Marking how mainstream vegetarian cooking has become, the next must-have for the vegetarian cook’s shelf comes from New York Times Minimalist chef Bittman, an avowed meat eater. And that ensures one of this massive compendium’s many attractions: a wealth of recipes that don’t scream vegetarian and plentiful guidelines to make cooking vegetarian as intuitive as cooking with meat.
Like his now classic How to Cook Everything, this book opens with terrifically useful, straightforward discussions of essential ingredients, appliances and techniques, which Bittman builds on throughout in to-the-point sidebars and illustrated boxes.
The recipes flow thick and fast in his theme-and-variations style: Green Tea with Udon Noodles is followed by concise instructions for making it 17 different ways, while Coconut Rice gets five additional takes and Kidney Beans with Apples and Sherry four; other lists (six Great Spreads for Bruschetta or Crostini, 10 Garnishes for Pozole with Mole) abound and inspire.
New vegetarians and vegetarians cooking for omnivores will appreciate Bittman’s avoidance of faux meat products in favor of flavorful high-protein dishes like Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce and Bechamel Burgers with Nuts. Even owners of the original book will find much new to savor while benefiting from Bittman’s remarkable ability to teach foundational skills and encourage innovation with them, which will help even longtime vegetarians freshen their repertory.
Author: Mark Bittman
Year of Release: 2007