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The Essential Vegetarian

Central Kitchen and a Light Spring Cooking Idea

By Katie Jeffreys

Staff Writer

I had walked past Central Kitchen (on Mass. Ave. In Central Square) for a long time but never stopped to go in. From the name, location, and outward appearance, I assumed it was a diner of sorts. I recently had the opportunity to dine there, and was pleased to find that my assumptions were entirely false.

The restaurant is small, with dim lights and distressed metal tabletops. Probably the most interesting aspect of the decor were a series of light fixtures which looked as though it were a wine rack. However in each row of bottles protruding from the wall, one was translucent and had the light bulb inside. We arrived early and had a prime table by the window facing the street, allowing us a view of the ever-entertaining crowd of Central Square.

So overwhelmed and impressed with the ambiance, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the food, especially since the wine list was twice the physical size of the menu. Central Kitchen seems to change there menu regularly, so I can’t say that what I had will be on the menu for long, especially as new produce becomes available in the spring and summer. Of the six or so entree choices, one was vegetarian, so I obviously chose it.

The dish was primarily different kinds of potatoes in a cream sauce. On top of that were some artichokes which were really poorly prepared (they had left some of the tough outer part on and even the hearts were not very tender). Added to the mix were zucchini slices (cut long-ways) wrapped around goat cheese. Having a certain penchant for goat cheese, those were the highlight of the dish for me. After awhile the potatoes got really boring to eat (and very filling as well).

We also tried the creme brulee for dessert, which was not very exciting but tasty nonetheless. All in all I enjoyed the experience, and if you can afford to splurge (entrees are around $15), I would highly recommend this restaurant.

With spring break just around the corner, I thought I would share with you a healthy recipe in case you want to shed that extra winter weight. Of course two weeks really isn’t enough time to make a big difference, but eating healthfully can never hurt.

As always, feel free to send me comments and suggestions at <>.

Spanish-Style Veggies

1 small eggplant, cubed

2 medium green peppers, chopped

1 medium zucchini, cubed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup water

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. chili powder (or to taste)

1/4 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

Saute garlic and onion in a bit of water. Add eggplant, herbs, tomato puree, and rest of the water. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add peppers and zucchini. Simmer until all vegetables are soft. Serve over rice.