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I have a terrific vegetable cookbook to share with you this week. And there's good news for the vegetarians out there: Very few recipes call for meat or chicken broth, and those that do can be easily transformed into a fully vegetarian dish.
Okay, so what's so special about this cookbook? First, it is everything the title--Fast, Fresh & Green--promises: These recipes use fresh vegetables and are quick enough to put together at the end of a workday.
Second, this is a great technique book. I know that many of you wish you could free yourselves from recipes, and author Susie Middleton has come to your aid. Each chapter covers a different technique from stir-frying to sauteing, grilling, roasting, and more.
All the chapters are set up in a similar manner. Let's look at the braising chapter. The first page lists the required equipment and heat levels plus the recipes found within. Next, Middleton provides an explanation of braising and how it works. She includes plenty of tips to guarantee your success. Then you'll find a chart of the vegetables that are particularly suited to braising along with how to prepare them for this cooking method. Before you get to the chapter's recipes, Middleton presents a basic quick braising method that you can master and then use to create your own dishes based on the vegetable you have on hand.
All this information is presented in an easy-to-read and friendly manner:
You will feel like Houdini once you learn to improvise braised vegetables on a weeknight because they deliver such amazing flavor in less than 30 minutes. (p. 58)The chapter ends with about a dozen step-by-step braising recipes that use fresh vegetables and herbs, such as Quick Braised Asparagus with Dijon, White Wine, and Fresh Thyme Pan Sauce. Or maybe you'd prefer the Cider-Braised Baby Bok Choy and Golden Apples.
This is truly a cookbook for everyone: vegetarians, new cooks, experienced cooks, adventurous cooks, and timid cooks. The recipes span the seasons, so you'll use this in the winter for roasted turnips or butternut squash gratin and in the summer for an heirloom tomato, peach, and herb salad.
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Published by Chronicle Books / April 2010
Source: Review (see review policy)
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