Longer term readers know that I've been committed this year to eating more locally sourced vegetables. It's been a fun, healthy journey that's brought me closer to my community, made me more aware of what I'm eating and introduced me to a whole new world of tastes.
As a Southerner, I still revere anything that involved cheese and bacon... and as a Floridian, I still eat a LOT of seafood... but I'm now much savvier about asking the source of any meats that I eat. And I've found that contrary to most of my 30-something year mindset - I actually do like vegetables. It matters that they are fresh and how you cook them. So, as I look to grow my veggie skills, here are my most wanted gifts for aspiring vegetarians:
The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
This best seller has been given the stamp of approval by everyone from Oprah to Epicurious. I'm hoping for a copy to expand the range of vegetarian recipes & techniques that are crowd-pleasers to non-vegetarian palates.
Spice Rack & Grinder
Spices make a huge difference in the taste of vegetables and vegetable-centric cooking. I love the idea of this snappy little rack that has built in grinders... fresh ground spices smell and taste so much better!
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Vegetarians I know have been raving about this book. I'm hoping that in addition to 3 levels of "veg" recipes, I'll learn more about the food industry and keep me on course for eating less meat - for my bod, and for the environment.
I'm no expert, but I'm hearing good things about ceramic knives. The advantage, they say, for vegetarians is that the ceramic doesn't brown vegetables. Either way, this pink one from Kyocera is downright adorable and has the added benefit of helping the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Win-win!
Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You by Terry Walters
If there's one thing that's changed the most about me in 2009, it's been my increased focus on eating local. Let's put it this way, in 2008, I'd never heard the word "locavore", didn't write a food blog, and mainly went to the farmers market to buy flowers. This promises to be a great resource to keep growing my knowledge of locally sourced ingredients and recipes.
Getting vegetables into the right size and shape is more fun and appealing with one of these sweet mandolines. A rookie like me can't slice and dice like a pro... this bad boy would come in QUITE handy for my farmers market escapades.