Moosewood Collective: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home – Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day

 Fast and Furiously Delicious Recipes

I’m a Cornell grad, and one thing I remember with particular pleasure about my time in Ithaca, NY are those occasional forays down the Hill for lunch or (more likely) dinner at Moosewood, for years one of the local standout restaurants. Although not a vegetarian, I try not to eat meat every day of the week; and for a tasty, healthy alternative, there just isn’t anything better than Moosewood’s recipes. No question that I had to get their cookbook – several of them, actually – before I finally left town.

“Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home” begins with two short introductory sections about the use of time and nutritional analysis. The recipes are then grouped into individually introduced sections covering soups, dips, spreads and quick breads, salads and sides, dressings, salsas and sauces, main dish salads, gains, beans, pastas, stews, stir-fries and sautes, fish, sandwiches, filled tortillas, and pizzas, eggs and pancakes, and desserts. The book closes with a pantry list, a guide to ingredients, chapters on preparation and techniques, fresh herbs, menu planning and quantities (including liquid and dry measure and temperature conversion tables – particularly helpful for those of us who live in a “metric system” country); as well as a number of special lists, grouping the featured recipes according to their qualification as nondairy and vegan, kid-pleasers, recipes preparable in 30 minutes or less, and recipes suitable for entertaining, buffets and pot-lucks. What I like most about this book – besides the overall outstanding quality of the recipes and the fact that most of them are very quick and easy to prepare – are the countless little insider tips regarding the shopping for as well as preparation and storage of idividual dishes and their combination with other dishes or ingredients, in addition to the background information on the names, provenance and cultural context of the many Non-Western recipes (not to mention that so many of those recipes are included in the first place).

It’s hard for me to pick a personal favorite; there are so many … for soups, I guess I’d pick the Mexican tomato lime soup, for dips the spicy peanut dip, for sides the mushrooms in lemon marinade, for dressings either the creamy pine nut vinaigrette or the lemon sesame dressing, for sauces the hazelnut and red peppers sauce, for main dish salads the sweet potato salad, for grains the herbed lemon pilaf with almonds … and for salsas, pastas, stews, tortillas, pizzas, eggs, pancakes and desserts, every single one! (Sorry, really can’t make up my mind there; it’s more a question of mood and, of course, what ingredients I happen to have handy.) But whether you’re just cooking for yourself or for family and friends, there should be something for everyone in this book; regardless whether you are vegetarian/vegan or not. Highly recommended!

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Sarah R. Labensky / Alan M. Hause: On Cooking

Culinary Arts

“Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.” – Robert Burton, British author (1621).

One of the many neat features of studying at Cornell University is that, even if you’re not enrolled in its famous School of Hotel Administration, you can attend one of the cooking and wine tasting classes organized especially for non-Hotel School students, and get at least a flavor of the five star culinary instruction provided by the chefs teaching at that school. (That is, you can do so if you’re willing to get up an extra hour or two early on the morning of non-Hotel School student enrollment, and if you’re lucky enough to beat the crowds or at least slip in as a substitute participant.) In addition to numerous recipes and pieces of valuable advice, information and memories – particularly of the last night, on which we had to put together a four-course meal, fine dining style, complete with menu, garnishments and perfectly laid table – Cornell’s “cooking class” has enriched my kitchen by two items I have since found it very hard to do without: A professional grade chef’s knife, and Sarah Labensky’s and Alan Hause’s “On Cooking,” which we used as our textbook.

Much more than that, however, “On Cooking” is in fact a near-complete reference on everything related to the culinary arts, from the history of cooking to new foods developed in the 20th century, from sanitation and safety to nutritional values, from recipe writing to menu composition, from knifes and other pieces of equipment to edible kitchen staples, from the principles of cooking to various techniques and food presentation – and of course, on every conceivable kind of food, from coffee, tea, spices and condiments to dairy products, stocks, sauces, soups, red and white meats, charcuterie, fish and shellfish, eggs, vegetables, potatoes, grains, pasta, salads, fruits, sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, canapes, breads, pies, pastries, cookies, cakes, custards, creams and frozen desserts. Along the way, numerous tables, diagrams and pictures illustrate and exemplify the given information, making it easy to digest and memorize. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography and recommendations for further reading, and a detailed glossary of essential culinary terms.

Recipes are chosen to match individual chapters, and provide both a practical application and a more profound understanding of the respective chapters’ subject matter. They include everything from American and international classics to numerous more unusual dishes.

At 1100+ pages a veritable brick, despite its size “On Cooking” has become as much a key part of my kitchen as my chef’s knife, my tea strainer and various other pieces of equipment. I don’t harbor any intentions of becoming a professional chef (nor any aspirations to even remotely that level of culinary skills), but I love to cook, and this is one of the cookbooks I’d be least likely to part with – ever.


