12 October 2013

Weekend Cooking: Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Isa Does It by Isa Chandra MoskowitzDo you follow the Post Punk Kitchen blog? If not, you're in for a treat. Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a funky and friendly personality that is evident both on her blog and in her new cookbook, Isa Does It. If you ever eat vegetarian or vegan or if you are allergic to eggs or dairy, you should take a look at the way Isa cooks.

Unlike many cookbook authors, Isa doesn't have childhood memories of generations of her family gathering in a big kitchen, cooking ethnic dishes for hours in preparation for Sunday dinner. Instead, she is the product of convenience foods, and only after deciding to become a vegetarian did she learn to cook, relying on cookbooks, spunk, and some help from her mother and sister.

Because she's a city gal, Isa's recipes can all be made in cramped urban kitchens, on old appliances, and with little counter space. In fact, the focus of Isa Does It is to show how easy it can be to put together healthful meals without breaking the bank, needing tons of fancy equipment, and taking more than 30 minutes of cooking time.

from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra MoskowitzThe pastel color scheme, fun fonts, and cute line drawings found throughout the book seem to reflect Isa's easygoing, open personality. But after looking at the gorgeous photographs and reading the informative recipe introductions and notes, you can tell this cookbook offers seriously good advice on how to create delicious meals.

Isa believes that anyone can cook and bake vegan, and she offers chapters full of tips and tricks, techniques and tools as well as solid pantry advice. There are almost no "weirdo" ingredients, and when she calls for one, she makes sure to provide an alternative. Although a good number of recipes use tofu or tempeh, many recipes are soy-free. In addition, Isa doesn't use fake, store-bought meats. If she wants to replicate a specific texture or flavor, she does it using simple ingredients, sometimes building on a soy product, but not always.

Isa Does It starts with soups, which are some of the easiest dishes to make. It's also the chapter I'm likely to use most often. Her salads are beautiful to look at, go together in a snap, and are extremely versatile. Try a greens and roasted vegetable salad as a main dish or bring a grain or pasta salad to a picnic or pot luck. I was in awe of the great variety of veggie burgers, wraps, and tacos. No need to be bored eating the same old bean burger for every cookout.

from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra MoskowitzTrue to her roots in a small kitchen, Isa includes chapters of fabulous one-dish meals, including stews, chilis, curries, stir-fries, and oven dishes. There's a world of flavors here, from French to Indian, Mexican, and Italian. I love her tricks, such as creating creamy dairy-free sauces for a vegan mac and cheese and roasting tempeh for a hearty Belgian stew. I was also happy to see that her directions are direct, clear, and well thought out, making it easy for any level cook to create healthful and flavorful meals.

Whether you're a full-time vegan or a once-in-a-while vegetarian, Isa Does It is likely to become one of your favorite cookbooks. Boring hippie food and ultra-fussy New Age gourmet recipes need not apply; Isa is all about weeknight eating for real people who don't have time to spend hours shopping and cooking.

Instead of sharing just one recipe, I decided to direct you to Isa's fabulous blog, Post Punk Kitchen, where you can find all kinds of dishes to try, from breakfast to dessert. Don't miss the fun, spooky Halloween treats and videos that she posted this month.

Note on the photos: The photos were scanned from the cookbook. The Babushka Borscht is from page 40 and the Everyday Pad Thai is from page 178. The photographer is Vanessa Rees, and all rights are as stated on the copyright page of the cookbook.

Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown & Co., 2013
ISBN-13: 9780316221900
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Tina 10/12/13, 6:45 AM  

Sounds like some great no fuss recipes with a fun twist. What an original and creative concept for a cookbook.

jama 10/12/13, 7:34 AM  

Excited about checking out Isa's blog and seeing this cookbook. I want to cook more vegan/vegetarian recipes and her approach sounds just right. :)

rhapsodyinbooks 10/12/13, 7:46 AM  

Looks like a great blog - loved the very first post that hit me when I went there. Thanks for the referral!

Unknown 10/12/13, 8:24 AM  

I ordered a Mediterranean veggie burger at a restaurant last week. I loved it and even my dedicated carnivore hubby did, too. Would love to try incorporating some meatless meals into our dinner plans. This sounds like a great book and blog to start with.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 10/12/13, 8:28 AM  

Ha! Almost no "weirdo" ingredients. :) I love the idea of cooking meals in 30 minutes without all the gadgets that some cookbooks tend to call for.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 10/12/13, 8:36 AM  

She looks like she is having a ball in her kitchen! I love reading vegetarian blogs, because we get great ideas for side dishes. We always need to eat more veggies. Thanks for hosting, this is one of my favorite link-ups!

Beth S. 10/12/13, 8:37 AM  

Ooh! I'm definitely giving this book a try. Sounds like it's just the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Peggy Ann 10/12/13, 9:17 AM  

Sounds really good and she has my Granddaughter's name, Isa! don't see that much! Thanks for the link to her blog!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/12/13, 4:48 PM  

I've never heard of Isa, but this sounds like a great book to give someone who is learning to cook vegan or vegetarian.

bermudaonion 10/12/13, 5:34 PM  

Isa sounds terrific! I love her pose on the cover of the cookbook! I'll have to check this out - the ease sounds appealing to me.

Couscous & Consciousness 10/12/13, 6:24 PM  

Wow, I've never heard of Isa before, but I love the sound of her food. I like to eat vegetarian often - probably 5 days out of 7 - so I'm always looking for more inspiration. This book definitely goes on my wishlist, and I can't wait to go check out her blog now.

Joy 10/13/13, 1:24 PM  

This looks great. Isa's recipe for Tempeh "Sausage" Crumbles is what I eat for lunch most days.

Joy's Book Blog

Daryl 10/14/13, 9:25 AM  

now i wish i had posted photos of the sunday's brunch

Shan 10/14/13, 12:08 PM  

Wow, that sounds like my story - grew up on convenience foods, now vegetarian, cooking in a small city apartment. Definitely going to check out this book and her website.

Julie P. 10/15/13, 8:51 PM  

Oooh! I might get some ideas for Booking Son!

Tea 10/19/13, 5:09 AM  

Can't believe it's Halloween. If I didn't look up, I would have missed it. Anyway, love your review. Isa sounds like just the lady I need to meet: small kitchen, old appliances and a lady looking for simplicity. I cooked fancier when my children were small and when I first got married. Made a short visit to her blog, but will definitely go back.

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