"One World Vegetarian Cookbook" by Troth Wells was love at first sight for this traveling vegetarian. It’s your standard cookbook divided by starters, main dishes, salads, and desserts, but I was smitten with the way the book labels all of its recipes by country.
Perhaps it was the the recipes proposing to take me to India via vegetable curry, to South Africa’s by way of corn fritter, to Thailand by Tom ka-gai, and to Turkey to learn about "Swooning Imam" (an eggplant bake) that captured me. And that was just my first flip through. Visions of themed dinner parties chez moi danced through my mind the rest of the day. I was committed to the book when the colorful photos that accompanied the recipes displayed food I could actually see myself making with ingredients I could easily buy at the local grocery store or market.
Could this be it? A book of recipes that I would happily take into my kitchen and actually use? To put that question to the test I invited some friends over for dinner and then sat down with the book and envisioned myself on a culinary travel adventure. Anyone who appreciates vegetarian flavors from around the world would love these recipes. (That is, of course, with the single exception of the Copper Penny carrot recipe from Canada. Cooked carrots = my arch nemesis.)
The doorbell started buzzing announcing the arrival of my dinner guests before I had time to pick out a menu and head to the grocery, so the book's test would be a bit more interesting. I would have to make do with items I already had in my fridge, including substituting Sprite for cooking wine (thank you, Internet). Turned out we’d be going to Britain. Not exactly a location known for its exciting cuisine, none the less I figured if we could do this well, it would bode well for the rest of the book. The main dish would be mushroom stroganoff – a throwback from my childhood – and I’d pair that with a side of Swiss chard with potatoes and tomatoes (hard not to drool over the picture).
The recipes were easy to follow, had some surprising twists, and dinner was served in less than half an hour. And the end result? Who knew British food could be so tasty! Two friends raved about the chard, which actually did taste as good as the photo looked, while two others repeatedly praised the “delicate” taste of the stroganoff.
With that, we’ll forgive the author for including cooked carrots and give the book an A+.
From 'One World Vegetarian Cookbook' by Troth Wells
2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced finely
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. (450 g) mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup white wine or white cooking wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cilantro/coriander, chopped
3 tablespoons yogurt, cream, or crème fraiche
Salt and pepper, to taste
[editor's note: the original posting left out nutmeg in the list of ingredients]
Heat the oil in a large pan and then sauté the onion for a few minutes before adding the garlic.
Now turn up the heat and put in the mushrooms. Sprinkle the paprika and nutmeg over them and stir so that they are coated. Cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and brown.
Next, pour in the wine and balsamic vinegar; stir. Reduce the heat and then simmer gently.
Put in the cilantro/coriander and yogurt, cream, or crème fraîche. Season, mix well and serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice and with a simple salad.