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Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, The Paperback – September 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

Peter Berley was introduced to macrobiotic cooking by a Japanese acupuncturist during the 1970s. His appreciation for this new and, at that time, slightly radical way of eating and cooking led to a career as a vegetarian chef. Berley started simply, hosting small dinner clubs; by 1992, he was executive chef at a strictly vegan restaurant in New York, Angelica Kitchen. In his first cookbook, Berley shares unique color and flavor combinations to demonstrate both the visual and toothsome possibilities of creative vegetarian cooking. But at the heart are the staples. A chapter on salads lists dishes by season--to encourage the reader to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. An assortment of bean recipes provides imaginative uses for chickpeas, white beans, black beans, and lentils. Bread recipes are complemented by a variety of tapenades, pestos, and herbed oils. Desserts include the expected pumpkin pie but also temptations such as Pear-Cranberry Crisp and Chocolate Mousse. Through it all, Berley proves that eating the vegetarian way can offer as much in cuisine as it does in health. --Teresa Simanton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A chef for seven years at the Angelica Kitchen, New York City's hip vegan restaurant, Berley focuses on how the act of cooking can nourish one's life in this (mostly) vegan cookbook. Emphasizing home-cooked meals as opposed to gourmet feasts, Berley articulates the principles and techniques behind each recipe. Based on fresh and seasonally available ingredients, the cookbook reads like a valentine to Berley's grandmother, who cooked and baked using foods from her organic garden. Although dashi, miso and tofu are becoming more familiar to American cooks, other ingredients he calls for, such as spelt, kombu and nabe mono, aren't as well known. It's impossible to appreciate Berley's world without making several special shopping tripsAthere's always that one ingredient you can't get at the grocery store. Berley includes instructions for broths, roll pastas and bake breads using "wild" yeast. Following his recipes to the letter requires tremendous amounts of time, as well as patience. But his recipes reward: Roasted Red Peppers are sweeter and more luscious than anything bottled, Basil-Almond Pesto is sublime for having freshly peeled almonds, and Corn and Vegetable Chowder evokes a perfect summer afternoon. For vegans, vegetarians and interested cooks seeking to explore seasonal vegetarian cuisine, this book is a must have. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; Reprint edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060989114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060989118
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Synaptorita on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a non-vegetarian living in a co-op that requires all shared meals to be vegetarian. I found this book on sale at Sur La Table, and bought it to provide me with more ideas for the dinners I cook for my house. After the first few meals that I made that included 2-3 different recipes from this book, it quickly became my FAVORITE cookbook (all genres). I now select this book more often than any other for my house and other dinner parties with non-vegetarian friends. The flavors are rich, the combinations are unique and work very well, and the instructions are easy to follow and provide you with all the info you need, even if you're not a seasoned macrobiotic chef. I give this book a HUGE "thumbs up"! (Some favorites: Creamy Garlic Miso Salad Dressing, Three Sisters Stew (beans, corn dumplings, and winter squash with toasted pumpkin seeds), Eggplant and Seitan Falafel).
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By J M VINE VOICE on November 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am not a vegetarian but like to eat that way some times because it seems like it should be healthier. But I've been disappointed in a lot of the vegetarian food I've tried. Luckily, Peter Berley has a great philosophy about food: Healthy eating is also the most pleasurable eating. Hey, that works for me and this book delivers. I've prepared quite a few of the dishes here for friends and the food has always been well received.
A lot of the ingredients used in vegetarian cooking were a mystery to me. They have strange names and I didn't know how to prepare them. What's the difference between tofu and seitan? And what is seitan anyway? This book uncovers many of these mysteries. It's all there and well written.
This is one of those cook books that will be stained with food very quickly. Highly recommended.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Martine on December 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Peter Berley, through this book has taught me to have a great respect and love for food and the art of cooking. It has dramatically changed my life. I have been a vegetarian for nearly all of my life, but not very well educated culinary-wise. None of my other cookbooks have ever motivated me to do the best I can. You feel like you have a teacher and friend with you in the kitchen since every recipe comes with helpful hints and interesting stories of how he created them. My friends and family now think I am a goddess. This is the first of Peter Berley's cookbooks that I bought. The second one is as amazing.

Food is everything; it's the source of a great life, of happiness and health. My children (4 and 2) eat everything with a great appetite. So it's also a gift to them.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Constance E. Mayer on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My father was a chef, and although we did not have much money, I was brought up appreciating good, fresh, healthy food as well as cookbooks -- my father had a library of cookbooks, gastronomic dictionaries, even cookbooks in French (he was trained by a french chef in the 1950's).

With that being said, I am obsessed with eating, and occasionally cooking, good food. This cookbook is the one I use over and over again. I have cooked almost every recipe in the book, more than once, which is a true testament to a wonderful cookbook.

The beauty of it is that is is simple -- most ingredients are things you would have on-hand. Most recipes are for the novice cook, but can be challenging enough for a true obsessed gourmet. The other aspect is that he balances flavors and spices perfectly -- nothing is too overly spiced, heavy, etc. When I cook for guests, I use this cookbook because it is manageable but makes me look like a genius. People always say to me, "This tastes better than restaurant food!"

Get the hardback version -- it will last longer and make you feel like a true cook (as we all can be.)
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By black_lager on March 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a find in a world of mediocre and redundant vegan cookbooks. Berley embellishes old vegetarian standbys- seitan, tempeh and tofu - and turns them into complete, appetizing, diverse and professional dishes that you might find at a restaurant: for example, Spicy Stir-Fried Broccoli Rabe with Lemon-Basil Tofu, Apple-Mustard Baked Tempeh Sandwich Filling, and Savory Seitan-Stuffed Summer Squash Provencal. I've finally graduated from vegan chili and vegan french toast! The author comes up with many creative dishes, salads, spreads (try Pumpkin-Walnut Pate), casseroles, pasta and homemade breads. To someone whose concept of vegetable sides ends with boiled carrots, the author's recipes for Caramelized Fennel, Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, and Stuffed Collards Baked in Zesty Tomato Sauce opened up a whole new world. Berley doesn't neglect the desserts, either; his Lemon Tart with Toasted Almond Crust was delicious, easy, and cholesterol-free. Also, I appreciate the fact that the author does not use soy in his cake ingredients; he uses alternative binders to replace eggs. Before each chapter the author includes helpful tips on how to use and prepare each type of food, whether it be quinoa, beans or yeast. Most of the recipes in this book are vegan, but, more importantly, they are original and take vegetarian cooking to another level. The author doesn't attempt to recreate beloved meat and dairy dishes; he simply creates delicious, meatless cuisine that anyone will like.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By >>> on January 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you are fortunate enough to have tasted Peter Berley's masterful creations at New York's Angelica Kitchen, then this book will enable you to step into the chef's shoes and create hundreds of them on your own.
If you've never been to Angelica Kitchen (now or during the 7 years when Peter was executive chef), then this book will be a revelation -- a truly inspired, lucid, and masterful handbook for preparing what is arguably the best-tasting, healthiest cuisine in the world.
While many vegetarian cookbooks (and most vegetarian restaurants) seem stuck in a 1970's time-warp, Peter has created a cuisine which is truly modern, because it is so far ahead of most anything currently practiced -- yet at the same time is accessible, sensible, and practical.
The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen is a must-have for any level of cooking skill, and for any kitchen (vegan, vegetarian or not).
My only regret is that Amazon's rating system has a maximum of 5 stars.
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