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Great new cookbooks. November 23, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. The library at the tiny town near me and our friend Ben, scenic Kuztown, PA, got in two great cookbooks recently that I checked out and loved. (I loved one so much that I asked OFB to get it for me for our anniversary at the end of this month, and of course he did. Yum! Can’t wait to get cooking.) To take my mind off the nightmarish commercialism that has destroyed one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving, I’ll tell you about them so you can check them out.

The first is Salads: Beyond the Bowl by Mindy Fox (Kyle Books, 2012, $19.95). I was put off rather than intrigued by the title, which I thought was too precious, but OFB and I love salads so much that if we don’t have at least one a day, we feel horribly deprived. So I checked the book out of the library, and I’m so glad I did. The recipes are just extraordinary, the photography ultra-inviting. As a vegetarian, I rarely buy cookbooks that contain recipes for meat unless they’re of historic interest, but if I find myself dying to make more that ten recipes from a book, as in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Check out Mindy’s Pimiento Cheese with Cucumber, Scallion and Celery Salad, Roasted Beet and Blood Orange Pico de Gallo, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Olive Oil, Lemon and Peppered Sheep’s Milk Cheese, Asparagus Mimosa with Capers, Radishes and Chives, Red Cabbage, Green Apple and Sweet Currant Slaw, Shaved Fennel and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Olive Pesto and Toasted Pine Nuts, Cress, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Tarragon-Shallot Vinaigrette, or, say, Green Oak Lettuce, Fried Green Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with a Chimichurri Vinaigrette. Wow. And we haven’t even added any of the numerous grains and beans, or eggs, potato and pasta, or any of the other variations Ms. Fox so deftly weaves into her salads.  

Then there’s John Schlimm’s Grilling Vegan Style (Da Capo Press, 2012, price sadly obscured by library tags, but unlikely to be more than $19.95). Not being an expert on all things grilling, I felt somewhat adventurous when I picked up this book. And okay, what about grilling had anything to do with vegetarians, much less vegans, beyond grilled veggie kabobs, frozen veggie burgers, corn on the cob, or pizza? (Let’s please not discuss the horrors of pseudomeats like Tofu Pups, aka vegetarian hot dogs. Spare me, please.)

Having been served grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes as the “vegetarians’ alternative” at way too many friends’ barbecues—I wish they’d try to eat these horrors for themselves, tasteless, mealy zucchini and unspeakable exploding tomatoes—I was ecstatic to discover a world of grilled delights in John Schlimm’s book. Dishes like Golden Tandoori Seitan. Mushrooms & Peppers over Minty Pesto Triangles, Cedar-Smoked Mushrooms, Midsummer Night’s Asparagus with Mandarin Oranges and Pimiento Sauce, Crackling, Kale, Swiss Chard and Red Bell Pepper, Flame-Glazed Eggplant with Hoisin Sauce, Artichokes with Cumin Dipping Sauce, Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime & Pepper Sauce, Mexican Tortilla Burgers, Slip-N-Sliders, Italian Herb Burgers on Focaccia, and Flame Day Fries. Plus grilled pasta, pizza, desserts, and cocktails (er, the cocktails aren’t grilled, they’re simply meant to enhance the food).

Our friends Chaz and Delilah are experts at grilling, like our neighbors Steve and Bill. We’re complete idiots, watching, drooling and eating.  But Grilling Vegan Style has inspired us to try to fire up our grill and get beyond the boring veggie kebabs. Thanks, John Schlimm!

I suggest that you check out these books, whatever your dietary habits. You’ll be glad you did!

                 ‘Til next time,

                               Silence

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