A few weeks ago I wrote a post about whether to review, or not review. And I made the decision to help support authors, brands, products, and potentially even services that I use, and love.
It seems only fitting to start with a review of The Moosewood Collective’s latest cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Favorites.
The Moosewood books hold a special place in my heart. When I first started to cook years ago, I collected as many Moosewood books as I could find. To me, the Moosewood Collective always seemed to embody the principles that I was just starting to embrace: healthy, conscious eating from local, organic farms and purveyors.
Although I’ve never been a pure vegetarian, I try to mix plant-based foods into my diet as much as possible. And lately, I’ve been loving the clean eating mindset even more than usual.
The Moosewood books have always been such a great resource – you’re just as likely to find a homegrown American dish as you are to find something inspired by the Middle East, Asia, or Africa. It’s multi-cultural cuisine at its best, healthy, a little off the beaten track, and always delicious.
When the Moosewood publishers reached out about reviewing their new book, I jumped at the chance. How could I not? This book brings me squarely back to my roots, I fondly remember flipping through soup-stained copies of New Classics, and Cooking for a Crowd, searching for inspiration for a dinner party or quiet meal at home.
And like the books that preceded it, this book doesn’t disappoint.
Let’s talk about optics first: the padded book cover trend. I don’t know who first thought of this – it might have been that other vegetarian genius Yotam Ottolenghi, whose book Plenty swept through home kitchens from coast to coast. But there’s nothing more comforting than crawling under the covers with a giant cookbook with a padded cover. It’s the little things, Moosewood, thanks for taking note.
There’s something for everyone in Restaurant Favorites, their attempt to catalog from thousands of recipes the tried-and-true techniques and must-include dishes from their 30-year history as one of America’s most beloved vegetarian restaurants.
The result from this process is a book that’s suitable for just about everyone. Novice cooks will appreciate easy recipes like the simple smooth guacamole, classic hummus, and pasta with a raw tomato sauce. Yet more advanced cooks with an appetite for adventure will welcome dishes like Rumbledthumps (it’s Scottish, and on my list of things to cook next) the Indonesian Rice salad (which I topped with spicy Thai Baked Tofu).
Yes, it’s vegetarian. And vegan. And my 6’6” husband ate three bowls in quick succession, requesting that I make a triple batch of it next time.
Even recipes that seem like basics have a slightly new spin. Like these Chocolate-Chocolate chip cookies – chewy on the inside with the addition of cream cheese (who would have thought), but crispy on the outside. They were outstanding. My new go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
And as a cream of mushroom soup lover – and clearly not the red can variety – I just had to try the Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup. More cream cheese (twist my arm why don’t you) and some seemingly incongruent ingredients like soy sauce, dill, and paprika. Yes, Nelly, it worked. Trust me on this one. Rich and hearty, it was so satisfying on a cold Fall evening.