It has been so very long since I even logged into my blog - I am embarrassed. Good thing I don't have a lot of readers. :-)

One of my New Year's resolutions is to pick a different one of my lovely cookbooks each week and select two brand-spankin' new recipes to try. I decided to do this because I really do have so many beautiful cookbooks and I always just rely on the internet when I am looking to try something new. Incidentally, I have become a huge fan of several vegan blogs and look forward to reading them everyday! I gain a lot of inspiration from their various entries.

Last week, the cookbook I chose to cook from was Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. This was a cookbook I received last year as a gift and had never cooked anything out of it. This was partly because it was a big book (555 pages of recipes, not including the Resources section or the index) and it doesn't have any pictures - I tend to find cooking inspiration from pictures. Well, that has now changed. Last week, I selected Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh (page 235), Ziti, Artichokes and Olives with Spicy Tomato Sauce (page 245) and finally Artichoke and Root Vegetable Gratin (page 355). Before I talk about the recipes, I want to confess that I did not take any pictures as I didn't know I was going to blog about them until about 5 minutes ago.

I found the Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh to be ok. it was basically brown rice with shredded cabbage and carrots, some poached tempeh and a very light sauce made of tamari and light brown sugar, garnished with shredded cucumber and chopped peanuts. it didn't have a lot of flavor - next time I would likely add more veggies and kick up the spice a few notches.

The second recipe was the Ziti, Artichokes and Olives with Spicy Tomato Sauce. This was pretty good - the recipe title being a pretty indicator of the ingredients. I did use fresh tomatoes and based on how I tend to like my pasta a little more saucy, I would probably use canned whole San Marzano tomatoes next time. I think the recipe could have used a little more kick and perhaps some roasted red peppers.

Finally, I saved my favorite for last - the Artichoke and Root Vegetable Gratin. Again, the title says it all - a potato, large carrot and parsnips, all sliced thin. Then leeks and artichokes sauteed with some garlic. Layer the sliced root veggies in the gratin pan, alternating with the leek and artichoke mixture, top with some bread crumbs and bake. It was really good! The artichoke and leek mixture made it a little more sophisticated and the lack of a sauce made it healthier than your typical gratin. of course, I served it topped with some hot sauce, but I really enjoyed it a great deal!

I really like this cookbook. It contains 400 recipes, all organized in an inventive but easy to navigate way. I do miss the pictures, but with this many recipes, there would hardly be room! The author has incorporated a lot of common ingredients in some unique ways and I appreciate the descriptions she has taken the time to write. I will certainly be turning to this cookbook in the future for cooking inspiration!

Up next week: The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.