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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 40 reviews
on August 8, 2009
First, I will echo the positive reviews on this site. The recipes in this book are truly fast and dependable. Everything has been good, and some have been amazing. Berley avoids the pitfalls of vegetarian cookbooks, offering tasty, well seasoned food with truly fresh ingredients without reliance on pasta or bland hippie mush. A non-vegetarian would enjoy these meals.

What surprised me about this book is that the seasonal and menu organization works, and works well. I am not normally a fan of books that are organized this way. I especially find myself avoiding cookbooks that are arranged by menu, as they usually list an overwhelming number of dishes more suited to a dinner party than a weeknight dinner. In this book, both organizational schemes work. I bought this book in summer, and opened to the twelve summer menus. I started with the first three menus. Each recipe used ingredients that are local, abundant, and inexpensive this time of year. This made the shopping painless, and meant I could use produce I might naturally have on hand this time of year (sweet corn, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes). Each menu includes a dish that could stand alone and a simple complementary side dish. The side dishes tend to take about five minutes: put the ingredients in the blender until it is soup, or toss the cucumbers in a dressing. They are also easily left out if you still have leftovers from last night or you're having a smaller meal. The main dishes are quick, use fresh ingredients, and are restaurant quality.

In short, this is the first book I've ever had that could, by itself, form the basis of my weeknight cooking. The 12 summer menus can easily form two weeks of healthy weeknight meals; repeating the pattern all summer is an actual possibility. At the very least, these 12 menus can form a basic meal plan when I'm stuck for ideas. Having twelve realistic weeknight menus that match the season is enough to keep me in ideas all year.
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on January 2, 2016
This is simply the best cookbook I've ever bought. I am slowly working my way through cooking every menu (the book is divided into seasons, with 12 menus for each season - typically an entree and a side dish). I've only made about 9 or 10 recipes so far and they all been delicious. My favorite so far is probably the spicy coconut soup (with collard greens and sweet potatoes - yum) or maybe it was the spring tabbouleh, or the buttermilk strata, or the garlic soup with homemade tortilla strips. I love this cookbook because I don't feel especially confident at cooking or working with unusual ingredients, and Berley really makes it simple.

My favorite thing about this cookbook is really how it structured --- first of all, I love that it is divided by seasons (making shopping for seasonal ingredients at farmer's markets much simpler). I also love that an entree and side dish are paired to make it a no-brainer to choose a complementary side dish and vice versa. The ingredients are laid out simply, including a pantry section, so it is easy for me to take a quick photo with a phone for a shopping list, or to eliminate what I have versus what I need to buy. The best part of the structure: the "Game Plan" - Berley lays out in a few steps what to do to ensure that both entree and side dish complete at the same time - hot, perfect, and ready to eat. Love, love this cookbook.

I also would like to add this is largely vegan as well! There are several recipes that are not (poached eggs over grits or the strata), but I believe vegans would love this one too.

I've added a few photos of some of the meals I've made, thanks to this cookbook. :)
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on February 4, 2009
Wow. This is the greatest cookbook I've purchased in a long time. The book is beautiful to start, gorgeous photos, pleasant layout and high quality paper and binding.

The book is designed in four sections, one for each season. Each season has 12 "menus", each menu containing 2-3 recipes for dishes that go well together. Each season also has it's very own dessert section as well.

A great feature of the book is that every menu starts with a shopping list (divided by food category) and a game plan. The game plan helps you organize what order you cook the 2-3 recipes in so that everything is ready at the same time.

As if that isn't enough, the recipes are varied and interesting. They are also relatively simple. So far I've made the Balsamic Roasted Seitan with Cipollini Onions with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips and a crunchy cabbage salad (winter menu #4), Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata with Broccoli Rabe with balsamic brown butter (winter menu #10) and Caramelized bananas with blood orange and pistachio (winter dessert #3). They were ALL delicious and fairly served 4 people as they stated.

It's worth pointing out that even though this is a vegetarian cookbook I am not a vegetarian. I was just looking for interesting ways to cook vegetables that are in season. The meat substitutes were delicious and some of my other carnivore friends also commented that they were suprised.

I'm delighted with this book and would highly recommend it to anyone.
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on July 24, 2011
I make recipes from this book a few times every week for my family (we are mostly vegetarian, but will eat free-range organic poultry and sustainably-caught fish). The food is amazing, not just amazing for being vegetarian. Peter Berley has become one of my trusted cookbook authors, such that I will try a recipe of his even if it looks less than amazing to me on paper. It always turns out well and, as a result, I've tried vegetables I never thought I would cook with. Berley's recipes make vegetables like broccoli rabe, eggplant, and Brussels sprouts palatable to my young children. I also love the seasonal, fruit-heavy desserts. I cannot recommend this book enough!

I also really love his other book The Flexitarian Table. Those meals are amazing, but take much longer to prepare and I can only swing it on weekends.
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on May 25, 2017
I have included many servings of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods in my diet and I enjoyed adding the author's recipes and variations of it to my collection.
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on March 17, 2016
This is a great book. I have enjoyed everything I've cooked from it, and that is every single recipe from the fall section and a few from winter It's really well laid out, with easy to follow recipes, a helpful shopping list and a"game plan " which makes it very easy to bring tasty vegetable based meals together. I only wish there were more cookbooks like this!
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on July 19, 2013
I found this book at my local library and after trying a few recipes and loving them I decided to buy it. There is not one recipe in the book so far that I don't like and I have made several recipes from it. I love how the menus are categorized in seasons and there is a full menu such as a soup, salad or side dish to go with a main dish. The recipes remind us of our favorite restaurant. The recipes are easy to follow have such amazing flavor and combination of flavors. Love this book....a must have for your kitchen library.
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on February 20, 2017
Extremely disappointing. How can so many Amazonians think this book is so great?! Some of the recipes in this book are a joke. Yes, if I cut a watermelon and put salt on it, that is fresh food fast, but I don't think I should have paid for that "recipe" in the form of a book. Same with edamame. I've never in my life eaten edamame without salt. Therefore, I don't think salted edamame is a novel idea that deserves to be in a cookbook. Finally, Berley's recipe for apples with honey and cinnamon - here are the directions, "Arrange the apples on a platter and serve with honey and cinnamon". You have got to be kidding me. Additional disappointments are the number of recipes calling for eggs, buttermilk, heavy cream, sour cream, etc. I knew this was not a vegan cookbook, but I feel these recipes are unnecessarily heavy on dairy, Finally, many of the recipes require a pressure cooker. I will not buy another cookbook on Amazon because it is not possible to examine them thoroughly. This was a huge disappointment, and I regret buying it.
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on December 3, 2016
Love this cookbook. It has many healthy recipes and uses produce that is in season. Great resource for a vegetarian cook.
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on January 8, 2012
After participating in two cooking classes with Peter, I decided to buy this book. I have tried three recipes so far and they have all been fantastic. They don't require any crazy ingredients but ones that you can easily access. The meals are fresh and can be made in a short amount of time. I have been impressed with the recipes so far and look forward to trying more in the future.
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