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Great Chefs Cook Vegan    by Linda Long order for
Great Chefs Cook Vegan
by Linda Long
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

In my house, the kitchen bookshelf is a shrine to cookbooks of all kinds. Big ones, small ones, colorful ones, books that have only had their spine cracked a time or two, and books that have been in my family for at least two generations. I'm always eager to add a new cookbook to my collection, especially when the book in question is as marvelous as Great Chefs Cook Vegan.

This 272-page hardcover tome is filled with gorgeous, mouthwatering full-color photographs. And just as enticing as the sumptuous images that accompany the recipes are the photos of the well-known chefs who contribute their expertise to this collection. As you might expect, Great Chefs Cook Vegan pays homage to vegan recipes - and to the chefs who go above and beyond 'a plate of unseasoned and overcooked vegetables' to please a vegan's palate.

Twenty-five great chefs and their marvelous recipes are profiled in the book, and each chef is given the attention and respect he or she deserves. A full-page photograph of the chef appears beside a detailed bio before the recipes are introduced. And oh, wow, what recipes! If you think vegan recipes are all about bland vegetables, soups or pasta, think again. Each chef provides recipes for a three or four-course meal, with each dish more spectacular than the last. What surprised me the most about these recipes was how simple to make they seemed, despite the fancy photographs that accompanied them. The home cook should be able to open the book at random and recreate any of these fabulous dishes without much trouble. The instructions are clear, and while some of the more exotic ingredients can be a little intimidating, most recipes can be pared down to their essential ingredients without much trouble.

But back to the food. It's a shame I can only highlight a few of these wonderful recipes, because they're all worthy of mention. From Anne Quatrano's Crispy Fried Okra and Chiles with Pepper Vinegar to David Burke's Yellow Gazpacho and Ratatouille, appetizers have never been more sumptuous. For an entrée, you can't go wrong with John Besh's Fall Vegetables Three Ways and Chanterelle Risotto or Jose Andres' Sautéed Cauliflower with Olives and Dried Fruits. And if you're in the mood for dessert, Matthew Kenney offers a wonderful Mochi Ice Cream, while Michel Nischan treats us to a quick-and-easy Lemon Cheesecake with Mixed Berries.

This wonderful collection of recipes would make a great addition to a home cook's kitchen shelf - whether or not he or she eats vegan meals exclusively. The dishes are varied enough to appeal to a wide range of finicky palates.

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