2017 Cookbook Gift Guide

Love & Lemons 2017 Cookbook Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again! You’ve gone through your list and checked it twice… yet there are still a few friends and family members left and you don’t know what to get for them. How about a cookbook? I always say this, but I think cookbooks make the best gifts because there’s always one to suit every taste. Or maybe I just say this because I personally love (and love to hoard) cookbooks!

Anyway, here are my favorites from this past year. Many I’ve written about before, many you’ll hear more about in the next few months. They’re all pretty veggie-forward (the ones that aren’t still have interesting vegetable options). So if you like our blog (and book!) I think you and your loved ones will love these cookbooks too!

Vegetarian Favorites:

The Love & Lemons Cookbook by yours truly
The First Mess by Laura Wright
Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor of Cookie & Kate
Naturally Vegetarian by Valentina Solfrini of Hortus Cuisine
One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane
In my Kitchen by Deborah Madison
Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson of Nourish Atelier
The Savvy Cook by Izy Hossack of Top with Cinnamon
Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton of My New Roots
The Moosewood Restaurant Table 

Deliciously Beautiful Books:

Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon
Autentico by Rolando Beramendi

Weeknight Cooking (with good veggie options):

Dining in: Highly Cookable Recipes by Alison Roman
Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry
Dinner, Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

Good Reads:

The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine
What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
Coming To My Senses by Alice Waters

Fun books from favorite restaurants:

Elizabeth Street Cafe by Larry McGuire and Julia Turshen
Jack’s Wife Freida by Maya & Dean Jankelowitz & Julia Jaksic
Egg Shop by Nick Korbee

I’m currently devouring:

The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor by former White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses
Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi (wife of Noma chef, Rene Redzepi)
Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman

Looking forward to (available for pre-order):

Healthy-ish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt
Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota of Hot For Food

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Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

We sold our house yesterday. In case you haven’t heard, Jack and I are moving(!?), and lately I’ve been feeling a really mixed bag of emotions about it. We left Austin a few weeks ago and are spending the summer temporarily in Chicago (living with my parents – so glamorous!) until we find a new place to call home. We’re excited for a new adventure, but of course, it’s always sad leaving homes and friends (and kitchens! aahh, what am I doing!) behind. Don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere – I have tons of new recipes and other special projects in the works. I’ve been cooking up a storm here in my mom’s kitchen, which is especially helpful because she washes all the dishes in my wake :). Hi, my name is Jeanine and I’m 38 going on 12.

So… umm… it’s cake time! I’m not sure it’s celebration cake or sadness cake, but either way – it’s cake! I’m not always big on desserts, but sometimes I just need some “it’s-all-going-to-be-ok” chocolate cake.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This recipe comes from the new book Simple Fare: Spring/Summer by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers, whom I’ve been a fan of for years. Karen describes this cake as “a balance of sweet and savory.” I have to say – this one is for all of you dark chocolate lovers out there. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s deeply chocolate-y. The olive oil gives it a rich flavor but the cake itself is surprisingly light. She tops it with cardamom whipped cream (the recipe is below), but I used some whipped coconut cream that I had on hand instead.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

The book is a gorgeous oversized cookbook that feels like an art book. The book is apyly titled “Spring/Summer” as the recipes are highly seasonal (a Fall/Winter volume is coming later). At first glance, the recipes seem very simple (hence the name of the book!) but dig in and you’ll see that each recipe includes 2 or 3 clever “market variations” where Karen suggests altering just a few ingredients to change the recipe’s flavor profile. The book isn’t vegetarian, but there are a lot of vegetable-based recipes (not so many vegan ones), and overall tons of inspiration. I love the way Karen describes her collection of recipes: “food as it should be: nuanced, bright and gorgeous.”

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

I can hardly wait to have a coffee table again so I can display this beauty 🙂

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Kathryne’s Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I often get asked “How did you start your blog?” and “Do you have any tips for me if I’m just getting started?” I’m not very good at answering these questions, particularly the second one because what worked for me in 2011 when I started my blog is probably outdated today.

But I do have one tip that will stand the test of time: Make good blog friends.

I’ll never forget the week I started my blog (waaaay back in 2011). Jack and I had worked really hard to choose recipes, learn to take flattering pictures of food (harder than you think!), and design/program a good looking website. We made the website live and I wondered if my mom would be our only reader.

