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Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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My journey as a serious cook began when I was 18 years old. My mother was dying from breast cancer and was trying a macrobiotic diet to see if it would help. A friend of mine, a vegetarian and a good cook, showed me the ropes so that I could make meals for my family. It didn’t take me long to realize that I loved everything about cooking.
When I moved to Providence for college, I was exposed to international cuisines that I’d never seen in my hometown of Louisville. I subsequently worked in a beautiful Zen Buddhist farm kitchen in California and traveled the world, gradually settling into a career as a software engineer, making dinosaurs for "Jurassic Park" and animation software for Adobe.
My love for cooking deepened through the years. I wanted to do more than simply prepare meals for my own family. I started my blog, Herbivoracious.com, in 2007. Thousands of people see fit to visit daily and share my passion for vegetarian food that draws on global inspirations and, above all, puts flavor and pleasure first. I also spent some months interning at restaurants in Seattle and New York. This book is the next step. I’ve brought together classic techniques and flavor combinations from around the world, along with ideas from cutting-edge cuisine, to create 150 original recipes that you will be able to use for every occasion, from casual weeknight suppers to your fanciest dinner party.
It seems that everyone I meet, even dedicated carnivores, recognizes the value of eating more plant-based meals. I’ve written Herbivoracious both for vegetarians and for others who are just looking to broaden an omnivorous repertoire.
This is the book for you if you’d like to eat lusty Crispy Polenta Cakes with White Beans and Morel Mushrooms, rich and fragrant Brown Butter Cornbread, or an unusual and refreshing salad of Persimmon, Parsley, and Black Olives. I get excited thinking about the aroma of making red curry paste from scratch, the first taste of a new year’s olive oil, or the texture of beautiful chanterelle mushrooms, and I want to share those discoveries with you.
- Publisher : Harvard Common Press (May 1, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1558327452
- ISBN-13 : 978-1558327450
- Item Weight : 2.83 pounds
- Dimensions : 1 x 1 x 1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #825,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If nothing else, you must learn to make Michael's warm grapes and goat cheese, the oyster mushroom appetizer, the spicy tofu and peppers (this recipe is so hugely popular with my family that I have to make it in two skillets to feed everyone. I would add that you can substitute tempeh for the tofu, which my husband prefers, but the children prefer the tofu.), his Sicilian pasta with cauliflower (Spike was right, I was wrong ... but I still say substitute Thai chilis for the dried pepper flakes), and Michael's recipe for pot stickers. I served the pot stickers for New Year's. I made over 100 for 10 people along with side dishes, rice and pre-dinner appetizers. Even still, there were no left overs. :-) There are many other wonderful recipes, these are just the ones we are currently hung up on.
The only recipe that I didn't love was the one for the chickpea cakes. I'm not sure I got the texture right. BUT what I did get out of that experience was Mr. Natkin's recipe for tomato confit. Oh my. Everybody needs this recipe. I actually served the chickpea cakes with the tomato confit to friends who popped in that night. I didn't love the cakes, but they did and they absolutely raved about the confit. I would note that I don't think you have to wait until summer to make this. I used high quality tinned and skinned tomatoes. The final flavor was gorgeous. I tend to not like sweet things and would perhaps reduce the sugar a bit - but everybody else who has had it thought it was perfect.
Don't be intimidated by some of the exotic ingredients. I found a Korean grocery store w/in 10 miles of my house and found everything I need there. But I would add that nearly everything is also available on Amazon. com.
I would add as a final note that my husband had his annual physical last week which is what prompted me to write this review. Our internist has been threatening to put O on statins for years. I responded by refusing to cook meat in the house for the past couple of years (he can order it at restaurants) and over the past two months introducing tofu, tempeh etc. via the Herbavoracious recipes. Net result, LDL 129, HDL 76. As my husband put it, "That tofu is MAGIC!!" :-D You really can't do better than that. In a nutshell, if you are a solitary vegetarian surrounded by carnivores and looking for ways to cook food that all of you will love, this is the cookbook for you.
Enter Michael Natkin and his Herbivoracious blog, and now this cookbook. He LOVES good food, and it shows! The photos are gorgeous, the recipes are just packed with interesting flavors from around the world, and there's not a lentil loaf or gloppy casserole to be found. This is the perfect book for any adventurous eater or cook, vegetarian or not. In fact, it would be a great gift for the foodie friend who's never quite sure what to make for the vegetarians in his/her life.
Some of my favorites so far are the Thai Tofu Salad, Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich, Chermoula-Stuffed Eggplant, and my two all-time favorites, Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-Roasted Cauliflower and Rice Vermicelli with Ginger-Grapefruit Sauce. I used to dislike both grapefruit and cauliflower, and these recipes actually converted me to loving them. I am seriously thinking of cooking my way straight through the book, "Julie & Julia"-style.
If I had to register a criticism, it would be that many of the recipes call for unusual ingredients that require a trip to various ethnic markets. But that's just part of the adventure, and if you're not willing to try a crazy new flavor or two, then you might as well stick with your beige '70's recipes. Also, substitutions are often noted if you truly can't find an ingredient.
My favorite quote from the book: "I like to think that being mindful of the implications of what one cooks and eats is not an _ascetic_ practice but an _aesthetic_ pleasure." Bravo, Michael, and bon appetit!
The ingredients in the recipes are all pretty easy to find at the local grocery store or health food store, and nothing seemed to be extremely pricey. The best thing was that the recipes weren't all just the same, typical "Western-influenced" or boring fusion vegetarian food, but actual authentic ethnic recipes mixed in with contemporary recipes (all of which looked amazing, might I add).
I look forward to the day that she makes me a meal using this book!