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The Gift of Yum

April 28, 2011

Lots of people give me cookbooks.  Pasta cookbooks, Italian cookbooks, Thai cookbooks, vegetarian cookbooks, books on preparing sushi or selecting cheese, on blending the perfect daiquiri, on preparing the perfect low-fat vegan blahblahblah…

I hate cookbooks.

Sure, they look enticing with their pictures, and their words… but for some reason I never find a damned thing in them that I want to eat, let alone make.  Each cookbook I own seems to have between zero and two decent recipes in it.  I do appreciate the grains and beans cooking chart on page 280 of Laurel’s Kitchen, to which I refer at least weekly, but if I want a recipe, I’ll ask the internet.

So I wasn’t thrilled when boyfriend came home with an unsolicited cookbook, presenting it to me as if it could be construed as a gift. Depending on where I was in my lady cycle at the time, this could have been interpreted as anything from “I suck at gifts” to “cook for me, woman” to even “you can’t cook, woman, so school yourself.”  And I was less thrilled when I learned that it was Boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend who selected the book for me.

Boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend does not suck at gifts.

I quickly realized, luckily (must have been a good week), that they were both just trying to be nice.  I suppose that’s what nice people do. I really wouldn’t know. At any rate, he’d mentioned to her at some point my veggie tendencies and dwindling ability to comfortably digest wheat, and, being a reference librarian by trade, she translated That into This:

Serving up even more Yums than Oms.

3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastary has quickly proven itself to be my best cookbook.  All of the recipes are simple to prepare, yet taste deceptively complex.  The are, as the name promises, vegetarian.  Many are also vegan, and a good deal of them are wheat- or gluten-free.  But there is also a nice selection of baked goods if your body will deal with that sort of hijinks.  I’ve had the cookbook for a scant three weeks and Boyfriend already wags his tail a little when he comes home and sees the book on the counter, anticipating what is almost certain to be a delicious yet unexpected treat.

Every recipe I’ve tried so far has been so simple and so stupid delicious that I kind of can’t wait to see what’s next.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the simplest recipe of them all:

Miso Peanut Sauce

3/4 c peanut butter

1/2 c white miso

2 T honey (this is plenty sweet using natural PB.. might even want to cut the honey if your PB is sweetened)

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl with a 1/2c hot water.  Whisk together well.  Add up to 1/4 c more water to reach desired consistency. Serve.

The book recommends serving over lightly steamed veggies.  I initially tried it on green beans and was not disappointed.  The following evening, I made a stir fry of veggies and tofu in garlic and ginger, into which I tossed in the leftover sauce.  Holy miso was that good!  The sauce definitely plays nicely with ginger.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to go polish off another serving…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2011 4:43 pm

    mmmm, might need to look into getting that book … but, the boyfriend’s ex picked it for you? How civilized of you all! I have a long history of being friendly with ex’s but not many can manage it. In fact, I was banned from my ex’s wedding because his wife objected. And my own husband would probably not have wanted him at ours. But that was all nearly 25 years ago now … Wow. That freaks me out. Time to go shop on Amazon.

    • April 29, 2011 6:38 pm

      Ah, well, I’m civilized with this one because she’s two exes and five years in the past. And now quite happily married. And really nice. The other one still makes me seethe 🙂

      Too bad about your ex’s wedding. I tend to think that the petty, jealous, overprotective behavior just makes us look silly to men-folk and does us no service. Which doesn’t make me seethe any less about that other ex…. sigh.

  2. April 30, 2011 5:33 am

    Oooooh it looks quite promising!

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