On the last night of the cooking class offered by Cornell Hotel School to non-Hotel School students, with my Argentinian friend and classmate Victoria (winter 1998).

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Highlights
Classic Recipes
  • Applesauce
  • Asian Chicken Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Béarnaise Sauce
  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Boeuf Bourguignon
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Bordelaise Sauce
  • Broths
  • Brownies
  • Bûche de Noël
  • Burgers
  • Cannoli alla Siciliana
  • Carpaccio
  • Cassoulet
  • Cesar Dressing
  • Châteaubriand
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Chicken Curry
  • Chicken Fricassee
  • Chili con Carne
  • Chocolate Angel Food Cake
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Chorizo
  • Clams Casino
  • Club Sandwich
  • Cobb Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Consommés
  • Coq au Vin
  • Crème Brulée
  • Crêpes
  • Duck Confit
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Entrecôte Bordelaise
  • Falafel
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Fillet of Sole Bonne Femme
  • Focaccia
  • Frangipane
  • French Onion Soup
  • Gazpacho
  • Gingerbread Cookies
  • Gnocchi
  • Gratin Dauphinois
  • Gravlax
  • Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
  • Guacamole
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Hummus
  • Hungarian Goulash
  • Hush Puppies
  • Kebabs
  • Ladyfingers
  • Lemon Curd
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Madeira Sauce
  • Madeleines
  • Matzo Balls
  • Mayonnaises
  • Meatloaf
  • Meringues
  • Minestrone
  • Mornay Sauce
  • Muffins
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • New York Cheesecake
  • Osso Buco
  • Oysters Rockefeller
  • Paella
  • Pepper Steak
  • Pesto
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Pies
  • Pilafs
  • Pizza
  • Polenta
  • Potato Salad
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Ratatouille
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Risottos
  • Roquefort Dressing
  • Rösti Potatoes
  • Sabayon
  • Salade Niçoise
  • Salsas
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Sorbets
  • Spanakopitta
  • Spätzle
  • Spiced Cider
  • Sponge Cake
  • Stocks
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Tartar Sauce
  • Tarts
  • T-bone Steak
  • Thai Noodle Salad
  • Thousand Islands Dressing
  • Toll House Cookies
  • Tortes
  • Tournedos Rossini
  • Veal Fricassee
Some Unusual Recipes:
  • Balsamic Raspberries
  • Beet Vinaigrette
  • Chilled Cherry Soup
  • Chocolate Flourless Cake
  • Cilantro Puree
  • Crayfish Butter
  • English Muffin Loaves
  • Figs with Berries and Honey Mousse
  • Goat Cheese Ravioli in Herbed Cream Sauce
  • Grilled Red Snapper Burger with Mango Ketchup
  • Grilled Seckel Pear with Sherry Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Grits and Cheddar Soufflé
  • Kirsch Mousse
  • Marinated Loin of Venison Roasted with Mustard
  • Nopal Cactus Salsa
  • Oatmeal Stout Ice Cream
  • Perfumed Shrimp Consommé
  • Pink Peppercorn Beurre Blanc
  • Pistachio Citrus Cheesecake
  • Potato Cheddar Cheese Bread
  • Potato-Ginger Puree
  • Quince Jam
  • Roast Pheasant with Cognac and Apples
  • Salmon Croquettes
  • Salmon and Sea Bass Terrine with Spinach and Basil
  • Sautéd Pork Medallions with Red Pepper and Citrus
  • Shallot Curry Oil
  • Spicy Sweet Potato and Chestnut Gratin
  • Stuffed Wontons with Apricot Sauce
  • Tex-Mex Turkey Sausage
  • Walnut Pesto
  • Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing
  • Zucchini Bread

 

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Isabella Beeton: Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management / Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

Well, one day I may well get around to writing proper reviews of these two iconic books (both in their own way) after all, too. But until then, quite unapologetically, my Goodreads Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament entry will have to do …

Felines at War, or:
Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament Review: Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (16) vs. War and Peace (17)

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (Oxford World's Classics) - Isabella Beeton    War & Peace - Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Briggs

Give a cat a fish...and he will come back every day expecting you to give him another fish.

With a satisfied flick of her tail, Mrs. B. groomed back into place two stray hairs that had come lose in her shining black fur during her foray into the pantry, then she snatched her prize – a delicious-looking fillet of salmon –, crossed the kitchen and made for the outside door. There, however, she stopped in her tracks, her every hair standing on end.

Assembled on the doorstep was the better part of the Russian emigré mob that had recently surfaced in the neighborhood, hungrily eying her salmon. Mrs. B. speed-assessed the situation and concluded that there was only one thing to do.

She turned tail and raced straight back into the kitchen with the Russians in hot pursuit, smashing through the heavy oak door and making it bang into the wall with the explosive force of a canon ball.

