I have mixed feelings about cookbooks from Moosewood Restaurant. I’ve had Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites since high school, when I first went vegetarian and was trying to figure out how/what to eat – but more often than not, the recipes from Moosewood have been, well, disappointing. No wonder I spent my vegetarian years eating French fries, macaroni and cheese, and other fried-or-cheese-centric dishes – the vegetarian cooking I’d experienced was bland to the point of suffering – like maybe Moosewood didn’t make an effort to spice their recipes in order to make vegetarians feel extra virtuous?
Well, it’s been almost a decade since I went back to the loving arms of animal proteins, but my Moosewood cookbook has endured, and in an effort to eat more veg and also more veg proteins, I’ve been checking in with it from time to time in hopes that a winning recipe might jump out. Tonight’s dinner wasn’t that winning recipe – but it was warm and filling while also being healthy. And by ‘healthy’, I mean that if one’s stomach is large enough – and I don’t think the human stomach is – one could eat The Entire Dish for fewer calories than a Big Mac and a small order of fries. I substituted a couple of teaspoons of raz-el-hanout for the grated ginger, which gave an extra (and needed) complexity to the flavor – next time I’d amp that seasoning up with more spices, a couple of cloves of garlic, and the full four cups of onions required in the recipe. Somehow, amazingly, we ran out of onions and I substituted everything that could remotely pass for onions – and I think it came out OK!
Mushroom Sesame Tofu Stew from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (recipe link goes to a kind of confusing sort of social networking site, maybe? I’m fuzzy on whether/not it’s cool to post published recipes, which is why I try to give credit to the original creator and reuse someone else’s infringement on their recipe rather than create my own. So, there.)
0 thoughts on “0303 Mushroom Sesame Tofu Stew”
Recipes are under some weird copyright exception the days of recipes being straightforward (pluck chicken, boil chicken). They are considered a “set of instructions” and are not “copywrightable.” I’m not sure if that last word is a real word, but the rest I picked up from K.
And in an awkward segue, K. also calls Moosewood “the WASP cookbook of the vegetarian world.”
IMHO….the best Moosewood cookbook is the first one, written by Mollie Katzen. She originated the Moosewood Cafe in Ithaca. After that book was written, she had a falling out with the collective that was behind the Moosewood. and so all the subsequent ones weren’t written by her. WHen you go to the Moosewood, you actually can’t buy the original, just the subsequent ones. If you stick with cookbooks she has written, the recipes are always good, I have found http://www.molliekatzen.com/
Despite/because of the blandness of this, I made it tonight with my boyfriend. He likes his food plainer than I like mine, though not totally bland — we added a jalapeño and both liked the little bit of spice it added. I wish I’d remembered your recommendation of adding garlic — that would’ve been a good thing. Also, I think if I make this again, I’ll double the amount of ginger and maybe stir in a little sriracha in addition to the jalapeño. Still, this grew on me as I was eating it, the combination of mushroom + tomato especially.