Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures

Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures

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by Jeanne Lemlin
     
 

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Sophisticated and stylish vegetarian main course pose the greatest challenge for the busy cook seeking meatless meals. With that in mind, Jeanne Lemlin, the award-winning author of Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, has created 125 recipes for savory vegetarian entrees to suit all occasions. Delicious, healthful, and easy to prepare, the recipes in

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Overview

Sophisticated and stylish vegetarian main course pose the greatest challenge for the busy cook seeking meatless meals. With that in mind, Jeanne Lemlin, the award-winning author of Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, has created 125 recipes for savory vegetarian entrees to suit all occasions. Delicious, healthful, and easy to prepare, the recipes in Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures--Roasted Vegetables with Polenta, Risotto Primavera, Pumpkin and Corn Chowder, among many others--take vegetarian cooking into that magical realm where style and substance produce genuine pleasure.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
It would be hard to beat Lemlin's second book, "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures", winner of a James Beard award and one of the most practical, accessible and dependable cookbooks around. But this new book at least equals her previous effort. Lemlin's food is quick and comforting, the kind you're always in the mood to eat... Buy this book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lemlin (Vegetarian Pleasures), winner of a James Beard Cookbook Award, serves up 125 meatless main-course recipes to which speed of preparation is the key. Most of the recipes require only 30 minutes of prep time, and many can be prepared ahead in stages. While arguably asserting that frozen vegetables can be substituted for fresh ``without sacrificing flavor or texture,'' Lemlin also observes, rather sensibly, that if she used only freshly cooked beans rather than canned she would eat fewer beans. She suggests keeping on hand certain non-perishable staples and rotates them in and out of her recipes. Although there are few lightning bursts of imagination and her spicing tends to the minimalist, Lemlin does offer recipes of flavor and heartiness in helping sizes meant to satisfy, which they do. A recipe for Baked Vegetables with Garlic, White Beans and Olives that seems on paper likely to be a bit bland is, on the plate, just right. (May)
Library Journal
Here are two good books for the increasing number of vegetarians or "almost" vegetarians among us. Lemlin, author of Vegetarian Pleasures: A Menu Cookbook (Knopf, 1986) and Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (LJ 2/15/92), realized that it's always hardest to come up with the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal, and she provides more than 100 recipes for meatless entres. Quick recipes are highlighted, and there is also a chapter devoted to more elaborate dishes especially for entertaining. For most collections. Lee is a New York City caterer, cooking teacher, and author of several other cookbooks, including Chinese Cooking for the American Kitchen (1980). Her latest offers a wide variety of sophisticated but generally uncomplicated recipes, along with dozens of helpful sidebars and suggested menus. Like Diane Shaw's Almost Vegetarian (LJ 9/15/94), Lee's book is directed to those who haven't necessarily given up meat but who are no longer eating it every day; although stricter vegetarians will certainly enjoy her recipes, many include suggestions for nonvegetarian variations or accompaniments. An attractive collection from an enthusiastic and accomplished cook, this is highly recommended. [HomeStyle main selection and BOMC alternate.]

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060950224
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
7.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.65(d)

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Introduction

When it comes to preparing a vegetarian meal, the entr�e is the biggest challenge. Favorite recipes for meatless appetizers, soups, salads, and, of course, breads and desserts are discovered in all types of cookbooks, as well as in magazines or from friends. But an exceptional vegetarian main course, that's a rarer bird. For many cooks, vegetarian and nonvegetarian alike, the meatless centerpiece that is outstanding and memorable is a real find.

So I have decided, in this third book of mine, to face the challenge head-on and offer you 125 recipes for vegetarian main courses. Most are quick and easy, and are so designated. Although my passion for cooking has not diminished over the years, I do have less time for it now with a young child to care for. Quickness, without sacrificing quality, has become the pace in my kitchen. My idea of a quick meal is preparation time of less than thirty minutes. I don't include baking or marinating time because nothing is demanded of me except waiting.

