Cookbook Challenge 2 - Appetite for Reduction I

Cookbook Challenge II - Appetite for Reduction!

If you're not already part (or at least aware) of The Post Punk Kitchen, you are seriously missing out. What initially began as a public access vegan cooking show created by cookbook-author extraordinaire and baketivist Isa Chandra Moskowitz, has now fully blossomed into one of the most active vegan communities in the world. As a member of the PPK message boards, I can personally vouch for the massive amounts action on that forum. Alongside all the mindless banter and deep conversations revolved around bodily functions (I never said we were a mature bunch..), vegan food is the topic of most conversations. Whether it's an uplifting thread about all of the accidentally-vegan snack foods found in convenience stores - I nearly pooped my pants when I learned that one of the Doritos chips is vegan! - or reviews on the latest vegan cookbook to hit the shelves, food is not far from any of our minds.

The latter topic holds particular significance to this post. Over in The Kitchen - Food & Cooking forum, the second annual Cookbook Challenge is taking place! For the next 12 weeks, participants will be cooking at least 3 recipes from a randomly selected, albeit predetermined, cookbook and sharing their creations with fellow PPKers. As a participant, I'll be posting photos and reviews of my selected batch of recipes at the forums as well as the here blog. I'm particularly excited about participating because this week's cookbook has quickly become one of my favorites. Appetite for Reduction (AFR) is Isa's newest vegan cookbook, and it focuses on low-fat, whole-foods based cooking for folks with an appetite. I've read the book from cover-to-cover and there isn't a single recipe that I don't want to immediately shovel into my mouth. If the sound of this cookbook strikes your fancy, why not try one or all of the sample recipes at the PPK? I promise you won't be disappointed.

I'll talk about this book more throughout the rest of the week, but I think my first dish is past due. Talking about vegan foodz is nice and all, but I'd rather show you!

Caesar Chavez Salad with Eggplant Bacon

Ahh, the Caesar Chavez Salad with Eggplant Bacon. Let me start by introducing the salad dressing. One thing I've truly missed since becoming a vegetarian is the creamy tang of caesar dressing. If you weren't already aware, most commercially produced bottles contain anchovies and eggs in addition to a boat load of cream and calories, and are unsuitable for veg*ns. Annie's Goddess Dressing is a suitable store-bought replacement and has always satiated my appetite, but at $5-$6 a bottle, I only buy it sporadically. After making the Caesar Chavez Dressing in AFR, I will never buy another bottled salad dressing, of any variety. Isa has done it again! This dressing is perfectly remniscent of caesar dressing - uber creamy, briny and cool. I've been making it in bulk batches and drizzling it on anything I can think of - salad, pasta, pizza, quinoa, my tongue, etc. Seriously, you NEED to make this dressing. For utter ease and generosity, the recipe can be found online in Amazon's trusty Look Inside feature. Just click the book's image (log in if you have an Amazon account; you'll be able to see more recipes that way) where it says Look Inside and you'll be able to see the first half of the book for free (then, of course, you should buy it and support that awesome lady).

As for the Eggplant Bacon, that deserves equal praise. Drenched in a bath of soy sauce (tamari for those with a gluten intolerance) and liquid smoke, eggplant is the perfect medium for such an application. The recipe calls for thin slices of eggplant, to recreate the look of bacon strips, baked at a high temperature for utlimate crispiness. I did find myself baking the eggplant for more time than the recipe called for because my toaster oven sucks. I thought the strips of eggplant were aesthetically awesome, but found myself shoving whole slices into my mouth at a time. Next time I'm going to chop it into very tiny cubes in the hopes that it'll get even crunchier and I'll fool myself into thinking I have more on my plate (eggplant gluttony?!).

Caesar Chavez Salad with Eggplant Bacon

All things considered, this recipe gets my highly regarded stamp of approval. It's cheap to make and comes together in less than 30 minutes. With less than 160 calories per serving (recipe serves 4) and a ton of vitamin A, you'll be doing yourself a favor by consuming my new favorite, the Caesar Chavez Salad with Eggplant Bacon from Appetite for Reduction.


  1. I'm not a huge eggplant fan, but your description and pictures sold me! would you chop up the eggplant before or after baking?

  2. @Jackie Smith (the other one): I would definitely slice the eggplant before baking. That way you'll end up with charred outer egdes that are super crispy!