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i  don't eat that! what to cook when you're hosting a vegetarian or carnivore by Patricia Virella | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

vegetables with a charge
Carnivorous eaters sometimes live under the false impression that vegetarian food is bland.  Meat, the myth goes, is what gives veggies flavor. I once believed this a well … until I learned that, bought fresh and prepared properly, vegetables can be just as tasty -- or even tastier -- than some meats.  When cooking vegetarian, jazz up the natural goodness of veggies by dressing them in layers of flavor. In addition to making good use of herbs and spices, you’ll want to make friends with some of the more highly flavor-packed veggies out there: garlic, onions, scallions, shallots, leeks, colored bell peppers …all of which add a heaping dose of flavorful goodness to just about any dish when sautéed or oven-roasted in just a bit of olive oil or butter.  Go Asian and stir-fry up some bok choy, spinach, and carrots with a splash of rice wine and some good soy sauce – toss a little wasabi into the mix if you’re in the mood for something with a little kick. Or try pairing your favorite homemade tomato sauce and angel hair with cilantro, cayenne pepper, fresh basil and fresh thyme for a mouth-watering combination.  Experiment with your dishes but don’t assume that all vegetables go together – browse through cookbooks on various ethnic cuisines to get some guidance on the flavors that cooks around the world have been pairing together for ages.  Curiosity is good,  so take the time to do a little recipe research first; you’ll save yourself the painful chore of having to choke down food experiments that should never have happened in the first place. It doesn’t matter how good of a cook you are: cabbage and potatoes do not go together when paired with soy sauce.  

when all else fails, divide and conquer
If you just can’t fathom the idea of a meal without meat, make 2 separate dishes, one for the meat-eaters and a second that the veggie folks can happily partake in eating.  I once made the above mentioned bok choy-spinach stir-fry and paired it with a quick and easy curry chicken (simply dice up 1 lb. boneless chicken breast. Add 1 teaspoon oil with 2 tablespoons curry powder. Salt and pepper to taste. For heat add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper).  You can also combine 3 side dishes to make them 3 separate large entrees.  Try sides such as spinach with roasted garlic, steamed asparagus, and cinnamon and sugar carrots for an array of vegetable dishes that will fill you up. Although making more than one dish for your guests can involve a little more work for you,  it can often prove to be the best solution for picky guests.

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