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Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes Hardcover – March 12, 2013
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Featured Recipe from Vegetable Literacy: Ivory Carrot Soup with a Fine Dice of Orange Carrots
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound white carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon raw white rice
- Sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 thyme sprig
- 4 cups water or light chicken stock
- Few tablespoons finely diced orange carrots and/or other colored carrots
- Freshly ground pepper
- About 1 tablespoon minced fine green carrot tops
Warm the butter and oil in a soup pot and add the onion, white carrots, rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and the sugar and thyme. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, turning everything occasionally. Add 1 cup of the water, cover, turn down the heat, and cook while you heat the remaining 3 cups water. When the water is hot, add it to the pot, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, cook the diced carrots in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes and then drain.
When ready, let cool slightly, then remove and discard the thyme sprig. Puree the soup until smooth in a blender. Taste for salt and season with the pepper. Reheat if it has cooled.
Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter the diced carrots and carrot tops over each serving, and serve.
Featured Recipe from Vegetable Literacy: Peas with Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs
- Olive oil
- 1 cup high-quality ricotta cheese, such as hand-dipped full-fat ricotta
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 2 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 5 small sage leaves, minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 pounds pod peas, shucked (about 1 cup)
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chunk of Parmesan cheese, for grating
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a small baking dish; a round Spanish earthenware dish about 6 inches across is perfect for this amount.
If your ricotta is wet and milky, drain it first by putting it in a colander and pressing out the excess liquid. Pack the ricotta into the dish, drizzle a little olive oil over the surface, and bake 20 minutes or until the cheese has begun to set and brown on top. Cover the surface with the bread crumbs and continue to bake until the bread crumbs are browned and crisp, another 10 minutes. (The amount of time it takes for ricotta cheese to bake until set can vary tremendously, so it may well take longer than the times given here, especially if it wasn’t drained.)
When the cheese is finished baking, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots and sage and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, and the lemon zest. Simmer until the peas are bright green and tender; the time will vary, but it should be 3 to 5 minutes. Whatever you do, don’t let them turn gray. Season with salt and a little freshly ground pepper, not too much.
Divide the ricotta between 2 plates. Spoon the peas over the cheese. Grate some Parmesan over all and enjoy while warm.
With Pasta: Cook 1 cup or so pasta shells in boiling, salted water. Drain and toss them with the peas, cooked as above, and then with the ricotta. The peas nestle in the pasta, like little green pearls.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
One of the key premises of this book is that understanding the relationships between vegetables may influence the way you think about and use them. For example, the Knotweed family includes buckwheat, sorrel, and rhubarb. Knowing the relationship between these ingredients may inform your use of them. Thus, you may choose to add rhubarb to buckwheat muffins, knowing that the two share a phylogenetic family and thus have a natural affinity.
Vegetable Literacy is organized by vegetable family. Each member of the family is described in detail, with great information about appearance, history, and nutrients. The entry also includes excellent varieties to look for, information about using other portions of the plant, "kitchen wisdom," and other foods with which the vegetable pairs well.
In addition to all of this fantastic information about vegetables (both common and uncommon -- how much did I know about salsify before this book? Absolutely nothing), Vegetable Literacy contains some fantastic recipes.Read more ›
Besides being an absolutely fabulous cookbook, this is a great reference book. Instead of going from A-Z (A is for Asparagus, etc.) as so many authors have done with vegetables, Madison does something pretty astounding, and classifies vegetables by family. Deborah, through years of cooking and gardening experience, has observed that vegetables in the same family can be used interchangeably in cooking, due to shared botanical characteristics. So it greatly helps with the mystery of why some substitutions work beautifully and why some leave your family saying eeeek! She consulted with Botanist to bring us a book that is fun to read and learn from. The book has beautiful photography as well as formatting, and as usual Madison has some truly inventive and delicious recipes.Read more ›
If you buy your produce from the grocery store, you will find a lot of great recipes and a lot of information on unfamiliar edible plants, grains, grasses, herbs, beans and vegetables. But (I'd roughly estimate that) a fifth of the information provided will not be of value to the grocery-store-buyer, since the book provides information on varieties available and how to make use of all parts of the plant: From seedlings that you weed out, to leaf tops of edible roots, to roots of edible tops, to bolted stems and flowers, etc. In other words, parts of the plant that grocery-store-buyers don't often see. But, I'd bet good money that anyone who reads this book and doesn't have a garden, will be hurriedly searching for a sunny piece of earth in which to pitch a shovel!
I won't go into the great information that you can find by reading this product page on Amazon. Definitely take advantage of the "Look Inside" feature. And definitely take a look at Deborah Madison's other published books.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book! Lovely writing and very useful information. I love her cooking style, simple straightforward and delicious. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
I am looking forward to learning more about vegetables, and perhaps, cooking them in ways that I haven't tried.Published 14 days ago by Beth Groleau
This book is fascinating as Deborah Madison explains the family from which a vegetable comes from. She also includes wonderful grain recipes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Deborah H Cone
I showed this to a friend, and she had to order it! Gorgeous book with so many wonderful recipes and information.Published 3 months ago by Liane Jaeger
This cook book is a fascinating read - every vegetable imaginable is explained, pictured, and best of all a few delicious recipes are included for every entry. Read morePublished 4 months ago by KT