Posted by: Grub | October 7, 2009

Cookbook Challenge #1

So, the other day I got it into my head that I wanted to try to make a list of all of my cookbooks.  What can I say, I like making lists.  I think it stems from a book I read when I was pretty young about a girl named Anastasia Krupnik who, among, other things, liked to make lists of things she likes and things she hates.  Every couple of years, I sit down and make a set of these lists, and I always love going back and reading the lists years later to see where I was at (typically this involves a lot of laughing out loud, mostly in a good way).  It has been a while since I have done this, so maybe I will do it again soon and who knows, maybe I will even post the lists.

But, I digress.  My list of cookbooks, just the ones I was writing down from memory, was enormous.  I started to feel overwhelmed.  Once I got to 100 books, I realized that even if I cooked a recipe from one cookbook per week, it would be almost two years before I got through them (and there were many that I forgot about in that initial list)!  And most of those cookbooks have several hundred recipes in them!  And I just bought four new cookbooks in Portland a few weekends ago, and bought the new VegNews, and had two more cookbooks arrive in the mail to me yesterday!  And, there are about 10 cookbooks coming out in the next 6 months that I will probably “need” to buy!  O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-E-D!!!

So, I made a plan.  I am going to start cooking through the books on the list, in the order I wrote them down (which was pretty much random).  I might make one recipe or I might make four.  I will continue to cook from other cookbooks as I feel like it, especially new ones.  But, when I sit down at night to read a cookbook before bed, I will try to focus on the next one on the list and pick out a few gooders.  And then, I will post about it here (as long as I am not too hungry to take a picture before I eat).

World Vegetarian

Tonight, we started with World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.  This is an amazing book with very simple and healthy recipes that I have owned since it came out in about 2000 (it was one of my very first vegetarian cookbooks and was purchased well before I stopped eating meat), but it is so enormous that I have always found it pretty overwhelming.  Well, tonight we had hardly anything in the house to cook with (we didn’t even have any pasta!) and so I picked out a couple of simple recipes from it – Lentils with Onions and Garlic, and Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Poora).  I steamed some broccoli on the side so that it wasn’t so much “brown on a plate”, although it still isn’t much to look at. 

October 6, 2009 038

The verdict:  Pretty tasty.  I love caramelized onions on pretty much anything, so that really helped the flavour of the otherwise pretty plain lentils.  The pancakes had a bit of a weird texture, but they tasted good – I think I would add some chopped fresh parsley to the batter next time around, and a bit more cayenne.  Overall, the meal got two thumbs up at our house.



  1. I love this idea. It’s like Kristina and Anna’s `Grocery Bags’ (tv show), which I enjoy. Not sure that I’d have chickpea flour in my pantry, but maybe I should. Good job bloggging, team!

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