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Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes

Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes

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by Michael Natkin

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Some of the most creative new minds in the kitchen and the most exhilarating new voices in food writing come from the world of blogs. Michael Natkin, creator of the wildly popular Herbivoracious.com, indisputably fits both of those descriptions. In Herbivoracious: A Vegetarian Cookbook for People Who Love to Eat, Natkin offers up 150 exciting recipes (most of


Some of the most creative new minds in the kitchen and the most exhilarating new voices in food writing come from the world of blogs. Michael Natkin, creator of the wildly popular Herbivoracious.com, indisputably fits both of those descriptions. In Herbivoracious: A Vegetarian Cookbook for People Who Love to Eat, Natkin offers up 150 exciting recipes (most of which have not appeared on his blog) notable both for their big, bold, bright flavors and for their beautiful looks on the plate, the latter apparent in more than 80 four-color photos that grace the book. This is sophisticated, grown-up meatless cooking, the kind you can serve to company - even when your guests are dedicated meat-eaters.An indefatigable explorer of global cuisines, with particular interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and in East and Southeast Asia, Natkin has crafted, through years of experimenting in his kitchen and in loads of intensive give-and-take with his blog readers, dishes that truly are revelations in taste, texture, aroma, and presentation. A third of the book is taken up with hearty main courses, ranging from a robust Caribbean Lentil-Stuffed Flatbread across the Atlantic to a comforting Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-Roasted Cauliflower and around the Cape of Good Hope to a delectable Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans and Tofu. An abundance of soups, salads, sauces and condiments, sides, appetizers and small plates, desserts, and breakfasts round out the recipes.Natkin, a vegetarian himself, provides lots of advice on how to craft vegetarian meals that amply deliver protein and other nutrients, and the imaginative menus he presents deliver balanced and complementary flavors, in surprising and utterly pleasing ways. The many dozens of vegan and gluten-free recipes are clearly noted, too, and an introductory chapter lays out the simple steps readers can take to outfit a globally inspired pantry of seasonings and sauces that make meatless food come alive.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At first it feels like we’ve seen Michael Natkin before: author of a popular food blog with a tread-lightly, Earth-friendly attitude toward eating. But then Natkin busts out recipes for Ethiopian ful medames (fava bean stew) and apio (lemony celery root), and we know these are not the same old tried and true vegetarian recipes. As a result of his global approach, some recipes call on unusual ingredients like tamarind, but an equal number take supermarket staples, like coconut milk, and turn them into something you most likely haven’t tried, such as a recipe for creamy, spicy Jamaican rice and peas. While the something-for-everyone approach can be overwhelming, both vegetarians and carnivores will appreciate his extensive chapter on side dishes. Asparagus with nori butter combines miso and mirin with seaweed to produce a flavorful, salty-sweet dish that could just as easily be paired with his recipe for soba noodles in shiitake shoyu broth with spring vegetables as with simple grilled fish. Both bored vegetarians and conscientious carnivores will appreciate this excellent collection. (June)
From the Publisher
"Michael Natkin has a talent for enticing and boldly flavored creations, in recipes that are colorful, thoughtful, and fresh!"
—Heidi Swanson
"If we had to choose one book to cook from in 2012, this would be it."
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
After introductory notes on ingredients and equipment, Seattle blogger Natkin (herbivoracious.com) offers 150 vegetarian recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, mains, desserts, and more, noting vegan and gluten-free options. Natkin's recipes abound with international influences, and he's carefully adapted them for home cooks (for instance, Tea-Smoked Lychees are made in a conventional pot). Using seaweed, miso, curry paste, chiles, fresh herbs, spices, and vinegars, Natkin makes vegetables exciting again. Flavor-packed sides like Non-Traditional Arroz Verde and Red Curry Fried Rice are especially good. VERDICT With plenty of healthy choices and few truly hard-to-find ingredients, this memorable debut will thrill vegetarians and omnivores with worldly tastes.

Product Details

Harvard Common Press, The
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8.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes
By Michael Natkin

Harvard Common Press

Copyright © 2012 Michael Natkin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781558327450


I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was not exactly a hotbed of haute cuisine. Everyone ate fast-food hamburgers, and vegetables were boiled until they begged for mercy. I remember the house of one friend in particular, whose mother would invariably be chain smoking and cooking a giant skillet of canned ham.

I visited this same friend a few years ago. His mom, quite old now, had just returned from Whole Foods with several bags full of fresh produce. This moment crystallized for me just how radically our food habits have changed. Vegetarian food and cooking have played a big part in these changes. The confluence of our interests in personal health, the environment, and animal welfare has caused even diehard carnivores, like my friend in their diets.

Vegetarian cooking has come a long way. If you are old enough to remember the 1970s, you might recall the horror of mushy loaves of lentils and wheat berries or meals so loaded with carbs that you needed a long nap afterwards. The 1980s and 1990s brought an increased awareness and availability of global ingredients and recipes, although a lack of context, and of in-depth knowledge of the cuisines from which they came, led to frightening fusion. Care for a curried endive pizza with Thai-spiced hummus, Oaxacan pesto, and a drizzle of Moroccan olive tapenade?

