Not too long ago a new cookbook came out called Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin and published by Harvard Common Press located right here in Boston. Herbivoracious is the same name as Michael’s very popular blog. This book has quickly become my favorite and has earned the honor of sitting in the cookbook stand on my kitchen counter for easy access when I need inspiration for a meal.
Browsing around in my local bookstore one day the rich turquoise color and the bright mouthwatering dish on the cover immediately caught my eye and made me want to dive right in and make it. I purchased my copy, ran home and spent the rest of the afternoon lost in its exotic but simple recipes and amazing photos shot by the author himself.
As I sat in my kitchen perusing through the book, my interest immediately went to a tofu recipe. Tofu has never been a favorite of mine to cook with. I don’t mind eating dishes in a restaurant made with tofu, such as pad thai or hot and sour soup….but making it home….I never have. So the die was cast and I was going to make the first recipe that caught my eye, Caramel-Cooked Tofu. Not only did it have just 12 ingredients in the recipe, but most of the ingredients I already had in my kitchen so if it turned out I didn’t like the recipe I wasn’t out a lot of money.
Well Caramel-Cooked Tofu was a huge hit and I have made it many times in the past few weeks, each time trying a new vegetable in it like baby bok choy. This one recipe converted me into a tofu lover. Not only is it vegetarian, but it is also a quick and easy recipe that satisfies my cravings for a sweet, spicy and fairly healthy dish. I am not a vegetarian in any sense of the word, but once or twice a week it is good to have a meatless meal that doesn’t seem meatless.
In the time since I bought the book, I have made several of the recipes and all have been great. This is such a fun book to read, and read it you can. Not only has Michael filled it with great recipes but useful information about leading a vegetarian life or having a meatless day now and then. He does not push his vegetarian lifestyle on you, but educates you.
Besides the Caramel-Cooked Tofu, there are lots of other tasty recipes. Quite a few I have tried in the past few weeks, like Tempeh-Filled Potstickers, Cool Tomato and Buttermilk Soup, Thai Tofu Salad, Fresh Fettucine with Broccoli Rabe in a Light, Lemony Sauce, Corn and Tomato Confit Risotto (don’t worry he tells you how to make tomato confit), Swiss Chard and Tomatillo Enchiladas, and of course desserts-Mango Puffs with Lemongrass-Coconut Pudding.
I did have the pleasure of watching Michael make a fabulous, simple and refreshing dish at a book signing party-Chevre with Sautéed Grapes. This appetizer is made in a flash and is so unique and refreshing that you will impress anyone who eats it!
I had the privilege of having brunch with Michael and some fellow food bloggers at Moksa in between his book signings in Boston. This was an appropriate group since Michael is the first food blogger that has written a book for Harvard Common Press. While at the brunch someone asked Michael what was his favorite recipe in the book. He refused to answer saying it was like choosing a favorite child. He did say that at the moment he was really enjoying Charashi Sushi, which is sushi in a bowl instead of rolled up in nori sheets. You get the same flavors without all the hassle of rolling it up.
This is a great book full of meat free ideas and filled with great inspirational photos that almost make you drool. Once you open the book you will easily see why this is my new favorite cookbook and I can’t wait to make another recipe from it. I think the next recipe will be the Loaded Otsu Noodles wish a cold sesame noodle dish, but instead of the usual peanut butter in the sauce, Michael uses sesame paste. Plus the photo of the dish always makes me hungry!
Share with me your favorite cookbook and why in the comments below and be entered to win a copy of Herbivoracious. A winner will be picked at random on June 30, so please leave a way for me to get in contact with you in case you are the winner.