Best Cookbook EVER

Just a quick note. Our little one is 10 months old today! I can’t believe how quickly it has gone by.

Now to cookbooks. As you may or may not have already figured out, we cook vegetarian and I love the Moosewood cookbooks. However, I have begun paying attention to which Moosewood cookbooks are Mollie Katzen books and which are post-Mollie Katzen (AMK-After Mollie Katzen).

I love her. I love her illustrations. I love her playfulness. I love the commentary on every recipe. She is an inspiration. However, her recipes are often intense, meaning: Many ingredients (most of which we don’t have around the house), lots of chopping, lots of pans and lots of time. So I’m often daunted by her cookbooks. Granted, some of our favorite go to recipes come from her books, both her Moosewood books and post-Moosewood books (Gypsy Soup, Cauliflower Puff, Indonesian Rice Salad) but they take work. And did I mention we have a baby? So yeah, lots of work is not so great right now.

This is where the Moosewood cookbooks AMK come in. The two books we have make all the recipes so easy. Simple Suppers and New Classics are two of my favorite cookbooks. Simple Suppers is great because they define simple in so many ways. Sometimes it means quick; sometimes it means only one pot; sometimes very few ingredients. But whatever it is, the recipes are delicious.

So I recently started exploring Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. It is wonderful. There are a few duds but some of my new favorite recipes are from this book. I will share two of them below. I have already made both of these recipes three times each! The only thing that is lacking from these Moosewood books AMK is a little bit of that character and personality I love so much about Mollie Katzen’s writing. But did I mention the delicious factor?

Enjoy!

Instant Tamale Pie

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil an 11-inch casserole dish.

Mash a can of pinto (or black) beans WITH their juice in a large bowl. Add and mix ½ cup of corn, ½ cup of salsa, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano, and ¼ tsp salt.

Buy a role of pre-made polenta. The recipe says to use 12 ounces of it, but they come in 18 ounce tubes, so I just use it all. Cut it into ¼ inch thick rounds and layer them on the bottom of your casserole dish, slightly overlapping. Spoon the bean mixture over the polenta.

Sprinkle on 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro on top. Then add 1 cup of grated Cheddar cheese on top of that.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes and then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and cheese is browning. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Devour!

Presto! Chocolate Cake

This cake is amazing and so super easy. And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Or make it in a bundt pan, like I did, but make sure you grease really well!

In a large bowl mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, ½ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt.

In your kitchen aid or with an electric mixer combine ½ cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar. When the butter and sugar are combined, add 2 eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

In a small bowl combine ¾ cup of water with 1 tsp vanilla. Add the flavored water by thirds to the creamed mixture, alternating with the flour mixture and beating after each addition.

Poor into the pan and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

When the cake is almost done, make the glaze. It’s so easy! ½ cup of chocolate chips, 1/3 cup of jam (apricot is a nice choice), and 2 tablespoons of milk. Put in a small pan and warm on low heat, stirring constantly until melted.

When the cake is done, pour hot glaze on top (if using a bundt pan, flip out of pan to make right side up on a plate before pouring the glaze on).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Yum yum and yum!

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