Vegetable Heaven – Review and Giveaway

Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen, published by Hyperion.  Boasts having over 200 recipes for uncommon soups, tasty bites, side-by-side dishes, and too many desserts.  There are over 200 reasons why you want to win this book.

About the Book

“Vegetable Heaven is a cuisine reflecting the evolution of my own cooking over the past twenty-five years.  It embraces sparkling openers and salads, colorful soups made from ordinary and unusual ingredients, spectacular pastas, pilafs, and stews exquisite little “bites”, pizzas, vegetables roasted to perfection – or seared and glazed in a hot wok, savory baked things to eat for brunch or supper, and more desserts than you’ll have time even to dream about.” Mollie Katzen

Vegetable Heaven, is exactly that, vegetable heaven.  The book is chock-a-block full of wonderful recipes.

My Thoughts

This book is so sunny and bright.  Reading it is like having Mollie Katzen in your kitchen with you.  She explains so much and offers so many little notes here and there throughout the book, one can never go wrong with these vegetarian recipes.  It is stunning with colourful artwork and descriptions that are eye-candy to your apatite just reading them.  A few creations come to mind.  With entertaining season coming up, Baked Coated Nuts, Sweet or Savory is a loving touch to a meal or snack.  Red Pepper-Walnut Paste is so versatile, and who doesn’t want Scalloped Potatoes Three Ways. I love that each recipe has ideas about what to serve it with and menu suggestions as well.

Book Highlight

I am so inspired to make this dish and present it during the holidays with my family or to impress the friends at the office potluck.  Make this yourself.  The colours are amazing, it’s easy to make, and everyone will go AHHH!

PERSIAN LAYERED PILAF

After looking through several beautifully illustrated Persian cookbooks, I became infatuated by the photographs of numerous rice dishes, each one more glorious than the next.  Inspired, I made a large batch of rice, divided it into three bowls, and seasoned each one differently: onion, saffron, and pretty green flecks of scallion and parsley in one; grated carrots and cumin in another; and a right magenta blend of beets, garlic, dill and raspberry vinegar in the third.  My friend Tina suggested piling them in layers and sprinkling pistachio nuts on top, and this spectacular triple-decker pilaf was born.

Begin preparing the rice.  While it cooks, prepare the three mixtures.  When the rice is cooked, divide it into three medium-sized ceramic or heat-proof glass bowls.  Stir one filling into each bowl of rice and mix thoroughly.  Cover each bowl.

Firmly press one pilaf at a time into a large, lightly oiled soufflé dish. Cover tightly and reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  To serve the mold, invert onto a plate and top with pistachios.

Pilaf-Style Basmati Rice:

  • 8 to 10 cups water (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 or 3 cups uncooked basmati rice, white or brown
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the water and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Meanwhile, place the rice in a strainer and rinse several times under cold running water.

Add rice to boiling water and let it boil rapidly, 10 minutes for white, 30 for brown, or until the rice is just tender to the bite, (almost done). Drain the rice in a colander over the sink, and rinse with warm running water.

Brush the oil or melted butter over the bottom surface of a 9×13 inch pan, or 10×13 if you have one or for the large batch and spread out the rice in an even layer.  Tightly cover the pan with foil, and bake 10-15 minutes for white basmati, or 20-25 minutes for brown.

Onion-Garlic-Saffron Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 strands saffron, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet.  Add the onion and salt, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat, add the garlic and dissolved saffron, and cook for about 5 minutes longer over low heat.  Remove from heat, and stir in the scallions and parsley. Cover until ready to assemble

Carrot-Cumin Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups grate carrot (about 4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water or orange juice, as needed
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet.  Add the garlic, and sauté for about 10 seconds over low heat.  Ad the cumin, carrots and salt, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.  If the mixture appears to be sticking, add up to 3 tablespoons water or orange juice.  Remove from heat, and stir in the raisins and about 6 to 8 grinds of fresh black pepper.  Cover until ready to assemble.

Beet Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 small beets, cooked until tender, peeled and finely minced (1 1/2 cups minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet  Add the garlic and cook over low heat for about 10 seconds.  (Don’t let it turn color, or it will become bitter.) Add the beets and salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes longer.  Remove from heat and stir in the dill, vinegar, honey and a little black pepper to taste.

Prep time:  1 hour (30 to 40 minutes of work)

  • Beets can be cooked and peeled days ahead
  • Use the food processor to mince the scallions and parsley and grate the carrots
  • Use the same skillet to cook the vegetables for each layer, but don’t bother to clean it between batches.
  • You can assemble the three bowls of seasoned rice up to a day ahead of time.  Cover them tightly and refrigerate.
  • Make this for a special occasion – it serves a lot of people – and your guests will talk about it for weeks.
  • On the other hand, if you’re planning a simple meal for 4 to 6 people, you can easily adapt any one of these layers to serve all by itself.  Just double the amounts of your chosen seasoning mixture, and add it to a medium batch of Pilaf-Style Basmati Rice.

