Mastering The Art of Vegetarian Cooking

Day 41: Broccoli Puree, Baked Tofu, Barley Risotto, and Sauteed Peppers

You know, sometimes you do your best, and it’s just not good enough.

This menu was a fairly big risk, and a fairly spectacular failure. I figured the kids love tofu, they love broccoli… I needed some color, so I added the peppers. I love barley, and the others typically do, too, so I put that in. In retrospect I think it was a failure of menu planning, rather than of recipes or of preparation; just too risky.

The puree was too strange a texture for the kids (I actually loved it); I had so much left I was trying to figure out what kind of soup or something I could make out of it. I didn’t ever think of anything, but I served it to a friend instead. The peppers were the thing the kids all professed to like (and chose when I served a leftovers smorgasbord a few days later), but they didn’t really eat them.

I thought the tofu was a slam dunk, but Jon was completely turned off by the mustard marinade, and the kids scraped it off before they ate it. (I must confess, it had a…strong…flavor.)  The barley was excellent– a perfect risotto, despite not being arborio rice (who knew?), and Jon and I loved it. The kids didn’t.

So, you live and learn. I learned another way to make a “risotto” (I also make it with Orzo, the tiny rice-shaped pasta, and it’s delicious and–bonus– you don’t have to watch and stir, just simmer and it’s done). I learned there’s only so much mustard I can get away with putting in Jon’s food. I learned that cooked peppers are never as good as they look or sound. And I learned that I loved pureed food, but my kids– not so much.

Broccoli Scallion Puree, p. 340; Sauteed Peppers, p. 402; Baked Tofu in Mustard-Honey Marinade, p. 605; Barley Risotto, p. 520.

Next: Black Bean Soup, Quinoa Muffins,  Spinach Salad with Sunflower Seeds & Sprouts.