moosewood_cookbooksVegetarians are often criticized for limiting their food choices, but when I eliminated meat from my diet, it opened up a world of food.
Through reading cookbooks like the original Moosewood, I not only added dozens of new foods to my repertoire, but I also organized a family vacation centered around visiting the holy grail, the Ithaca restaurant that has spawned 11 Moosewood cookbooks (I own only 8).

Two new cookbooks inspired thoughts of travel, and also sent me into the kitchen to try out recipes.

The first is Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire. This complete guide to French cooking might have you booking your next trip to Charles de Gaulle before you get through the soups. The hundreds of soups are divided into clean and thick, with the thick further divided into five categories.

Although I rarely make any French food, my kids love peas and the fresh pea soup is both simple and delicious.  The cookbook is heavy on meat; game and veal have their own chapters, but there is still plenty for a vegetarian to drool over.

And if you like to bake, an easy recipe for puff pastry (called paste here) will wean you off the inferior frozen kind. I whipped up this versatile recipe in no time.

To Italy (and LA)

The Mozza Cookbook had me plotting my next trip to Los Angeles. This book, by Nancy Silverton, includes recipes from 978-0-307-27284-3both the family friendly Pizzeria Mozza and the more formal Osteria Mozza.

My family has been on a years-long quest to find the perfect pizza dough. We make pizza as a family (loading up on veggies and keeping the cheese to a minimum). The Mozza dough requires advance planning – it sits for 90 minutes – but you can mix up the dough, go for a bike ride, shower, and still have time to slice a few mushrooms before the dough is ready for its next step.

The long-cooked broccoli and roasted carrots could entire vegetable-phobic kids to try a few veggies. If not, more for the cook!