Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites

I’m starting my 99 Cookbooks project with one of my first cookbook purchases – Moosewood Restaurant. Low Fat. And low fat for a reason. Published in 1996, I grabbed this one when I lived in Seattle, probably late 2000. I was living in a great rental in Queen Anne with my best friend and brother, and my brother was doing a lot of the cooking for our crew. After a month or two, I realized that his high butter, high cream, high fat diet worked for him, but definitely not for me. I needed to lighten up. My since my bestie is a vegetarian, Moosewood was a great fit.

Since I’m forcing my family into this little project, I decided to throw the kids a bone and picked all the recipes from the “Children’s Favorites” list in the reference area. Give me a cookbook with food lists, I’m in love.

Creamy Macaroni Salad
Carrot Orange Salad
Honey Mustard Fish with Zucchini and Cilantro Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese
Banana Bundt Cake

The Good
The Honey Mustard fish was really, really good and very easy to put together. I cheated and used bagged sweet potato fries, but weeknight dinners need a few shortcuts. H loved the carrot orange salad – it’s almost like dessert with the cinnamon. I don’t always remember how sweet carrots are until they are either roasted or put with baking spices. Tasty. I liked the pasta salad, not as big of a hit with Jeff and H, but C loved it because it was cold. Structurally, I love the information in the front and back of the book with tips, menu lists, why the recipes work, etc…and there are great stories and introductions linked with the recipes.

The Bad
Mixed feedback for the Mac and Cheese. Kids loved it, I liked it because it the recipe didn’t require you to precook the pasta, so it was a time saver. I’ve never put mac and cheese in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The bad part? Some of the pasta on top didn’t fully cook through, so there was some additional crunch for the texture. I would have liked a more intense cheese flavor – wasn’t quite enough sharp cheddar to pull it through. The Banana Bundt was a disappointment – pretty dry and heavy. Not worth the effort of whipping up the egg whites – and my overripe bananas are better served with Aunt Christie’s banana bread recipe. A perk is that there are multiple recipes referenced per page – so you have the core recipe, and at the bottom there are pairing references for other dishes to add to it. Great for menu planning, not so great for weeknight cooking as it fools you into thinking you can get an awesome meal going without considering the total time it takes.

The Ugly
Not much ugliness here. No pictures in the cookbook, which is a downer to some degree. No one liked the banana bundt, so I actually threw away cake – which is a bit of a shocker as I love anything – ANYTHING – sweet. The night we had pasta salad and carrot orange salad, I thought it would be pretty simple – we grilled brats and had salad – but it took a good hour to get it all together. About the same for the fish….so I’ll just save those recipes when I’m getting home at 5:00 right than closer to 6. Oh, and I lied to my child about what was in the honey mustard fish. She hates mustard, so I just called it Honey Fish. Worked like a charm.

The Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites
Overall Rating – 4 out of 5. The Moosewood Low Fat Favorites is a James Beard Award Winner and and is full of flavor. It’s a classic for vegetarian cooking and it is pretty cook friendly – you don’t have to be a pro to produce great meals. One of the best indexes I have in my collection – 50 pages of nutritional tips, ingredient descriptions, menu suggestions, and food lists.

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