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Posts Tagged ‘Cookbooks’

Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew

Have cooked plenty and even taken photos of it, but lately I’ve been remiss with the blogging I’d promised myself to do. Mostly I’ve been too busy just living and cooking and eating and working and all those other things that comprise day-to-day existence. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not quite cut out for this blogging thing. Yet I keep trying. Oh well.

In my quest (which has been ongoing over more than two years) to cook every last recipe in Veganomicon I’m beginning to get to the recipes that come less naturally to me, for one reason or another. Perhaps they have ingredients I don’t have at home often, or stuff I’m less prone to eat/ like.

Anyway. A while back I decided it was time to make the Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew. Seemed to fit the season perfectly, I had some dried shiitakes collecting dust in my spice drawer, and finally freed from the fetters of a bi-weekly CSA haul I was free to shop at will at my local cheap-o Korean greengrocers. This also gave me an excuse to hit Sunrise Mart, a most excellent (and reasonably priced) Japanese grocery store in the East Village. Besides sundry Japanese speciality items, they’re also a great place to pick up tofu at about half the price of any other place I know of. Here’s my loot from there:

Sunrise Mart Loot
As for the stew, it turned out delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I ended up cooking it not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the past month. Keep in mind the recipe makes about 4 servings and I live alone. So that makes it uh… 12 times I’ve eaten Kabocha-Udon Stew in the past month. Ok, moving on…

I tend to get kind of obsessed with certain flavors and eat them like crazy for periods of time. The Kabocha-Udon adventure triggered a Japanese noodle obsession. I’m now running to Sunrise Mart every chance I get and plan to work my way through a few of the recipes in a long-ignored Japanese vegetarian cookbook someone gave me once.

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I learned to cook from my mom as a kid, and by making dinner for my family starting when I was about 12 or so. I never used recipes. Then one day I realized that I was stuck in a rut, making the same foods over and over again, with the exact same spices. I decided to buy myself a few cookbooks and to teach myself new techniques and flavor combinations by systematically cooking my way through them. (Also, I was given a couple of great cookbooks by my mother and sister last year.) While I have other cookbooks, these are the ones that are on particularly heavy rotation right now. That might change, but I am trying to exercise restraint and not buy any new ones until I have cooked most of the recipes in these.

Veganomicon

Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero.












Olive Trees and Honey

Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World, by Gil Marks.

Both of these are large encyclopedic cookbooks that are great for the kind of large batches of simple everyday foods I mostly eat when alone. I’m a soup fiend and they both have a large number of great soup recipes. (I’m almost at my goal of having cooked every soup in Olive Trees and Honey.






Cranks

The Cranks Bible, by Nadine Abensur was my first cookbook. Cranks is a famous vegetarian restaurant in London where Abensur, who is a French-Moroccan Jew was food director for many years. The recipes are sort of a veggie fusion with a South-Mediterranean tilt. It’s peerless for spectacular dishes to impress guests and show them how great vegetarian cooking can be, but some are a bit too rich and involved for my daily needs. It is, however, my first love among cookbooks and a major influence on the way I cook.

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