Off the Shelf: The Modern Vegetarian

 In this new series we explore the books, new and old, that sit on our conference bookshelf. 

In the era of  all things food, the word "vegetarian" still shakes people up a bit. Vegetables are still getting a pretty bad wrap, even with the continual rise of more and more people becoming vegetarians, the success of upscale, all-vegetarian restaurants, and the world wide consumer love of Meatless Monday. Contrary to what some believe, you can be vegetarian and continue to experience bold flavors, new textures and have filling lunches, dinners, snacks and everything else in between.

In her cookbook, Maria Elia, chef and author of "The Modern Vegetarian: Food Adventures for the Contemporary Palate", showcases just that... vegetarian food in all of its delicious and vibrant glory. Vegetables have endless versatility and Chef Elia combines them with everything--from whipped ricotta to Indian spices and a variety of cooking techniques to bring out exceptional flavors in all of these show stopping ingredients. Seasonality plays a huge role in this cookbook, as Chef Elia introduces recipes for all peaks of the season, and educates the reader on the importance of using seasonal produce and products. With seasonal ingredients flavors are magnified and the abundance of uses vegetables and grains has, allows you to have a large variety of meals and snacks.

Reading this book, the entire time the thoughts of meat never even crossed my mind. The pictures themselves and mouth watering recipes such as Griddled Radicchio and Strawberry Risotto and Butternut Squash Tagine with Buttered Chile Couscous makes you forget all about meat! After reading this book all you will want to do is cook wholesome, delectable meals and forget all about that they are vegetarian.