This week, the Examiner is reviewing a cookbook called The Ethnic Vegetarian, by Angela Shelf-Medearis. The book is part of a display at the Anythink Libraries Wright Farms branch. Vegetarian cook books are the latest book feature display there. The Wright Farms branch shares books with the Anythink Brighton branch library (the newest library in the group).
This book was chosen because it focused on ethnic foods. Food is a unifying aspect of people’s lives and the dinner table is among the most important gathering places no matter which culture is gathering. It’s tougher for friends and family to gather for a meal when some of the folks who have always shared the unity go vegan. So being able to cook vegan foods that respect the ethnic significance of non-vegan food that has always been the center of gatherings is especially important.
Most of the recipes in The Ethnic Vegetarian are actually vegan, or can be made vegan simply by substituting the chicken eggs for vegan egg substitutes, skipping the cheese or using vegan butter. Vegetarian food is defined as food that contains no eat of any kind (including fish) but could include eggs, dairy products or dairy derivatives such as whey. Vegan food eliminates all animal products, including dairy derivatives.
The Examiner cooked the Louisiana Lentil Stew Recipe, whose ingredients are all vegan. It was easy to prepare, required nothing special and the taste was nothing short of phenomenal. The Examiner adapted the recipe slightly in this case, but also cooked the original recipe as it appears in The Ethnic Vegetarian.
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. onion flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lentils
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with the juice.
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
Sautee the onion flakes and minced garlic in sauce pan with olive oil over medium heat until slightly brown. Add water, bay leaves and salt.
Bring to boil and add all other ingredients. Once stew comes to a boil reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.