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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food Hardcover – October 15, 2007
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Author of a dozen bestselling cookbooks and beloved columnist for The New York Times ("The Minimalist"), Chef Mark Bittman bookends his award-winning modern classic, How to Cook Everything, with How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian the ultimate one-stop resource for meatless meals. Refreshingly straightforward and filled with illustrated recipes, this is a book that puts vegetarian cuisine within the reach of every home cook. You'll want to spend countless days in the kitchen with Bittman's latest culinary treasure.
Recipe Excerpts from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
5 Questions for Mark Bittman
Q. What motivated you to write a comprehensive cookbook of vegetarian recipes right now?
A: What motivated me--several years ago--was seeing the handwriting on the wall: That although being a principled, all-or-nothing vegetarian was not a course of action that would ever likely inspire the majority of Americans, the days of all-meat-all-the-time (or, to be slightly less extreme, of a diet heavily dependent on meat) could not go on. Averaging a consumption of two pounds a week or more of meat (as Americans do) is not sustainable, either for the earth or our planet. And, as more and more of us realize this, I thought it was important to develop a cookbook along the lines of How to Cook Everything, but without meat, fish, or poultry. Needless to say, there’s plenty of material.
Q: In the course of writing How to Cook Everything Vegetarian did your approach to food shopping, cooking or dining change significantly?
A: Completely. The more I tried new ways of cooking with vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, the more I enjoyed them. I probably eat sixty or seventy percent fewer animal products than I did three years ago.
Q: Because meatless cooking isn't limited to a single cuisine, your recipes introduce the flavors and techniques of many different cultures and cuisines. How did you manage to cover so much ground? Seems like a daunting task.
A: It’s what I do.
Q: Out of the more than 2,000 recipes in the cookbook do you have a favorite dish or dessert that you turn to again and again?
A: No. There are hundreds I wish I could cook all the time, but one can only cook and eat so much. But in the last week, for example, I’ve made Fava Bean and Mint Salad with Asparagus; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes; Cornbread Salad; and Red Lentils with Chaat Masala.
Q: Why is simplicity so important in cooking? What does the novice home cook need to know to cook and eat well?
A: Simplicity is only important because it’s the way to learn to cook; it’s very difficult to start cooking with complex dishes. For people to learn to cook, they must start simply--the way everyone used to cook. And, for most of us--including me--there’s no reason to carry things much further. Even the simplest cooking is rewarding, enjoyable, and--obviously--the healthiest and best way to eat.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Marking how mainstream vegetarian cooking has become, the next must-have for the vegetarian cook's shelf comes from New York Times Minimalist chef Bittman, an avowed meat eater. And that ensures one of this massive compendium's many attractions: a wealth of recipes that don't scream vegetarian and plentiful guidelines to make cooking vegetarian as intuitive as cooking with meat. Like his now classic How to Cook Everything, this book opens with terrifically useful, straightforward discussions of essential ingredients, appliances and techniques, which Bittman builds on throughout in to-the-point sidebars and illustrated boxes. The recipes flow thick and fast in his theme-and-variations style: Green Tea with Udon Noodles is followed by concise instructions for making it 17 different ways, while Coconut Rice gets five additional takes and Kidney Beans with Apples and Sherry four; other lists (six Great Spreads for Bruschetta or Crostini, 10 Garnishes for Pozole with Mole) abound and inspire. New vegetarians and vegetarians cooking for omnivores will appreciate Bittman's avoidance of faux meat products in favor of flavorful high-protein dishes like Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce and Bechamel Burgers with Nuts. Even owners of the original book will find much new to savor while benefiting from Bittman's remarkable ability to teach foundational skills and encourage innovation with them, which will help even longtime vegetarians freshen their repertory. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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1. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by: Mark Bittman (this book)
2. The Joy of Cooking (every kitchen should basically come with this book pre-installed)
3. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by: Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. & Zoe Francois (and the local baker hasn't seen us since)
I purchased this in 2005. I figure thirteen years is a long enough trial period so I'm finally writing a review. Before I purchased this book I could grill steaks and cook pasta from the box but that was about the extent of my culinary expertise. Thanks to this book I can make eggs any way you want, or lobster bisque, or truss a bird efficiently.
This is the cookbook I pick up first. I appreciate that Bittman lays down fundamentals (examples: what equipment you should have in your kitchen, or what you need to know about buying fish) and also suggests variants for recipes. I've loaned it out to other folks probably a dozen times and most of my friends wound up buying their own copies - or borrowing mine again :)
If you're already a chef you probably won't pick up anything new but if you're just starting out in the kitchen (or starting over), you'll find it invaluable.
This will be the best cook book you'll buy, ever, and you'll save by discovering so many things you can cook from what you already have, or common ingredients and spices. I am a stay at home mom of three, and would just cringe whenever I'd serve dinner, I didn't know what the heck to cook and so it was basically a rotating menu of baked/breaded meat, mashed potatoes or plain rice, and a canned/frozen vegetable. Maybe some pasta and sauce, mac and cheese, box sides, etc. Sometimes I'd get fancy and cook a tuna or broccoli casserole. To make matters worse, I'm a strict vegetarian and s I'd only eat the sides, or pre packaged stuff. I am telling you this to say that within an hour or 2 of getting this book I was able to put together a weeks worth of much tastier, more wonderful meals that everyone loved using my crappy pantry ingredients/common spices I happened to have.
When I went grocery shopping, I knew exactly what to get and my cart was mostly pantry ingredients and fresh veggies--which was always my goal but didn't know where to start. The leftovers (especially if you freeze and rotate) make great (cheap/tasty) lunches....and there's lots of recipes that use leftovers too. I also purchased the vegetarian version, which is just as amazing!
I haven't liked every recipe I've tried, but there's so much variety in this book that I don't mind that. Very different from some other (especially "healthy" or "simple") cookbooks where I can flip through and out of hundreds of recipes none of them sound appealing. Speaking of simplicity, here's someone who gets it. There isn't a lot of "weird" in here - these are recipes that I could make part of our regular rotation.