Anyone who knows me knows that I have, well, a few cookbooks... and I love them all! I have recently acquired two particularly good ones that are definitely worth sharing with you. The photos are acting up on me (sizing, turning) but it's just going to have to be that way!
First, having long been a fan of Dynise Balcavage's blog, I was thrilled when her cookbook, The Urban Vegan, appeared. With her creativity and encouraging voice, both new and experienced cooks will find much to adore here. So far, we've made two recipes. While holed up with the flu, I nursed myself back to health with her Hearty Adzuki Bean Soup. It looks similar to a pureed black bean soup, but when you put it in your mouth - woah. Mushrooms, seaweed, sesame, general flavor explosions... Two nights ago, we made the Spaghetti alle Melanzane (Spaghetti with Eggplant) for supper. This definitely ranks right up there with my favorite eggplant dishes of all time, which says a lot. It's a superb pasta sauce that only improves with time, so the next day's lunch will be a special one. I added a little thyme and black pepper to her recipe, but she encourages such branching-out!
After a couple of dry years, we have had a lot of rain in 2009, and excess vegetables. Thus, I have become a canning, freezing, drying, pickling machine. I have a number of home preserving books, but the new edition of Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Pickling truly belongs on the top of the pile. Her general guidance and directions are clear and easy, while her recipes are imaginative and delicious. You will see her pickled cantaloupe above. I have had a lifelong love affair with pickled peaches, and pickled cantaloupe is a close relative. I've also made her pickled watermelon rind and full sour dill pickles, both of which were excellent. There are a few nonvegan recipes, but they form only a small portion of the book. Ziedrich's book on jams and jellies is equally helpful, so pick up a copy of that one, too!
More recipes and food experiments coming soon....