In case you’re just jumping in, this month we selected Deborah Madison’s “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” as our Cookbook of the month and I’m so excited to talk about it with you today!
For anyone just getting to know Deborah Madison, she is a bit of a vegetable guru. The author of 11 cookbooks on the subject, she’s really mastered the art of creating approachable recipes that help expand your palate and mind.
Every time I open one of her books, I’m always amazed at just how many vegetable varieties, spices and ingredients there are to play with, and I leave eager to find a head of Purple Peacock Broccoli or Kohlrabi.
And while she gives just a few sentences at the top of each recipe, these words are always incredibly insightful, arming the home-cook with options, alternative cooking methods and a deeper understanding of flavor pairings and ingredients.
It’s this kind of writing that empowers and inspires us, and I think makes for a timeless cookbook.
One thing I have to note about both the recipes in this book and Deb (okay if I call her Deb now?) is how she’s managed to evade the internet. Unlike most cookbook authors today, Deb doesn’t really have an updated blog, you won’t find photos of her recipes on Pinterest and her book doesn’t feature a single photograph!
As a person whose life revolves around creating and absorbing visual stimulation, I find this oddly refreshing. The lack of imagery really forced me to analyze the ingredients and techniques used throughout the book. Instead of just breezing through and finding the tastiest looking images, I found I paid attention more, used my imagination a bit and developed a deeper understanding of the process.
All in all, I’ll definitely continue cooking and seeking inspiration from "The New Vegetarian Cookbook for Everyone" and I’m excited to share a few of the recipes I tried!
At over 600 pages, it was a bit daunting to pick and choose just a few recipes to try over the last few weeks. But here is a list of some of my favorites with recipes notes:
- Braised Collard Greens - delicious! This is a new go-to recipe for me as my current collards recipe is delightful, but very time consuming. It’s quick, flavorful and an easy way to prepare one of my favorite greens.
- Frittata with Tomatoes and Feta - incredible! I love the use of marjoram in this dish and found it to be wonderfully flavorful and perfect for serving a crowd. Pair it with a light salad for lunch or dinner or alongside some fruit for breakfast.
- Wilted Spinach Salad - My mother makes this recipe all the time and it’s one of my favorites! Packed with flavor, simple to make and more interesting than a raw spinach salad.
- Cashew Curry - so many amazingly flavorful ingredients go into this dish, but even still, I wanted more flavor at the end! It seems the addition of creamy coconut milk cooled down the spices a bit, so I would have added a bit more of the spices to begin with. I also found myself wanting to cut back on the amount of cashews, and add a variety of vegetables (and dare I say chicken).
And now for the feature recipe…
Pinto Bean Soup with Chilies and Mint!
As difficult as it was to pick just one recipe to feature, I thought I’d leave you with a simple soup to celebrate these last few weeks of cooler weather. I also thought a recipe that featured Pinto Beans was appropriate considering Deb hails from New Mexico.
This recipe is incredibly simple to make and can be embellished in so many ways. To begin, I made this recipe as she suggests, with just water. However, boiling the pinto beans in a stock of sorts or adding a bit of warmed stock at the end could deeply enhance the flavor. I found myself adding a good bit more water after I’d pureed the beans to give it a soupier texture, however, this would work so well as a side of beans to a Mexican meal.
The addition of Adobo Sauce is essential for that smoky, spicy flavor and I was pleasantly surprised at just how delicious it was served with mint leaves. You can go crazy with the toppings, adding everything from pickled red onion and avocado, to cotija cheese, cilantro and radish. Just be sure to top each bowl of with a little drizzle of that adobo sauce - it really is the star ingredient!
I hope you enjoyed cooking through this book as much as I did! If you had recipes you tried and want to share, feel free to comment below!
Deborah Madison's Pinto Bean Soup with Chilies and Mint
- 2 cups pinto beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight (or use the Quick Boil method below)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried or fresh epazote
- sea salt
- 1 can chipotle chili in adobo sauce
- red wine vinegar
- slivered green onions
- diced jalopeno chile
- chopped cilantro
- chopped mint
- chopped radish
- Tortilla strips
- sour cream or greek yogurt
- Soak the beans for 4 hours or overnight. Or, use this quick boiling method: rinse the beans, cover with water, bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat, cover and let set for 1 hour.
- Then, drain the beans, cover them with 8 cups water, and boil for 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, epazote. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours. Season with salt. Remove from the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the beans (you can puree all of them, or leave a few whole for texture). You can also do this in a blender, then add the beans back to the pot.
- Then, thin the soup with water or stock (or milk/cream) and stir in the sauce from the chipotle chili, one teaspoon at a time until you've reached your desired level of spice. You can also puree the chipotle chiles and add those in a teaspoon at a time for a bigger kick.
- Stir to combine, taste and add salt and black pepper as needed. I liked to add a few splashes of red wine vinegar as well. Lastly, serve and garnish with your preferred toppings and enjoy!