This is one of my favorite cookbooks. Some of the recipes can be a little daunting – like pizza for 250 (really 4 gallons of olives chopped?) but I’ve cooked almost all the rest and we can eat them – high praise!
When I first started my vegetarian cooking journey, Laurel’s Kitchen was by far the best book out there. That and The Vegetarian Epicure, which I got at a library sale. The first has a broad range of recipes and great articles on nutrition and healthy eating. The Vegetarian Epicure has a lot of cheese, pasta and egg dishes. This was before we got access to foods we can eat without lacing everything with fat to make it palatable. There are two more Vegetarian Epicure recipe books with lots of variety and wonderful recipes that don’t use all butter, eggs and cheese. Although I still can’t really get excited about a plate full of vegetables without SOME kind of sauce. And I can’t eat a steady diet of tofu or pretend meat. I have to get creative.
One of my favorite adaptations comes from Laurel’s Kitchen. It is a twice-baked potato recipe with broccoli and cheese. I don’t bother with re-stuffing the potatoes into their skins. I just mash everything together and we eat it sometimes like a dip with spicy taco chips or with a fork moving seriously fast. Here’s my Green Potatoes:
4 lb red potatoes (this will feed two of you for supper and lunch for two more days)
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup butter (get over it, it tastes good)*
3 cups of the strongest cheddar you can find – I use Cabot’s Extra Sharp. Here in Maine cheddar is normally white but I was raised in the Midwest where cheddar is yellow – I go for yellow regardless of what’s making it yellow so no need to tell me it’s food coloring*
milk – 1/2 cup or so*
kosher salt and pepper to taste
I peel and boil the potatoes and about 10 minutes before they’re done, I stick the broccoli which has been trimmed into the pot.
Once everything is done I put in the cheese and spices. I might add a bit of chili powder here because it enhances the cheddar flavor and mash everything together. Stand back – people will want to eat this.
Another treat I made this week is Breakfast Bread Pudding – another adaptation from Tassajara Cookbook. I use a challah bread from the bakery which I cut into cubes. I DO NOT remove the crusts as this is the best part.
I am ashamed to say I pour 6 tablespoons of melted butter* over this in a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Keep in mind that this is several servings and you do not put butter on it when you are eating it. I am going to try leaving this out next time around to see if it suffers as bad as I will.
I found a can of Wyman’s Wild Maine Blueberries at the store. They are the tiny little blueberries and I drained the can and spread them on the bread.
Over the top of this I mix 3 eggs* with 3 cups of milk*, about a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla. I add less than a third of a cup of sugar to the mixture before I mix it up.
I bake it covered at 350 for 30 minutes and then take the cover off and bake it for another 15 minutes. I also recently found Maine Wild Blueberry syrup at my grocery store and I got that to pour over the servings. It has lots of whole blueberries in it with just a touch of lemon. It is fantastic. This too feeds the two of us for supper, two or three lunches or more. Healthy? Maybe not but it’s something we have every few months, not once a week. Although I did find some red raspberry syrup at the store that’s going to go somewhere ………..
These both make a great change from sesame tofu ……….. or stir fry ……….. and pasta with marinara (no more pasta for ages around here – pasta’d out).
*You can certainly substitute plain rice or almond or soy milk for the milk, vegan margarine for the butter, and vegan egg replacement for the eggs – I don’t think any of these will make a difference in the final outcome. The cheddar can be replaced with soy cheese. I haven’t tried that for years and I’m sure it’s better now.