Simplicity from a Monastery Kitchen: A Complete Menu Cookbook for All Occasions

Victor-Antoine D'Avila-La Tourette, Author
Victor-Antoine D'Avila-La Tourette, Author Broadway Books $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7679-0609-8
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Brother d'Avila-Latourrette is resident cook and gardener at Our Lady of the Resurrection monastery in upstate New York, and his devotion to home-grown, seasonal produce is evident on every page of this newest collection of recipes. He widens the focus from his Twelve Months of Monastery Soups (1996) to include all courses from appetizers to desserts. There are no meat or poultry offerings, but he serves up a nicely varied selection of French-accented vegetable casseroles and salads, along with fish, egg, crepe, rice and pasta dishes. Recipes are straightforward and flavorful, but most are not necessarily ""simple,"" requiring, in fact, some substantial kitchen skills (bread-baking, deep-frying, preserving) and the ability to overcome occasionally less-than-explicit instructions. Happily, some selections are elegantly easy--Canap of Roquefort and Walnuts, Pasta with Arugula and Goat Cheese and liqueur-scented Peach Clafoutis--which, as their ingredients indicate, demonstrate a more luxurious approach to the monastic ideal of ""wholesome frugality."" Earthier dishes, like Eggplant Steaks with Red Pepper Sauce or Polenta with Broccoli, will please vegetarian and liturgical purists, while the thought-provoking quotations and medieval-style line drawings that decorate the pages will delight the mind and eye. (Feb.)
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