A Meatless Mecca: Moosewood Restaurant

>> Friday, December 11, 2009

If you haven't already -- check out our Blog Love Fest 2009 -- we've got some great blogs on there (26 so far! -- Thanks for participating, people!). I'm planning to put up a sidebar button later today so we can enjoy the link love until next month's big share. So head over, share your blog (deadline is December 15th), and take a look at what others are writing.

Let's get to it!
Moosewood Restaurant
(If you haven't heard. It's kind of a big deal in the vegetarian community.)

I think I've mentioned that we relatively recently moved from Ithaca, NY, where we lived within half a mile of Moosewood for nearly eight years. I hadn't thought much about this fact until last fall . . . when I was walking the aisles of my local bookstore, picking up several cookbooks. I admit, I got a bit misty-eyed . . . for Ithaca, Moosewood-specifically, offers such amazing cuisine. And we have yet to find anything comparable in our new location.

When you can't find it -- make it, right? So, that day I picked up two new cookbooks: Simple Suppers and their fantastic Book of Desserts (both can be found here), adding to my collection that includes: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. I drooled for a while over the photos in Simple Suppers, drove home, and then got to work.

My favorite recipe so far is for this Thai Butternut Squash Soup.

What you'll need . . .

. . . for the soup part
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used the light variety)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 12-ounce packages of frozen cooked winter squash
  • 1 lime
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

. . . for the tofu part
  • 1/2 cake firm tofu (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Method . . .

1.) In a soup pot, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, salt, and broth.
2.) Add frozen squash, cover, and bring to a simmer.
3.) Cook covered, until the squash is thawed, for about 15 minutes.
4.) Meanwhile, prepare the tofu by cutting it into small cubes and putting it in a bowl.
5.) Toss with the soy sauce and curry paste.
6.) Heat oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat, and when the oil is hot: add the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes and then set aside.
7.) Lightly grate the lime peel and juice the lime.
8.) Add 1 teaspoon of the zest and 2 tablespoons of the juice to the simmering soup.
9.) Stir in the spinach and tofu -- and cook just until the spinach wilts.
10.) Add more sugar and salt to taste. Serve the soup garnished with cilantro if you like.

NOTE: If you eat seafood, you may also substitute 1/2 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp for the tofu.

Thinking of making the pilgrimage to Moosewood? I'll make your research a little easier:

Moosewood Restaurant
215 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

And while you're there, stop by GreenStar, a cooperative grocery market specializing in fair-trade, free-range, organic, vegetarian foods. Though I'm not entirely sure, I imagine Moosewood buys many of its ingredients there (locally). *Sniff* -- there I go getting sad again. Someday we'll move back!

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