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Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven: Over 200 Recipes for Uncommon Soups, Tasty Bites, Side Dishes, and Too Many Desserts Hardcover – October 6, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author of the popular vegetarian classic Moosewood Cookbook, Mollie Katzen now offers Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven, another celebration of nature's bounty. The book (also illustrated by Katzen), presents more than 200 approachable recipes for a wide range of vegetable dishes, from openers, soups, and side dishes to pastas, condiments, and entrees. The recipes draw freely from diverse culinary styles, and cooks of all kinds should enjoy the dishes, as well as Katzen's casual, spontaneous tone. Standout recipes include Roasted Eggplant Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Tomato-Fennel Consommé, Giant Mushroom Popovers, and Frittata with Red Onions, Roasted Garlic, Greens, and Goat Cheese. The book's "Side-by-Side" chapter, a collection of small dishes meant to be served together, features bean and grain delights like Coconut Rice with Ginger, Chilies, and Lime, Tuscan Bean and Pasta Stew, and "Don't Knock 'Em Till You Try 'Em" Soyburgers. Condiments and sauces are used to enliven simple vegetable fare and Katzen accordingly offers recipes for such flavor boosters as Red Onion and Shallot Marmalade, Summer Fruit Salsa, and Chipotle Cream. There are dessert recipes, too, for old favorites like Ginger Thins and Homemade Butterscotch Pudding and "newer" enticements like Mexican Chocolate Cake, Pineapple Pomegranita, and Blueberry-Lemon Mousse Pie. With a selection of seasonal menus and useful ingredient notes, the book brims with modern vegetarian cooking ideas presented in Katzen's much-loved style. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author

Now a household name, author and illustrator Mollie Katzen is widely credited with bringing vegetarian cooking into the mainstream. Born in Rochester, New York, she studied at the Eastman School of Music, Cornell University and the San Francisco Art Institute, where she received a B.F.A in painting. Katzen's published her first cookbook, The Moosewood Cookbook, in 1977, which showed millions of Americans that eating healthy doesn't have to mean sacrificing taste or style. Her classic illustrated cookbooks include The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Still Life with Menu, and Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven. Katzen has also published several award-winning cookbooks for children, and is currently a featured writer and illustrator for Children's Television Workshop On-Line, as well as Sesame Street Parent's Magazine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (October 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786862688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786862689
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Huebel on January 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've never created such flavorful and satisfying dishes from such simple recipes as I have with this book. A good example is the roasted beans with garlic and olives: two or three ingredients to buy at the grocery store, ten minutes of work, two items to wash when you're done, and a rich, tasty dish that I was proud to present to dinner guests.
The introduction, which unfortunately is not included in the preview pages, gives a good idea of what to expect: food "prepared in sumptuous, yet uncomplicated ways.... opulent, yet clean and simple". _Vegetable Heaven_ isn't a vegan cookbook, but most of the recipes are vegan or adaptable. It stands out among such cookbooks for its simple, flavorful, *filling* dishes. The Achille's heel of most vegan cooking is the inability to combine flavor with the heaviness that creates a satisfied feeling after a meal. In recipe after recipe, _Vegetable Heaven_ shows how this difficulty can be overcome. Since the recipes are filling and don't use as many exotic ingredients as some vegetarian cookbooks, they're useful when cooking for unadventurous eaters, such as parents, children, and meat-eaters. Some of the recipes are quite spicy, but a few are bland children's food or comfort food. The descriptions are clear, so you won't be unpleasantly surprised.
Besides being full of great recipes, the book is durable, exceptionally well laid out, and mostly a pleasure to use. However, it doesn't lie open unless you're using a recipe from the middle third of the book.
Of course, _Vegetable Heaven_ doesn't try to be all things to all people. It's not a report of gastronomical research and innovation, so if you're an experienced cook, don't expect to be provoked and stimulated on every page. It's also not a coffee-table cookbook -- the artwork is pleasant but not captivating, and there are no photographs of professional presentations of the dishes.
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Format: Hardcover
I have Mollie Katzen's older cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and while that book is nice to flip thru, I haven't found it terribly inspiring. Many of the recipes are full of eggs, cheese, dairy and, well, I cook cause I like to play in the kitchen, and frankly I've played with eggs & cheese & dairy far too long to get toked about recipes that fall back on such pedestrian ingredients.
But this book... OH MY!!! Her intent here is to create uncomplicated dishes that celebrate the full bounty & beauty of vegetables, grains, spices, nuts, and seasonings. The recipes are amazing! Some require only one ingredient, even, and many simple-but-creative cooking techniques are explained that will probably expand your kitchen repetoire considerably.
Recipes range from elegant & sophisticated dishes that sparkle on your table, to simple rustic peasant fare that fills your belly without overloading on the fat. And LOTS of sauces, condiments, and other "extras" that will add color & flavor to almost any meal.
A word about the so-called exotic ingredients she sometimes calls for: Mollie often suggests a substitute if you can't find something, but honestly, most of this stuff is pretty easy to find anywhere --even the unusual stuff-- if you put a little effort into looking for it. I live in a verrrrry small rural town in the middle of Georgia, and I have been able to find almost everything I need at my "local" Kroger (have to drive 45 mins into town, but I do that every week anyway). Get familiar with your store's ethnic & natural foods aisles, and you'll be surprised at what's available.
Buy this book, and enjoy it. Such deliciousness!!! :-)
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very well thumbed cookbook in my house. We are not vegetarians but I have prepared many of the recipes for my family and they have been well received. I like the fact that Katzen's recipes have become so much more light and sophisticated and also more flavourful than those in her earlier cookbbooks-they relied too heavily on cheese and fat. The "Bulgur Noodles" alone are worth the price of this book. They are amazing! I also appreciate the sidebar tips and suggestions. The artwork is very attractive, as is the layout in general. The lack of photographs is not a problem-just watch the series on television.
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Format: Paperback
I try to be a fan of Mollie Katzen's... her passion for good fresh food is obvious; her drawings a refreshing personal touch; her subject matter (fresh, vegetarian ingredients) all appeal to me, not to mention that she is one of the bestselling vegetarian cookbook authors in history.

Unfortunately, the recipes are the weak point in this ambitious book that emphasizes combinations of dishes, smaller plates, for a more varied meal. In fact, such variety is at the heart of the problem for the weekday cook looking to supplement a recipe collection with tasty, simply prepared meals. Too much clean up, too much time, too many ingredients, and sadly, too many flavors, make this book nothing more than a dust collector in my library.

The foreword is misleading...Katzen's first sentence reads that she imagines a world with "all kinds of vegetables, bursting with flavor and prepared in sumptuous, yet uncomplicated, ways..." Further, she espouses that her collection seeks "to enhance, rather than overpower, the natural taste of the ingredients..." Really?

I spent two hours laboring over Firecracker Red Beans, mixing the recipe's 18 ingredients, only to end up with a pan of weird, overspiced beans that tasted like a spice cupboard explosion and inspired nothing more than a "hmmm..." at our 4th of July party. Same for the two-page Persian Layered Pilaf, which takes far longer than the 1 hour listed, calls for no less than 23 ingredients and again elicited nothing more than ho-hum reactions from both me and my husband. In addition, both recipes and many others I've tried, tend to leave me with more dirty dishes than I'd bargained for. And that's for just one recipe--forget the "tiny plates" concept, which calls for ridiculously long commitments to prepping and cleaning.
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