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Southwestern Vegetarian [Hardcover]

Stephan Pyles
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Stephan Pyles's Southwestern cooking, featured most famously at his Star Canyon restaurants in Dallas and Las Vegas, is widely applauded for its flavor-intensive appeal. Southwestern Vegetarian, a follow-up to his cookbook New Tastes from Texas, ingeniously explores the nonmeat possibilities of this Texan chef's colorful cuisine. Finding a truly satisfying way to meld Southwestern, Mexican, and European culinary approaches, Pyles (an omnivore) has produced vegetarian fare that leaves traditional Western kinds in the dust. Dishes like Tortilla and Three Onion Casserole with Tomato Ginger Jam and Black Bean and Queso Fresco Quesadillas, among others, should appeal to eaters of all stripes while filling various menu and meal slots, from breakfast to dinner, as entrees, sides, or starters. This flexibility is mirrored by the book's organization. Eschewing the usual recipe categories, Pyles divides his cookbook into chapters by gratins, casseroles, stuffed vegetables, tortas, sandwiches, and pizzas. Winners from these categories include the Polenta Gratin with Wild Mushrooms and Three Cheeses and the Tortilla Vegetable Napoleon. Readers should be aware that while most of the recipes are easy enough to execute, many of them require multiple ingredients and subpreparations. Pickled Vegetable and Deviled Egg Salad Torta, for example, requires cooks to pickle vegetables (17 ingredients needed) before merging them with a salad spread on homemade brioche (13 more ingredients, not counting those in the brioche, which, presumably, could be store-bought). Despite the added preparation time many of its dishes require, Southwestern Vegetarian is a truly innovative take on meatless cooking, one all food lovers will enjoy. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Right up front, in the first paragraph of his introduction, Pyles (New Tastes from Texas and host of a PBS series) points out that he's a fifth-generation Texan. It could be that the James Beard Award winner is a little nervous, presenting a Texas-inspired cookbook that leaves out the meat. But times and tastes are changing, even in the Lone Star state. This collection offers a variety of dishes that use traditional Southwestern ingredients in newfangledAand occasionally eyebrow-raisingAways. Dishes feature chiles and nopales (the pads of the prickly pear cactus), tortillas and beans, and there are slaws and fritters, refried beans and empanadas. All demonstrate Pyles's comfort with a range of cuisines. The chapter on preserves, for example, is eclectic enough to include the old favorite Bread and Butter Pickles as well as Chipotle Aioli, a Southwestern take on the traditional French dipping sauce. And so it goes throughout the book, from soups and salads to main course casseroles, brunch ideas and desserts. There is Jicama-Mango Tortilla Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Fried Scallions, plus a variety of mashed potato dishes. There are times, though, when Pyles ought to leave well enough alone. Green Chile-Pineapple Risotto? Cilantro Ravioli? This book isn't for those who prefer quick-and-easy cooking, but the recipes will surely grab the cook's attention, bringing vegetarian cooking to a whole new level. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding recipes Nov. 5 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I decided to make 5 of Pyles' recipes - untested - for a dinner party. Risky, but the recipes sounded so good I thought I could pull it off. Each was exquisite - jicama-carrot salad, chiles rellenos, empanadas stuffed with squash, roasted vege quesadilla, and stuffed cabbage. The fiery tropical sauce was also great. I have a feeling ALL of the recipes will be good. I know I'll be progressing from front to back with this one. Okay, it was kind of funny in a vegetarian cookbook to have the author say, this goes really well with pork, or to suggest that chorizo sausage be added to something, but with recipes like these, who cares?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous collection Nov. 2 2001
Format:Hardcover
Another fine collection of recipes from Texas's most innovative chef. This time he turns his attention to the vegetables and produces a collection that will leave you lusting for a dream team vegetable plate. Porno for foodies.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book but not entirely vegetarian Nov. 11 2000
Format:Hardcover
This is undoubtedly a stylish book but I was disappointed to find that not every recipe is really vegetarian, making the title somewhat misleading. For instance, crab meat is used!
Added to that is the fact that, unless you are lucky enough to live near a good ethnic shop,you'll have a hard time trying to find a number of the ingredients called for. Living in the UK made it virtually impossible for me and I'm afraid I sent the book back for this reason.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous Texas Vegetarian cook book! Sept. 14 2000
Format:Hardcover
The latest cook book by Stephan Pyles is one of the best vegetarian cook books I have ever read. And I am waiting for the week end to try to cook some of these incredible recipes. The memory of my visit to his Star Canyon restaurent in Dallas is still fresh in my mind. That was one of the best meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant. Those blue corn muffins with a touch a habernero peppers and garlic, and the chile rellenos were out of this world! And now all those and more recipes are in his book!!
I am a Stephan Pyles fan- I have all of his cook books. The success of my Texas parties depend on his recipes for Pedernales River Chili, jalapneo corn bread,and chunky guacamole.
In this book Stephan Pyles perfectly blends the flavors of the Lone Star state with the bounty of the great state's vegetables to make some terrific vegetarian dishes. And what more can a naturalized Texan and life long vegeratian ask for? Bravo!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book but not entirely vegetarian Nov. 11 2000
By J. Bonner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is undoubtedly a stylish book but I was disappointed to find that not every recipe is really vegetarian, making the title somewhat misleading. For instance, crab meat is used!
Added to that is the fact that, unless you are lucky enough to live near a good ethnic shop,you'll have a hard time trying to find a number of the ingredients called for. Living in the UK made it virtually impossible for me and I'm afraid I sent the book back for this reason.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating!! March 8 2005
By Mandy Petersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was just looking through this book, trying to find a recipe to fix for tonight and it prompted me to write a review. After having had this book for something like two years, we have eaten ONE of the recipes. It was delicious. However, overall this book is quite dissappointing.

