Cookbooks

Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Moosewood Cookbook – Introduction

The Moosewood Cookbook was compiled by one of the founders of the restaurant, Mollie Katzen, and represents the eclectic array of dishes that were served there.

Ever since it was released in 1977 this cookbook has been receiving justifiable accolades. It is also worth noting that the restaurant has now been operating for some 46 years which is an outstanding achievement.

In the introduction to the Moosewood Cookbook, Katzen explains how the book came about:

Moosewood is the focal point to which each cook has brought her or his personal culinary heritage from family and friends. (Many grandmothers’ recipes are featured.) Cooking styles are shared and traded at the restaurant. Moosewood’s cooks also frequent the library, to read about the foods of other cultures. The result is an eclectic cuisine, with vegetarian and ethnic emphases, using the freshest ingredients available.

Mollie Katzen

It gained attention both for its quirky presentation (including drawings by the author) and for the relative simplicity of the recipes.

In fact almost an entire generation of people who were seeking a healthier style of food sought comfort in this book.

The Moosewood Cookbook is divided into traditional chapters covering courses as follows:

  • Hot soups
  • Chilled soups
  • Salads
  • Sauces, sandwiches and spreads
  • Entrees
  • A few miscellaneous things
  • Desserts

The soups chapters are particualrly strong. In the hot soups chapter there is an excellent recipe for Gipsy Soup which is based on a combination of sweet potatoes and chickpeas as the base ingredients.

It is spiced up with cinnamon, cayenne pepper, paprika, turmeric and basil and freshened with fresh tomatoes and some chopped celery. The recipe also includes tamari rather than soy sauce due to the gluten-free nature of many tamari preparations.

Take, for example, the innovative recipe for cauliflower and cheese pie cooked in a grated potato pie crust. Here, instead of making a classic pastry with flour, the recipe calls for two cups of grated potato and quarter of a cup of grated onion moistened with 1 egg white and seasoned with a little salt.

This is used to line a pie tin by pushing the mixture out across the bottom of the tin and then up the sides. This is baked in a hot oven for half an hour then a further ten minutes after brushing it with a little oil.

A cauliflower is then broken into small pieces and cooked in a skillet along with onion, garlic and herbs. It is then mixed with eggs and milk to bind it to form the filling for the pie base.

Cheese is placed on the bottom of the pie and then the mixture and then more cheese. This is baked for 40 minutes. This is a simple, yet delicious recipe that does not use exotic ingredients or difficult techniques.

In the sauces section there is a very good recipe for Tahini-Lemon sauce which is based on tahini and yoghurt along with quite a lot of lemon juice. This recipe stands out because there is no sweeteners in it, unlike many other recipes in this book. It is our only criticism. Americans are just so addicted to sugar!

We also love the Ratatouille recipe which combines the classic ingredients of onions, eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers which are cooked until tender and then freshened up with chopped parsley. We always try to make this dish the day before because it improves significantly as the ingredients get to know each other.

The Moosewood Cookbook is the only pure vegetarian book in the Food Lover’s Cookbook Collection but it thoroughly deserves inclusion.

You can read more about Mollie Katzen on her own website by clicking on the link below:

Mollie Katzen Website

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