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Cafe Flora Cookbook Hardcover – October 4, 2005
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Seattle's popular vegetarian restaurant shares its recipes with fans of meatless cooking. What sets this book apart from so many other vegetarian cookbooks is its attempt to take this branch of cookery beyond the usual melange of steamed and stewed greens into more decidedly haute cuisine. Portobello Wellington lacks the beef and foie gras of the parent dish, but its accompanying sophisticated Madeira sauce marks it as more complex than just mushroom-stuffed pastry. For a stunning brunch dish, Geier turns a quesadilla inside out, coating the potato and cheese-stuffed tortilla with a layer of scrambled eggs. Goan curry uses chickpeas and a welter of freshly toasted spices and homemade vindaloo paste to achieve its effect. A welter of pizza recipes shows how adaptable basic pizza can be to a host of different interpretations, some savory, others sweet. Many recipes, specially marked, satisfy vegan requirements; but dairy products and eggs abound throughout most dishes. Meat substitutes such as seitan appear only rarely. Oddly enough, there are no dessert recipes. Mark Knoblauch
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“The menu has become a meld of nutritional righteousness and culinary artistry. Few local restaurants put out so many pretty plates—all actually good for you.”
—The Seattle Times“Cafe Flora—still a standout in the sea of green. It’s the perfect restaurant for vegetarians to bring non-vegetarian guests.”
—Pacific Magazine“Cafe Flora…has flair, integrity and soul.”
—The Stranger“The popularity of Cafe Flora…extends beyond a strictly vegetarian clientele.”
—Seattle Magazine“If being vegan means a lifetime of lightly breaded coconut tofu with sweet chili dipping sauce or a spicy chickpea falafel wrapped in warm pita bread, you can sign us up.…The highest compliment the Cafe receives, though, is the presence of its regulars—many of whom see nothing wrong with an occasional…crispy-skinned Thanksgiving turkey, but still come to meat-free Flora. It’s just that good.”
— Seattle Weekly’s Dining Showcase
Top customer reviews
The problem for me is how complicated some of the recipes are. Take, for instance, the Spicy Tofu Ruben. It is delicious. I could have it several times a week. But the directions for the recipe span 3 pages. The first time I started this recipe, it took about 4 hours to complete. There is pressing the tofu, marinating the tofu, baking the tofu. There is roasting of squash and onions. And there is smoking of mushrooms, with instructions on making your own smoker. There is toasting the bread in the oven and then baking the sandwich. It was incredibly time consuming. I wanted a quick, delicious sandwich, and lost an entire afternoon.
Also, the book sometimes has ingredients that are actually recipes in a different place in the book. This is frustrating, because you now have to go to another page, get another set of ingredients out and begin a whole new recipe to complete the meal you're in the middle of.
After the first time I made the Tofu Ruben, I did not open the book again for months.
But, since the food is so delicious, and my hubby kept asking if we could have that delicious sandwich again, so I decided to have another go and see if I could make things easier, which broke down to two important steps: Reading the recipes all the way through, and cheating the ingredients.
For example, the smoked mushrooms? I tossed some liquid smoke onto some mushrooms as I was sauteing them. Voila! The pressed, marinated, baked tofu? I bought the little tofu squares that were already baked and marinated, put the marinade on them and put it in the oven at the same time that I was roasting the vegetables. This is basically twice baking the tofu, but I actually found that this worked better than starting from the plain block of soy curd. The second time I made this recipe, it took about an hour, prep time included.
I read the multiple small recipes to complete the sandwich all the way through, so I did not have to get the garlic out three separate times to chop it. I cut the prep and cook time down to 1 hour, which was much better.
Definitely get this book - you will learn so much about flavor profiles and you will make some great food! Just don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed, like I did. Read the recipes through, and modify them if needed to suit your time table and the ingredients you have on hand. You will still make great food.
The cookbook starts with a great appetizer section, and then moves on to salads/soups, and then entrees. They also have a section on other things like sauces and pantry items. The dressings and sauces are excellent. When you are planning for a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, take some recipes from this book!
Again, every single thing I have made from this cookbook has been outstanding. It's my favorite cookbook for guest-worthy vegetarian food, and I must have at least 50 other vegetarian cookbooks. I would be lost without this one. I was lucky enough to receive this as a gift. After making some of the recipes, I bought copies for all of my friends (vegetarian and not!). Highly highly recommended.
I love the way it gives you the ability to make gourmet vegetarian food even if you are inexperienced. It doesn't assume that you know what all of the less common ingredients are or how to do some of the more advanced techniques. It fully explains each step and even gives you tips on timing and making parts of the meal ahead of time. It even has a glossary and sources to buy some of the ingredients called for in the back!
Highly recommend this!