A friend recently gifted me her extra copy of Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which is considered one of the cornerstone cookbooks for vegetarian cuisine. Madison divides the book up to focus on different ingredients such as polenta, garlic, peppers, lentils, etc. and how to properly prepare each for various dishes. Since I’ve only been a veggie (technically a “pescaterian”) for less than a year, I think this book will be a useful tool in learning the basics. The only drawback I see so far is that many of the recipes call for ingredients like dill, cream, chives, and exotic grains (cracked wheat, anyone?) that I rarely have in stock. I wonder if those items were more common in veggie cooking 15 years ago when the book was first published, or if I’m just not well-versed enough yet to know what the staples are.
Conversely, these new releases offer a more modern approach (re: more pictures, less emphasis on dairy-based foods) and seem similar to my two favorite cookbooks: Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave and Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. I probably should curtail this craving for culinary books, but it’s hard to resist.
1. My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
A get-to-know-your-coworkers survey at work asked “What celebrity’s life would you like and why?” GP, obviously. She’s like a modern Renaissance woman: She acts, she sings, she travels the world, she goes on culinary tours with world-famous chefs, writes weekly newsletters, and she cooks. Although there are some meat-based dishes, re-imagined entrées, particularly those with a Spanish or exotic twist (mhmmm Vegetable Paella) sound divine.
2. Power Foods from the editors of Whole Living magazine
Last weekend when I came across this book in Target, I was shocked (shocked!) that I had missed any buzz about this cookbook from the creators of one of my favorite publications. Perfect for pescatarians, this book starts with an introduction to foods that pack a nutritional punch (nuts, vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, etc) before moving into the recipes. Eats like the Greek-Yogurt and Vegetable Sandwiches, which toss avocados and walnuts into the mix, sound enticing but never daunting as most of the recipes are quite short.
3. Clean Food and the subsequent Clean Start by Terry Walters
The same friend who gave me the Deborah Madison book suggested I check out these two. While Amazon does not offer a preview, from what I understand Walters emphasizes local ingredients and whole foods without relying on processed vegetarian substitutions — a major boon considering the thought of seitan still makes me queasy. Also, it seems that Clean Food is divided by the season, which is one of my favorite features of Everyday Food.
4. Cooking Light Way to Cook Vegetarian from the Editors of Cooking Light
Ah, how I love receiving my weekly e-mail of recipes from this magazine/website. Again, no preview is available online, but I remember distinctly thinking that the book seemed to contain an excellent selection of their vegetarian and vegan dishes with straightforward instructions and tempting photographs. And since I’m a fan of their magazine, I imagine the recipes would be equally impressive.