Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Deborah Madison, 1997

Elizabeth got me this cookbook last winter. It's one of those huge "how to make everything" tomes that cover everything from almond picada to zucchini frittatas — sort of like Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian without the international focus, or The New Best Recipe without the sucking. I've been getting a lot of use out of this one: it's a great one to turn to when I've got some random ingredients and no idea what would be good to make. For instance, today I had some baby artichokes and mascarpone in the fridge, and discovered that the Madison book had a recipe for artichoke risotto that included mascarpone. I tried it and it was delicious — quite possibly the best risotto I've ever had! And while not every recipe I've made out of this book has hit those heights, most of them have been extremely good and I think all of them have been at least decent. So a big thumbs up to this book. It's better than going to Greens!

Update 2009: Wow, I keep finding more and more gems in this book. Really a must-have.

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