New York City has seen its fair share of vegetarian restaurants over the years, like Zen Palate, Blossom, Candle Cafe and Angelica Kitchen, but none have ever garnered the accolades that Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy has. Opened in 2008 with only 18 seats, Dirt Candy wasn’t just a fresh look at how to create a meat free menu, it was more like the Le Bernardin of vegetarian cooking: a veritable temple to the possibilities of where one can take a chef’s chosen medium, in this case vegetables, in the kitchen.
When it was reviewed, finally – after four years, by Pete Wells of The New York Times (he, like Leonardo DiCaprio, probably couldn’t get a reservation), Dirt Candy got a glowing review and two stars. Later, the Michelin Guide took notice. the restaurant expanded to a large location on the Lower East Side with plenty of seating and counter space to feed NYC’s growing population of healthy minded restaurant goers. Address: 86 Allen Street (212) 228-7732 Twitter@dirtcandynyc
All of it comes from the energetic mind of Amanda Cohen, a Canadian by birth, who has, in the process of creating a restaurant based on vegetables, also bucked most of the stereotypes associated with that concept, like using organic vegetables, sourcing only from farmers markets, and eschewing the use of dairy and eggs in her dishes. She does none of those, choosing instead to focus on making sure that what she creates in her professional kitchen, while certainly more labor intensive and admittedly intricate than similar dishes one may cook at home, can at least be done so from supermarket ingredients if need be, and without scouring the far reaches of the earth to find the perfect purple carrot.
Amanda calls Dirt Candy an all vegetable restaurant versus vegetarian. Dirt Candy appeals to vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. It’s just that good and you want to try every dish. Rephrasing something Amanda says in her comic book cookbook, “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook,” “It’s about saying “yes” to vegetables versus saying “no” to meat. In fact, Amanda does eat meat. But has she met a vegetable she doesn’t like? Listen to our January 13th show with Amanda at this iHeartRadio Link
Purchase Amanda’s cookbook now and find out how her sense of humor is as fabulous as her cooking.
If you have a dog-eared copy of any of these cookbooks on your shelf at home: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Marion Cunningham’s Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking or Jacques Pepin’s Art of Cooking, you can thank Judith Jones. If you ever read the published Diary of Anne Frank or a book by author, John Updike, you can thank Judith Jones.
To say Judith Jones has had an estimable career in publishing is an understatement. As a longtime editor at Alfred A. Knopf her authors included Julia Child, Lidia Bastianich, James Beard, Marion Cunningham, Rosie Daley, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, Edna Lewis, Joan Nathan, Jacques Pépin, Claudia Roden, and Nina Simonds.
Judith is the author The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food and The Pleasures of Cooking for One. She is the coauthor with her late husband, Evan Jones, of The Book of Bread; Knead It, Punch It, Bake It! (for children); and The Book of New England Cookery. She also collaborated with Angus Cameron on The L. L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. Recently, she has contributed to Vogue andSaveur. In 2006, she was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Judith’s new book is a charming, practical guide to sharing the pleasures of home cooking with your dog, in her case her frisky white Havanese named Mabon. Titled Love Me, Feed Me, Judith’s book dispenses tips that both nurture and nourish the heart and palate with recipes that both humans and canines can share. Judith explains the nutritional benefits of substituting, or supplementing, store-bought food with a diet of fresh, home-prepared ingredients. She offers helpful extras like advice on portion size, what to do with scraps, and the latest research on controversial ingredients such as garlic (newly vindicated), ginger (use sparingly) and eggplant (an acquired taste, but scrape out the seeds). For Judith, food is love and love of good food should always be a pleasure and a joy to prepare whether man, woman or dog.
We have another new book on our shelf filled with slips of paper marking passages and information Melanie has dog-eared. It’s Karen Page‘s Vegetarian Flavor Bible, a detailed guide to the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet with “matchmaking list” of ingredients, flavors, pairings, caloric/nutrition information and a history of vegetarianism.
When Karen says she is researching a new book, believe us, she means volumes of research and attention to detail presented in a way that is easy to follow and digest. Karen starts The Vegetarian Flavor Bible with this line: “The book started with a problem: I didn’t know what to eat.” You have to ask yourself how a well-regarded food professional with a shelf of critically acclaimed books and access to the greatest chefs in the world had this problem. More, important, how did she face it and how can you learn from it? It’s a problem many people who want to eat healthier face: minimizing excess calories/fats/carbs/sugar and maximizing flavors and the pleasure of eating.
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible has been cited as one of “The Best Cookbooks of 2014″ by leading media including Bloomberg, The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Houston Chronicle, KCRW Radio, Miami Herald, The Washington Post, and WBEZ Radio.
Karen is a two-time James Beard Foundation Award- winning author whose previous books with chef-husband Andrew Dornenburg include The Flavor Bible ,which was named one of the 100 best cookbooks of the past 25 years by Cooking Light and one of the 10 best cookbooks in the world of the past century by Forbes, and What To Drink with What you Eat, which won the IACP’s “Cookbook of the Year” Award and the Georges Duboeuf “Wine Book of the Year” Award. Karen is a graduate of Northwestern and Harvard University as well as the plant-based nutrition certificate program at Cornell in conjunction with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.
Join Melanie Young and David Wednesdays on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY and iHeart Radio. Each week we bring you dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits, hospitality and publishing.