The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation

Mollie Katzen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35 (464p) ISBN 978-0-547-57159-1
Katzen elevated vegetables from canned side dish to main act in her ground-breaking The Moosewood Cookbook. This collection again shines the spotlight on the glories of vegetables, but focuses on their natural flavors rather than rich accompaniments such as butter, cream, and cheese. Katzen does an admirable job, not only in lightening and simplifying but in creative recipes that combine everyday vegetables in appetizing ways. Her soups, both hot and cold, are particularly satisfying and are reason enough to buy the book. Mushroom wonton soup, tomato-coconut soup with Indian spices, and cucumber-melon-peach gazpacho round out a tasty array of options. Salads abound, including kale Caesar and fattoush. Grains, burgers, and pasta complement stellar chapters on superb stews with equally fabulous accompaniments such as very simple lentil stew with cottage cheese dumplings and black-eyed pea, squash, and shiitake stew with ginger-pecan mini biscuits; cozy mashes that include broccoli, parsnips, and peas; and vegetables with a twist such as brussels sprouts with cranberries, flash-fried kale with garlic, almonds and cheese, and twice-cooked Italian broccoli. While suppers from the oven might conjure images of tired casseroles, Katzen provides refreshing options such as mushroom popover pie and asparagus puff pastry tart. Desserts are equally appealing, from fruit-studded madeleine cake to olive oil-walnut-pomegranate baklava. As an added bonus, more than half of these recipes are vegan. Katzen once again reminds us that simple, fresh, and flavorful vegetables can be inspirational as well as nutritional. Agent: Steve Troha and Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 09/17/2013
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