22 January 2022

Weekend Cooking: Milk Street Vegetables by Christopher Kimball

Cover of the cookbook Milk Street Vegetables by Christopher KimballDo you ever get tired of cooking your vegetables in the same old way? After all, what's easier and more reliable than roasting veggies in the oven or air fryer?

I can't say I'm tired of roasting my vegetables, but I love learning new methods and trying new recipes. When Voracious Books offered me a copy of Milk Street: Vegetables as part of their Voracious Ambassadors program, I jumped at the chance to explore the cookbook. First, I have all the faith in Christopher Kimball and Milk Street recipes. Second, I don't think I've ever met a vegetable I didn't like when cooked properly. Finally, I was ready to learn some new tricks.

Now that the holidays are well behind us and the temperatures are plummeting (the wind chill this morning was -6F), I'm all about spending time in the kitchen, and Milk Street: Vegetables has been keeping me company. The recipes are arranged loosely by course (appetizers, soups, mains) or technique (stir-fries, oven-baked), but the principal way I've navigated the cookbook is via the indexes, especially the one that lists recipes by the main vegetable. I think the best way to talk about this hefty cookbook is go through the pros and cons.

Photo of a green bean dish from Milk Street Vegetables by Christopher KimballHere's what I really like about Milk Street: Vegetables. I can't say enough about the variety of flavors found throughout the book. The dishes are truly global. Besides the the familiar Western cuisines, we find Asian-, African-, and Mideast-inspired recipes. I also appreciate the tips and advice that accompany almost every recipe. Cooks learn why a particular technique is called for, how to avoid overcooking the main vegetable, when to taste for seasoning, and how to choose and prepare less-common ingredients. What's more, each recipe introduction tells us the inspiration behind the dish, serving tips, acceptable substitutions, and other good information.

The photos here show the Green Beans with Mushrooms and Sherry Vinaigrette and Braised Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoked Paprika and Garlic. Both photos were taken in progress and not just before serving. I also made Hoisin Broccoli and Tofu Traybake, Soy-Glazed Braised Brussels Spouts, and several of the salads. Tonight I'm making Roasted Acorn Squash with Orange-Herb Salad. All the recipes were easy to follow and the dishes were delicious, especially those chickpeas (you can check out the recipe over at Edible Communities).

A chickpea dish from Milk Street Vegetables by Christopher KimballThroughout Milk Street: Vegetables, you'll find features that spotlight a single vegetable. Here we learn more information about the ingredient as well as how each vegetable is usually served around the world. For example, the eggplant feature tells us how the vegetable (really a fruit) is cooked in Cairo, Ho Chi Minh City, Naples, and India. If the cookbook includes a recipe for any of these dishes, you'll find a cross-reference to Milk Street's version.

Now for the cons. First, some of the recipes have appeared in other Milk Street cookbooks. For example, that chickpea recipe was also in their Tuesday Nights cookbook. My second issue is that some of the recipes are fairly involved or require attention, which means it can be difficult for a single cook to juggle the vegetable side while also making the main dish. The results (at least in my experience) are worth the trouble, but it's something to keep in mind. Sometimes that 30-minute estimated cooking time is hands off, but other times, you're stirring, prepping the next step, or are otherwise involved.

Recommendation: With Milk Street: Vegetables by Christopher Kimball in your kitchen, you'll be serving up all kinds of tasty vegetarian dishes that pack a ton of flavor. You can't go wrong with this cookbook, whether you buy it or borrow it from the library. If you're eating vegan or gluten free, you'll find many recipes to suit your diet; just be sure to read through the list of ingredients first.

Here's a recipe I haven't tried yet, but it's on my list.

Broccoli with Scallions, Miso and Orange
A broccoli dish from Milk Street: Vegetarian by Christopher Kimball4 servings
Time: 25 minutes total

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or salted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white miso or red miso
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more to serve
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds broccoli, stems sliced 1/2 inch thick and florets cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice
Don't forget to reserve the scallion whites and greens separately, as they're added at different times. The whites are sauteed before the broccoli is added to the pot; the greens go in at the end.

In a large Dutch oven, combine the olive oil and scallion whites. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups water, the miso, sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the miso, then stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.

Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture evaporates and the broccoli begins to sizzle, about 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the orange zest and juice along with the scallion greens, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with additional sesame oil.

Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds or Siraracha or both.

Note: The scan of the broccoli dish and the recipe are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. Two photos are my own.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Mae Travels 1/22/22, 8:16 AM  

Milk Street cookbooks appear to be very reliable, but I've never actually bought one. Maybe some time, though I'm focused on more exotic vegetable recipes at the moment.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 1/22/22, 8:42 AM  

As always, while reading your post, I popped over to the library to see if the book is available. All the Milk Streets books are there, however there is a waiting list, which is fine as I just add them to my wish list.
I have really changed my vegetable cooking in the last 10 years. Like you, there isn't a vegetable I don't like, but love some more than others. I sauté a lot more than I used to and use various spices and sauces like soy and siracha.

Vicki 1/22/22, 9:24 AM  

I love vegetables and this looks like a book I'd enjoy. All the food pics look good, especially the Broccoli with Scallions, Miso and Orange, YUM!

Claudia 1/22/22, 12:11 PM  

I've got this book reserved at the library. I love discovering new and delicious ways of preparing vegetables, and new veggies as well. Right now we have flourishing mustard greens, and I just dscovered a brilliant way to fix the stems in a Chinese salted, preserved condiment, courtesy of Fusha Dunlop, in Land of Plenty.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 1/22/22, 12:32 PM  

I do find that I tend to use the same spices and cook my vegetables in a similar way. I'm always happy to try a new recipe for vegetables.Thanks for the review Beth.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/22/22, 1:49 PM  

We are needing new "eat your vegetables" inspiration, I will have to see if this is at our library, thanks for the referral!

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/22/22, 7:49 PM  

I will check this one out for my vegetarian daughter-in-law.

Marg 1/25/22, 5:38 AM  

Broccoli is my favourite vegetable so it's always good to find a new way to cook it!

Tina 1/29/22, 7:58 AM  

Can’t go wrong with Christopher Kimmal. I appreciate you mentioning the time ratings on recipes can be misleading. I found that to be true witha Jamie Oliver cookbook boasting 30 minute meals.
Overall this is a winner and I’d like to check this book out.

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