One of the side effects of being in a funk is that you fall into ruts, and I was in a cooking rut for sure, just kind of making the same few things over and over. Thankfully my local library came to the rescue and I have a couple of new to me vegan cookbooks, Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero, and Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have made one recipe from each book, and I have a million bookmarks in each book! Old grocery lists cut into strips make great bookmarks esp. if you have library books, and don't want to damage the pages. Anyway, Friday I made Harira on pg.38 of Isa Does it, which is a Moroccan noodle soup served to break Ramadan fasting. This soup had lentils, and chickpeas in a delicious broth with tomatoes, and spices such as cinnamon, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Isa's recipe also called for eggplant to add a certain meaty texture to the soup, I had no eggplant, so I subbed in a hand full of red lentils, and they seemed to work fine. Isa had mentioned that the eggplant kind of softens and melts into the soup, and I love that red lentils also do that. Anyway, this soup was so flavorful, and had just the right amount of spice. It is hearty, but not heavy, and I have learned that cinnamon can really add a certain something to savory dishes. It's like it lingers in the background, and you can't tell it's cinnamon, but you know it's there. Cinnamon sticks are a key ingredient in making delicious Pho broth, trust me, I've made it without, and it just isn't the same at all. I made the soup for breakfast on Friday, and it was simmering away while I worked out, and man my apartment smelled so great, it was kind of distracting me from Jillian Michaels!
Last night for dinner, I made Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad from Salad Samurai. This delicious salad had buffalo tofu chunks, and a very creamy cashew based ranch dressing. What made this salad so warm and satisfying is the tofu. It's funny how adding something warm to a cold salad kind of changes the way it feels going down. This salad was romaine lettuce, with celery, and carrots, and the recipe called for shredded cabbage witch I left out because I forgot cabbage at the grocery. I forgot how satisfying sliced celery is in a salad. There were lots of tastes and textures going on, and the creamy ranch went so well with the spicy tofu, and the softish tofu was nice with the crunch of the vegetables. And Terry's version of ranch dressing has Dijon mustard in it and wow I am a fan. It is by far one of my favorite vegan ranch dressings. I'm very glad to have leftover ranch dressing!!
Both of these books have beautiful pictures, that make you want to dive in, and the recipes seem to be not involving a lot of swanky, hard to find ingredients. I appreciate people who understand that not everyone has a generous food budget. And neither book is organic shaming, another thing I very much appreciate. Both of these are cookbooks I would own, which is saying a lot, because I'm a lethal combo of frugal and poor! Both books give lots of substitutions, and explain in easy to understand measurements, and directions. If you already have these books, I told you nothing new, if you don't, I say ask Santa for one, or both, and if you know anyone who is contemplating veganism, either one of these beautiful books would help the cause tremendously, because good food is good food!!
I wish I had some beautiful pictures to show you, I am working on that, I promise. I have a plan of action, which is in the beginning phases(waiting for a call about a class) so I haven't given up on my dream of actually knowing what I'm doing!