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01.09.2003

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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 3

make your dinner a bouquet of vegetables
With so many different vegetables out there Ė featuring an amazing array of different flavors and colors and  textures Ė thereís no reason in the world that cooking vegetarian should ever be a bore.  Far too often, people use one common vegetable in each of the dishes they prepare.  Stay away from this.  Do not put one vegetable, like tomato, in every dish: itís the surest way towards a bland meal that will bore vegetarians and carnivores alike. If itís a theme youíre looking for, tie your dishes together with spices and herbs that balance one another; often, deciding on a type of cuisine, say Indian, Japanese or Tuscan, for instance, will be the easiest way to create a menu where all the dishes taste different from one another, but go together well too.  When I go vegetarian, I crave savory vegetables that have tons of flavor and texture.  Add as much spice as you need to coax the most flavor out of your veggies.  Flavored oils will add a subtle, underlying flavor to your vegetables; try such classic greats as roasted garlic olive oil or an unusual blend like blood orange olive oil.  You can also jazz up your vegetables with fresh herbs or chiles, and/or chiles alone.

why not order out?
Yes, yes, I know it sounds like a cop out, but if you feel that you simply cannot cook meat for your guests, and you donít think they can handle a vegetable-only dish, then pick up that telephone and order out.  Itís safe, itís easy, and everyone will be happy.  It will also give you an idea of what your friends like to eat so that you can better prepare a dish for them next time.

Compromise is Key
Letís face it: everyone, even the most easygoing folks among us, have their little food quirks. When cooking for someone who doesnít share your eating habits Ė and in fact has a dramatically different preferred diet Ė accept that youíll have to compromise if you want to concoct a meal thatíll make both your palates happy.  

o

Patricia Virella was born in Spanish Harlem, and grew up entirely in NYC. She currently lives in Brooklyn and works at an advertising agency. She is also a student at the Adelphi University. When she's not throwing fabulous dinner parties on a shoestring budget, she enjoys spending time with her 6 and 9 year old nephews, as well as painting.

more articles by Patricia Virella:
entertaining on a budget | dinner for two, chez vous

check out these related articles:
picky eaters: milk-free cooking | menu, please | dinner party basics

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