What's Cooking Vegetarian

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Kim O'Donnel
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, October 30, 2008; 1:00 PM

Calling all foodies! Join us for a vegetarian edition of What's Cooking, our live online culinary hour with Kim O'Donnel.

A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School), O'Donnel spends much of her time in front of the stove or with her nose in a cookbook. She was online Thursday, October 30, at 1 p.m.

The transcript follows.

Catch up on previous transcripts with the What's Cooking archive page. For daily dispatches from Kim's kitchen, check out her blog, A Mighty Appetite.

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Kim O'Donnel: Hey folks, and welcome back to my monthly conversation on meatless eating, cooking and shopping. Did you know that Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day? I only just found out about this yesterday. anyone know if there are festivals taking place around the country? In case you didn't know, since last time we talked, I launched a Meatless Monday feature in the blog. Every Monday, you'll find a new meatless recipe to try. Let me know what you think. Programming note: thursday, Nov. 13, in just 2 weeks, we'll put on What's Cooking Vegetarian Thanksgiving, so mark that on your calendars. Two weeks, oh my goodness. And while you've got the calendar out, save the date -- Dec. 4 -- for a Mighty Appetite meet-and-greet, co-hosted with my fellow celeb-blog-ista Liz Kelly. Location is being worked out as I type. More details as they become available. Tell me, what's on your mind? Who's going as what for Halloween?

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Newton, Mass.: Thoughts about soy-free sources of protein? While I used to love tofu I have become allergic to it and its various cousins like tempeh and miso. Are their other bean curds made from other beans? If yes, where and how? Posting early becuase of work conflicts at 1:00. Thank you.

Kim O'Donnel: Hey Newton, have you tried some of the wheat gluten products? I'm particularly found of Field Roast sausages -- esp. the chipotle flavor, and when I feel like a meatless burger, I'll buy some Gimme Lean "beef" and season it, fry it up. But speaking to larger issue of soy-free protein, there's the whole world of legumes -- not curded, but delicious nonetheless.

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Midwestern liberal arts college: Like many college students, I eat a lot of pasta. (Don't tell my dietitian mother!) My girlfriend's anti-tomato ways, however, have wiped marinara sauce off the menu. Your tempeh recipe from Meatless Monday looks great -- got any other suggestions for tomato-free pasta toppings? Protein (dairy or vegan) would be a plus. Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: Hi there, I'm a big fan of adding toasted nuts and bread crumbs to short pasta, partic. for tomato-free toppings. Lovely extra crunch, and yes a bit of protein. Here's one: roast a head of cauliflower (break into florets), season it with olive oil, salt, raisins, pine nuts. Combine this with short pasta, add capers if you like, bread crumbs, parm.

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Rockville, Md.: Hi, Kim. Do you have any experience with wheat grinders? I'd really like one to have fresh whole wheat, but thought I'd check to see if you had any thoughts. Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: I saw one in Montana this summer for the very first time and was intrigued. I'd love to know more about them myself. Anyone have insight?

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Boston, Mass.: Hi Kim,

Some of the stars of my previous veggie only cooking have been zuccinni, summer squash, and especially in the fall butternut squash and pumpkin. I used them in pastas, in stirfries, and soups mostly. Turns out this is the exact list of veggies that my new boyfriend does not like (I think its mostly a texture thing- he's not a picky eater otherwise!) This fall I'm craving some comforting roots and squash and I'm wondering if there are other options out there I'm not thinking of. Any ideas so we can both be happy?

Kim O'Donnel: Try some lacinato kale -- it sautes, steams and roasts really quickly and is a terrific companion to all kinds of grains and other cold weather veg. Sweet potatoes -- maybe he'll like these? It's mushroom season, too. Parsnips are wonderful roasted or mixed with mashed potatoes. Swiss chard -- also easy to stir fry. Stuffed cabbage!

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Potomac, Md.: Hey Kim, love your chats and all that you share. My question, I'm having some friends over for lunch on Sunday. They are vegetarians but will eat eggs. They don't want Indian or pasta dishes. Here's what I'm thinking: scalloped potatoes with roasted garlic, steamed green beans with shallots and sprinkling of Parmesan and orange, avocado tomato salad with fresh cilantro vinaigrette. Maybe a frittata. And spiced apple cider. Can I add something else, or what would you make if it was your party?

Kim O'Donnel: Sounds really nice, partic. for a lunch. Only thing I *might* add is dessert -- maybe an apple or pear crisp? You could make this day ahead.

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Washington, D.C.: This is really a Thanksgiving question, but technically it IS a vegetarian question too. I'm looking for a different kind of pumpkin dessert for Turkey Day. I'm already making the caramel pie from the recent Bon Appetit, so I don't want to do another pie. Did a pumpkin cheesecake (from Cook's Illustrated) last year which was divine, but don't want to repeat. Any novel pumpkin dessert suggestions?

Kim O'Donnel: I'm a big fan of pumpkin bread pudding. Go here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/whatscookingfall/front.html?breadpudding

Oh, and this is a goodie:


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