Meatless Monday: Survey of Cookbooks

Although I have a cadre of recipes that I don’t even need a recipe for (if ya know what I mean) — most of which I have shared on this blog — I also have a shelf full of cookbooks that I have picked up or been given over the years. I am still finding recipes in this moosewood cookbook that my mother gave to me a few years ago, after a trip to the actual restaurant in Ithaca, New York. Some of them are incredibly complicated and gourmet (I haven’t tried too many of these), and others are shockingly simple, like this four cheese sauce. All of them are delicious.

Adapted from moosewood restaurant new classics

four cheese sauce

2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup grated Fontina
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine or cooking sherry
1/8 tsp. salt

1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until steaming, but don’t let it boil or form a skin. While the milk heats, melt the butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan on low heat. Add the flour and whisk to form a smooth roux. Continue to cook and whisk for 3 to 4 minutes to thoroughly cook the flour.

2. Increase the heat to medium and whisk the hot milk into the roux in a thin, steady stream. Continue to cook until the sauce is smooth and has thickened slightly. Never stop whisking since white sauces can burn in an instant.

3. Lower the heat, add the cheeses*, mustard, and sherry, and whisk until the cheeses melt. Gently cook on very low heat for about 10 minutes**, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste, and toss with your favorite hot pasta (we used cheese tortellini — it was excellent!)

* The recipe calls for gruyere, fontina, Parmesan, and aged provolone, but I just used the cheeses I had to hand. That’s the beauty of this very simple recipe.

** The recipe here calls for using a double boiler or a heat diffuser, but I have neither of those things in my kitchen. I did without with no problems.

The two other cookbooks I turn to most often are Vegetarian Times Cookbook (mine was published in 1995) and Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, which I highly recommend. When I want to try a recipe I’ve heard of but don’t have a recipe for, I usually turn to the Food Network web site.

What cookbooks and cooking web sites do you depend on?