HOW TO BUY, PREPARE, STORE AND COOK VEGETABLES
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
(Ten Speed Press) ISBN 978-1607740261 1607740265
Even if you are not a vegetarian, you will find this revised edition of James Peterson's vegetable cookbook indispensable. It features more than 300 recipes for vegetable soups, salads, casseroles, stews, pastas and risottos, as well as butters and sauces for vegetables.
Illustrated with numerous color photos, Vegetables also explains how to buy, peel, seed, chop, slice and store vegetables. Besides learning cooking techniques for everyday vegetables, you will also learn how to prepare unusual vegetables, such as crosnes and salsify (oyster plant).
Vegetable cooking techniques
This 391-page cookbook begins with cooking techniques, e.g., boiling, steaming, braising, grilling and deep-frying. A sidebar explains the difference between sweating (cooking vegetables slowly in fat so they release moisture) and sautéing (using high heat so vegetables caramelize or brown).
James Peterson organizes the vegetables alphabetically, from amaranth to yams. After discussing vegetable preparation and storage, he provides the recipes, many with variations. For example, he suggests adding shaved raw fennel or chopped chipotle chiles to spice up cucumber and yogurt salad.
Sidebars provide additional information about vegetables, such as how to french green beans.
Examples of vegetable recipes? Cream of parsnip soup with apple and bacon. Orange, endive and walnut salad. Brussels sprouts with raisins and pistachios. Thai cucumber salad with peanuts. Sugar snap peas with mushrooms, curry, coconut milk and shrimp. Twice-baked garlic and tomato soufflés.
Especially helpful are James Peterson's recipes for unusual and uncommon vegetables: arracacha (apio or Peruvian parsnip), burdock, cardoons, kencur (aromatic ginger), lamb's quarters, luffa (squash), miner's lettuce (winter purslane), ramps, perilla, samphire (salicorne), hijiki (seaweed), sorrel and taro.
How to identify Asian vegetables
Photos and descriptions explain the difference between Chinese greens like bok choy: Chinese broccoli (gai lan), oil seed rape (yau choy), bamboo mustard cabbage (juk gai choy), wrapped heart mustard cabbage (dai gai choy), tatsoi, tah choy and yu choy sum. James Peterson also describes how to cook these Asian vegetables.
Other photos depict step-by-step cooking techniques such as how to make picada (Mediterranean garlic and nut pesto) with a mortar and pestle. Vegetable photos also help you identify types of mushrooms (e.g., maitake, mousserones and nameko).
- Skills for Preparing and Cooking Vegetables
- Knife Skills
- Methods of Cooking
- Making Salads
- Making Gratins and Casseroles
- Making Stews
- Making Soups
- Making Pasta, Gnocchi and Risottos
- Making Pureed Vegetables
- The Vegetables: A to Z
- Butters and Sauces
- Broths and Concentrated Broths
James Peterson is a cooking teacher and author of seven cookbooks that have won James Beard awards.