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“The heart of the book really lies in the Vegetable section, where James Peterson highlights, vegetable by vegetable, delicious recipes and photos on preparing them. If you’re even remotely interested in herbs, this section is spectacular, with photos of each herb, information on preparation and storage, and enticing recipes.” —KQED Bay Area Bites, 4/9/12
"A farmer's market field guide." —menshealth.com, Guy Gourmet “Peterson’s masterful survey of kitchen skills is a refreshing dose of tradition for anyone weary of quick-and-simple recipe books.” —Publishers Weekly
“What I admire about Peterson’s work is the way he makes the chef’s knowledge so clear and accessible to the home cook.” —Michael Ruhlman, author of The Elements of Cooking
“Some cookbooks help you get dinner on the table tonight. [Petersons’] help you become a better cook for the rest of your life-—every recipe teaches you something fundamental.” —O Magazine
“It will soon be said—if it hasn’t already—that one could learn everything one needs to know about cooking by simply having and using James Peterson’s books.” —Peter Reinhart, author of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day
“Cooking from a James Peterson book is like having a personal cooking coach with you in the kitchen.” —Bonnie Stern, founder of Bonnie Stern Cooking School
About the Author
James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, and cooking teacher. He is the author of 15 titles, including Baking, Cooking, Meat, Kitchen Simple, and his first book, Sauces. He has been one of the country’s preeminent cooking instructors for more than twenty years and currently teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.
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 should start by saying that I have purchased many of Peterson's books. His fish and shellfish book is excellent, as is his book on sauces. His book on soups is okay, and this book is okay as well, but not amazing.
My main complaint of the book is that most vegetables have only 1-2 recipes, and many of them are of the more obvious variety. Some of the recipes are more successful than others. For instance, his recipe for lentils is far too watery to serve in the traditional fashion - it's somewhere between soup and stewed lentils.
Unfortunately, I just haven't been able to find a great cookbook for vegetables. This one is good enough, but I wouldn't rush out to buy it again.
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I am quite glad I bought this book. I have a number of vegetarian cookbooks, but here's what's unique about this one: it is a tad luxurious but not too big; there is an excellent photo of each vegetable raw (unlike the drawings in Deborah Madison's book, for instance) and the included list is extensive--this has really helped me dare to try some new veggies!; there clear explanations of technique (esp. knife techniques for dealing with tricky vegetables), indeed, the book is filled with little tweaks on how you can up your game as a cook. It's inspiring! Finally, I like the author's "voice." He writes as the senior partner, but he is utterly respectful of the home cook, and displays a sense of humor (somehow vegetable cooking can too often sound dull. Not here). To be clear, this is not a vegetarian cookbook--the author clearly celebrates all things vegetable, but he uses meat in some recipes.
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I bought the book because I want to venture out beyond the standard veggies I always seem to rely on, but have no idea how to shop for, store, cook, or combine in a meal those strange products I see all the time in the supermarket. I love that all this information is included. The pictures are beautiful, the writer's voice is instructional without being condescending. Descriptions of the techniques are very clear. I look forward to growing and learning as a home cook who cares about my family's health.
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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.