A Thomas-Keller-level cookbook, but with lighter, healthier fare?
April 4, 2014 10:50 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend is an amazing cook and has been making delicious, bacon-fat-heavy dishes from Thomas Keller's cookbook. My waistline and tummy prefer lighter, semi-vegetarian fare, but I don't want to discourage his wonderful cooking. Is there a cookbook the two of us might be equally happy with?
posted by enzymatic to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Great Chefs Cook Vegan? (Including Thomas Keller recipes, no less).
posted by UncleBoomee at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

The best semi-vegetarian* restaurant in Canada is arguably Vij's in Vancouver. He has two cookbooks.

*There is some doubt if any qualifiers are needed at all.
posted by bonehead at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

What book is he cooking from?
Ad Hoc @ Home isn't all fat-ladened. Even the recipe for bouchons in it's name-sake cookbook has been greatly reduced in fat (3 sticks of butter, and four eggs for a dozen of the little suckers in the original...).
Look at some of Alice Waters books. Simple, tasty, great food
posted by JABof72 at 11:20 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Alain Ducasse's Nature. Its a great cookbook and we've made and enjoyed a lot of the recipes inside.
posted by vacapinta at 11:36 AM on April 4, 2014

What kinds of things are you looking for -- really fine cooking/chef's techniques with less fat (though not in a "lite" kind of way), or just some awesome food that is fun for him to make and fun for you to eat?

My mom has been loving Yotam Ottolenghi's books, like Plenty and Jerusalem. He's not a vegetarian, but his Mediterranean background has a lot of veggies in it.

Another thing you might try is going really technique-based into a certain area of food. Something like Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible gives you a lot of leeway for the kind of food you end up with, but gives you the kind of discussion of technique and why-food-does-this that might appeal.
posted by Madamina at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2014

Fancy vegetarian cookbooks written by gourmet omnivore chefs:
+ Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
+ Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater
+ Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

Fancy vegetarian cookbooks written by gourmet vegan chefs:
+ Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine or The Artful Vegan by Eric Tucker (from Millennium Restaurant, San Francisco)
+ Cafe Flora Cookbook by Catherine Geier (from Cafe Flora, Seattle)
+ Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes by Makini Howell (from Plum Bistro, Seattle)
+ Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby (from Vedge Restaurant, Philadelphia)
+ The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen (from Crossroads Kitchen, Los Angeles)
+ Candle 79 Cookbook or Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson (from Candle 79 and Candle Cafe, New York City)

And a few more fancy vegetarian/vegan cookbooks, sans restaurant affiliation:
+ The New Now and Zen Epicure: Gourmet Vegan Recipes for the Enlightened Palate by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner
+ Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen by Merida Anderson
+ The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier
+ Vegetable Literacy or The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison
posted by divined by radio at 11:53 AM on April 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

Seconding the Yotam Ottolenghi Plenty and Jerusalem books. I belong to a cookbook club and we've done these at separate times and group consensus was that both were great.

Also seconding the Cafe Flora cookbook.
posted by Miss Matheson at 12:00 PM on April 4, 2014

nthing Ottolenghi, though his recipes often include plenty of butter and cheese.

You might also like Deborah Madison (either the Greens cookbook or Local Flavors)
And if you're willing to cook from blogs, 101 Cookbooks is pretty great (and will teach you about lots of other cookbooks you might want!)
posted by dizziest at 12:02 PM on April 4, 2014

dizziest's comment has reminded me that Heidi Swanson who writes the 101 Cookbooks blog also has two cookbooks of her own. I like both a lot and they are definitely focused on healthier options but still very tasty. Her books are Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Every Day.
posted by Miss Matheson at 12:12 PM on April 4, 2014

How about the Dirt Candy cookbook? It fits into divined by radio's "Fancy vegetarian cookbooks written by gourmet vegan chefs" category, and should meet both your needs nicely.

PS. I used to work at Vedge in Philly until I got fired under circumstances I feel were somewhat unfair... but my personal feelings about the owners aside, the food really is quite good.
posted by Aubergine at 12:17 PM on April 4, 2014

Laura Calder - French Taste
Ferran Adria - The Family Meal
Thomas Keller - Ad Hoc at Home (if that's not the one you're already cooking from)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2014

Denis Cotter is well known in Ireland and the UK but not the US, i think. Some of the best vegetarian recipes I've ever made, hands down. He has a real gift for flavor composition and bringing out the best in seasonal ingredients.

Cotter's recipes tend toward a beautiful, perfectly balanced simplicity, though. On a slightly different tip, there was a food blogger I followed for a while --- she's on indefinite hiatus at the mo --- who had a whole blog devoted to cooking through the French Laundry cookbook at home. Her followup to that project was...drumroll...doing the Alinea cookbook at home. If your dude is adventurous and skilled in the kitchen, it might prove an interesting challenge for him as well. It's all micro modernist cuisines, with a lot of gels and foams and fruits and whatnot. About as far as you can get from traditional French, and therefore an interesting challenge for an advanced cook. Might have to order pizza as a back up, though, some of those recipes yield about 6 tablespoons. But it's definitely light on the cream and butter and such.
posted by Diablevert at 8:14 PM on April 4, 2014

Just as a note, I have Mosaic (the Alinea cookbook, albeit out on loan at the moment), and I absolutely would not recommend it for even an adventurous home cook. There's a reason why there are so many people in the kitchen at places like Alinea, and why they have tens of throusands of dollars in specialized equipment.

I bought it mostly for the porn; I may be well-trained but I cannot afford any of the equipment they use.

Also most of the recipes are specced out for 4-8 people, so you're going to end up with more than six tablespoons.

If modernist is where you'd like to go, I'd advise Modernist Cuisine at Home or ChefSteps.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:52 AM on April 5, 2014

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