Crescent Dragonwagon is a colorful writer. This is one of two of her cookbooks that I have in my collection. You don't have to be vegetarian (I am not!) to enjoy her recipes.
Passionate Vegetarian, is filled with over 1000 pages of "robust recipes with notes on cooking, eating, loving, and living fearlessly."
This is a book you will enjoy reading as much as trying the endless variety of her recipes.
Once again, I could not choose just one recipe to feature. Even the two below - as wonderful as they are - can't begin to give you a sense of what you are in for in trying her recipes!
Her Pear and Parsnip Soup grabbed my attention because it is simple and unique. I have made it quite a few times and it is always satisfying. First, let me say, throughout the book, she calls for vegetable broth. I always use chicken broth (or beef broth if it seems appropriate). I told you, I am not a true vegetarian!
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 to 4 medium parsnips, cored, and chopped
6 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the pears, parsnips, and 2 1/2 cups of the stock in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let cook, partially covered, until the parsnip pieces are tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain, reserving both the liquid and the solids. Puree the solids with a little of the reserved stock, either in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Return the pureed mixture and reserved stock to the soup pot, along with the remaining stock. Season to taste and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot, with a watercress sprig in each bowl.
Cornmeal-Oatmeal Blueberry Bread
You are in for a real treat with this one! It makes one large or 3 small loaves.
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
finely grated rind of one lemon
1 cup blueberries, washed
2 to 4 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use one 8 x 4 inch loaf pan for one loaf or three 5 x 2 inch pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda into a large bowl. Add the cornmeal, sugar, and salt and stir to combine.
In a second bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and lemon rind until well combined.
Combine the blueberries, walnuts and oats and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour-oatmeal mixture over them. Gently stir to combine.
Quickly stir the egg mixture into the flour-cornmeal mixture, using as few strokes as possible. Gently stir in the blueberry mixture.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake 45 to 55 minutes for one large loaf or 35 to 40 minutes for the smaller loaves. Check 3/4 of the way through and if browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
Let the baked bread cool 10 minutes in the pan(s), then turn out onto a rack.
If you enjoy cooking, you are in for a real treat with this cookbook!