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The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen Hardcover – September 19, 2000
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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
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.
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There is a theme in Berley's cooking that I find it hard to describe, a philosophy and sensibility quite different from Deborah Madison or Alice Waters. There is a feeling of pedagogical intimacy that develops with Mr. Berley working through the book. His prose makes the reader feel as if he/she were in in Berley's instructional kitchen. Deborah Maidson has a trove of good recipes; Peter Berley's book has a kind of philosophical/spiritual unity.
I had cooked my way through this book for entrees, side dishes, trying this and that [pressure cooker dishes, soups, risottos, curries...] and then low and behold I discover near the back of the book that Peter Berley's bread using the dutch oven method is similar to bread by Ken Forkish ] and Chad Roberson ]. I didn't think Peter Berley did bread, but he does, and he does it well. The entire book has been a revelation for me.
A copy of this book stays out on my countertop at all times because I use it so frequently. I have bought extra copies to give to my friends who ask, "Where did you get this recipe?". I simply cannot say enough good things about this book. Just perfect. Every vegetarian cook should have a copy of this on her/his shelf. The book is a timeless classic.
My personal favorite recipe in the book is the winter root vegetable risotto. I don't include the burdock, since I can't get that in the market. Adding a little more turnip and carrot works just fine for me.
Most recent customer reviews
Definitely try more, and love this book.