Cooking More Vegetarian Meals for 2015

Last year, one of the items I requested for Christmas was a vegetarian cookbook.  I gave a list for Will to choose from so that he wouldn't have to start his research from scratch.  Predictably, Will chose to get me the best reviewed one from the list: Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Alas, it seemed the book wasn't for everyone.  In the past year, I chose to use the massive tome for exactly 2 recipes.

It's not her.  It's me.  (Probably.)  The truth was that I wasn't that interested in elaborate preparations of vegetarian entrees.  Otherwise, the recipes--actually the more useful ones it turned out--were essentially too-simple side dishes.  For instance, sautee spinach in butter, and then sautee mushroom in butter.  Combine the two after both have been cooked, and then salt and pepper the mixture to enjoy as a side dish (or over toast).  Actually, that deceptively simple direction (sautee the two separately!) ended up producing a quite lovely side.

In any case, the beautiful and heavy book sat little used for the entire year.  This year, perhaps feeling a little sad for my stunted vegetarian cooking efforts, Will got me William-Sonoma's Vegetable of the Day cookbook.  They have a whole series for all the items of food you could think of: salads of the day, soup of the day, etc.  We already have the Dessert of the Day.  (Yes, we have our priorities straight.)

Well, in the two weeks I have been home with this new vegetable cookbook, I found that I've already used 4 different recipes.  Not all are masterpieces, and most are fairly simple.  In fact, in some cases it's really a matter of being reminded that we like particular vegetables prepared in particular ways or in particular combinations.  Like kale and chick peas sauteed with garlic.

We did attempt a main course dish of "Bread Pudding with Chard, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Fontina" (with Basil too!--pictured at the top of this post) about a week ago.  Our verdict was that the dish was ultimately less flavorful than one would have expected from SUCH flavorful items contained in the recipe.  I decided, however, that we'll blame it mostly on the fact that I used a very hearty "harvest" bread (because we needed to get through it!) rather than the milder flavored "country" bread called for which might have absorbed the flavors more successfully.

We will keep trying.  After all, we still have over 360 recipes to try...


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