cover image THE SPIRITED VEGETARIAN: Over 100 Recipes Made Lively with Wine and Spirits

THE SPIRITED VEGETARIAN: Over 100 Recipes Made Lively with Wine and Spirits

Paulette Mitchell, . . Rodale, $16.95 (228pp) ISBN 978-1-57954-970-1

This collection of vegetarian recipes laced with liquor from the Minneapolis cooking instructor and author of the popular 15-Minute Gourmet series fills one of the last untapped niches in the ever-burgeoning vegetarian cookbook market. Following the recent success of countless books pairing food with wine, Mitchell enhances mostly familiar meatless dishes with a wine or spirit accent in the ingredient list. Traditional combinations such as Sesame Noodle Salad dressed with Mirin (a low-alcohol, sweet golden wine) or Bow Ties with Marsala-Mushroom Sauce are balanced with curious inventions like Curried Lentil Soup with Merlot, and Tequila-Braised Kale. Desserts mainly involve fruits and flavored liqueurs. In truth, alcohol is a minor player in most of the recipes, but its presence is intended to lend a feeling of sophistication and celebration to standard veggie fare. For the most part, it works. Mitchell outlines desirable qualities for cooking and drinking wines for each dish and includes a chart detailing the spectrum of wine characteristics (e.g., body, acidity, fruitiness) and their food compatibilities, offering affordable options from far-flung regions (e.g., Australian Shiraz) as well as French, Californian and Italian staples. Armed with this chart and the short terminology glossary, even novices will be able to select a suitable wine or at least have the vocabulary to consult a wine merchant for help. (Mar.)