Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things to like about Vegetarian Cooking

chopped and ready for the pan

Vegetarian cooking is lovely because it's such a clean process. It's not neat; I usually choose to post photos of the pretty food instead of the messy kitchen. But it's not dirty, like make-you-sick-from-your-sponge kind of dirty. Ever since eliminating factory-farmed (grocery store) meat from our diet, I've felt more confident that my kitchen is not a haven for sketchy bacteria. I feel that I can clean with our standard vinegar and baking soda with impunity, knowing that they can handle any of the grime associated with veggies, beans, dairy, and grains.

My perception of cleanliness is one thing, and probably pretty subjective, but no one can deny that the melange of green peppers, yellow peppers, onions, garlic, and carrots sizzling in a pan is a truly lovely sight, which is something I can't say for my beef dishes, no matter how local & pasture-raised my side of beef happens to be. I'm usually hesitant to indulge in red, yellow, or orange peppers because they seem like pretty pricey items, especially since these are on the must-buy-organic list for us. But lately I've been getting them anyway, particularly after looking at my receipt and seeing that the per pound price sounds much worse than the price of the little pepper. We have to be pretty budget conscious around here, but $1.07 for a nice yellow pepper is a steal.

So tonight we're having Brazilian Black Bean Soup. Yes, another soup from the Moosewood (I've joked before that I should name this blog 'Eating Moosewood Soups for a Year" but maybe I really should). We tried a Black Bean Soup from Laurel's Kitchen several months back, but it didn't suggest soaking the beans before cooking, and WOW, that was a mistake. They argue that if you get used to eating beans enough, soaking is not needed and depletes important nutrients. Well, we eat beans a lot around here and some of them (lentils) are fine without a soak, but please dear readers, soak your black beans before serving them to loved ones.

Any favorite black bean dinners out there?



  1. We switched off factory-farmed meat 2 years ago and get all of ours from a CSA. I feel the same way about bacteria in the kitchen now. And the taste doesn't even compare! Thanks for encouraging me to dig out the Moosewood. We are trying to move toward a more vegan diet, but the going is rough!

  2. Wow, I'd love to find a CSA that offered meat around here. We've found good local beef and pork, but chicken has been much harder to find. On the other hand, I like vegetarian meals and vegan meals so much that I'm not really hankering for more meat right now. We keep it to about a meal with meat per week, and that works right now.

    The Moosewood is really great. As a young cook it was my bible, but I found it really complicated. Now that I've been cooking for longer, I'm less worried about all the steps, especially since I quadruple the recipe when I can so I can freeze it and have easy meals in the future. Many of the recipes, especially the soups, are either vegan naturally or would be vegan with very few alterations (using oil rather than butter, for example). Happy cooking!