The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen
For people of a certain age, Mollie Katzen’s 1970s hand-drawn and lettered cookbooks were the first place they discovered vegetarian cooking, whether as cooks and parents in the kitchen or as children who were raised on food cooked from Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. A few years have passed, those kids have grown up and so has vegetarian cooking. Today’s vegetarian food is more sophisticated, less dependent on dairy, and reflects the influence of many countries and the wider selection of fruits, vegetables, grains now available. A new generation of vegetarian cooks is emerging, too, and once again, Mollie Katzen is a wonderful guide and inspiration.
• Who wrote it: Mollie Katzen
• Who published it: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
• Number of recipes: 250
• Recipes for right now: Grilled Bread and Kale Salad with Red Onions, Walnuts, and Figs; Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup); Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pinenut Crust; Curried Mashed Carrots and Cashews; Golden Lentils with Soft Sweet Onions; Hazelnut-Wilted Frisee Salad with Sliced Pear; Thai Tea Cheesecake with Chocolate Crumb Crust
• Other highlights: The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation is a substantial book, with almost 500 pages and dozens of photographs and drawings from the author. The book opens with an introduction, pantry notes and 35 menus taken from the recipes for both vegan and vegetarian eaters (almost half of the recipes in the book are vegan). From there the chapters are divided into Soups; Salads; Stews and Their Accessories; Cozy Mashes; Rice and Other Grains; Pasta and Asian Noodles; Suppers from the Oven; Burgers and Savory Pancakes; Vegetables; Sauces, Vinaigrettes, Toppings; and Desserts.
The outside cover is an excellent indicator of what you will find within: colorful, vibrant, forward-thinking food from a talented and venerated cook. Outside, it is sturdy and practical in construction, and within it is imaginative and far-reaching in scope. Those of you who miss the hand-drawn books of yore will enjoy the front and back full-color flyleaves which are hand drawn by Mollie.
As the subtitle suggests, these are indeed recipes for a new generation: healthy and delicious dishes based on fruits, vegetables and grains. While Mollie does not eschew eggs, milk and cheese entirely, you will find a much lighter touch here with many recipes vegan, or easily adopted to vegan. This is not new territory for the author as she has been steadily producing cookbooks with an emphasis on health for several years now and is a charter member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable and an inaugural honoree of the Natural Health Hall of Fame.
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who enjoys fresh, vibrant vegetable-forward recipes. You do not have to be a vegetarian or vegan to cook from (and eat from) this book!
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen
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