Thursday, June 27, 2013

Martha goes Meatless

The July VegCookbook Club selection has been announced already and I have yet to post about June's pick. Here goes.

It took awhile for my library hold for Meatless: More than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes to arrive. This glossy new book is surprisingly hefty. It would add a thick chunk of meatless recipes to an omnivore's bookshelf.

I thought that the book was authored by Martha Stewart but, in fact, she only penned the very brief forward. (Which has a gruesome anecdote about butchering the family pet sheep and serving it to her daughter Alexis as "pork chops." Her daughter was not fooled and chose this moment to start eating "meatless." Go Alexis!)

The many excellent food photographers get credited in the back pages but the recipe authors themselves are ghosts in the Martha Stewart machine. The recipes are largely repurposed from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Publications. So I imagine that if you subscribe to the magazines or other arms of brand Martha Stewart, then some of these recipes might be repeats.

The book has an appealing design, although the index could use some work. I was particularly thrilled to find the "V" symbol for vegan recipes. (Although, the ghost writers seem to think that honey is vegan. I recommend subbing agave.) Truthfully, as I paged through the cookbook, I ended up skipping the non-V recipes, which are largely cheesy.

Below are the three V recipes that I ended up trying. I was looking for recipes that required little or no cooking, due to the summer heat.

Fancy presentation
Avocado Salad with Bell Peppers and Tomatoes
This easy, fresh, and attractive "salad," is really a chunky guacamole with tomatoes, peppers, scallions, garlic, and fresh cilantro. Presentation is key, as it is served in the scooped-out shell of an avocado. I actually just filled a single half for the photo and dumped the rest into a bowl, which was messier but equally satisfying. I forgot the extra cilantro garnish because I'm not Martha Stewart.
How it was really served
Fresh Pea Hummus
Who'd have thought that I would be making a "Martha Stewart" hummus? I scored fresh peas at our local farmers' market and used them in this inventive green hummus recipe. Some cooking is required here but only boiling water, which I could it handle. This recipe reminded me of an edamame hummus that I used to make. As with the edamame version, the look of this dip is surprising and delightful. The fresh green peas were sweet and paired well with the cilantro.
Martha Stewart hummus
Fresh green peas
Chipotle-Avocado Sandwiches
Finally I made these smoky mashed kidney bean sandwiches. I subbed curly kale and fresh broccoli for the suggested escarole and sprouts. I did use avocado and radishes as called-for in the recipe. This meatless combination was excellent in a pita. However I think it might be harder to eat with sliced bread. I did add spicy mustard for extra flavor, as the recipe only uses one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. You could probably add even more peppers, according to taste.

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