There are occasions, however, when I want to extend myself and prepare an elaborate meal for guests. I've included these more involved dishes in the Especially for Entertaining chapter. Although they demand more attention, they are generally not difficult to prepare. And in many instancesyou can prepare some of the steps in advance.

As in my second book, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, I have maintained a cautious but relaxed approach to health and diet. Although I am watchful of my fat intake, and I cook with a plentiful assortment of fresh vegetables, grains, and legumes, I have avoided turning my recipes into mathematical problems by calculating allthe nutrients and fats. I lament the trend in today's cooking where the kitchen no longer seems a place of joy, comfort, and fun but instead a laboratory in which food has become a problem to be solved. In so many kitchens, cans of vegetable-oil spray now take up counter space next to the calculator.

Sometimes it feels as though the "fat patrol" is out there ready to flagellate those food writers who don't provide nutritional breakdowns with their recipes. Some writers have become so intimidated by this expectation that they artificially keep these figures down by increasing the numberof portions a recipe will serve. Smaller portions mean lower fat figures. This is deceptive.

The servings in this book are generous. For example, a large pizza, a pound of pasta, a main-course grain or pasta salad usually will serve four people in my family. Most cookbooks, however, would say these dishes serve six. Six mouselike portions, perhaps, not genuinely satisfying ones.

The moderate approach to eating has always worked well for me. I choose lower-fat meals most of the time and allow myself to indulge in richer foods on occasion. Dessert is not an everyday treat; instead, I eat it only occasionally and make certain that it is worth waiting for. Brunch is another time when I allow myself to splurge. It is not a meal I often prepare, but when I do, richer foods seem to suit the occasion. Foods very low in fat just don't provide the comforting touch one expects from a brunch, and so in those rare instances I relax my guard. With this approach I never feel deprived of the pleasures of eating, and the kitchen doesn't becomea battlefield. But each person has to decide what works best for him or her and carry out that plan.

Eating and cooking are highly personal matters. Tastes are like fingerprints—no two are exactly alike. But one's tastes can change with education and exposure to new foods. The best way to develop an appreciation for fresh, wholesome food is to cook with these ingredients using adventurous, well-tested recipes that put flavor above all else. Once you begin to prepare meatless meals with grains, vegetables, and/or beans taking center stage, then any mystery surrounding them dissolves, and they soon become familiar additions to your cooking repertory. Couscous, polenta, assorted beans and lentils, lots of fresh vegetables, and sundry pastas can become the building blocks for a new way of eating, providing seemingly endless variety and enjoyment.

If our diets are composed principally of generous amounts of fresh, healthful foods, then allowing ourselves a shortcut here and there does not compromise our standards in any significant measure. For example, frozen vegetables such as kale, spinach, peas, and corn can be great time-savers for the busy cook without sacrificing flavor or texture. Canned beans are another example. If I allowed myself only freshly cooked beans rather than canned versions when pressed for time, I would eat far fewer beans. Cooking beans from scratch takes time and forethought, and with my busy schedule I know I would, more often than not, seek other, quicker recipes if I had to begin a recipe by cooking beans. So this is an allowance I grant myself, and I eat a lot more beans as a result. I do recommend, however, that you snoop around and find brands that don't have a preservative in them. They do exist (at both supermarkets and natural foods stores), and you'll find they are just as good, if not better, than those with disodium EDTA added.

Above all, I want you to enjoy your time in the kitchen. My three books have kept the words "Vegetarian Pleasures" in their titles because the pleasurable aspect of cooking is what is most in danger of being lost with the waxing and waning of so many cooking trends. Preserving that pleasure is of central importance to me. Whether you are a vegetarian or are just tired of having meat as the center of each meal, these recipes are meant to awaken your palate to a new sense of vegetable-based cookery. So with an eye on good health and with pleasure as our guide, let's begin to cook.

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