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Vegetarian Cooking with the CIA

Vegetarian Cooking: At Home with the Culinary Institute of America

Vegetarian Cooking: At Home with the Culinary Institute of America
By Katherine Polenz
Wiley, 2012

The CIA has knocked it out of the park again with this vegetarian cookbook. Quite simply, it’s chock full of truly exciting vegetarian recipes, whether you’re cooking for a vegetarian crowd on a regular basis or looking to introduce some meatless options into your regular rotation.

As you’d expect from the CIA, the book doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to technique, with guidelines and illustrations for everything from roasting to stir-frying to deep frying and pureeing. A chart on cooking greens outlines the best ways to cook kohlrabi, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, kale and more.

The section on beans alone is worth the price of the book. Beans Bourguignon is a surprising take on the French cooking classic Beef Bourguignon, and appropriates the best flavors of that dish: red wine, garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, tomatoes…all with kidney beans and totally meat-free. The Puerto Rican-Style Red Beans are another revelation, with butternut squash and coconut milk.
While tofu has come a long way in recent years to overcome its bland image, this book takes it to another level altogether. You’ll find Chipotle Baked Tofu, which makes use of canned chipotles in adobo; Ma Po Dofu, a Sichuan dish of lightly fried tofu and Tofu a la Veracruzana, a briny coastal Mexican dish. Other alternative proteins such as tempeh and seitan also get the gourmet treatment.

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