New Meatless Cookbook Serves Up Feasts You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Intoby Larry Cox on Oct. 26, 2012, under Uncategorized
The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations: Year-Round Vegetarians Feasts (You Can really Sink Your Teeth Into) by Kim O’Donnel (Da Capo, $18.99)
About one third of Americans are altering their eating habits to curb their meat consumption, many referring to themselves as “flexitarians.” I fall into that group. Even though I have eliminated some meat from my diet, I still love to throw a steak on the grill or enjoy a juicy pot roast.
Kim O’Donnel, a trained chef and author of a previous collection, “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour,” is back with a new collection of recipes and menus, from appetizers to desserts. Think of tasty holiday recipes without the daunting challenge of whipping up a tofu turkey for Thanksgiving.
The recipes are divided into the four seasons of the year and grouped according to the holidays and special occasions that fall into each quarter. Fall, for example, features recipes geared for an Autumn Harvest Hootenanny, Halloween, Diwalo, Election Night, and Thanksgiving. Winter includes Warming Up to Winter Wingding, Hanukkah, Christmas, Ringing in the New Year, The Big Game, Mardi Gras, Lunar New Year, Isn’t It romantic (Table for Two, Even When It’s Not Valentine Day), and Saint Patrick’s Day. Spring: Spring Forward Feast, Easter, Passover, Spring Break Patty Party, Saluting Mom and Dad, and Cinco De Mayo. Summer serves up Savoring Summer Shindig, Moveable Feast/Dining Al Fresco, Kid-Friendly Menu Ideas, Fourth of July, Putting Up Seasoning Produce – Kod’s Preserved Pantry, and Preserving Party.
The proof of any cookbook is, of course, its recipes. From this collection I tested three. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I prepared the Sweet Potato-Pesto Gratin, a nice change from traditional sweet potato dishes usually drowning in marshmallow goo. From the same menu, I made Maple Crans, a perfect taste combination of cranberries and maple syrup. My third recipe was a Pumpkin Pudding, also a good choice for Thanksgiving.
This is a fun cookbook and the recipes and menu ideas are fresh and innovative. I highly recommend this collection.
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed thoroughly
8 ounces good-quality pure maple syrup (I used a little less)
Rinse the cranberries and place in a medium-size saucepan. Using a zester or grater, remove the zest from one of the oranges, dice, and add to the saucepan. Slice both oranges in half and squeeze the juice over the cranberries. You want enough liquid to barely cover the cranberries, add water if necessary.
Add ¾ cup of the maple syrup, reserving the rest to use as needed. Stir the mixture until well mixed and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and cook to a simmer, cranberries will make a popping noise as they cook, reduce, and thicken. Stir occasionally and cook until they reach a desired consistency. Taste for the sweet/tart ratio and add more maple syrup as necessary. The cranberries will be ready in about 25 minutes.
Serve either warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 2 ½ cups of cranberries.