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Learning to Cook Vegetarian


smithhemb
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For the first summer in memory, I'm not teaching. My 10 year old daughter, the household's lone vegetarian, wants me to teach her to cook. (Hmm, on second thought, I guess I will be teaching after all -- just not history and not for pay!!) Our immediate goal, inspired by an asparagus, grape tomato, pecorino salad on Sunday, is to develop a repertoire of simple appetizers on the 2Amys model. We figure we're hit the Penn Quarter farmers market and maybe Cowgirl Creamery for ingredients. Any advice re where else to look for inspiration -- e.g. cookbooks that are particularly good with this niche?

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Any of Deborah Madison's cookbooks-Greens, Savoury Way, the Complete Vegetarian, vegetarian suppers (not sure of the exact titles-I have the first 2, but have checked the others out from the library numerous times)-I think they'd be perfect for improvising on whatever you can find at the market or grow yourself...

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Any of Deborah Madison's cookbooks-Greens, Savoury Way, the Complete Vegetarian, vegetarian suppers (not sure of the exact titles-I have the first 2, but have checked the others out from the library numerous times)-I think they'd be perfect for improvising on whatever you can find at the market or grow yourself...
Her book, Local Flavors is an excellent tour guide of farmers markets in the US in addition to series of recipes that respond to the seasons, organized that way. Almost all are vegetarian. I bought it mostly for the pictures, but recipes are fine sources of inspiration that might lead to developing her own sense of what she might do while improvising.

A more comprehensive, excellent book: Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody. However, you also might consider going to the library and checking out books not made for vegetarians, but those for cuisines rich in the use of produce and grains. See Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Greens and Grains, a number of excellent Italian cookbooks, Susan H Loomis, On Rue Tatin.

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I would spend time hitting the various farmer's markets. It's hard to not be inspired by the different varieties of fruits and vegetables. You could pick one vegetable, like squash or eggplant, and cook up different and compare the different types. Also, many farmers provide recipes for their more unusual products. Tree and Leaf and New Morning are two that come to mind. If she's going to be a vegetarian she might as well really understand what's out there.

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In addition to Madison, I like Didi Emmons' book Vegetarian Planet. There's a recipe in there I particularly enjoy for baked rigatoni with broccoli and gorgonzola. You can do a limited "search in the book" at Amazon to get a sense of the book.

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Thanks! I've got all the Deborah Madison books (except Local Flavors, which sounds like the best for this purpose) as well as Vegetarian Planet. Maybe I just need to read what I already own with a different eye (or set my daughter loose with them). I tend not to be "little plates" oriented, so those aren't the kinds of recipes I associate with the books I've cooked from. Susan Loomis is new to me, so I'll certainly check out On Rue Tatin.

Beyond, Dupont and Penn Quarter, which other (Metrorail-accessible) farmer's markets would you recommend? We live near Friendship Heights and I don't drive.

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Beyond, Dupont and Penn Quarter, which other (Metrorail-accessible) farmer's markets would you recommend? We live near Friendship Heights and I don't drive.
Many farmers markets are strategically located close to Metro stops to encourage those not in the immediate neighborhood to visit. Why not make visiting a variety of markets part of the project?

A good place to come up with ideas is to visit the forum for markets here at DR.com and see the links Zora and Hillvalley provide along with updated posts by Marketfan, The Hersch, Monavano and other regulars.

On a day not as dreadfully hot and humid as those currently brewing, check out the market at The Sheridan School in Cleveland Park that is run by New Morning Farm on Saturdays. It's a nice walk from Friendship Heights if you travel east of Wisconsin, passing through tree-lined residential streets.

* * *

Cf. other books by Susan Hermann Loomis, too. At the public library, you'll find an earlier addition of a great reference book by Elizabeth Schneider that is devoted to unusual vegetables. *Cucina Fresca* and *Italy in Small Bites* (Carol Field) would suit your purposes. I'd also invite you to check out: this as the season changes.

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Beyond, Dupont and Penn Quarter, which other (Metrorail-accessible) farmer's markets would you recommend? We live near Friendship Heights and I don't drive.
Sunday: Dupont Market

Tuesday and Saturday: New Morning Farm at The Sheridan School

Wednesday: Foggy Bottom and Clarendon-small but good midweek options (both at the top of the respective metro stops)

Saturday: Arlington/Court House and 14th and U (Court House and U Street respectively)

You'll find something different at each market so it is worth trying each at some point over the summer.

There are also a couple of markets in Bethesda but I have never been so I don't know if they are worth the trip.

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