Let’s just say I own more than a few Moosewood cookbooks.  Moosewood is a delightful vegetarian-based restaurant (now serves seafood as well) established all the way back in 1973, with cooks who have been plugging away in the kitchen to create enough recipes for 11 internationally acclaimed cookbooks.  (As pictured above, I own at least 7 of them!)

I love the recipes that lay within the pages of these cookbooks, not only because they almost always turn out wonderful, but also because they often inspire me to create new vegetarian dishes of my own.  I was so inspired by Moosewood that a couple years ago (at the time when I was seriously contemplating culinary school at the CIA) I decided to make the track up to Ithaca, NY where the restaurant resides.

The restaurant, operating within a quaint renovated historic brick school building, had a casual atmosphere and served up some delicious food to my family and I.  I recognized several of the entrees on the menu, such as the Hoppin’ John, a rendition of black eyed peas from one of their cookbooks.  Another plus is that the food is on the healthy side, even within the restaurant, which of course can be a rarity.  While I was dining there, they also served brown rice, which is becoming more popular among restaurants but certainly is yet to become the standard.  (I really don’t understand why more restaurants don’t make the switch from plain white rice to one of the more healthy, fun options –  brown/red/wild rice!)

The kitchen was relatively small, but it certainly was able to put out some quality food.  My family and I enjoyed our dinner so much that we decided to come back for lunch the next day.  There aren’t many places that serve up healthy vegetarian food, particularly where my family lives out in the countryside, so we were more than thrilled to have this experience at Moosewood.

I got the chance to take a tour of the restaurant, which was intended to inspire me to open my own healthy, vegetarian restaurant. Ultimately, I ended up straying from my plans to go to culinary school, but the trip to Moosewood was definitely inspirational, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll still open a restaurant.  For now, I plan on continuing to put Moosewood’s cookbooks to use in order to help develop my cooking skills while juggling going to school for journalism at a regular college.  Clearly I have more than enough Moosewood recipes to last me for a couple of years!

Below you will find one of my all-time favorite Moosewood recipes.  The recipe, Gypsy Soup, is layered with an array of flavorful spices and makes for a perfect wintertime dish. Serve with a side of cornbread, and the meal is even better.

Gypsy Soup

-3-4 Tbs. olive oil  (I usually use 2-3)

Whipping up a huge batch for a Christmas party

-2 cups chopped onion
-2 cloves crushed garlic
-2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes or winter squash (I like to do a cup of each)
-1/2 cup chopped celery
-1 cup chopped, fresh tomatoes (I sometimes substitute canned tomatoes for this)
-3/4 cup chopped green or red peppers
-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
-3 cups stock or water
-2 tsp. paprika
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1 tsp. basil
-1 tsp. salt
-Dash of cinnamon
-Dash of cayenne (I like to do a couple dashes)
-1 bay leaf
-1 Tbs. tamari

Directions:  In a large saucepan saute onions, garlic, celery, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about five minutes.  Add seasonings except tamari, and the stock or water.  Simmer, covered, fifteen minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and chickpeas.  Simmer another 10 minutes or so until all the vegetables are as tender as you like them.

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  • Reply
    Simply Life
    January 19, 2010 at 7:56 am

    oh I haven’t used those cookbooks before -they sound great!

  • Reply
    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    January 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    That soup looks delicious. I’ve never used a Moosewood cookbook, but I’ll have to page through it next time I’m at the bookstore. Thanks!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I have heard about Moosewood and their cookbooks before but have never used them. The soup recipe sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for reminding me that I want one of those cook books. I have heard of Moosewood before and have seen it fatured on TV.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Moosewood cookbooks are next on my amazon wishlist. I need to go to the library and see if they have any of them…

    I love new cookbooks – thanks for recommending them!

  • Reply
    All type of RECIPES!.. » Moosewood « Food-Fitness-FreshAir
    January 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    […] the original: Moosewood « Food-Fitness-FreshAir Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 06:05 RSS feed for comments on this post Leave a comment | […]

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I never heard of these moosewood cookbooks…I think I am becoming a flexitarian lol

  • Reply
    Naomi (onefitfoodie)
    January 19, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Moosewood restaurant is in Ithaca NY where I went to college! it was the BEST, hippie, organic, granola filled place! I loved it and loved all teh fresh food. My mom has many of the cook books toO! did you know they make some take out meals in whole foods??

  • Reply
    Balance for Mere
    January 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I am checking out Moosewood cookbooks from the library now. Thanks for the recommendation. My maiden name is Moose so I love all things moose. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    That soup looks wonderful. Ive been looking for good vegetarian cookbooks. I’ll have to look for these!

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    January 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I didn’t know you almost went to culinary school! I would love to do that myself, of course I probably, no I definitely won’t. But I will learn from others, and great cookbooks! Like you I always wanted my own restaurant. Oh well, it could still happen!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    How cool, those cookbooks look wonderful! Gypsy Soup — love the name! And, of course, it looks and sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    My recent post was actually about veganism, tee hee. I’ve seen these cookbooks in the library, but never even bothered to flip through them because they were” vegetarian”. I’ll have to go find them again now!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Hehe on our book shelf at home, we have many a Moosewood cookbooks as welll. 🙂 Probably cause of our nutritious family upbringing!

    Great recipe! We never use the cookbooks anymore.. so kudos.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2010 at 1:08 am

    In addition to the restaurant in downtown Ithaca there is a Moosewood location at Cornell University. Maybe you should consider transferring?

  • Reply
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