25 February 2010

Cookbook Showdown- 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, Carol Gelles

Welcome to this week's edition of Cookbook Showdown. As we continue with this experiment in my cookbook collection, you'll see a large number of vegetarian cookbooks. This is because when I started out cooking I was a vegetarian. Funny how that works out, huh? We still eat a lot of veggie meals, it's just something we're used to. Feel free to add a chicken breast or some ground beef if you feel so inclined.

This week we're cooking Spicy Barley with Mushrooms. It's pretty straight forward, which is exactly what I needed on a Tuesday night.

It's hard enough to cook dinner some nights, let alone have an attention span long enough to actually follow a recipe.

For this recipe you basically brown some onion and mushrooms until they get nice and golden brown. You want all of that yummy, mushroomy flavor to come out.

Then you add the barley and some water (I used some stock) and let them meet and mingle for almost an hour.

While you're waiting go ahead and grate some Pepperjack Cheese. Or just some Monterey Jack cheese if you can't take the heat.

Once the barley has soaked up all of that liquid, add the cheese. Stir it around and let it all come together. Cheese is kind of like that girl in school that was friends with everybody; it can make friends with anybody.

What you end up with looks a lot like risotto, but tastes even better.

It's creamy, it's mushroomy (I'll make that a new word yet), it makes a hearty, filling end of Winter meal.

End of Winter? Who am I kidding, Winter lasts until the 4th of July in this part of the world.

I bet this would be good with a nice chicken breast on the side, or maybe even a spinach salad. I wouldn't know. I ate two bowls for dinner and called it delicious.

So over all, how did this cookbook rate? If I had to do it over again, I don't think I would spend the money. Many of the recipes in it are too finicky or fussy or just aren't things that I would normally stock in my kitchen. It has some good ideas, but nothing that you couldn't get out of another, more comprehensive cookbook.

*Just a little disclaimer. I'm not getting paid to write these "reviews". These are all cookbooks that I have in my kitchen. I am not going to post the actual recipes because I'm pretty sure that would be copyright infringement and I don't really feel like going to court today. Or any day really. If at any time I do receive a cookbook from an author or a publisher (wouldn't that be grand!) I will give you a full disclosure; and my honest opinion.


  1. I've found that good vegetarian cookbooks are hard to find. I think Bittman may have just come out with one. But that barley looks delicious!

  2. @Kate Bittman did come out with one and Amy has both. I'm pretty sure she said that both of his are similar and most of the Vegetarian recipes are offered as subs. in his regular cookbook. But I agree, good Vegetarian Cookbooks are hard to find.



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