The recipes may be vegetarian, but Madison is not. Therefore, she knows how to make meatless food that will please everybody, including meat-loving folks. In an introductory section, she tells how to do this.
Madison has a long career in vegetarian cooking. She was founding chef of the legendary Greens restaurant in San Francisco and co-wrote "The Greens Cook Book," which was published in 1987.
Last year, she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame and has won four James Beard Foundation Awards among other honors. "Inside the Kitchen" is her 14th cookbook. Here, she is signing it at Melissa's Produce on the first day of her cookbook promotional tour.
Proof of any cookbook is in the tasting, and so Melissa's chefs prepared a variety of dishes from the book. One was baked ricotta infused with thyme on crostini. This is among the recipes that Madison has reworked from the past to simplify, redo flavors or bring up to date with new ingredients.
WALNUT NUGGET COOKIES
From "In My Kitchen" by Deborah Madison
1 cup fresh walnut meats, plus extra pieces to finish the cookies
7 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Break up the nuts in a small food processor until they resemble coarse sand. Watch carefully--it's easy to end up with walnut butter. If that happens, though, simply use it along with the bits and pieces.
Cream the butter with the oil until soft and well blended, then add the sugars, salt and cinnamon. When well combined, add the vanilla and then the ground walnuts. With the mixer on low, add the flour bit by bit until it's all incorporated.
Roll teaspoon-sized lumps of the dough between the palms of your hands to make small spheres. Place each one on a paper-lined pan. You should have between 30 and 35 in all. Insert a piece of walnut into each ball of dough, then bake for 15 minutes. The flour is a little dark, so it's hard to tell when they're browned, but 15 minutes will be enough time.
Let the cookies cool on the pans, then dust them with powdered sugar and remove to a serving plate. The cookies will crumble easily at first but will harden as they cool.
Makes about 35 bite-sized cookies.