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Today, recipe test-drives from Isa Does It (also at the library, for Knoxville folks), Pure Vegan, and Christopher Kimball's new Milk Street Magazine. Without further ado, first up is this BBQ-sauced tofu sandwich:

I don't actually have a go-to BBQ sauce, and have long assumed the Date Barbecue Sauce from Pure Vegan (recipe available here) would be one. Alas. A little too mild, decidedly sweet, this one did not hit my sweet spot. It's possible swapping fresh ginger for the called-for ground ginger could adjust the spice to suit my tastes. But honestly, I don't care enough to try. The first recipe from Pure Vegan I won't revisit.

The slaw from Milk Street Magazine, on the other hand, is a winner. Thai food is famous for balancing bold flavors—savory with sweet, fat with acid—then often adding heat from fresh chiles. Those principles are taken to this slaw that is now my go-to. The lime and coconut milk dressing will likely show up here soon in another application (or three). Get the recipe here, and to make it vegan, swap reduced-sodium tamari for the called-for fish sauce.

Next up, dessert. And/or gifts.

Isa Does It has become an invaluable book on the MSV shelf. I've toyed with the idea of giving up my copy of Veganomicon more than once—I cook from it so infrequently and book space is valuable in my small-ish place—but I cannot imagine parting with this one.

These jumbo oatmeal cookies are totally easy and really fun. This is definitely a recipe to turn to again and again, using whatever is in the pantry. The cookies shown here, which were a gift, include some chocolate I'd just been given. In that went (in fat chunks), along with currants already in the cabinet. Tie them up in a bow, and done. Remember to save yourself at least one for tomorrow's breakfast.

isa does it jumbo oatmeal cookies detail.jpg

Thanks so much for reading. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Let's all breathe a huge sigh of relief that the solstice has come and gone, and the days are officially getting longer. See you next week.

About Hitting the Books: You know that shelf in your house with all the great cookbooks you don't get to nearly as often as you'd like? Yeah, there's one of those over here, too. The Hitting the Books series allows for occasional opportunities to dig into that shelf and highlight some handy cookbooks.

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