In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - In My Kitchen, A collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Sep 5, 2017 8:00 AM

By Deborah Madison, copyright © 2017. Photography by Erin Scott. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Our Summary:

From one of the original authorities on vegetarian cooking, Deborah Madison presents a collection of her 100 simplest, pared down vegetarian recipes for easy home-cooked meals.  In My Kitchen contains the recipes Madison says she cooks in her home, reflecting how she cooks and eats today - with sophisticated and layered flavors from recipes that have been pared down and perfected.  Elevating simple flavors with unique - sometimes exotic ingredients, Madison captures the very best of what vegetarian eating can be.

What you need to know:

Get it:  In My Kitchen, A collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes by Deborah Madison, copyright © 2017.  Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, March 28, 2017, Hardcover $32.50 (Amazon $16.79; Kindle $16.99)

See it:  296 pages with beautiful full-color photos of ingredients or finished dishes for a majority of the recipes.  The table of contents is an alphabetical listing of recipe names, but an index helps you narrow in on what you are looking for.  25-pages of introductory and worthwhile reading on cooking vegetarian and ingredient knowledge.

Make it:  100 vegetarian recipes that span the universe from breakfasts to main courses to desserts.

Our Review:

At first glance, In My Kitchen appears rather simplistic: beans with tomatoes and basil, celery root with potato mash and truffle salt, mushrooms and whole tomato ragout with seared polenta.  And while Madison's approach is simplistic, the flavors coaxed out of the simplest of ingredients is nothing short of complex.  But Madison has been cooking and writing vegetarian recipes for decades.  She knows what to do.

It is in her headnotes that she shares most of her knowledge and instructs you in ways to take her carefully crafted recipe and make it endlessly adaptable.  If you like to improvise as you cook, the guidance Madison offers in In My Kitchen gives you what you need to be successful.  Scrambled Eggs Smothered with Crispy Bread Crumbs becomes less about the eggs and more about the bread crumbs offering about 5 different options before moving on to cheese as an optional topping.

Indeed, vegetarian to Madison means dairy and eggs, and other vegetarian staples such as tofu and grains.  In My Kitchen has recipes designed to help you cook lentils, buckwheat, and black rice, as well as Black-eyed Peas and Masa.  And though the order of the book at first appears a bit confusing - the recipes are in alphabetical order rather than by ingredient or section headings, you can easily land on what you're interested in by flipping through the pages and scanning the named ingredient in the page footer.

Beyond any of that, it's the first 25 pages of In My Kitchen that makes you want to cook from this book.  Madison sounds as if she'd talking only to you in her introduction and shares what she's learned that makes her a master.  You feel as if she's confiding in you about how foods and flavors work; how to compose a vegetarian menu, and how to make it all possible.  It's like cooking in your kitchen with an old friend.  Only this friend is here to make sure the very best of flavors find their way to your plate in the very simplest of ways.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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