My first experience with a Moosewood recipe was vegetarian pasta my friend made while I was living in the UK. Funnily enough, Chef Michelle Curnock said that when she was living in Japan she knew many Canadians who had brought a Moosewood cookbook along for their life abroad. This indispensable and extensive recipe collection was put together by Mollie Katzen, a founding member of the Moosewood Collective, a group of individuals who opened the Moosewood Restaurant in 1973 in downtown Ithaca, New York. The original edition of the Moosewood Cookbook, hand lettered and illustrated by Katzen, was published in 1977 and has been listed as one of the top ten selling cookbooks of all time by the New York Times. Since then Katzen has left the collective and published several recipe collections of her own. Katzen and the Moosewood Restaurant are both widely regarded for their innovative vegetarian recipes and flavourful, creative dishes.
“I love Molly Katzen’s recipes because they are so simple and delicious,” Michelle told me. “They really bring out great flavors and use techniques that everybody enjoys.” Michelle will be teaching a class using recipes from the Moosewood collection on April 14th at dish, adding her own valuable insight and techniques for healthy, inventive vegetarian cooking. If you’re a vegetarian or if you’re interested in healthy cooking, this is a class that you should not miss.
If you were to own your very own cookbook from the Moosewood/Katzen collection, Michelle recommends the 20th anniversary edition of the Moosewood Cookbook. “It has been modernized to allow for a lighter style of cooking,” said Michelle. “Interestingly, [Katzen] talks about making yogurt cheese through cheesecloth, and that is something I have always done – and it… is how you make the incredibly popular Greek yogurt.”
The menu for Michelle’s afternoon class includes a black olive tapenade with pine nuts & fresh mozzarella, followed by a salad of tomatoes and baby greens with Moosewood’s Signature Creamy Basil Dressing. “I am most excited about the creamy basil dressing,” Michelle said. “It is most definitely an exciting flavor like no other.” You’ll learn to make sweet potato corn chowder and nutty spelt biscuits, and a spring torta of flaky filo pastry with spinach, Manchego & goat cheese. You’ll tuck into individual ginger brandy cheesecakes with fresh orange glaze for dessert, too.
“I think learning to make good vegetarian meals is a great thing,” Michelle told me. “Anyone can get flavor out of meat but vegetarian cooking is harder – but more rewarding. All of the recipes in this book go really well with meat too – so if you have a meat eater in the family, you can always put it with a piece of roast chicken, or a steak.”
Michelle visited the Moosewood Restaurant a few years ago, and the spring torta on the menu for this class was something she tasted on that visit. “It was like the lightest quiche ever and full of so many vegetables,” Michelle told me. “I really like using hard cheeses and in this case we will be using Manchego – which has a really sharp flavor for not a lot of bulk and goats cheese, which adds such creaminess to everything.”
Rather than undertake the 5 hour drive to the restaurant from Toronto, why not come to Michelle’s class and learn how to make some of these recipes yourself? Sign up online or call the studio to reserve your place at (416) 920-5559.