Saturday, May 11, 2013

Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking


This is, by far, the most beautiful cookbook I own! Mary McCartney's Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking, came to my attention when Nancy reviewed it over at Bookfoolery.  She had wonderful things to say about it, and I decided to gift it to myself for Mother's Day. As soon as it arrived, I couldn't wait to dive in and explore.

As you may remember, I've been on a weight loss journey for the last year or so with the very simple approach to eat more REAL food -- less processed, less crap in general. Admittedly, since I took my job as a PR Director of my alma mater in December, it's been much harder to maintain! I really put my nose to the grindstone to improve our food quality in September when I got laid off from my previous job. I had three months to cook good stuff any time of day and really plan our meals. When the work madness kicked back in, obviously it was much more of a struggle.

We haven't fallen completely off the wagon, by any means, but there's been more eating out than I'd like and more packaged foods for a quick grab-n-go breakfast or snack. I decided to pick up Food to give me some new real food ideas, but also because of a recent bonehead move by the USDA. I'm just more beaten down by US food culture than ever.

But that's enough griping for one post -- on to Food! McCartney has really put together a nice collection of simple, everyday vegetarian recipes (they do contain dairy and eggs, recommended free-range, etc.). This is great for me because I don't want to cultivate a home culture that tries to imitate meat-centric dishes. I want to eat delicious vegetarian meals! Ones where I don't focus on what's taking the place of meat. There are a couple of dishes in Food that do use meat substitutes but I'm far less interested in those than the others that wallow in being veggie.

*Note: I don't intend to become a full-time vegetarian, but to include 3-4 days of vegetarian cooking per week and switch the meat we do consume to local and organic.

Credit to Bookfoolery for the photo!
Successful dishes, for me, are largely about flavor and texture. If there's great flavor and good texture, I really don't care if there's meat involved. The black bean, sweet corn, and feta tacos above are an example of this. I can't wait to try them! I may end up adding some additional spices (I am from Texas!) but the basic idea is an excellent one.

Same thing with this Yummy Spicy Rice Noodles recipe.

Another noteworthy party of Food is the stinkin' gorgeous photography. McCartney is a photographer by trade, and it shows in this book. There are as many gorgeous photos as there are tasty-looking recipes. When I initially looked through, I was afraid I was going to long for more recipes and fewer photos, but upon closer inspection (three nights in a row), I'm pretty happy with the balance. This book is functional and a suitable showpiece.

Unfortunately, I haven't had an opportunity to try any of the recipes this week as it's been ridiculously full of end-of-semester grading, PR madness, and I'm typing this from work on a Saturday as I ready myself for a doctoral luncheon this afternoon. And then I'm going to see The Great Gatsby! But that's another post.

I have big plans for some breakfast recipes this week. Namely, banana muffins and individual Yorkshire puddings! Pretty sure I won't be able to hold off making the spicy rice noodles for very long either.  I'll be back with another Weekend Cooking post after I test drive some of the recipes.

Have you fallen in love with any cookbooks lately? What is your favorite cookbook? 



Pub. Date: April 2013 
Publisher: Sterling Epicure
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781454907268
Source: Purchased by moi!




Weekend Cooking is hosted by BethFishReads.com and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.



26 comments:

  1. Looks like a good cookbook

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    1. Carole, it is! I'm very happy with it.

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  2. I have to check this out... It is beautiful. I'm suddenly quite hungry.

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    1. Amanda, I think you'd really like it. I tried the banana muffins this weekend and enjoyed them quite a bit!

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  3. I have a soft spot for black beans, so that photo you shared calls to me! I know it can be so difficult to stay on the weight loss tack, and eating vegetarian a few nights a week is sure to help.

    We rarely eat commercial meat -- thank goodness. Most of ours has been raised by someone we know personally, so we know it's fresh and chemical and hormone free

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    1. Beth, I think so. Tasty food and all real ingredients. Gotta love it!

      And that is awesome that you have a source of meat so close. Our rural hometown has several farms nearby, so I'm looking into my meat options there.

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  4. I just pinned that spicy noodle recipe. Yum! So many things I love in that recipe.

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    1. Janel, same here! I cannot wait to try it. It's next on my list.

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  5. It's so hard to cook from scratch when working full-time without careful advance planning, which I don't do well! This looks like such a beautiful cookbook, I'd be afraid to have it in the kitchen!

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    1. Laurie, it is definitely a chore for me as well. I try to keep the house well stocked so I can make decent stuff on the fly. That helps, too.

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  6. A perfect Mother's Day gift! I just requested a copy from our library... really want to take a closer look at this cookbook. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, JoAnn! I hope you like it!

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  7. This looks like a keeper. We have been enjoying another vegetable (not vegetarian) cookbook you might like, Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. A splendid collection of recipes.

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation, Fay!!! I'm off to give it a once-over now. :)

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  8. We're going to start a Meatless Monday this summer...this cookbook looks like just the thing I need. I'm with you on the less meat and local and organic on what we do eat.

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    1. Amen, Patti! Good luck to you guys on your Meatless Monday journey!

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  9. I'm trying to get my family to eat Meatless Mondays; I did make a delicious mushroom linguine that they liked and I hope it convinces them that meals don't have to have meat in them to taste good.

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    1. That sounds delicious, Diane! It does take some trial and error to find the veggie recipes you love -- especially if the family loves meat. My kiddo is super picky, but he can take or leave meat. Now if I could ween him off cheese crackers. Hmmphf!

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  10. I was mostly veg for several years, but then to get more protein in my diet, started adding it back around the holidays. I haven't felt great since then, though, and I've gained a LOT lottt of weight. So I think I'm going back. Black beans are a staple for me when I eat veg. So good. I've made those tacos but with Rotels added in. Yum.

    Thanks for the review. I'm not a big cookbook person, but I may have to check this one out.

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    1. Jenn, it's amazing how much it impacts our life, whether its weight loss or a general feeling of wellness. Black beans are delicious! What are some of your other staples?

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  11. I, too, discovered this gorgeous cookbook thanks to Bookfool's glowing review. I haven't taken the plunge into vegetarian meals, though, as my husband would probably grumble about the lack of meat. But, I'm so tempted to get this lovely book, even though I just added two more to my collection. My daughter gave me the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook (for Mother's Day) and my husband gave me a Trisha Yearwood cookbook. I already own Trisha's Home Cooking (and love it), so he knew the other would be a big hit. Can't wait to spend some time planning my weekly menus! Meanwhile, I may just have to get Food during our employee discount week next month...

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  12. I think we're on similar weight loss / family health journeys. :-) We've been cutting out processed crap too, eat more vegetarian and only get organic meat from a source we trust. Too much scary food stuff in the news these days! This cookbook looks amazing. I'll probably get it, even though I have like a million others. Another nice veggie one is the River Cottage Veg, have you seen it?

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  13. This does look like a wonderful vegetarian cookbook. We have "meatless Mondays" and try not to eat that much meat in general. Now I'm off to "check out" the Yummy Spicy Rice Noodles recipe. :)

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  14. I think good photographs are so important for cookbooks and these seems to have them in spades! I'm a full time vegetarian so this seems like a good cookbook to add to my collection!

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