The following is a very simple idea, but it illustrates one of my favorite cookbooks. I’ve raved about this book before, and I’ll probably rave to you about it again!
It’s not really a recipe book so much as it is an idea book—a gentle introduction for how to go about improvisational cooking—in a healthy and vegetarian way. If you’re not vegetarian, you can still get a lot out of this book, because it glorifies vegetables, grains, eggs, and dairy products. It’s fun; it gets your creative juices going. And it’s simple; it proves that awesome cooking doesn’t have to be complex.
It’s an excellent book for a young person just learning to do his or her own cooking. (Hmm: think graduation gift!)
The book is Tassajara Cooking, by Edward Espe Brown. When it was originally published in 1973, Brown was the cook at the Berkeley Zen Center in California. Now he’s an internationally renown chef and cookbook author.
Here’s a link for purchasing a copy. Seriously—I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It opened doors for me; it gave me permission to play around in the kitchen, to “visualize” flavor combinations. It gave me basic guidelines that I still use today.
Since I’ve been talking about eggs, and a few recipes I’ve shared have been rather, um, rich, here’s one that you can feel pretty doggone good about. It’s from the “greens” chapter, and it appears on pages 68–69 of the 1973 edition. It follows such unusual and fun-sounding creations as “Green, Orange & Mushroom,” “Spinach Goes Bananas with Sesame,” and “Spinach Could Also Go Apricot”!
Greens Get Egged On
The egg can appear or disappear, but in any case the greens are meaty.
greens – oil – salt, pepper – eggs
Sauté-steam the greens until they’re nearly done. Stir in some beaten egg or eggs. With a few eggs and lots of stirring, the eggs will blend in much like a seasoning. With more eggs and less stirring, the effect will be more omelette-like. A few teaspoons of soy sauce can go in with the eggs. If you like onions, start by sautéing the yellow kind, or sprinkle on some chopped green onion as garnish.
Pretty easy, huh? Go try it! With a handful of strawberries and a piece of bread, with or without Tabasco or salsa, it would make an awesome lunch!