Choosing a cookbook for someone else is like choosing music or literature. But I'll give some suggestions.
*The Artful Vegan
and The Millenium Cookbook
by Eric Tucker - Sometimes I just make one component of a dish. You can get really crazy ingredients in San Francisco so some recipes are difficult to reproduce. Also, this book is for those with good kitchen skills. Each recipe has the nutritional info too!
*The Voluptuous Vegan
by Myra Kornfeld - She organizes the book by soups, main menus and desserts - sophisticated dishes.
by Laura Matthias - Recipes from Phoenix Organic Farm and B&B. I haven't made many of them but they look good.
*The Real Food Daily Cookbook
by Ann Gentry - Of the same restaurant. There are two very easy seitan recipes in here. The "chicken" style one uses beans and bean flour - very different but nice for a change.
*The Candle Cafe Cookbook
by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza - I don't really consider this a gourmet cookbook and have found some recipes to be lacking. The restaurant is fabulous but some recipes don't match the quality of the food prepared there. However, there are some great recipes so it's worth a look - good seitan recipes.
Popular and Easier to Prepare
by Robin Robertson - With 400 recipes, everyone can find something they like here. I use their Super Rich Vegetable Stock for everything.
*Vegan with a Vengeance
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero(Veganomicon only) - Isa has a forum so there are a lot of fans out there. The recipes are good and the humor is even better if, like me, you're missing your New York friends.
*How it All Vegan
, The Garden of Vegan
and La Dolce Vegan
by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard (only the first two). - Very basic, very easy. These recipes remind me of the dishes my friends started with when they first left their parent's homes or continue with if they have basic tastes. The authors are fun and I love the sections on uses of baking soda and vinegar. They even have recipes for skin care.
and Cooking the Whole Foods Way
by Christina Pirello - Now, she has fish in the second book (which was written first) so be forewarned. And she got it stuck in her head that canola oil is bad - which I completely disagree with. However, if you want something that uses no refined anything (think lots of whole wheat pastry flour and brown rice syrup and miso paste) then these will do.
*Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen
by Lorna Sass - Lots of whole grain and bean recipes for use with a pressure cooker or regular stove top.
*The Vegan Gourmet
by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay - Nutritional info with the recipes. Nice recipes and easy to make.
She's written numerous cookbooks and there are lots of recipes on her site.
Definitely not too healthy but the recipes are really good and consistent.
Very popular site. Some recipes aren't too healthy but I think it started as a blog idea so her blog recipes usually have nutritional info - I think.
Great if you have small children.
Lots of recipes. I haven't used this site much.
I love this blog but you might not. However, there is a large community of foodies out there and they all link to other blogs so you might find one you like. The great thing is that you sometimes get critiques on recipes from different cookbooks or websites. And you get pictures of food with recipes at times.