I bought Isa Does It in November and I just knew it would be so delightful that I bought an extra copy for Jemnifer. Then my mom bought me another one for Christmas so I advised her to keep it. So many Isa Does Its! As usual, I was correct, and this book is highly enjoyable. Firstly, it is a handsome tome and the photography is lovely, just like the finest Instagrams. Secondly, it is a joy to use as the layout is so nice, with each recipe all on one page and so easy to consult. Is anything more infuriating than being forced to turn a page while cooking?! Thirdly, the usage of bizarre ingredients is minimal, which is nice because although I can usually find whatever weird thing at my hoity-toity suburban supermarkets, I am super cheap lately. I had a sad realization about how much money I waste through my egregious allowing-of-leftovers-to-rot, which happens because A. Mr Hubbins is a priss princess about leftovers and 2. because I am in the middle of a 4-month long pity party I am throwing for myself, and eating something I don’t feel like eating makes me want to have a temper tantrum, therefore I must cater to my whims with fresh foods prepared daily. As a result the New Year dawned on me being 10 pounds fatter than I was at the beginning of my pity party, which does not even seem possible? Also, poor. On top of the egregious Wegmans bills, we’re still paying for our dang thousands-of-dollars dog containment structure from last year. At this rate we could have just bought a new dog every time one ran away. What was the point? I forget. Perhaps also am dumber this year. Moving on. Oh, the upside, well the upside of trying to lose 10 lb extremely impatiently* is that I am constantly starving and obsessed with food. This means I am totally interested in cooking again!
I present to you, the recipes I have thus far made from Isa Does It, in such order as they appear in the book, sort of.
Chapter 1 is SOUPS.
Right this very moment I am eating some leftover Sweet Potato & Red Curry Soup with Rice and Purple Kalethat I made yesterday.
I went to my most-local supermarket for the kale since it was on the way to walk the dog so it is just regular kale, not purple. It was all rubbery and deflated too, but, did you know? You can cut off the stems at the bottom and put it in a glass of water and wait an hour and it will be like real fresh perky kale that you did not buy at the rotten most-local supermarket. Anyway I cut the rice in half because I did not want it to mucilaginize the leftovers and I added some tofu. Delightful! Tangy and unusual yet not so weird as to upset the tum. And the color is so pleasing. I am sure it would look even better with the purple kale.
From the soup chapter I have also made the Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage – this was fine but it did not pass the Ultimate Leftovers Test (ie we eat it before it rots). Also the Cheddary Broccoli Soup. The Cheddary Broccoli Soup was great and I think it would have passed the U.L.T. if I had not made it right before we went away for Christmas. I even took a picture of it but then I had to delete it to make room on my phone to take a picture of something important, which was probably Kate Middleton sitting in a box. I hope to be a better planner in the future in so many ways.
I have my eye on the New England Glam Chowder recipe for nexties.
I have not made any sandwiches either. Bread is the Devil (see “10lb weight gain, hormonally-stabilized, unloseable”). But as soon as I get over this attitude or get some bigger pants, the Shiitake Banh Mi sounds delightful. The Korean BBQ Portabella looks good too but since I don’t care for kimchi and Mr. Husband hates mushrooms, I guess that one might not end well.
By the former logic (Carbs Bad) I should have not made anything from the next chapter, Pasta and Risotto, either, but I sure did.
Number first, the Tofu-Mushroom Stroganoff. I guess I chose to disregard Mr. Husband’s preferences for this one. Anyway how can anyone hate mushrooms? Probably he is lying to annoy me.
This was delicious and had such a fancy taste, unlike most of the slop-n-glop I cook. It even passed the leftovers test. I would be careful to use a very dry white wine next time. I think I just sloshed in whatever syrupy riesling I was drinking and with the sweetness from the cashew it was a bit much, perhaps. But it was still lovely.
I made the Olive Angel Hair with Seared Brussels Sprouts on New Years Eve. This was just ok. There is a “timesaver” where you steam the brussels sprouts over boiling water, then cook the pasta in that water. However after steaming the sprouts the water looked and smelled completely vile (it was green and farty, for the record). So that trick did not work for me. Then, there is a lot of vegetable broth used in this book and for a while I was being compliant and buying the tetrapacks of Wegmans brand veg broth. It has a distinctive flavor though and I think I was sick of it by this point. I should become a real person and make my own broth and freeze it but for now I am using water in everything and it has been fine. Also the method of sprout searing (steam then sear) makes them kind of soggy for me. This is the only acceptable method for cooking brussels sprouts. In conclusions, since pasta is also the devil one cannot squander it in sub-ideal preparations, but other people liked this, so maybe it’s worth a try for you personally.
