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James Peterson's Vegetables is an encyclopedic yet easy-to-read guide to preparing everything from artichokes and beet greens to plantains and watercress. It contains more than 300 enticing recipes, many which use just three or four ingredients.
This is a book about vegetables, but not a vegetarian cook book. To deliver appealingly intense flavors, Peterson uses chicken broth, anchovies, prosciutto, or bacon. He also does not skimp on cream or butter when he feels it is right for a dish.
Peterson starts with information on buying, storing, and using 64 vegetables. Photos illustrate how to trim fennel, clean and julienne leeks and perform other commonly used techniques. He also provides helpful information along with the recipes, like suggesting that you buy roasted, not raw cashews because they are less likely to be rancid. The recipes range from Mediterranean-style Creamy Zucchini Gratin to Mexican Avocado and Chile "Gazpacho," and Japanese Cucumber Salad, as well as expected classics like mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and creamed spinach. When you need a gift, think of this book. --Dana Jacobi--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Peterson, whose Sauces won IACP Cookbook-of-the-Year in 1992 and whose Fish & Shellfish won a 1997 IACP award, will no doubt earn more honors with his latest, a collection of over 300 recipes so imaginative and inviting that even veggie-phobes will rejoice. Accepting the challenge of making something tasty out of supermarket produce (and occasionally making use of dairy and meat products), Peterson proves to be more than up to the task. In the first third of the book, he suggests cooking techniques for over 60 vegetables, from artichokes to zucchinis, along the way providing countless tipsAsuch as uses for fennel stems (dry them and toss on a barbecue to scent grilled food; use fresh ones to enliven stocks and stews). The rest of the book is devoted to "The Dishes" and covers everything from Vegetable Salads to Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto, not to mention Fried Vegetables and Vegetable Stews. Many recipes are inspired. When preparing Dried Bean and Mussel Salad, cook the beans in the mussel broth for deeper flavor; create a savory side dish for roast beef or turkey with Shallots Glazed with Black Currant Liqueur; blend classic flavors in a hearty Italian-Style Kale and Garlic Soup with Prosciutto. Particularly helpful is a chart of yields per vegetable. Peterson doesn't worry much about fats, and may convince readers to abandon these cares as wellAat least temporarily. Leek Gratin for four calls for a cup of heavy cream; Risotto with Dried Porcini or Morels, a first course for four, glistens with a stick of butter. Even so, Peterson's unpretentious tone and his deft way of amplifying vegetables' siren songs make this book uncommonly captivating. First serial to Gourmet; second serial to Food & Wine; BOMC main selection; author tour; rights held by Goodman Associates. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, and cooking teacher who started his career as a restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. He is the author of fifteen titles, including "Sauces," his first book and a 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and "Cooking," a 2008 James Beard Award winner. He has been one of the country's preeminent cooking instructors for more than 20 years and currently teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's) in New York. He is revered within the industry and highly regarded as a professional resource. James Peterson cooks, writes, and photographs from Brooklyn, New York.
If you are thinking *maybe* you *might* want to buy this book -- buy it! You won't regret it. Not only is the information invaluable and in a very accessible format, but the recipes are delicious and a happy mix of decadent and healthful. For me, though, the best part of this book is how inspiring it is. If I am thinking of what to make for dinner, I grab this book, find a recipe, and then adapt it for what I have in the house. It has truly helped me to be a better, more imaginative cook. The only caveat is that in the color photo section the recipes are not cross referenced. That is, the photo of the recipe appears there but not the page number it is on. So, you have to go back and look it up in the index. This is a minor inconvenience, of course, but on the other hand, how hard would it have been to put the page numbers in? In any case, I heartily recommend this book to anyone. All my friends who have seen it have bought their own copies because they loved mine so much. This is THE reference guide to have if you ever cook fresh vegetables.
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Full disclosure, I'm not always a fan of James Peterson's books. Baking is a tragedy among cookbooks. Having said that, I am hopeful that this book is a huge departure from "Baking" and more akin to Peterson's Cooking and Splendid Soups: Recipes and Master Techniques for Making the World's Best Soups. Vegetables 2nd Ed. contains several photographs illustrating how to buy, prep, and store each vegetable. Peterson assumes nothing, teaching how to mince garlic, chop onions, and clean leeks. Though this book just barely came out, I immediately made a few recipes with some fresh produce. So far I am quite impressed. I loved the Cauliflower Gratin and the tips on "Frenching Green Beans." I will also take to heart the tips on buying peas (pea pods)! Most of the recipes are basic, containing few ingredients and focusing on the natural flavors of vegetable(s). I appreciate that for the most part. All said, I did expect more recipes beyond steaming, sautéing, adding cream, and/or drizzling with oil - there seems to be a lot of recipes like that. The book covers MANY vegetables and touches on variations within certain vegetables (squash, tomatoes, and mushrooms). The coverage on potatoes is great, especially the Parisian Potato Salad recipe. I am glad to see several Asian vegetables covered, finally demystifying the peculiar (to me) vegetables in Chinatown. I am sure this book will prove its place among my cookbooks, even if its just to quickly look up a new or challenging vegetable.Read more ›
I remember my reaction when the greenmarkets first hit N.Y.C.. I could hardly contain my glee!! It was a showcase for fresh produce grown by local farmers. On any given day, you will see all the usual suspects of the vegetable world. You will also see UNUSUAL vegetables such as chayote, jicama and salsify. How do you select, store and prepare all of them? By using this superb book!! This book, with more than 300 recipes, puts vegetables front and center! No longer relegated to an accompaning role, these recipes show how vegetables can be used as the MAIN COURSE! Yes, you will find recipes for various vegetable salades which are VERY good; but how about vegetable gratins made with coconut milk, or casseroles made with Bechamel sauce? Peterson offers some very interesting soups from around the world, such as Italian-style kale and garlic soup with white beans and prosciutto. A great surprise was the section on pickles and brine. My family loves to pickling and canning, so this section was extremely useful. As someone who is starting to feel comfortable in the kitchen, but does not know a lot about trimming, shaving, seeding and julienning anything, the techniques section, presented in beautiful color photographs was a tremendous help. The same can be said for the section that showed the finished dishes, where you can SEE just how everything is supposed to look. I loved the seasonal availabity of vegetables chart that was found in the back of the book as well as the sources listing, which gives you the names of stores where you can find the various ingredients. After reading this book and using the recipies, you'll never look at vegetables the same way again!
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I borrowed this cookbook from the library and was so impressed by the clarity of the descriptions, the ease with which I was able to find recipes and the descriptive simplicity of the writing, that I decided to buy it. As an avid, library-book-borrower, this is the highest compliment I can pay to an author. Two main points: Although this book is about vegetables, it does not assume that the reader is a vegetarian. Often the recipes suggest which meats would be complement the vegetable dish. Furthermore, as a foreigner confronted with the wider variety of American vegetables, it was wonderful to have a step-by-step approach to preparing what may seem to some people common vegetables. For once, I did not feel the writer was being patronising, rather clarity was the aim. On the strength of this book, I am quite willing to buy further books by James Peterson, sight unseen.
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