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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
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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.
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!!! :-)
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Basic book but really great. The lentil soup with dried apricots is outstanding, have made it a few times, and will be trying other recipes soon. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Debra L. Tysall
I used this cookbook several years ago but lost it in a move. I loved Mollie's recipes so have reordered it! So easy, quick and delicious.Published 12 months ago by Beth
Awesome recipes, cute pictures, just another great from Mollie.Published 18 months ago by Katrina L. Tinto
You are a vegetable heaven angel - not a tasteless recipe in the collectionPublished 21 months ago by mompoppe
Filled with good stuff! Among my favorites are the savory corn cakes with chipotle cream, black beans in mango sauce, bittersweet chocolate banana mousse, and the blueberry-lemon... Read morePublished on August 9, 2014 by Lisa Schaewe
I checked this out at the library, tried Caramelized onion,sauce, green beans and tofu, and chimichurri. Read morePublished on January 25, 2014 by Deborah