It's ridiculous how long it's taken me to write a review of Isa Does it. I thought I'd get it done before the holidays to encourage people to give it as a gift, but although I, myself, bought multiple copies to give as gifts, I never wrote a word about the book. There are lots of reasons I could mention, but rather than casting blame on my own sloth or other issues, I choose to blame the weather. Yes, there has been so little natural light here that all the photos I take suck, and I don't want to post them. Sometimes it feels like I'm living underground.
|Muffin pan mini omelets.|
But, excuses and issues aside, you know, there's always another gift-giving occasion around the corner — a birthday, Valentine's Day, first day of spring — so if you haven't yet found the perfect present for your best vegan friend, I might be able to help you. Or you might just want to purchase a copy for yourself. Read on.
Before I say anything about the recipes, I have to say a few words about the physical book. It's one of the prettiest cookbooks I've seen in ages — and not just because it has beautiful photos of so many of the recipes. It's true that the photos are wonderful, but the design of the whole book is just so appealing — I love the substantial, matte, pastel colored paper, the quirky but logical page layouts and the sumptuous full-page photos. It's the sort of book that you'll want to page through sitting in front of the fire as much as you'll want to cook from it. Even as I sit here writing the review, I keep looking through the book admiring the pages, and picking things I might want to make for dinner. The book's appeal expands even further when you add Isa's humorous, chatty, down-to-earth writing — there's lots of helpful 'how-to' and ingredient stuff at the beginning, an engaging introduction to each recipe, plus many helpful hints along the way.
|Sweet potato and red curry soup with rice and purple kale — a favorite.|
For those of you trying to avoid various foods in your diet, there's a list of substitutions for things like gluten, soy and nuts. The book isn't specifically geared to allergies, but really, there are so many recipe choices you shouldn't have much of a problem finding plenty of options. One exception might be for those relatively new to avoiding gluten in baked goods. You may need to do a little research to find some of the dessert recipes useful.
|Okra gumbo with chickpeas and kidney beans.|
We've tried quite a few recipes so far, sometimes following the directions and sometimes sort of following them.
|Shroomy hot and sour soup.|
|Smokey Incan stew.|
Mostly, we've really enjoyed the recipes we've tried, though we don't always agree — for example, I loved the mini omelets, my husband not so much.
|Lentil-miso gravy (over mashed potatoes, of course!).|
Overall, I highly recommend Isa Does It as a worthy addition to your cookbook collection, or as a beautiful gift for anyone with an interest in cooking delicious vegan food. The recipes are clear, easy to follow, and depend on readily available ingredients. Honestly, I can't keep my hands off the book — it's gorgeous and inspiring, and I want to make everything!
Full disclosure: I was sent a free, review copy by the publisher. I did not receive payment for the review. All opinions are my own.