Way to Cook Vegetarian – cookbook review

ISBN 0-8487-3366-5 published by Oxmoor House

As a rule, I avoid things with the words ‘light,’ in them. I am completely uninterested in a sparse meal. Simple? Yes! But light? Hell No! Never-the-less This cookbook first published in 2010 is quickly becoming my favorite Vegetarian cookbook. I love it!

Its got a full-page photo for each recipe and additional step by step pictures when needed, perfect for visually oriented people. But that’s not all, the recipe selections offered are all so appealing it’s hard to choose just one thing to make.

That grilled zucchini pizza which can be seen on the bottom right cover for example was fabulous!

To be fair, some things in it proved to be duds. Take for example Buddha’s Delight with tofu. The picture looked great. The food was displayed in a bright red chinese take-out box. The steps of creating this meal were burdensome only to discover the complete and total lack of flavor in the meal. Yes, I was taken in by that red display box. They needed it, otherwise it would have been obvious the meal was tasteless. To be fair, a true Buddhist would have been delighted. They are not a people who flavor their meals and eat a very simple fare.

BUT don’t let my criticism dissuade you. This book rocks! Here is what it says on the inside jacket cover. ” For the first time, Cooking Light brings together in one book all the essential techniques for creating delicious, healthy vegetarian meals that you can enjoy every day.” “.. a celebration of all the plant world has to offer.”

And a celebration it is, with over 400 full color well-organized pages. Many of the recipes in this blog will come from this book.

As this is a short entry, it needs some fleshing out. How bout a video? This video is super cool. I could watch it over and over. Indeed, I had to in order to understand it. Beautiful and more than a little disturbing.

My favorite part of the video is those two lovers having passionate sex, engaged in the act of creating a new universe. But also how about that falling helicopter? Heralding in a glorious cacophony of destruction. I searched and found three conflicting english translations of the lyrics but decided in the end, this video speaks for itself. No translation needed. Is it scary? Is it weird? Is it wonderful? Notice the new life at the end there?

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Vita-Mix – product review

If you were going to be stranded in the desert and could only take one thing with you, what would it be? I remember something about a joke with the punch line being, the blonde girl would take a car door. So she could roll down the window if it got too hot.

Vita Mix

Well, I don’t know much about deserts or bad jokes, but if I could only ever have one kitchen appliance for the rest of my life, that appliance would be a Vita-Mix. It is the number one most useful and versatile thing in the galaxy. Well, as far as cooking in a kitchen goes. Continue reading

How to Season and use a Mortar and Pestle

A good Mortar and Pestle is a must have item to keep in your well used kitchen. I passed by many a mortar and pestle till I finally found one that I wanted to take home. Before buying one, take a good long look at it. Make sure it is really made of legitimate materials and not simply a low quality imitation made to appear like the real thing. Look also for cracks and dings in it. Once you take it home you will need to season it before first use.

Step 1 Rinse it under fast running water and  give it a scrub. Do not ever use soap on your Mortar.

Step 2  put some good quality hard white rice into it, and grind it. When the rice is ground fine AND also very dirty, dump it out. Keep repeating this step until the white rice stays white. Continue reading

Melted Brie with Vegetables

This recipe comes to us from the Vegetarian Cookbook by Readers Digest

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F  (200 degrees C)

Cooked Ingredients:

a handful of Green Beans. (or 4 ounces if you prefer) all sliced in half. Blanch them for two minutes in boiling water then remove from water and refresh them under cold running water.
Now into the same pot of boiling water add 2 pounds of wedge cut potatoes. Boil only for three minutes. Reds taste best. After 3 minutes have passed, drain the potatoes, and toss them in a bowl containing the spice mixture. Leave out the sesame seeds till later.

