Reinhart (Brother Juniper's Bread Book, not reviewed) is back with philosophical musings and recipes from the California restaurant he and his wife began as members of a Christian order. (He has since sold his interest in Brother Juniper's CafÃ‰, named after a hapless but generous monk.) His writing is cheerily helpful, and he exhibits a quirky sense of humor in relating episodes like the time he visited Israel with his Jewish father and was expelled from the Mosque of Omar for engaging in prayer. (""Only Muslims may pray here...It is the rules of the management,"" a guard insisted.) Recipes are straight out of the Chez Panisse school -- the black-bean chili was inspired by a very similar dish served at San Francisco's top-flight vegetarian restaurant Greens -- but Reinhart gives preparations an original spin. A simple mesclun salad is enhanced by fresh herbs and a lemony caper dressing, and hummus gets a lift from freshly toasted sesame seeds pureed with olive oil in place of the usual pre-fab tahini. On the other hand, a heavy dose of buttermilk intended to moisten oversize lemon muffins instead gives them an unbearably acidic taste. Reinhart apparently has the heart of an entrepreneur: He has marketed a bottled barbecue sauce called Holy Smoke and admits to fantasies about ""putting Coke and Pepsi out of business"" with natural brews like root beer made with sarsaparilla and wild cherry bark. Spiritual (not preachy) and sweet (not saccharine).