- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Rodale Books (September 9, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609615018
- ISBN-13: 978-1609615017
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company Hardcover – September 9, 2014
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About the Author
Avid dinner party throwers, BRUCE WEINSTEIN and MARK SCARBROUGH have most recently published Grain Mains (Rodale, 2012). Bruce and Mark are regular contributors to Fine Cooking and Weightwatchers.com, and make regular appearances on radio and television. They live in Colebrook, CT .
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Top customer reviews
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"Vegetarian..." is very much in the vein of the Yotam Ottolenghi books albeit somewhat less Middle Eastern in its starting place. The cookbook contains 150 meatless recipes that are tagged as fancy enough for company. And, for the most part, they seem like the kinds of things that will taste and look great for those entertaining occasions. What also sets these authors' book aside is an emphasis on combinations frequently incorporating fruit. These are intriguing ideas, but I haven't tried many of them yet, so I'm not sure how I feel about the approach across the board. I suspect that some are much more successful than others.
In any event, this is a book very much worth a look, whether you're a full-time vegetarian or not.
Bringing elegance to vegetarian options for dinner parties. Some are fussy, some are elegant, all are accessible recipes.
SO GLAD I bought this!
You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen with these recipes, away from your guests who will be out sitting around the table waiting for the next course to be served. The suggestions and recipes in this book definitely work best with two experienced, savvy hosts, totally working in tandem. All steps need to be coordinated and well-choreographed: You’ll really need to concentrate! To follow their suggestions you will have an easier time of it if you have a large kitchen, with plenty of counter space and plenty of small appliances, barware, and dishes. (If you are looking for something on a smaller and more casual level, hold your thoughts for a moment, please, and don’t turn or run away.)
If you are yearning to start hosting “plated affairs”, well grab this book! It has some super recipes in it! And it has a lot of great information for getting and keeping it all together. But, if you were hoping to see input on more casual gatherings—maybe not even sitting down at a table—I still think you should consider this book. As I delve further and further into it, I am realizing that there are plenty of recipes and ideas to mix and match to create whatever degree of formal or informal that your heart may desire.
Heck, buy it simply for its great vegetarian and vegan recipes –and forget about the entertaining content. (But don’t buy it for its pictures, there are way too few of them….)
Me? I like to get the majority of my dishes—small or large, sides or main—ready ahead of time if possible. To make things special, I’ll spend time days or weeks prior, working on some over-the-top sauces or other “treasures” that can be stored in the freezer. I read through many, many cookbooks and when I run across something that looks great and can be served at room temp, or maybe just kept heated on the back burner or in a crock pot or warmer, I file that recipe away for my dinner parties. While many of these recipes sound (are) delicious and provide inspiration, not all that many of them will keep me out of the kitchen and allow me to mingle with my guests, tending to their slightest wish and conversing. At least, that is what is most important to me at a dinner party—I don’t care if it’s vegetarian or what.
As I went through this book, I discarded (even scoffed or laughed at) some (actually many) ideas, but at the same time, I grabbed and will not ever let go of many, many others. Then I did a turn-about and began thinking outside (the authors’) box: I realized I didn’t have to do it their way. They may be on a mission to spark some interest for “plated affairs”, but there is enough material here to produce many, many simpler affairs!
So, like I say in my title: Keep an open mind and this book will perform for you! There is plenty from which to choose: Use what you need for your current plan, and set aside the others for another party.
Page layout is sufficient. Type is easily readable for young and old eyes. Ingredient lists are concise and correct per the instructions. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. Words of wisdom are many; pictures are few. I’m not one to need a lot of color pictures to be happy, but even I felt the lack of pictures—not enough to knock it down a star, though…..I can work without the crutch of pictures, even though I sometimes yearn for them!
I’ve already written my basic review above, so if you need to be told—and some seem to like it that way—YOU CAN STOP READING HERE. If you want more info on this book, I’ve included the notes I made as I proceeded through the book:
--A lot of basic and general information on hosting a dinner party. If you have experience, you might get the urge to pass by the first 20 pages or so.
--This book even covers cocktails, both with and without alcohol. The Coconut Lime Cooler is a hit in my book with a cilantro hit in addition to its signature flavors, plus vodka.
--Vegan recipes are marked, and (I assume) are also called-out in the index. The authors also have views on the music you should play during different courses, too.
--The second chapter features ten non-messy finger foods. Problem is, many, (eight, actually), are labor intensive and have to be cooked within an hour of serving. One is a dip and there is a recipe for bruschetta with three toppings. I found the “Butternut Squash, Onion, Espresso” topping intriguing and out of the ordinary. (If your party is happening in your beautiful new kitchen with a show-stopping center island with a beautiful granite top, this second chapter is for you.)
--The authors continue to offer words of wisdom along the way, and in their third chapter—an offering of small plates—they state the rule “no course gets plated until everyone is at the table.” Okay…. Unfortunately, for more than half of these plates, the hosts will be sweating it out in the kitchen getting the plates ready. There are 36 recipes in this chapter: While there is plenty of prep work that can be completed ahead of time, 23 need to be completed just prior to serving. And, I don’t know about you, but the LAST thing I want to do in the midst of entertaining is getting out the wok and going to town on a stir-fry in my party clothes! (I am also not inclined to get out the frying pan either…..)
From that chapter, I really did like the radicchio pickled in Zinfandel and vinegars, then paired with asparagus, and will use it for other dishes. Also great was a dish of ribbons of raw summer squash with an almond chimichurri. The Tomato Gelee Pistachio Shortbread is a real showstopper, with the gelee sitting on top of the shortbread. The idea behind the “Asiago Cookies, Tahini/Lentil Cream” is one of the best in this book.
--Entertaining gets easier with the next chapter of salads and soups. To name two exceptional recipes (at least to my taste): An iceberg lettuce wedge with a lovely Japanese-style dressing, and “Gazpacho Shooters” made of the clear liquid that rises to the surface after pureeing watermelon, bell pepper, scallions and chiles. (I’ve done the same with tomatoes, but not with watermelon—until now!)
--Then it gets more difficult again with the pasta chapter—not that the recipes are difficult, but the actions are not easily accomplished while guests are waiting to be served. (Whoops! There goes the makeup as I drain boiling water from the pasta pot into the sink…) Yes, sure, not a problem for family, and not a problem for two or four close friends. But a dinner party? There is even a recipe in this chapter using poached eggs (without the trick of making them ahead of time and re-heating them….). The lasagna and baked dishes are keepers, though. So is the technique for polenta in the slow cooker.
--There is a pear and gorgonzola risotto in a pressure cooker; I took it out of the pressure cooker and made it the regular way for a week night dinner.
--Then I finally got to the chapter of “Large Plates”: Thirty of ‘em! Loved the “Ricotta/Spinach Dumplings with Parmesan Cream Sauce”, and they are easier to make than they look. And the combo of cauliflower, sweet potato and Thai chili sauce is a good one, too. (I roasted, they grilled, slabs of cauliflower.) The “Stuffed Poblanos, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut Cream” is also worth holding onto. And I think that stuffing escarole is one of the best ideas in the book. (Beautiful picture of it, too.) Liked the idea of stuffed pears, too. Wish there had been a picture….
--There are loads of desserts, too. Vegan desserts, too.
* I received a temporary download of this book from the publisher several months ago. I intend to recommend this book to my friends, and will be buying it for myself in the near future. I really do like this book, and forgive it its shortcomings because the recipes are so good, and the authors seem very dedicated and earnest.
Most recent customer reviews
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