Spice mix for Potatoes:

Virgin Olive Oil 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons
Paprika 1 teaspoon
Coarse Sea Salt 1 teaspoon
coarsely crushed black peppercorns to taste

also for the potatoes but to be added 15 minutes into the baking process:

2 tablespoons raw or toasted sesame seeds

Continue reading

The Vegetarian Cookbook by Readers Digest – cookbook review

ISBN # 978-0-7621-090

I was not shopping for cookbooks at the time I bought this one. Rather the super amazing photos of meals in this book demanded I buy it.  Big colorful, well presented food photos, they are. Almost every recipe I have tried so far has been very satisfying. The ingredients are in big bold print, making it easy to see, and the steps are numbered clearly. All in all, I like this book a lot. Join me for future posts featuring recipes from this book with such titles as:

Carrot and Ginger Salad
Melted Brie with Vegetables
Tofu Stir Fry with Cashews
and
Peppers stuffed with Minted Rice

Now, What would this post be if it didn’t include an awesome song that has nothing to do with food. BUT it has everything to do with Fairytales, and thats good enough for me.

Tofu Stir-Fry with Cashews

Tofu stir fry with cashews

This recipe comes via The Vegetarian Cookbook by Readers Digest  It is SO yummy and delicious that your dinner mates may start eyeing your plate as well as their own. And when you see them eyeing your plate, it’s just a natural reaction to let out a feral growl and gulp faster. Think I’m kidding? Try this dish, and see.

First the marinade.

Here I have doubled the amounts indicated by the book. It just tastes better with more juice, or so I think, having made this several times already.

marinade

4 cloves minced Garlic minced NOT crushed
3 Tablespoons Tamari
4 Tablespoons Sherry (but a good White Wine will also impart a completely different flavor, which is just as yummy)
3 Teaspoons sesame Oil (I used dark)
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
6 or so ground Peppercorns

yeah, I cooked with this... so what?

yeah, I cooked with this... so what?

Continue reading

The Vegetarian Handbook Cookbook Review

This song has nothing to do with food, but hey, it’s a great song! If todays post proves to be too dry, well then just watch this lively vista-filled video instead. Take precautions if at work however: This song may make you want to do a jig on  top of your desk.

Vegetarians are statistically healthier than meat eaters, but logic demands certain deductions.

Mainly, that eating only vegetables does not by itself guarantee good health. I think it’s a safe bet to assume that the average vegetarian is just as ignorant of wise eating habits as their meat-eating counterparts definitely are. Yes there are healthy vegetarians in the world, but those whom I have met, at least in my corner of the world, seem to be the exception, not the norm.

A case in point: Even the organic vegetarian supermarkets dedicate many isles to the veg equivalent of junk food, tv dinners, and pre processed crap I wouldn’t eat unless I had no choice.

Its been my limited experience, not living in a large urban area, that many vegetarians are too thin, they have limp hair, look older than they really are, and catch colds all the time. For that matter, they all look like long distance hikers. Ever seen a long distance hiker?

ISBN 0-312-14441-5

Knowing my vegetable ignorance, I let the notion of becoming a vegetarian stew on the back burner. That is until an unexpected twist of fate put this book in my hand. It was just the thing I had need of. Written by two PHDs with things like Yale and Pratt Institute as credentials. These guys use Science and research. They use computers to analyze nutritional content and proteins, then combine ingredients according to those findings.

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Cookbooks are like Fishing Lures

This is not my tacklebox. (mine is cooler)

I’ve always treated cookbooks just like I treat my fishing lures. Don’t bother trying to figure that statement out.

Here, let me explain.

I collect them, can’t get enough of them in fact, and am always on the lookout for new ones. But when it all boils down, there may be three at best which I use regularly. The rest? Eye candy all.

When I found myself having to build new bookcases just to accommodate the cookbooks, I knew it was time to change.

Continue reading

Unconventional Kitchen Storage

Kitchen organizationHeres a kitchen storage solution that may surprise. Ever see those nice sturdy tool storage cabinets kept by mechanics and sold in hardware stores? They have so many advantages.

Sanitary inside and out, Wide flat trays, wheels making it portable, and a place to hang a towel. The bottom drawers are perfect for ungainly pan lids and even fit large mixing bowls. What more can a chef ask for? Once having tried this solution myself, I’ll never go back to using a conventional drawer. Why waste time pawing though a deep pile of kitchen implements?

You might be thinking ‘man-cave’ right about now. But the clean lines and chrome on black lend this cabinet a chef-like look that works.This solution provides a real meaning to the phrase, “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

I keep a cutting board on top of mine, but it can just as easily accommodate seldom used appliances which can then be wheeled to the outlet when needed.

and Lastly: Enjoy