One day, while Jack was trying to explain to me how Twitter works, there was a sudden “BLEEP” from my computer… someone had tagged me in a tweet that said “Love and Lemons is love at first sight,” and it was from an account called Cookie and Kate. 30 seconds later, “bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep”… re-tweets and messages started flashing in and I squealed with both Tweety confusion and excitement that this blog thing was going to work. Of course, there would be years and mountains of (mostly free) work ahead of me before I could call this labor of love a job… but it had to start somewhere, little by little. In my case, this start was initiated by one kind soul who was the first to share a slice of her readership with me.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Fast forward to now… Cookie and Kate has become one of my favorite vegetarian blogs to read and Kathryne has become one of my very best blog friends. If you aren’t following her blog, you should – she makes delicious, attainable vegetarian food and her first cookbook, Love Real Food, is a real stunner. I’ve read it cover to cover and I have one tip for you: don’t read it while you’re hungry! I drooled over recipes like Roasted Eggplant Lasagna, Chickpea Tikka Masala, and Fresh Greek Nachos before stopping at her gorgeous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies are so delicious and SO quick to make. It’s a one bowl recipe that results in decadent, soft pillowy cookies that are lightly crisp on the outside. These little guys contain no flour (so they’re naturally gluten and grain free) and they’re sweetened with coconut sugar. I made my cookies with eggs as the recipe states, but Kathryne also gives a vegan option in the footer of the recipe which I’ll include here as well.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I’ll be making these Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini this week – yum!

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Her book is not only gorgeous, but there are also the cutest pictures of her dog Cookie 🙂

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Love Real Food comes out tomorrow – go get yourself a copy!

Laura’s Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

I’m sure most of you’re already a fan of Laura’s blog, The First Mess. If not, you should be – you’ll love it. Laura and I both started our blogs around the same time, and I’ve been a fan of her creative, plant-based recipes ever since.

I’m so excited to share this recipe from her new cookbook today. The First Mess Cookbook came out last week and I have to tell you – it’s a stunner. I saw an early PDF copy months ago and I not only drooled over every single page, I read it (virtual) cover to cover. I especially loved all of her little tips and tricks, like how she makes homemade almond milk by using almond butter so that no soaking or straining is involved – genius!

You’re gonna want to make everything – Cookies for Breakfast, Savory Ginger Green Onion Crepes, and she even has a recipe for Earl Grey Vegan Tiramisu that I’m dying to try out. Laura has a way of combining ingredients in such unique ways.

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

When I finally got the book in my hands, I had a hard time choosing which recipe to share here – so I let Jack choose. He narrowed down his picks to the Creamy Winter Vegetable Stew with Mustard, the Deep Immune Cup of Soup, and this “risotto” recipe. Obviously we picked this one. 🙂

This is a fun twist on risotto. In her book, Laura talks about disappointing quinoa risottos she’s had at restaurants in the past (since quinoa isn’t very creamy), which led her to create this recipe. It mixes a white bean puree into the quinoa to make the risotto rich and creamy. There’s no butter, no cheese, and also… no standing at the stove stirring for a lengthy amount of time like most risottos.

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

While it’s not a full-on risotto replacement, it’s so wholesome and delicious. Top it with roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts and you have a warm cozy meal that’s perfect for these remaining chilly spring days. The only thing I added there was a clove of garlic and a bigger squeeze of lemon (for obvious reasons).

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

Go get the book!

Sustenance Sweet Potato Stew

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

Crazy weather we’ve been having here lately… one day we’re eating a sunny lunch on a patio and the next five nights we’re curled up at home trying to stay warm during torrential downpours. I SO wish I was one of those people who finds rainstorms to be cozy and calming but I’m quite the opposite. Storms may get me a little edgy and nervous, but what does calm me down is making a stew like this one.

This recipe comes from my friend Tess (a.k.a. The Blender Girl)’s new cookbook The Perfect Blend. This stew is everything you want on a cold January night – as its name suggests, it’s hearty and comforting. It’s also healthy and healing because it’s packed with a kitchen sink full of vegetables – sweet potatoes, broccoli, swiss chard, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and more. At first glance, the ingredient list looks like my go-to veggie stew formula, but what puts this one over the top is the generous scoop of almond butter that goes in toward the end – it’s a genius secret ingredient that make this stew taste extra rich, while also adding a bit of protein.

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

Tess suggests serving this stew over cauliflower rice. I’ve included the instructions with the recipe below, but I have to tell you that I skipped that step and just served this on its own. It was plenty filling and it yielded tons of leftovers which I’ve been eating for lunch ever since. This recipe comes together in roughly 30 minutes, so it’s a great healthy weeknight option.

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

If you’re looking to get healthier in the new year, I definitely recommend this book. It’s entirely vegan and gluten free and the recipes are super creative. On my list to try is her Greedy Green Curry, Jazzy Jackfruit Enchiladas and her Lick-your-plate-lasagna.

What’s truly unique is the way she’s organized the book. The recipes are grouped into sections like Energy, Immunity, Detox, Protein, Weight Loss, Anti-Inflamatory, Low Carb, Probiotic Promoting and Feed the Soul. In each section she talks about vegetables and herbs that are helpful for various ailments – it’s filled with fascinating information whether you’re new to plant-based eating or you’re a well seasoned veggie cook.

The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters Click here to get the book!

*Photo #2 of the final dish is by: Anson Smart