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Do you know Jack Bishop? If you're on the America's Test Kitchen bandwagon, have watched The Today Show, or have subscribed to Cooks Illustrated magazine, you'll probably recognize his name. I've been a fan of his for many years and own most of his cookbooks. One that sits within easy reach of the kitchen, especially in the summer, is A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.
Bishop's recipes are inspired by a global perspective, and you'll find dishes with Mexican, Caribbean, Italian, French, Spanish, Indian, and Asian flavors. There is nothing boring in this book. And better yet, Bishop does not rely on soy and soy protein products to make meat dishes into vegetarian.
Instead he calls for mostly fresh ingredients, rounded out by some canned items when necessary (such as coconut milk or beans). In addition, Bishop's recipes will encourage you to push your food envelope. He may call for ingredients you've never used before (or maybe never heard of), but they are readily available. Despite complaining about unusual ingredients last week, I love to try new dishes and to learn to cook with new foods, but I hate being frustrated when it comes to tracking them down. So I'm happy this isn't an issue with A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.
To make using the cookbook especially easy, Bishop provides dozens of sidebars describing ingredients, dishes, tips, and techniques. I turn to that information time and again:
- What are the best tomatoes for homemade salsa?
- What are some seasoning ideas for roasted potatoes?
- How can I add more flavor to a bean-based soup?
- What's the secret to great mac and cheese?
This is a great reference for those of you who are already vegetarian but want new ideas and for those who want to cook vegetarian a few times a week. Are you running out of ideas for your CSA basket? Look to Jack Bishop. Vegans will be well-pleased with A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen; if the dish isn't already vegan you won't have any trouble making it so.
I've made many dishes out this cookbook, but I'll share one that's a favorite and appropriate for Cinco de Mayo. These burritos are good even without the tortillas; just serve the filling on the rice and top with sour cream and salsa. The recipe is easy to adjust to what you have on hand: I've used kale and spinach instead of the chard, and we usually use brown rice (though it takes longer to cook). In the winter when tomatoes are hard to get, I use store-bought chipotle salsa. We also like to add cilantro to the burritos before rolling them up.
Chard Burritos with Tomato-Chipotle Salsa
Serves 4 as a main course
Bishop's note: The chunky salsa--more like a diced tomato salad--adds substance to these burritos. I prepare this recipe when I have some leftover rice on hand, because the rice doesn't need to be hot. Just bring it to room temperature before using it if it's been refrigerated.
- 1 pound tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 small chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
- 1 pound chard, preferably rainbow, leaves washed, shaken dry to remove excess water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 4 large flour tortillas (12-inches in diameter), warmed one at a time in a large skillet
- 2 cups cooked white rice (from 2/3 cup raw rice)
- ¼ cup sour cream
For the burritos: With a chef's knife, separate the fleshy stalk from the green portion of each chard leaf. Trim the ends of the stalks and chop fine.You should have about 2½ cups chopped stalks. Stack the leaves and slice them crosswise into ½-inch -thick strips. You should have about 8 packed cups of sliced leaves.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and chard stalks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chard leaves (it's best if they are still slightly damp from washing) and salt to taste. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 7 minutes. If the greens are soupy, remove the cover and simmer for a minute or two. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, if necessary.
To serve: Lay the warmed tortillas flat on a work surface. Spoon ½ cup of the rice over the bottom of each tortilla. Top with some chard (about ½ cup) and 1 tablespoon sour cream. Roll the tortillas, tucking the sides toward the center to form neat bundles. Slice each burrito in half and serve, passing the salsa at the table.
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Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)