Summer vegetarian reading - vegetarian recipes galore!

Okay, yeah, not surprisingly, I'm a cookbook junkie. And good for you that I am because I've unearthed five gorgeous, vegetarian cookbooks to share with you.

Two are brand-spanking new for 2008 and loaded with recipes such as Red, Green, and White Lasagna and Pumpkin-Coconut Bisque. The third is an IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) 2008 winner. The fourth is a reissue of a cookbook that will have you looking at food in a brand new light. And the fifth, well, the fifth is a present from a generous reader.

So let's get reading (and cooking).

100 Best Vegetarian Recipes
What a sweet little book. And, talking about everything from menu planning and salads to appetizers, side dishes, and entrees, what a lot of territory it covers.

Here are some of the recipes you can find inside: Creamy Mushroom Pâté, Black Bean Burritos, and Noodles with Peanut Sauce. And here is some of the information: How to stock a pantry, how to plan a menu, and how to cook vegetarian meals (I especially liked her primer on cooking with beans).

Pretty good, eh?

Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy: Great Food You Can Make in Minutes
Okay. So it's summer and you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. Who can blame you? So let me introduce you to a little cookbook that can help.

First, we've got a few hundred recipes, so you can easily make it through the summer and well into the winter without ever repeating a recipe, if you are so inclined. Second, these are fast. Some, might take an hour. But plenty can be whipped together in 15 minutes, so you can get out of the kitchen and onto the beach. And, third, there is a nice variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Recipes such as Mango-Ginger Pudding, Cheese Beignets, and Homemade Ginger Ale.

Both this book and the first book have a limited number of pictures (I like to have a picture for every recipe for inspiration) which is a shame because what pictures they do have are lovely.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food
The prolific New York Times Minimalist chef Mark Bittman has done it again with a 1000+ tome heavy with vegetarian recipes.

And what recipes these are.

Salivate, if you will, over Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce, Green Tea with Udon Noodles, and Kidney Beans with Apples and Sherry. And, between bites, enjoy Bittman's straightforward discussions on everything from equipment and ingredients to techniques and menus.

And, along the way, don't forget to congratulate Bittman on being a 2008 IACP Cookbook Awards Winner. Congrats!

Those wacky chefs, Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein, like to eat raw. Not lightly broiled or delicately sauteed, mind you, but raw. Everything. Raw.


Now this is a reprint edition (the first edition came out five years ago), but if you missed the raw food trend the first time around, here is your chance to catch up.

The first thing you ought to know before you get too bedazzled by the stunning photographs is that a lot of these recipes are not for the time pressured. After all, it takes time to eat raw (I know, I know, but it does, at least, according to these chefs). The second thing you need to know is that you simply must have a food dehydrator. Must.

Okay. So assuming you are suitably equipped, what can you expect to cook? Indian Red Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream. Portobello Mushroom Pave with White Asparagus Vinaigrette, Three Peppercorn-Crusted Cashew Cheese with Honeycomb and Balsamic Vinegar.

As in, forget the budget because company's a'comin'.

Now, there is a whole "living food" philosophy behind all this (a theory, I believe, Woody Harrelson has bought into). But I'll let you read that on your own. For now, suffice it to say, that even if you don't have the time, budget, or equipment to indulge, the book is still worth flipping through for the inspiration and the ideas.

Of course, you can skip the cooking any buy some of Roxanne's products. Easier. And way faster.

Greens Glorious Greens: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens
Last year I held a contest where I gave away a kitchen appliance to whomever submitted the funniest kitchen appliance story.

The winner, out of her kind and generous heart, just sent me an extra copy of this book, thinking (and rightly so) that it is just up my alley.

How elegant of her.

And what a perfect book for us vegetarians. Especially this time of year when we are all running amuck at the farmer's markets!

Why, just flip those pages and you'll, finally, find out what the heck to do with mesclun and dandelion. You'll learn how to choose them, clean them, cook them, and even when not to cook them. And you'll get recipes such as Garlic Escarole Soup with Rice, Kale with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts, and Spicy Indian Wilted Greens.

Sure, the book is just over a decade old, but the information is timeless. So read. And eat your greens.

And speaking of recipes ...
I created a brand-new, fast and easy, totally delicious, and original vegetarian recipe for PETA's vegean food blog, VegCooking, which they are going to post tomorrow. Nom nom!