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Because the book is published by Workman, you know it will be a pleasure to use. The Vegetable Butcher is filled with gorgeous photographs, useful icons, and well-edited recipes. This is a book I am unconditionally recommending to everyone, from experienced cooks to beginners.
Each chapter of the book offers a comprehensive guide to a different vegetable (or vegetable family). Clear photos and easy-to-understand text illustrate exactly how to prepare, trim, and cut the veggie. In addition, you'll learn when and how to buy it, how to store it, and how to cook it. Mangini answers all the vegetable questions you've been afraid to ask, such as
- Do I need to peel eggplant?
- Can I eat the carrot leaves?
- How can I reduce the sliminess of okra?
- What do I do with crosnes (and what the heck are they anyway)?
The recipes require a range of skills, from very simple techniques like sauteing and grilling to making pizza, pot pies, vegetable steaks, soups and stews, and savory crepes. What's more, Mangini hasn't forgotten your sweet tooth, and you'll find desserts such as muffins, cakes, and crumbles. All the recipes are vegetarian (at least I don't remember seeing any meat) and many are also vegan.
I particularly like the two levels of recipes found in The Vegetable Butcher. Naturally, you'll find detailed recipes with step-by-step directions, but you'll also find short recipes that are written in a more conversational manner. These informal recipes are meant to bridge the gap between offering a simple basic cooking method and providing a specific recipe. As you build up confidence in the kitchen (or if you're already there), these latter recipes will serve as springboards to creativity and personalizing your dishes.
I've marked a number of recipes to try, including sweet potato tacos, zucchini olive oil cake, marinated peppers, Swiss chard crostata, shredded Brussels sprouts with Manchego cheese, and Turkish potato salad. I'm also making a promise to myself to learn all about buying and using some of the vegetables I generally bypass at the market, like cardoons and sunchokes.
As I said at the top of this post, I am recommending Cara Mangini's The Vegetable Butcher to all cooks, no matter what your skill level. This is a great resource for people who want to explore new vegetables, learn new techniques, eat more healthful foods, and add more vegetarian meals to their rotation. I will be turning to this book over and over again. For more on Magini and some recipes, visit her website.
Note: All photos are from the book and are used in the context of a review. All rights remain with the original copyright holder(s).
Published by Workman, 2016
Source: review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)