks and including a special vegan cornbread recipe at the end of the post! Also, if you’d like to try different crepe recipes (in addition to today’s crepe recipe), sweet or savory, Lou Seibert Pappas has an excellent book called Crepes (Chronicle Books) which is perfect! –Kristina
CLICK HERE for the cookbook reviews and a vegan recipe after the jump!
Tender: Volume I by Nigel Slater (Fourth Estate Ltd). British cook and food writer Nigel Slater’s courgette cake is among the most popular recipes we’ve featured on the In the Kitchen With column, and I guarantee that this book will be one of your favorites (I was surprised to see a cookbook ranked #23 on Amazon UK!). It is not a vegetarian book, but is the story of his move into his new home and the transformation of the back yard into a working garden and then goes into the recipes, organized alphabetically by vegetable. Slater’s recipes are all incredibly easy and non technical, perfect for an untrained cook like me. Each section tells you all the information you need to know about vegetable, and most recipes have an intro which put either the dish or the ingredients into context. This is a reading book as much as it is a cookbook, and even includes a few desserts (like carrot cake and beetroot seed cake). The book is printed on uncoated recycled paper which has a great feel and makes the beautiful photography of the vegetables and many of the dishes by Jonathan Lovekin stand out. This has moved into my number one spot in my list of books for this year, and maybe even last year.
The Vegetable Bible by Sophie Grigson (Collins) Similar in character to Slater’s book, the Vegetable Bible is a cookbook for which vegetables play the starring role, but it is not a vegetarian book. It is organized by vegetable type (roots, shoots and stems, fruits, etc.) and within each section, alphabetically by ingredient. Although there are meat recipes, I am sure that any vegetarian could manage just fine with omissions and substitutions and still derive all of the flavorful benefits of the original recipe. Grigson provides great notes on selecting, preparing, cooking, and storing the vegetables featured in the book. Between Slater and Grigson, I’ll become and expert grower and buyer!
College Vegetarian Cooking by Megan Carle and Jille Carle (Ten Speed Press) Another college cookbook, you’re asking?? I like to include them in the round up for three reasons: (1) The recipes are easy, so perfect for people without great technical skill or people who want no fuss in preparation; (2) There is a budget angle, so it helps you learn how to economize or make more cost-effective decisions without compromising on flavors when shoppingl (3) It offers a solid repertoire of fundamentals and basic dishes which can be the jumping off point to bigger and grander cooking. This book checks all of those boxes. Not quite as sophisticated as The Ultimate Student Cookbook, it is nonetheless a great entry level resource for vegetarians. Enticing recipes include: Sloppy Joes, Falafel Pita with Cucumber Sauce, and Cheddar Cheese Soup with Irish Soda Bread. I love the “Impress Your Date” section, with a bit more involved recipes. Vegan desserts are also included! Photography by Penny de los Santos. Does it get any better?
The Visual Food Lover’s Guide (Wiley) This isn’t a cookbook, but after two weeks in a row of recipes using ingredients I’d never heard of (Aran’s orange cauliflower and Penny’s heirloom radishes), I thought it was time to do a bit more studying. Orange cauliflower is not in this book, but over 1,000 types of food are! Each entry contains nutritional, seasonal, buying, storing, and preparation information, and more. The only downside is that it is divided into sections by type of food, and alphabetized within each, but there is no index at the end to compensate for the lack of straight alphabetization. Nonetheless, I find it a useful reference source on food.
BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna (Clarkson Potter) Someone suggested this book on the first column. And now I have it. I have searched high and low (In Italy and in London) to find the ingredients to make at least one of the recipes, but have been unsuccesful! I therefore have included this week a recipe from the book for someone looking for an alternative to Jennifer’s crepes. For those of you who have this book, what has been your experience?
makes 10 slices
Some recipes at the bakery were brought forth by inspiration, others by customer demand. The lobbying for corn bread began the very first day of business, with a customer spying an unfrosted vanilla cupcake and ordering “one of those corn muffins.” Rather than fight the will of the people, I dived right into development mode, and after a year of sorry results, finally perfected the recipe. I hope you’ll agree it was well worth the effort.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 7 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan with oil.
Pour the rice milk and apple cider vinegar into a small bowl, but do not stir; set aside to develop into “buttermilk.” In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir the batter until well combined. Pour in the “buttermilk.” Mix gently until the ingredients are fully incorporated and a slightly grainy batter is formed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the corn bread on the center rack for 32 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes. The finished corn bread will bounce back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
Let the corn bread stand in the pan for 20 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread. Cover the top of the pan with a cutting board, and invert the loaf onto the board. Carefully lift the pan away and re-invert the corn bread onto another cutting board. Either cut and serve warm, or wait until completely cool before storing. Cover the uncut corn bread with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
²⁄³ cup rice milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup bob’s red mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup corn flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup coconut oil, plus more for the pan
¹⁄³ cup agave nectar
¹⁄³ cup homemade applesauce or store‑bought unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract