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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fw: * FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *: The Heart of the Plate

THE HEART OF THE PLATE; vegetarian recipes for a new generation
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013; distr. T. Allen, 456 pages, ISBN 978-
0-547-57159-1, $34.99 US hard covers) is by Mollie Katzen, renowned
cookbook author and co-founder of the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca
New York. It is her 12th book, yet still needed (in the publisher's
eyes) some heavy duty log rolling from such as Jamie Oliver, Andrew
Weil, Nigella, Batali, Pepin and Anna Thomas. Of course, her 200 preps
here will be an instant hit anyway, and I am not taking anything away
from that. About 10 per cent of the recipes have come from her other
books. These are the basic veggie dishes, many of which were once
heavily laden with cream, butter and eggs. Now, half the book is vegan
and the rest are lighter, reflecting a "new generation" and its
lifestyle. It is traditionally arranged, from soups through desserts,
along with the usual photos and watercolours that Katzen has employed
before. There are some pantry notes and a series of both vegetarian
menus (20) and vegan menus (15) with page references to the preps. The
stew dishes come with appropriate starches (called "accessories") such
as the curried cauliflower stew with onion pakoras, or the Peruvian
potato-bean stew with quinoa-speckled buttermilk corn cakes. Some of
these are gluten-free, or at least wheat-free, but more would be needed
(or variations). There is good advice here, along with good detail in
the techniques. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians, most vegans, beginners.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: couscous with dates,
pistachios, pine nuts and parsley; forbidden rice with beluga lentils
and mushrooms; asparagus puff pastry tart; orange-olive-fig saladita;
mixed mushroom ragout.
The downside to this book: I wished that there were some gluten-free
alternatives for the accessories and other preps.
The upside to this book: great illustrations
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

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