Our October gathering celebrated the recipes of Crescent Dragonwagon, a prolific author of children’s books and poetry, as well as many years’ worth of vegetarian-friendly cookbooks.
Our members prepared recipes from Bean By Bean, The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook (recipes prepared at the bed-and-breakfast inn in the Ozarks which Crescent opened in the 1980’s), Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread, and Passionate Vegetarian. Crescent is also the author of The Cornbread Gospels, which offers more than 200 variations on cornbread – one of the hallmarks of Crescent’s style is the variations she offers on many basic recipes, so that one or two dishes can become a dozen.
As an added treat, our get-together was hosted by Gayla in her beautiful home filled with Mexican folk art and whimsical decorative touches. This was a smaller-than-usual, but lively group, and the intimate atmosphere was very enjoyable.
Crescent’s recipes focus on low-on-the-food-chain, local ingredients when possible, and are well-tested and well-edited, so we had no major mishaps or confusions in the kitchen this time around. We experienced the flavors of Mexico, with Becky’s CD’s Chili Mole; Germany, with Gayla’s Zwiebel Kuchen (an onion tart with a delicious yeasted crust); Greece or thereabouts, with Sue’s Mediterranean Crepe Torte (with three filling layers in green, brown and red); MaryLou’s hummus-adjacent Marrakesh Melange, and the flavors of west Africa with Mary’s Groundnut & Greens Palaver. The term "palaver," as we learned, refers to a stew, and has several meanings, including “conversation,” but also “trouble,” considering how spicy these dishes can get.
We also enjoyed some fresh, tasty salads with interesting flavor combinations. Jackie prepared a salad with limas, chickpeas and green beans; Susie offered a sugar snap pea, orange and spinach salad, and Sari brought a salad with black beans, sweet potatoes and green beans. MaryLou prepared Raisin Pumpernickel Bread with a Secret … psst: the secret is chocolate chips!
We rounded out our meal with some terrific desserts: Gayla’s Italian caramelized oranges, Mary Lou’s Savannah peanut butter pie, and Jackie’s orange-scented chocolate apricot swirl cake (made even tastier with a little of the caramel/orange sauce on top!).
Crescent’s recipes, both in their variety and number, prove that a vegetarian table is just as varied, flavorful and interesting as an omnivorous spread.
Looking forward to seeing everyone next month at Mary’s for Dinner+Baking!
Click here for photo gallery and recipe links.