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Fast, Fresh & Green Paperback – April 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Not all these recipes are fast, nor do they all feature green veggies (nor are they consciously ecofocused). The subtitle explains it better: this rainbow of appealing recipes is for those who adore vegetable dishes and want more than an afterthought chapter dedicated to them. Middleton, a former editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, divides recipes by cooking style, instructing readers in braising, hands-on sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, and more. She offers dishes—braised fingerlings with rosemary and mellow garlic; sautéed carrots with warm olive and mint dressing; stir-fried swiss chard with pine nuts and balsamic butter; and grill-roasted bell peppers with goat cheese and cherry tomato dressing—with layers of complexity that heighten but don't overwhelm the flavors of the intended stars, the vegetables. And she employs interesting contrasts—savory and sweet, for example—in recipes such as vanilla and cardamom glazed acorn squash rings; roasted turnips and pears with rosemary-honey drizzle; and gingery sweet potato and apple sauté with toasted almonds that are likely to tempt even the vegetable-averse. Fink's photos—mostly of green veggies, perhaps in a nod to the misnomer title—show lima beans and peas as mouth-watering, decadent treats. (June)
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From the Author
I couldn't be happier with my first cookbook, Fast, Fresh & Green. It's beautiful (thank you to Chronicle Books and my fabulous photographer Ben Fink!), and I feel like my mission--to help people learn more easy and delicious ways to cook vegetables--really comes to life on these pages. When I was Editor of Fine Cooking magazine, I noticed that our vegetable side dish features were always very popular, that folks really wanted to cook more vegetables but struggled with how to cook them and with making dishes that everyone in the family would like. I could relate! As a little girl, I was such a picky eater that my mother let me put sour cream on my vegetables just to get them down me. But that all changed when I started to cook for myself, went to culinary school, worked in great restaurants, and began to understand that vegetables don't need to be handled with kid gloves. In fact, the kiss of high heat brings out their sweetness; and roasting, braising, sauteing, and grilling are all great ways to make vegetables tasty.
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The book also makes the reader think--and that's a great thing. What style of cooking or what seasoning or what little trick do you continually employ in the kitchen when time is short and your brain skips to something "tried and true"? That is what Ms. Middleton is trying to help us with: She wants to help us build a larger base of tried and true "go to", "don't need a recipe" vegetable side dishes. If you are an experienced cook, you probably already have a few tricks up your sleeve. If you're not, I bet your mother or grandmother does....I bet if you show this book to some of the more experienced cooks in your family, it will get them thinking, too. And I bet they'll offer you the tricks they have up their sleeves--tricks and ideas that they didn't realize they have been relying on for years and years.
I considered knocking the book down one star because I think there are plenty of similar ideas for salads and un-cooked veggies in other books. But I changed my mind because I realized the book would not have been "complete" without the chapter "No Cooking".
There is another cookbook currently available that does an equally fine job on vegetable technique, but that cookbook also shares ideas on all kinds of foods,from breakfast to dessert, from soup to nuts. So even though these two books contain overlapping ideas, they are really both "keepers". If you end up buying this book and liking it, you will also love Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease: 325 Inspiring Recipes from Award-Winning Chef Rozanne Gold, or, if you already have and love Radically Simple, I believe you will want "Fast, Fresh & Green", too.
I think the title of the cookbook is misleading and more brain-storming sessions could and should have taken place. The title conveys a very simple, basic content: "More than 90 delicious recipes for veggie lovers"; the book is way more than that. It is a shame that most cooks will overlook this worthy cook book because its title doesn't present its contents accurately. "Communication is the Key" is my philosophy. And I believe Ms. Middleton's editors shorted her by allowing this title.