I've been hesitant to start this feature while my camera battery charger is missing, but I'm hoping that doing a post without a photo will magically cause it to appear. The feature I'm referring to is something that was loosely inspired by the Julie/Julia project, a project which I admittedly had no great love for when it was happening but was inspired by nonetheless. I wanted to do something like that with a cookbook, though I didn't really want to cook an entire book, and I didn't want to cook only from that book for a year. Instead, I decided to do a monthly cooking project, and what better book for this vegetarian blog than Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian?
I've broken the book down into 158 sections. I went mostly with the same level of section headers, though in some cases where a header at that level had an awful lot of content, I used the sub-headers. I left out a few of the vegetable headers that either didn't have a recipe at all or had one recipe and would be almost impossible to find in Baltimore. The goal is to expand my repertoire of simple, standard dishes, not to go wild and crazy. I'll be cooking from at least one section a month, which means that this would take thirteen years to complete if I didn't do any extras, but I will probably do extras. I won't be posting the recipes for copyright reasons, but I will include page numbers, and you can find them all in the hardcover edition of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, available wherever books are sold.
So, month one. I started with an old favorite, bulgur. The Bulgur section is just a few recipes, but I had to go for it first because I've been eating bulgur a lot, and frankly, it's a little tired. I picked out the Tomato Bulgur Pilaf with Cinnamon on page 556, which is actually a variation on Bulgur Pilaf with Vermicelli. One of my favorite things about this book is that it's full of variations, lists, and charts to expand the main recipes. I thought the way the variation was written out could use some work, because it told you what to add but not when or how to add it. Still, I did all right. I didn't use tomato paste or garlic, and I used water instead of stock. It turned out nice and spicy and flavorful. I did think the cinnamon made the flavor quite complex, but I would dial down the red pepper flake next time because the spice overwhelmed the rest of the flavors somewhat.