The Café Brenda Cookbook has
some great vegetarian recipes that are hard to find elsewhere. Chef Brenda Langton
has a strong sense of flavors and textures that work well together, and reading
through the book makes your mouth water. My favorite recipe is for Greek Moussaka,
using lentils instead of meat, with straightforward tomato and béchamel sauces,
arranged in layers with eggplant, lentils and potatoes. It takes some
preparation, but it is worth it. There is a Shepherd's Pie, made with mashed
potatoes and an all-vegetable filling that works well. The Black Bean
Vegetable Chili has the usual sorts of ingredients, with celery, carrots,
onion, red and jalapeno peppers, and oregano, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and
coriander, as well as an ounce of unsweetened chocolate, but it is a good
recipe, easy to prepare and rich in taste. Another small feature of the book
that makes it attractive is that many recipes use parsnips, a greatly
underappreciated root vegetable with a slightly spicy taste. There is a whole
section devoted to croquettes, which are simple to prepare and very
satisfying. These recipes are quite unusual and attractive: for example,
chickpea-vegetable croquettes with tahini-vegetable sauce, or buckwheat-potato
croquettes with ginger-mushroom sauce. There are also sections on appetizers
& salads, soups, breads, seafood, and desserts. Every recipe in the book
looks good, and while there are no photographs, there is a number of nice
drawings and the book is a good size to use in a kitchen, easy to open up on
the right page but not so big that it takes up too much work space. The
recipes do not use too much fat or oil so the food is healthy and the delicious
flavors can make your life better.
© 2005 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island.
He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.