25 October 2009

Resource Pile = Good Things to Eat

I've enjoyed cooking since childhood. One might say it began with an Easy Bake Oven obsession, then proper baking with my mother during the holidays, and eventually progressed into more savory stove-top pursuits originating in my teenage years. A semester-long cooking class during high school made me realize all of the cooking skills I'd learned from watching and helping my mother in the kitchen over the years, and I also discovered quite a fondness for the therapeudic and creative aspects of cooking. Years later, I still love being in the kitchen.

Despite having spent so much of my life both observing others cook as well as testing out my own culinary skills, I still feel like quite the novice when trying to develop recipes of my own. Always a big fan of cookbooks, I am much more comfortable with using recipe guidelines and adjusting them to fit my own tastes than procuring something completely of my own design. And when I first became vegan, cookbooks, food blogs, and other online resources aided me tremendously during the transition to a more compassionate and health-conscious lifestyle. I draw a great deal of inspiration from these wonderfully creative resources, and I must admit that I still have an obsession with cookbooks. Among an extensive list of covetted kitchen tomes, I'm dying for copies of Good Food from a Japanese Temple, an beautiful showcase of shojin ryori; Vegan Brunch, from the amazing Isa Chandra Moskowitz; The Vegan Scoop, which is all about frozen ice cream-like treats; and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, the upcoming book from Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. My current collection is a small and humble one, but if not for self-restraint at my favorite bookstore, it would almost certainly be much larger than this:

The mixed results of obsession, necessity, and charitable family and friends.
But as I've said, I very much enjoy trying recipes that others have posted online in blogs and recipe forums. Tonight's dinner came courtesy of Susan V's Fatfree Vegan Kitchen recipe for Easy Macaroni and "Cheeze." As a child, I greatly enjoyed ordering macaroni and cheese from a certain family-style restaurant chain my family frequented after church service each Sunday. I used whole wheat pasta and added an extra pinch of turmeric for that distinctive yellow color. While this vegan version is not quite like actual mac 'n cheese, it is still satisfying, flavorful, and comforting--not to mention as easy to make as the title suggests.

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