April 30, 2013

Home Cooking: Vegetable Literacy

Been a while since I've had time to post anything to this blog thing I have going here that is hanging on by a thread. Just been too busy with other, arguably more important pursuits.
I did, however, recently pick up the new book, Vegetable Literacy, by renowned vegetarian chef, cookbook author, and scholar, Deborah Madison. Madison has been a player in the world of modern vegetarian cooking for 30 years and her new text aims to be a definitive guide for all things veggie. It's not so much a vegetarian cookbook as it is an encyclopedic tome on most aspects of the vegetable kingdom. It's 300+ pages of solid text that will leave you knowing more about vegetables than you ever though possible. There are a good number of excellent recipes in the book as well.
Like, spring peas with baked ricotta (see below) and fresh bread crumbs. As you can see, I went a little heavy on the peas there, but it was tasty, nonetheless.
The oven-baked ricotta with bread crumbs was a bit of a revelation to me. Once the ricotta bakes for 20 minutes or so, it sets up firmly and you get a goat cheese-like consistency that can be spooned on sandwiches, crumbled over pasta, or just spread on a slice of baguette.
I also made her black quinoa dish, though, I substituted black rice as I simply could not find black quinoa around town. The black rice was a suitable substitute for the dish that also includes chard, pistachios, avocado, and more of that ricotta cheese. The no-frills dressing is made from a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and mint. A great spring/summer dish that is more filling than it might seem at first glance. Good for ya, too! 

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