Two New Cookbooks

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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:

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).

Simple Tofu Stir-Fry with Brown Rice and Spinach GomaeBoth 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


Bircher Muesli with Bananas

Ugliest Photo of Bircher Muesli EVER


Black-Eye Pea Taco with Avocado, Kale and Trader Joe’s Corn Salsa

Taco as Mid-Morning Snack


Black-Eye Pea Taco and a Raw Kale Salad

I liked my taco snack so much I had it again for lunch.

Black-Eyed Pea Taco

Raw Kale Salad with Carrots and Mushrooms


Simple Tofu Stir-Fry with Brown Rice and Spinach Gomae

5 thoughts on “Two New Cookbooks

  1. Sophie

    Tim did really well with his surprise book gift! Those are two of my favourite books from the last year or so.

    I love Mark Bittman’s book for all of its tables and lists – it’s just the thing for improvising. And the Ottolenghi book is just gorgeous. If you want an afternoon project try the sour cherry and walnut stick.


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