I’ve also made the Eggplant and Bread Crumb Fettucine – more an idea than a recipe but a good and tasty idea to keep in mind. And the Roasted Butternut Alfredo which of course was delightful. Wow aren’t a lot of these recipes online, and I am linking to only legit sources not some buttnutting bloggers who put them up without permission. PS you guys are butts.
From the chapter of Stews and Curries, I’ve made the Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings. After I made it I realized that I had made it before years ago from Isa’s blog. This time I used chopped prepared seitan instead of the beans and I completely ruined the dumplings by using whole wheat pastry flour which turned them into dense gummy goo balls. I do not recommend you do that. Otherwise it was good but I will probably forget I ever made it in a few months and make it again.
And of course the Quinoa Stew. Although I hoped otherwise, I really think this stew got worse the next day. The combination of tarragon and thyme tasted like a cleaning product. (Is it because I have a thyme-scented bathroom cleaner from Seventh Generation? It seems to be discontinued. Maybe it was ruining everyone’s stew experiences.) And perhaps I overcooked my quinoa to begin with, because my lentils were old and I had to boil longer than instructed, but by the next day the quinoa was totally devolved into a mucilage. So vile. Sorry stew. Blog partner, how was it for you?
So no big winners from the Stews although one definitely my fault. Do not despair as there are many other nice looking stews.
I have thus far neglected the Stir Frys and Sautes chapter.
Next is Bowls. The Bowls all sound so delightful but I wish someone else would cook them for me because so many components, wah, exhausting.
To be fair I made this the worse for myself. This is the Good Gravy Bowl. The original has pan-fried seitan and brown rice and I made the variation with breaded tofu and mashed potatoes so that was more work for me on both fronts. Yet so delicious. The gravy is made with lentils and is quite tasty, but I do think it needs a Vitamix to puree it. The book suggests immersion blender but after that blenderizing the lentil bits were still apparent and too beany, and much better when completely smooth.
Leroy appreciates anything involving broccoli.
Today since I have the day off I will be making the Pizza Bowl with Greens, Sausages and Olives! Unfortunately I must first venture to my rotten local store because in all my giant disorganized pantry, it is hard to believe, but I have no gluten. Otherwise in the future I must strategize my leftovers better because so many nice bowls await the lucky people with leftover grains and sauces.
The next chapter is Sunday Night Suppers, for more elaborate things.
For Thanksgiving, which we stayed home for, see “pity party, 4 months duration” above, I made Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Seared Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cream. This was great. I served the b-sprouts separately because we also had a Field Roast and it seemed to make more sense that way. You can sort of see the gnocchis on the left hand side. They were kind of a lot of work but it was appropriate for the holiday. The dough was sticky and almost made my head explode but I ended up just semi-scraping them off the cutting board into the boiling water, spaetzle-style, and they turned out very nice. Sometimes cashew cream tastes too sweet to me but it worked well here even with the tarragon and everything.
I have my eye on the Malai Kofta and the Nirvana Enchilada Casserole for future Sundays.
From the Breakfast chapter, I’ve made the muffin pan mini omelets, which we ate on bagels with a slice of cheddar Daiya. This was lovely but obviously the good old days of bagels came before I weighed myself and had an aneurysm. God I know it is so tiresome how I am now. Poor Mr. Husband. As soon as I get over myself I am planning on the Carrot Cake Pancakes. I’ve also made the Banana Nut muffins twice. The first time a certain scavenging hound ate seven of them. There was one that was rescueable and I hid it from the hound. It was a straight-up fossil by the time I found it again a couple weeks later. Sad. The second time I replaced the sugar with 1 T Trader Joe’s maple sugar, used whole wheat flour, extra applesauce instead of oil, and the muffins resisted all my sabotage attempts and were totally adequate, of course do not pull that shit if you will be serving to judgey regulars. Obviously the first batch was more delicious.
I am pondering making the Lemon Blueberry Loaf today too since I have to go to the store anyway. All I’ve accomplished with my three weeks of obsessive calorie counting is that I feel like death and have a cold so maybe this nice loaf will be my break out food where I break free of my misery-inducing self-obsessed whining and moping. Like with real white flour and the full amount of sugar and everything. Ha…
And oh the desserts chapter I am not even looking at it, except the rosemary chocolate chip cookies – and isn’t that a nice picture, like straight out of Kinfolk – sound so weird yet intriguing.
In conclusion, there are so many delicious sounding things in this book that it is hard to decide what to make next. I got FIVE other cookbooks for christmas but this one is still dominating. How I hope we shall make many future delicious items from Isa Does It.
* Ugh I know, ten pounds, who could possibly even care and why on earth does this make any difference in the grand scheme of things or in any way having to do with anything important in the world at large. I’m in a bad place right now people. It is a 100% perspectiveless miserable belly meats fixation.