photo © Mylene Bressan for openphoto.net CC:Attribution
We are vegetarians in my family (Tony, Hal and I, anyway), and I'm always on the lookout for great vegetarian cookbooks. I'm starting a new series that features some of my favorites.
A book I've come back to lately after a long hiatus is Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven. You may remember Mollie from her Moosewood Restaurant fame, and her subsequent break from the restaurant, and stint on PBS. I have many of the Moosewood cookbooks, and use them on occasion, but find them a bit labor-intensive for everyday cooking.
Vegetable Heaven, however, breaks from the fussy tradition, and many of the recipes are doable on a busy weeknight. Here is one of my favorites:
Dreamy White Beans with olive oil, garlic and herbs
2c dried white pea or navy beans
2 sprigs rosemary
12 fresh sage leaves, tied together with kitchen twine (I don't tie them together)
1 1/2 T minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1. Quick-soak the beans: place beans in a large pot, and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover, and allow the beans to soak in the hot water for an hour or so.
2. Drain the beans, and put them back in the pot as before, covered with water by 2 inches. Add the rosemary and sage, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer until tender (30 minutes-1 hour). Remove the rosemary sprigs (the woody stem), and drain the beans, saving the water.
3. Put the beans back into the pan, and add the garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then mash or partially puree some of the beans, using some or all of the drained water. The consistency should be smooth and thick.
4. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and minced parsley, if desired.
P.S. This makes a great party dip with some melba snacks!
P.P.S. You've got to try the Mexican Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream. Wow.