21 August 2010

Weekend Cooking: Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


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.

Published by Chronicle Books / April 2010
ISBN-13: 9780811865661
YTD: 74
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: A
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Lenore Appelhans 8/21/10, 6:02 AM  

This sounds perfect for me! I am always looking to improve my cooking technique with vegetables.

Rikki 8/21/10, 6:40 AM  

Sounds like a good reference cookbook to have. Thanks for talking about it.

Zee 8/21/10, 7:09 AM  

Oh this looks really interesting I need some new (or at least new to me) ways to cook veggies. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

Julie P. 8/21/10, 7:37 AM  

I don't use recipes for vegetables unfortunately. I bet this cookbook would jumpstart that for me!

caite 8/21/10, 7:39 AM  

I love veggies, ever veggie except okra.
But I am certainly in a veggie rut and this sounds like just the cure.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/21/10, 8:24 AM  

I so wish I liked this post as much as your peach dessert post! Unfortunately, I'm way more into desserts than vegetables! On the other hand, maybe that means I could really use this book!

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 8/21/10, 8:26 AM  

I'm always looking for ways to use more vegetables, so I put this one on hold at the library immediately! Thanks for the rec.

Kaye 8/21/10, 9:04 AM  

This sounds like a must have for anyone. We seem to get in such a rut cooking veggies the same old way. Thanks for highlighting this one.

Meghan 8/21/10, 9:59 AM  

This looks like a great choice for me - usually I just steam vegetables in the microwave. I'd love to convince hubby that they can carry a meal by themselves. I've put it on my wishlist!

Heather 8/21/10, 10:22 AM  

most cookbooks only give recipes, its terrific to find ones that teach techniques.

I have added links to two posts today. Hope thats ok. they are very different so I had to split into two posts.

Sorry I have missed you the past few weeks. We've been camping on weekends and then volunteering, not much time for blogging.

Peaceful Reader 8/21/10, 11:59 AM  

This sounds like a great reference book for our family as we eat mostly vegetarian. It would be nice to make braised veggies with ease!

Melissa 8/21/10, 1:06 PM  

Oh, I'm definitely going to look for this. Sounds like it is a winner! Thanks for the review.

Anonymous,  8/21/10, 4:32 PM  

I'm not a vegetarian, but would still love to have a book like this! I love veggies and love cookbooks.

Molly 8/21/10, 6:39 PM  

I would LOVE to have a master recipe for braising vegetables! I don't eat nearly as many as I should, but I think if I knew how to prepare them in a short amount of time, it would be much easier to eat more healthy.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 8/21/10, 7:22 PM  

I'm not very adventurous when it comes to improvising in the kitchen ... a refresher course on basic techniques would do me a world of good.

I'm really stretching it with my Weekend Cooking post ... a ice cram your of the outer Cape ...

Jen - Devourer of Books 8/21/10, 9:09 PM  

Oooh, I definitely want this book!

bermudaonion 8/21/10, 9:33 PM  

Yummy - this sounds like the perfect cookbook to me!

JoAnn 8/22/10, 10:43 AM  

Always looking for new veggie recipes... this sounds perfect!

Anonymous,  8/22/10, 11:44 AM  

Sounds like a great book! Especially since I'm sometimes at a loss what to do with my weekly organic CSA veggies... some are easier to cook than others ;)

Diann @ The thrifty Groove 8/22/10, 1:08 PM  

Oh Beth! thank you for linking me up! This has been a hectic few days and I totally forgot! Geez! LOL

Oh, I love to braise veggies and I use lots of our fresh herbs. Last week we had a couple of meals and didn't even realize that we made complete meals without any meat in them. Right now, with all the fresh produce, we are taking advantage of it to the max!

Jenners 8/22/10, 9:35 PM  

I think I need to get this book. I want us to eat more veggies, but my preparation is steaming them ... that's it. And it gets a bit old!

dining table 8/23/10, 4:31 AM  

This post is just one reason why I really love visiting this blog. This post is so interesting and informative. I learned new things every time I visit this blog.

Andi 8/23/10, 5:23 AM  

This cookbook looks fantastic! The family watched Food, Inc. together this weekend, and the kids and Chuck are all willing to get onboard eating vegetarian meals several times a week to cut down on our meat consumption. I could never take bacon away from Rocketboy (12) completely, though. He was sure to remind me of this. :D

Jill 8/23/10, 2:26 PM  

I sooo need to get this cookbook...thanks for putting it on my radar. I have but two cooking methods for vegetables: steam or bake in a casserole! :)

Veens 8/24/10, 4:14 AM  

This one is definitely for me! I am a recent-veggie! And that to by choice ;) :)

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