Diverse choices for vegetarians

October 19, 2005|By ERIN MENDELL | ERIN MENDELL,SUN REPORTER

The Healthy Hedonist

Myra Kornfeld

Simon & Schuster / 2005 / $19.95

There are people who never eat meat, those who don't eat it much and those who don't have specific restrictions but want to eat more healthfully.

Recognizing a wide variety of dietary preferences, The Healthy Hedonist doesn't stop at vegetarian dishes. Many recipes are vegan or can be easily made so, but there is a section devoted to fish and chicken.

The focus is on natural ingredients, most of which were available at a typical grocery store. I substituted light soy sauce for shoyu -- an aged soy sauce -- an ingredient that popped up often.

Roasted potato cups, which can be stuffed with a variety of toppings, were simple (three steps) and made a hearty and attractive appetizer when combined with herbed olive tapenade.

Wild mushroom and farro risotto wasn't listed as a main-course recipe, but it's substantial enough to be one. A cup of beer adds a kick to Smokin' Drunken Chili, which calls for seitan as the "meat" instead of the typical soy ground beef.

A mushroom topping made with shallots and white wine, and meant to go on pizza crust, was tasty, but it might have worked better over pasta.

The one disappointment was a vegan recipe for sour-cream dip, which claims, "Your guests will never know that this dairy-free version is made with tofu!" Mine did.

Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook

Vegetarian Times editors

Wiley, John & Sons Inc. / 2005 / $34.95

With 600 recipes, this cookbook is a good place to start for any new vegetarian cook or anyone looking for diverse recipes.

There are sections devoted to such categories as soy-centered meals, recipes for those in a rush, entertaining and foods kids will like.

The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook

Andrea Chesman

Storey Books / 2005 / $24.95

This book is organized by season and, within each season, by vegetable, which makes it easy for those who can't remember when Belgian endives are harvested.

At the beginning of each vegetable's section are tips for growing and cooking the vegetable.

Recipes for fall and winter vegetables include carmelized winter squash and onion pizza, and pumpkin cake.

The New Vegan

Janet Hudson

Thorsons Publishers / 2005 / $19.95

It seems like cheating to call this a vegan cookbook.

Many of its recipes call for meat or cheese substitutes. It may not contain meat, dairy or eggs, but vegetarian mutton is just plain creepy, and just try finding it -- along with vegetarian shrimp, prawns and fish.

If you want to eat meat, just eat meat.

erin.mendell@baltsun.com

Smokin' Drunken Chili

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions cut into small dice (2 cups)

1/2 medium green bell pepper, cut into small dice

salt

1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 pound seitan

2 tablespoons tomato paste

one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans, or a combination, drained and rinsed -- or 3 cups cooked beans

1 cup beer or water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1/2 avocado, cut into wedges, for garnish

Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, cumin and oregano, and cook for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile place the seitan in a food processor and process until ground.

Add the seitan, tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

Pour the contents of the skillet into a medium pot, and add the beans and beer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and add salt if needed. Sprinkle each serving with cilantro and garnish with a wedge of avocado.

Per serving: 361 calories; 27 grams protein; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 52 grams carbohydrate; 13 gram fiber; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 1,017 milligrams sodium

Recipe from "The Healthy Hedonist"

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