Over the past few years, as weLocally made tofu, preserved lemons, and whole black cardamom seeds are available in most cities online. Farmers markets offer us tomatoes worth eating, a dozen varieties of radishes, and strawberries still warm from the field. Most communities are much more diverse, too, giving many of us the opportunity to experience authentic Singapore noodles or Ethiopian injera without a transcontinental flight. We learn cutting-edge methods from world-class chefs, whether they are vegetarian or not. We; we can (and should) always experiment, but they provide a foundation of reliable inspiration to which we can always return.

The upshot of all of these changes is that good vegetarian food is now just good food, period. This is a golden age for creative, intelligent vegetarian cuisine. Never again need anyone say, "That wasn't bad, for a vegetarian meal."

My own obsession with cooking is inextricably linked with vegetarian food. When I was 18, my mom was dying after a decade-long battle with breast cancer. She had decided to try a macrobiotic diet, but she was too weak to do much cooking. My girlfriend at the time (and still great friend), Nicole, was a vegetarian and a good cook. She taught me how to make flavorful, homey meals. I took over our kitchen and started to do all the cooking for my family. I continued to do so after my mom passed, until I took off for college, and thereafter during vacations. In those early years, I subjected my dad and brother to some ghastly combinations. I, and plums (!) that was so bad we all took one bite, laughed, and dumped it in the garbage.

In spite of that rocky beginning, I persevered and became a good cook. I read hundreds of cookbooks and books about food. At college in Providence, I had the opportunity to eat a range of foods, including Italian, Indian, Thai, Armenian, and Portuguese, that I never could have found in Louisville. One year I lived in a co-op house with 13 other students and we rotated cooking, which taught me how to feed a crowd and produced lots of instant feedback. These days, I get even more feedback from the readers of my blog, Herbivoracious.

Inspired by Ed BrownThe Tassajara Bread Book and Tassajara Cooking, I took a break from college and ended up at Green Gulch Farm, which, like Tassajara, is part of the San Francisco Zen Center. I spent several months working the fields of the stunning farm, which is nestled into a valley on the Marin County coast. I planted and later plucked potatoes, greens, and vegetables, which we would often eat that same day. Then I transferred to the kitchen, which was my first professional experience as a cook. Istill-warm vegetables with dirt clinging to their roots. I was hooked and transformed.

Life has its twists and turns, and I was drawn back into the world of software that I had been profoundly engaged with since the age of 14. I helped make dinosaurs and Terminators come to life at George Lucass Industrial Light & Magic and worked on an early interactive television system at Silicon Graphics; for the past 12 years, I've been at Adobe Systems. Through all of that, the food bug never left. On vacations I ate my way through Japan, India, Italy, France, Holland, Mexico, and 48 of the United States as well. I dreamed of opening a restaurant. I continued to intern at restaurants, including Caf in Seattle and Dirt Candy in New York City. I started my blog, Herbivoracious, as an outlet for all of this passion, never imagining that it would be the beginning of a community of tens of thousands of readers who use and comment on the recipes and share their own ideas. The blog has become an incredible catalyst for me to refine and improve my cooking; I never want to post a dish that doesn't taste terrific and look beautiful on the plate.


Excerpted from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin Copyright © 2012 by Michael Natkin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michael Natkin is the author of the immensely popular and award-winning vegetarian blog, Herbivoracious. He's known in the blogging community as a crack photographer, and his photos are reguarly featured on Tastespotting, foodgawker, and other sites. He lives in Seattle.

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Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CuteEverything More than 1 year ago
Michael Natkin starts the book by recounting some of his memories about growing up in Kentucky when vegetarianism was nearly unheard of. The times surely have changed now and he mentions that “good vegetarian food is just good food, period.” I certainly remember when almost everyone I knew thought if there wasn’t meat in the meal, it wasn’t a “real” meal. I’m very glad that has changed! There’s nothing bland or boring about anything in Herbivoracious, all of the recipes are vibrantly colored and beautiful, using natural ingredients and fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are also many vegan and gluten free recipes for anyone who is in need of those. The dishes have gorgeous photos accompanying them, taken by the author, who has gained a lot of experience taking photos for his popular blog with the same title as his book. I loved the global influences, that’s really how my family likes to eat, so I was thrilled to find some new specialties. The two dishes I have tried so far are the Chana Masala (spiced chickpeas) with Mushrooms and the Chirashi (scattered) Sushi, which is served in a bowl. They are both based on favorite flavors of mine, and these dishes did not disappoint and were an exciting way for me to use these familiar ingredients in a new way. There is a wonderful variety of recipes in the book, giving it a very broad and interesting range and it is amazing to see how the author takes common ingredients and transforms them into culinary masterpices. I really enjoyed Herbivoracious; it is an inspiring way for me to look at food and see it’s potential in a whole new light.