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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Veggie Delights

Is it strange that my two favorite cookbooks were purchased at Anthropologie??? I thought I was just a sucker falling for scrumptious-looking cookbook covers, but, after having cooked my way through both books, they've proven their worth over and over again. I am by no means a vegetarian, but I do strongly believe that veggie side dishes deserve as much attention as their main dish counter parts and are perfectly suitable to replace said counterparts.

The first book is Pure Vegetarian by Paul Gayler


These are labor-intensive dishes intented for the serious cook. With receipes like Avocado Salsa Rolls (the thin avocado replaces the traditional seaweek), Sardinian Carrot Gnocchi and and Tomato, Spinach and Basil Sformatine (a Mediterranean polenta cake) - you will impress your friends.

Gayler marries an unusial trio with his Salad of Chickpeas, Caulifower, and Apricots. And my favorite dish out of this book is the Vegetable Carpaccio, thinly sliced beets, fennel, celery, cauliflower, radishes, zucchini and avocado with a delicious saffron-parsley inspired vineagrette. Just know that once you open this book, you are setting yourself up for more than a thirty-minute fling in your kitchen. (On average, each recipe takes about an hour.) I learned this the hard way the first time I cooked out of the book when I attempted to make three veggie meals to serve all at once. I belive we ended up eating each course as it was finished because the organization of that meal was for someone who knows how to run a real kitchen and has a team of helpers (the four-year old sous-chef didn't count.)

The photos make you literally want to rip out the pages of the book and eat them. I'm serious.

The second book is Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton


I definitely use this one more frequently because the recipes are much simpler and often involve ingradients that I already have on hand. The thing I like best about this book is how excited it makes me to eat vegetables. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a bunch of carrots in the fridge and wondered what to do with them besides dipping them in hummus, throwing them in the juicer or tossing in a salad.

Well, now I know I can whip up Braised Carrots with Blood Orange-Fresh Tarragon Pan Sauce or Sauteed Carrots with Warm Olice and Mint Dressing or Stir-Fried Carrots with Ginger, Lime, and Cilanto. Middleton's ideas are fresh and simple.

Here are a few things I've made recently from the book:

Peas with Lemon, Mint, and Scallions



Summer Heirloom Tomato, and Fresh Herb Gazpacho Salad


Both books are a perfect companion to culinary-bound, farmer's market frequenters.

And now, I'm hungry......

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