- Hardcover: 468 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (21 May 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618239979
- ISBN-13: 978-0618239979
- Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 4 x 25.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends Hardcover – 21 May 2004
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About the Author
JACK BISHOP is the executive editor of Cook s Illustrated and a principal cast member of the PBS television show America s Test Kitchen. He is the author of The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook and Vegetables Every Day. He edited American Classics and Italian Classics, which won IACP Awards in 2002.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Every meal I’ve made out of this book has been delicious, and, as the title promises, easy to prepare. Usually, I have all of the prep work done in less than twenty minutes, and have dinner done and on the table within an hour.
I love the seasonal layout. It seems so full of common sense, that I can’t believe more cookbooks aren’t laid out this way. I also really like that vegetables are the star in this book (which isn’t always the case in every vegetarian cookbook you pick up) and that it doesn’t bombard you with unusual ingredients that you will buy for one meal and then never find a chance to use again. Everything that I have bought specifically for one recipe appears again in a later recipe, which is helpful to me when I don’t feel like trying to figure out how to clean half-used ingredients out of my pantry.
Most servings seem to be configured for four people, which is perfect for my husband and I, as we usually have the meal for dinner and then a day or two of leftovers for lunch. The book also pulls from a lot of different sources for its recipes. You’ll find Asian, Caribbean, Italian, and good old American recipes side by side, which is great for mixing up what you’re having for dinner and keeping yourself interested in aforementioned leftovers.
Overall, this book is exactly was what I was looking for, which is a book with easy to prepare, and completely delicious vegetarian meals. I highly recommend it!
And the taste of the dishes is just fantastic. Never thought I'd enjoy tofu - yet some of the tofu recipes are simple, easy and really tasty. My wife likes the tofu recipes so much that when I offered to make dinner for her birthday, since we could not go out that night, she chose a tofu recipe from this book.
This book has really changed our eating habits and made us eat more healthily as well.
The second virtue of the book may actually be a requirement for a seasonally organized book. This is an additional table of contents organized by type of dish. The categories so organized are Soups and Stews; Lighter Salads; Main-Course Salads; Sandwiches and Tortilla Dishes; Pasta and Noodles; Rice, Grains, and Couscous; Beans and Lentils; Eggs; Tofu and Tempeh; Pizzas and Tarts; Vegetable Main Courses; Side Dishes; and Accompaniments. I am not up on all the finer distinctions in the vegetarian / vegan world, but the presence of distinctly eggy dishes such as omelets, frittatas, and souffles tells me that Mr. Bishop is on the liberal end of the vegetarian spectrum.
The third virtue of the book is the great variety in foods used in the dishes and in the great variety of ethnic influences. Italian pastas, frittatas, beans, and veggie dishes are cheek and jowl with lots of Middle Eastern, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Japanese, and Latin dishes. Tofu, miso, grains, and couscous are given prominent roles in ethnic dishes. I have seen some vegetarian cookbooks that claimed to declaim classic dishes with virtually no rice dishes represented. True to his `best recipe' background from `Cooks Illustrated', Mr. Bishop's techniques are dead on in every case I checked. His rice technique is especially keen on the finer points of difference between cooking simple long grain rice and rice for `sticky rice'.
The fourth virtue of the book is set of sidebars on ingredients and techniques. In one, for example, he echoes a finding in `Cooks Illustrated' that points out that American imitations of Indian Basmati rice simply don't cut it. The sidebars plus headnotes leave no mistaken impressions that this is fast or simple cooking. One's first experience in preparing a dish from fresh artichokes or fava beans will demonstrate that some veggie delicacies can be very finicky and time consuming to prepare.
The fifth virtue of the book is in the pantry recipes or, more accurately `Everyday Basics' with recipes for stocks, doughs, basic rice preparations, basic potato preparations, and basic corn meal preparations. These are all `seasonless' recipes, as good rice, potatoes, and corn meal are available the year around. The best finds in this chapter are the three different vegetable stocks, one traditional, one Mediterranean with basil and potato, and one Asian with dried shiitake and ginger. Bishop demonstrates great respect to his veggie ingredients by simmering for no more than an hour.
The last virtue I consider valuable for you, dear reader, to know is the fact that Bishop is neither preachy nor rigid about his vegetarianism or seasonality. He freely confesses to using imported materials out of local season and makes recommendations for supermarket replacements for stocks and such (look for stocks in cardboard aseptic containers). This liberality extends to the fact that several recipes are not strictly from their seasonal chapter. I am especially happy that Mr. Bishop did not bring along the `Cooks Illustrated' dialectic of examining lots of unsuccessful methods, which cooks have known to be bad ideas for centuries.
I do believe there are some recipes that are less than stellar. There are times when `simple' leaves you with the feeling that something is missing, but then, maybe this just means you palate needs some education. Overall, I found lots of sound ideas, albeit few with which I was unfamiliar. Sometimes, I think certain culinary ideas, even ideas which may be centuries old, suddenly acquires a currency among culinary writers. All of a sudden, everyone is talking about adding Parmesan rinds to soups and broths. Mr. Bishop uses this very simple idea in the most novel manner by adding it to the broth to be added to risotto in place of the conventional chicken stock. Thank you, Jack.
Highly recommended for the vegetarian and all others searching for reliable seasonal recipes and nutritious dishes. Intermediate skills required. Few expensive or truly hard to get ingredients.