Firstly, as a vegetarian, I do not think that he should call this a vegetarian cookbook. There are a few dishes in the book that call for fish products and not only does he not apologize for including this in a vegetarian cookbook, he doesn't even give suggestions for replacing the fish item. It aggravates the heck out of me.

Secondly, as is probably true of most of you, I have just about no extra time on my hands (although i apparently have some, as i am writing this thing). Nearly every one of his recipes requires at least one other recipe (a salsa, etc.). I think that if one had time to spend a weekend making these things, AND they were storable for a long time, it may not be so bad. However, when you sit down to find something for dinner and you don't have a lot of time on your hands, if you're like me, you will put this book back on the shelf, remembering yet again why you never cook from it.

Thirdly, he uses some ingredients which are impossible to find (in New England) and for which he gives no explanation, so i don't quite know what i'm looking for, should it have another name, or should there be an appropriate substitute.

That's the end of my rant. As i said at the beginning, the one dish we made was delicious, and in fact, many of them do look quite yummy. But, you have to have a LOT of time on your hands to prepare them (and to shop for them) and if you are a vegetarian, you have to be willing to scowl and move on when you encounter a fish recipe.

hope this helps.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Vegetarian July 20 2013
By vegTX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is for pescetarians, not vegetarians, as it calls for fish and other seafood products several times. Really disappointing, and rather insulting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Jan. 10 2011
By One Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The cookbook was recommended to me by a blog that I read, though I am not a vegetarian, I find it easier to add meat than to add more vegetables. As a lover of Southwestern and Mexican food, I was pleased by the variety of recipes in the book. I have only made one recipe so far, but it was excellent. The ingredients are listed to the side for ease of use and assembly. The instructions are clear and to the point. There are several more recipes that I look forward to making and if they are as great as the first one, this will become one of my favorite cookbooks.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephan Pyles Southwestern Vegetarian April 25 2010
By Sheriff N. Osni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second book by Chef Pyles and while the title states "vegetarian" there are a couple of recipes "Smoked Salmon with Horesradish Mashed Potatoes", "Crab Stuffed Avocados with Tortilla Gratin" and few other recipes that include cow and goat cheese probably as his diabolical master plan to convert some vegetarians, or not! I assure you that by omiting the protein from these recipes will still yield a delicious product. The rest of the recipes are simply an excellent repertoire of fruits and vegetable jams, jellies, chutneys, dressings, soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, muffins, bread, tortillas and desserts ranging from the time consuming to the easy-breasy.
The book covers some of the recipes featured on his menu at Stephan Pyles in Dallas, Texas, and as a degreed culinarian who had the privilege to stage (and get paid for it!) with Chef Pyles at his restaurant, I can tell you that if you like to prepare some of the recipes featured on his menu at Stephan Pyles - buy the book. It is an indispensible resource to get to know and understand Chef Pyles's approach to Southwestern cuisine.
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