Breathlessly Mrs. B. made for the nearest counter where, in landing, she toppled a stack of plates and sent it clattering to the ground, which however only gave her a momentary respite as the Russians dodged the flat, flying missiles that splayed into pieces on the tiled kitchen floor. In passing she set spinning a large chef’s knife, which promptly buried itself into the sides of the most forward of her pursuers, an elegant Russian Blue female whose coat began to turn red as she remained behind with a gasp and a whimper. “Sweetest Natasha!” roared the leader of the mob, a bulky creature sporting scruffy fur of an indistinct color and the obvious bearing of the newly-rich, who now hefted himself to Mrs. B.’s hind paws. “I’ll make you pay for this, you dirty English tart – this means WAR!” He charged forward, careening into a sauce dish filled with melted butter which Mrs. B. had neatly sidestepped at the very last moment. The bulky Russian slithered through the pool of sticky yellow liquid that had spilled from the dish, straight into the hot iron thing that humans called a stove. Mrs. B. did not take the time to look back, but his momentous growl and the smell of singed fur told her that another one of her pursuers was evidently out of combat. Swiftly jumping down again from the counter, she ducked under the table in the direction of the opposite wall, now chiefly pursued by two sleek young males who looked like the brothers of the injured female Natasha, and by a meager, vicious-looking Donskoy. Scampering along the wall, Mrs. B. just barely managed to leap over a mouse trap which Natasha’s brothers, jockeying for position at her heels, noticed too late, and which promptly fastened itself to the first brother’s right front paw, making him go down with a yelp and causing the second brother and the Donskoy to tumble over him. This resulted in a momentary scuffle as the Russians disentangled themselves from each other with much clawing and screeching. Mrs. B. meanwhile leapt onto another counter and further up onto the spice rack above, from where she showered her reappearing pursuers (now reduced to the second brother and the Donskoy) with salvos of capers, flour, salt, pepper, and other assorted ground substances, sending earthenware containers flying right and left as she rushed forward, finally making a blind jump for the kitchen window ahead in the hope that it would not be locked.

The window was not locked. It nevertheless proved not to be a suitable exit route, either. For in it had appeared, seemingly out of nothing, another recent arrival to the neighborhood; a dark Chartreux who made up for his shortish legs by a ridiculously imperial manner. From day one, Mrs. B. had been as weary of him as she was of the Russian emigré mob.

The Chartreux graced Mrs. B.’s pursuers, who were sitting on the ground, squinting from pepper-burned eyes and busily cleaning large quantities of flour and spices from their fur, with a contemptuous sniff: “Leave this to me, you inept Russian peasants.” Then he turned to Mrs. B. “Madame,” he said, “I have come here to offer Peace. Indeed, I am offering you an entente tout à fait cordiale.” He eyed the fillet of salmon which, though slightly worse for wear, Mrs. B. was still holding firmly clenched between her teeth. “Now, if we were to divide this truly superb fish, and you were to give me half and you and those Russians were to split the …”

“Let me pass, Sir. NOW.” To actually voice this, Mrs. B. would have had to open her mouth and let go of the salmon, which was the farthest thing from her mind. But her demeanor and a determined growl made her point quite clearly enough.

“Tsk, tsk. Nobody sidesteps Napoleon.” As the Chartreux slightly shook his head, his claws burrowed into Mrs. B.’s neck, instantly drawing blood. Mrs. B. suppressed an unladylike squeak and relaxed her stance. Ridiculous upstart, she thought but this time tried hard not to convey by her manner, which instead she changed to utmost submissiveness. The flattery worked like a charm: slowly, the French male’s claws came out of her neck and he began to eye her curiously.

This was the moment she had been waiting for.

Suddenly tearing up Napoleon’s sides with her front claws and giving him as hard a push as she could, she turned and jumped onto the kitchen table, then scattered past the assorted copper pots, pans, bowls, spoons and ladles left to dry on a rack next to the sink. The quickly-recovering Chartreux hefted himself hard to her heels with a furious snarl. Misstepping ever so slightly, however, he upset the pile of pots and pans lying in his way, which left him scrambling for balance and ultimately landed him in the still half-filled sink. Before he had regained dry ground, Mrs. B. had at last made her escape through the kitchen door, leaving behind a field of destruction and barely in time to hear an angry human voice exclaim: “Now, what happened here, for Chrissakes? Dammed strays – get out of my kitchen AT ONCE! OUT, I said!”

A little later, lying on her favorite pillow and languidly licking a last drop of melted butter from her paw, Mrs. B. mused that collared salmon, lightly salted and with hot butter sauce on the side, actually made for quite a satisfactory dish. A piece of salmon, say 3 lbs., a high seasoning of salt, pounded mace, and pepper; water and vinegar, 3 bay-leaves …

She purred contentedly, curled up, and was soon fast asleep.

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