Illustrated Grocery List + Cookbook Review : Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

When I first read

through the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook, my thought was, "This is not for me."

You see, it's a vegetarian cookbook. I am not a vegetarian. In fact, I raised beef cattle throughout my childhood. Meat was front and center of our plates.

And though my grandmother loved fresh vegetables, it has never been my thing. 

So imagine my surprise when it was this recipe, a simple vegetable stew became my gateway drug to vegetarian cooking. 

It is the whole experience :

the smell of fresh cut vegetables that envelops the kitchen before the cooking even starts, the visual beauty of all the colors on display bubbling in the pot, the intense warmth (but not hot/spicy) of the spices that are foreign but recognizable to a Southern American palette. 

I have included the recipe, straight from the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook, below.

Caribbean Stew

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped bell peppers {I like yellow because it adds color!}
    (3/4-inch pieces)
  • several fresh thyme sprigs OR
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (3/4-inch cubes)
  • one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Warm the oil in a covered soup pot on low heat.

Add the onions with the salt, the nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, and hot peppers and thyme, if using dried and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the cabbage and bell peppers, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes and enough water to just cover them, 1 or 2 cups.
If using fresh thyme, tie the springs into a little bundle with kitchen string and add it to pot.
Bring to a boil and cook at a rapid simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Add the tomatoes, kale, lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro and simmer for a final 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the thyme springs.

Breathe in the sweet vegetable goodness. Stare in amazement at the perfectly cooked sweet potatoes. Eat. Try not to grin too hard when your husband decides that kale is actually pretty good.