Wednesday, September 7, 2016

a few of my favourite things - cookbooks (and recipes)

i have a bit of a cookbook hoarding problem. where i strive for minimalism in most other areas of my life, cookbooks are my one guilty pleasure that i never feel bad allowing to expand. i have a few that are always on heavy rotation- full of delicious flavours, favourite recipes, and beautiful photographs, so i figured i should share some of them with you, along with a favourite recipe so you can get a taste (ha!) of what they are all about.

oh she glows cookbook: vegan recipes to glow from the inside out
by angela liddon

i know the words 'vegan' are enough to deter a lot of people from giving this cookbook the fair shot is deserves, but i promise you, it is well worth checking out. (this book was a best seller at chapters/indigo in 2014, and is currently listed as a best seller on amazon if that gives you any indication.) a beautiful book full of plant-based recipes, you can feel good knowing you are eating nutrient dense, delicious food that just happens to be healthy. i continually come back to this book to cook regular favourites or to try something new when i need a little inspiration.

angela has an amazing blog where she shares tons of delicious recipes, and she also just released a new book - oh she glows every day that i just picked up and am excited to dig in to. i have also shared two of my most favourite oh she glows recipes in the past - these yummy granola bars, and her maple baked beans.

one of my absolute favourite recipes in this book is the life affirming warm nacho dip. i am a die hard nacho cheese lover, but obviously, the toxic orange stuff (that i still completely obsess about) is not totally awesome for us. this recipe uses cashews and nutritional yeast to recreate a rich, cheesy flavour, and is one of the most crowd pleasing dishes i have ever brought along to a group gathering. i i promise that no one will believe you that it's vegan AND good for you!

life affirming warm nacho dip
from the oh she glows cookbook


1 cup cashews
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1 1⁄4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
pepper, to taste (optional)

1 cup chunky marinara sauce
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 to 3 handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
1⁄3 cup crushed corn chips or bread crumbs
1 to 2 green onions, finely sliced, for serving (optional)
Tortilla chips, for serving

Make the Cheese Sauce: Place the cashews in a medium bowl and add water to cover. Set aside to soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you have the time. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart (2-L) cast-iron pan or casserole dish.

Place the carrots in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook the carrots for 5 minutes, or until just fork-tender. Drain. You can also steam the carrots, if desired.

In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, cooked carrots, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne (if using), and 2⁄3 cup (150 mL) water and blend until silky smooth, adding a splash of extra water if needed. Pour the sauce into a large bowl.

Make the Dip: Stir the marinara sauce, onion, and spinach into the Cheese Sauce until fully combined. Spoon the sauce into the prepared dish and smooth out, and sprinkle the top evenly with the crushed corn chips.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered, watching closely toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the corn chip topping doesn’t burn. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or Spiced Toasted Pita Chips.

Reheat any leftovers (ha- yeah right!) in the oven at 400°F for 10 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. Store the dip in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

by gwyneth paltrow

i feel like i have talked about this cookbook A LOT and funnily enough, i don't even actually own it. instead i have borrowed it from the library no less than 15 times, and borrowed it from my friend carie another bunch of times. there are several recipes in this book i cook so often that i know them by heart, and a whole bunch of others i have written out and keep on hand to rotate through when i need something fresh and delicious. i really cant say enough about how GOOD this book really is. all of it. 

my favourite recipe from this book is roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard and parsley. it might not sound like much, but i promise you, its a knock out! its simple and hearty, quick to pull together with ingredients you probably mostly have on hand and delicious served warm or cool. you really cant mess this one up.

roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard and parsley
from it's all good 

1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and discarded, cut into bite-sized florets
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon seeded mustard (i.e., grainy mustard)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the middle. Toss chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

last but not least...

by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

less of a recipe book and more of a cooking book, i was gifted the flavor bible a few years back by some dear, sweet friends of ours and absolutely LOVE it. it takes ingredients and makes note of amazing and different flavour pairings that work well together, allowing you to learn, experiment, and create complex and layered flavors- i use book often when i want to give some of my favourite recipes a little kick or want to move a basic recipe to a richer level.

amazon says: 'readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements of an extraordinary meal.' i couldn't agree more!

what are some of your absolute favourite cookbooks?