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Cookbook review: Isa Does It

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Cook vegan, every day of the week!

Are you hungry for fresh, approachable vegan recipes? Then crack open Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz! All levels of cooks will enjoy these recipes made with accessible ingredients.
Cookbook review: Isa Does It


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Get drawn in

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the popular food blogger behind Post Punk Kitchen and author of a few additional cookbooks. For those who might be curious about vegan cooking, or those who are looking for a breath of fresh air for vegan meal options or anyone who simply loves great recipes, you've got to flip through the pages of this book. They'll draw you in!

This hefty vegan cookbook, Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week, has a mission: "to get you in the kitchen, cooking satisfying meals with fresh ingredients any day of the week." The recipes and gorgeous images will lead you through creating satisfying, flavorful meals. The tips on tools and gadgets, essential pantry items and useful knife skills will get your through the process.

How Isa does it

"It's so important that you're satisfied with your meals in every way," says Isa. "From taste, obviously, to satiety. For the first, it's important to know the techniques that create satisfying flavors. Getting a good char on your vegan proteins is an easy way to elevate your flavors." You'll find all this and more in Isa Does It. Starting with soups, heading through salads, plowing through pasta and risotto and steamrolling through many other meals and ingredients and ending with dessert, Isa covers so much in this book.

Isa notes that she's "simplified her pantry and cooking style" since moving from New York City, but without leaving behind flavor and creativity. She developed this book and its recipes "with pantry ingredients in mind" to keep things accessible and approachable.

Options for your mealtime

The full-page images in the book, photographed by Vanessa Rees, are alluring. You'll come across recipes like Gardeny Shiitake & Chard Fusilli, Tofu Mushroom Stroganoff, Red Lentil Thai Chili, and Chipotle Sage Hash. And for dessert, Orange Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake, Strawberries and Cream Bread Pudding, and Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

Isa includes notes along the way for the nearly 200 recipes, many of which can be made in 30 minutes or less. Her book is fun and friendly, and the recipes' directions will keep you at ease.

Try a recipe from Isa Does It

Cookbook review: Isa Does It

Island black bean burgers with nectarine salsa

Yields 8

Ingredients:

For the burgers

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

For the nectarine salsa

  • 2 nectarines, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Olive oil, for spraying or brushing the pan
  • 8 burger buns

Directions:

For the salsa

  1. Simply mix everything together in a bowl.

For the burgers

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a small potato masher (or a strong fork) to mash the black beans and black-eyed peas. They should be good and mushy but not totally pureed, with a few beans still identifiable in the mix.
  3. Add the red pepper, scallions, cilantro, curry powder, salt, broth, and lime juice and mix well.
  4. Mix in the panko until it all holds together.
  5. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so, or until the salsa is ready.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush with oil.
  7. Form the burger mixture into 8 patties that are about 1 inch thick.
  8. Spray or brush with a little more oil and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Flip the burgers and bake for 12-15 more minutes, until nicely browned.
  10. Stuff each burger into a bun and top with salsa.
  11. Serve away!

Notes:

  • This recipe halves well! Using only one kind of bean is probably your best bet if you're halving it, and I think regular black beans work better solo.
  • If you don't feel like making the salsa (even though it's so easy), then you can just slice up a couple pieces of mango, nectarine or pineapple. I love the sweetness here, so I'd say go that route instead of plain old ketchup, but hey, a little ketchup never hurt anyone.

About the author

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the best-selling author or co-author of the hit books Veganomican: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance, and many other titles. Her website, Post Punk Kitchen, is beloved by millions. Isa has been cooking up a vegan storm for more than two decades and has been named favorite cookbook author in VegNews for seven years running. Raised in Brooklyn, she lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

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