The Canon

essential cookbooks

So many people have written to me to say they are enjoying the blog and the recipes, which makes me so happy! I definitely created this to share with the CSA and the prospective-CSA community, and I love knowing that I am helping people find new ideas for what to do with what comes in their boxes. I wanted to explain, however, why there are a lot of dishes that I photograph and write about where I don’t give the recipe. Partly this is because the intention of many food blogs is to share recipes with notes about how they turned out and so on, and the intention of mine, of course, is to let people know what it’s like to get a CSA box.

The main reason that a lot of the most wonderful things I cook are coming to you without instructions for how you might reproduce them yourself is because I get my recipes from 4 main sources: the internet and the three cookbooks shown above. These three books are my go-to books for any vegetable, any time, because the recipes are easy to make, beautifully laid out and well explained, and there are enough vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes to make owning the books worth my while. But, because I’ve cooked at least half the dishes in each of these books, if I posted each recipe as I made it I would feel like I was robbing the three women whose terrific cookbooks are a cornerstone of my kitchen.

So instead I will urge you all to check out Sara Deseran’s lush and comprehensive Asian Vegetables, Ruta Kahate’s Indian-made-joyously-easy 5 Spices, 50 Dishes, and Deborah Madison’s “somewhere between the bowl of cereal and the all-out dinner party” Vegetarian Suppers. If you have any questions about the books or want to know more about why, with a groaning shelf full of choices, these are the ones I adore, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Napa Cabbage

As the weather gets colder, I find myself with a hole in my belly that can only be filled by some kind of indefinable, completely yummy food. For me this mysterious ultimate craving usually falls into the savory category, and I do know that it should be hot, and have a soft, yielding texture.

I’ve had this huge napa cabbage sitting in my fridge since the previous box, and so I decided to see what my beloved Asian Vegetables cookbook had to offer. In the section for napa cabbage I found a recipe for okonomiyaki, which are Japanese savory pancakes. The recipe might as well have been subtitled “The answer to your winter food longings.”

I sliced up some of that napa cabbage along with a red onion I’d bought (because who can resist that color combo of pale green and lavender?). I mixed a few of my eggs with some broth and flour and tamari, stirred in the veggies, poured it all in a hot oiled pan, and scattered bits of my beloved tempeh bacon on top.

Okonomiyaki, uncooked

Then I cooked it, quartered and flipped it, let it cook through, and sprinkled it with toasted nori and sesame seeds.

Hot, savory, yielding. Stuffed with sweet, soft napa cabbage and red onions. Full of flavor from the seaweed and sesame. And I haven’t even mentioned the crazy dipping sauce made with ketchup, sake, and dried mustard!

Okonomiyaki, cooked

(The recipe for okonomiyaki is beyond the “more”) Continue reading