Friday, February 25, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook

As a college undergraduate in the 1970s, I just missed the rather militant student rebelliousness of the '60s.  I was, however, witness to a quieter dietary revolution.  Vegetarianism was just becoming a focus, especially on college campuses, and as a student at Cornell University I found myself in an area where this idea was at the forefront.  Moosewood Restaurant began operations in Ithaca, New York, in 1973 as a member-owned collective, featured vegetarian food, and it is still a popular dining destination to this day.  In 1977, Ten Speed Press published the Moosewood Cookbook written by Mollie Katzen, once a Cornell student and one of the Moosewood Collective members.  This book, hand-lettered and illustrated by the author, put into print many of the restaurant's vegetarian recipes.  At a time when vegetarianism was still a new concept for most, Katzen's unique book helped move this idea into the mainstream.

A newer version of the book was published in 1992 and featured more health-conscious versions of the original recipes as well as some new ones.  The original Moosewood Cookbook was followed by the publication of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (Ten Speed Press, 1982), which offered more in-depth coverage on some topics from the first book as well as additional vegetarian recipes.  An updated version of this book was published in 1995.  Katzen has published a number of vegetarian cookbooks over the years, and has become a well-known authority on vegetarian cooking.  However, her latest book, Get Cooking (Harper Studio, 2009), is not vegetarian.  It is geared toward beginning cooks and contains recipes with a minimum number of ingredients plus detailed instructions.

The New York Times has listed Moosewood Cookbook as one of the ten best selling cookbooks of all time.  In 2007, the James Beard Foundation inducted this book into its Cookbook Hall of Fame.  Author Mollie Katzen was named one of five "Women Who Changed the Way We Eat" by Health Magazine in 1999.

I own copies of both versions of Moosewood Cookbook.  After all of these accolades, I decided to post a recipe from the original book here, but found myself unable to choose just one.  As a result, two of my favorites (modified only slightly from the original recipes) are posted today!  I am not a vegetarian, but I do not eat much meat and actually prefer to have meatless meals often.  I think that even meat-lovers might enjoy these recipes.  Go ahead and add some meat if you want --  I won't tell!

Gypsy Soup

2 C. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. peeled, diced sweet potatoes
1/2 C. diced celery
3/4 C. diced green bell pepper
3 T. olive oil
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. salt
dash of cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
3 C. stock or water
1 T. soy sauce
1 C. diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C. cooked chickpeas

In a large pot, sauté the first five ingredients in olive oil for about five minutes.  Add seasonings and stock or water.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through.  Serves 4.

Note:  This recipe is only found in the original version of the cookbook, and not in the updated one.  The soup should be a combination of an orange and a green vegetable, but any similar-colored vegetable can substitute for the ones called for in the recipe.  Since I have never liked green bell peppers, I use frozen peas instead.

Spinach-Ricotta Pie

1 C. flour (4/5 white plus 1/5 whole wheat is nice)
1/3 C. cold unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. cold buttermilk

Cut together flour, butter, and salt with pastry blender or two knives until blended and crumbly.  Add enough buttermilk so that mixture holds together and forms a ball.  Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill one hour.  On a floured surface, roll out into an 11-inch diameter circle and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.  Flute edges of crust.

8 oz. baby spinach
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1 T. butter
1 lb. ricotta cheese
3 beaten eggs
3 T. flour
1/2 C. grated cheese
dash of nutmeg

Sauté first five ingredients in butter until spinach is wilted and onion is soft.  Combine all ingredients until well blended.  Pour into crust.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is set.  Serves 6.

Note:  The original recipe calls for 1 C. sour cream spread over the top of the pie and sprinkled with paprika before baking, but I leave this step out.  Also, feel free to used a pre-made crust if you would rather not make your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment