It’s been a while since I posted a food diary, but there’s no time like the present to start again. It’s a shame I picked the day when I took the world’s nastiest photo of Bircher Muesli. But so be it. Today was an excellent day all the same: I managed to fit in a swim, a walk, a resistance workout, and a bit of stretching; I discovered not only how tasty black-eye peas are in tacos, but also how good those tacos are as a mid-morning snack; best of all, Tim surprised me with two new Cookbooks:
- How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman
- Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotom Ottolenghi
These two cookbooks couldn’t be more different, but in that way they compliment eachother well. Ottolenghi is gorgeous, full of mouth-watering photos and deliciously intricate recipes. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is in-your-face practicality, a massive volume of simple recipes and illustrated how-tos (e.g. how to braise/bake/stir-fry/broil tofu).
Both of these cookbooks are sure to see a lot of action. Tonight I started with Bittman’s Stir-Fried Tofu with Scallions, “the most basic stir-fry you can make and one you can build on indefinitely. Master this and you master the world, at least the world of stir-frying tofu, which is not insignificant.”
As a self-respecting, wanna-be vegetarian chef, this seemed like a lesson worth learning. I’m still perfecting the technique, but I will tell you that veggie stock gets added to the stir-fry pan while the tofu is cooking. This step caught me off guard, but when the stock reduces, it turns out to be an excellent way to flavor the tofu. Hurray for learning!
If you’re interested, excerpts of Bittman’s book are available in Google Books and Yotam Ottolenghi has a few recipes up on his blog, including some of his legendary salads such as Couscous adn Mograbiah with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Wild Rice Salad.
Diary for March 24, 2009