Contest Rules

Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen can be yours by leaving me a comment as well as what items you may be planning to make this holiday season.  Good Luck to the Winner!

You can of course buy your own copy from your local book store,

Or visit Mollie Katzen: #mce_temp_url#

Congratulations to Jeff who won this amazing book.  I know he is so excited to have won.  He was so tickled to see it last Pick-Up day, and I am so excited that his name was picked. Have fun with it Jeff!!

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11 Responses to Vegetable Heaven – Review and Giveaway

  1. Jeff Plank says:

    We’ve been enjoying soup with the vegetables from triple cord these past few months. I’m looking forward to even more of it 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    This recipe book very much appeals to me! I cook a lot of vegetarian meals but am currently feeling very underwhelmed when looking into the fridge and deciding, hmmmm… what to make for din? I am on the hunt for a great inspiring, veggie based, cookbook …and this could be it!

    Over the holidays, I will definitely be ‘cooking’ some festive martinis! As for the main course, it is a great time for long, slow-cooked meals. Roasted winter veggies, soups…and I always like to do a batch of spicy almonds (go well with martinis).

    A
    😀

  3. Carol Blencowe says:

    Hi, I certainly plan to make great roasted vegetables. I coat with a little olive oil and maple syrup. Very simple so delicious. All the wonderful squash is perfect for a roasted squash and sweet potato soup.

    I am interested in the benefits of quinoa and havejust purchased “quinoa 365” cook book.

    I made a wonderful vegetable tart the other day.

    Roasted diced squash, chopped onions, sliced small potatoes, and a little bit of brocolli , all roasted
    Layered this on a square of rolled out frozen puff pastry, adding spinach to the layering as well and topped with goat cheese.

    Then topped it with puff pastry and brushed with egg…..oven at 425 for 30 minutes……

    It was a meal in itself for 2 people….or nice side dish if you are serving more.

    Enjoy if you try it.

    • Mmmmm. Sounds great! That Vegetable Tart sounds like it would be good cold even at a buffet brunch. Thanks Carol for sharing your recipe and doing your own critique on that great cook book!

  4. Jo-Anne says:

    I received this cookbook for Christmas last year and have enjoyed several. The boys both liked the savory corn cakes and the black olive waffles, which we served with guacamole.The cauliflower kukus were also really yummy and since they were made in little muffin cups, were easy to pop in lunch bags for the next day.
    Enjoy!

  5. Jeff Darling says:

    I really enjoy getting ideas from Mollie. We bought our copy of Moosewood after visiting my brother in Montreal and eating some delicious cornbread and chili. There is a really moist, cheesy cornbread recipe that you should try if you get your hands on it.

    As for the holidays, we’re going to brine a chicken, make some cranberry sauce with lemon juice, cinnamon and a pinch of cloves, and some baked yams, among the other more traditional dishes. And stuffing with a nice loaf freshly baked multigrain bread cut up and fried in butter, with sautéed veggies and some miso paste, and some roasted nuts to finish the stuffing off. Oh boy, I do look forward to the holidays.

    I’ll probably also whip up a batch of fresh pasta.

    And roasted carrots and beets with balsamic vinegar and garlic. Yum.

  6. Gladys Funk says:

    I love every Molly Katzen recipe book I’ve seen. Her books always seem so homey, and the recipes unpretentious. I can devour one of her recipe books the way I might a good novel. That’s why I would enjoy making the recipes from this book and sharing the food with friends and family.

  7. Sandra says:

    As a vegetarian I’ve been collecting different vegetarian cookbooks over the years and this one sounds like it would be a wonderful addition to my collection. I’m inspired to try out the Persian Layered Pilaf for my office pot luck. Thanks for the recipe!
    I’m the only vegetarian left in my family so I still roast a traditional turkey for the meat eaters and a tofurky for me from the Quarter Master on Wortley Rd. I cook mashed potatoes, squash, yams, turnips, peas and cranberry sauce for us all. I’m also a big supporter of Christmas bazaars at this time of year and purchased my Christmas pudding from St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Byron last weekend. Theirs is the best served steamed with custard!

  8. Minette Klazinga says:

    I love the sound of this book! I plan on cooking lots this year for the holidays as this will be our first xmas out of our condo and into a house with a real kitchen – finally! I plan on making lots of soups, sauces and COOKIES! I’d like to find more recipes that I can put in the slow cooker as that is my fave thing to come home to after a long day at work.

  9. Ashley says:

    I think this recipe book would really help Chris & I out in the kitchen as we stick to the same veggie recipes (usually whatever is fastest)! It would be great to try new ways to make all the great veggies from our farm box, so hopefully I win this book 🙂

    This year will be a different type of holiday, and to be honest, I don’t plan on cooking a single thing . . . because we’ll be away on our honeymoon!

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