- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Artisan; 1st Edition edition (May 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579656315
- ISBN-13: 978-1579656317
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 186 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables Hardcover – May 2, 2017
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From the Publisher
“The book’s appealingly simple recipes are focused on delivering big flavor.”
—The Wall Street Journal, The Best Books to Give to the Food Lover in Your Life
“Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables is poised to join the veggie canon. . . . The flavors are big. . . . They’re also layered and complex, despite their apparent simplicity. What will really change your cooking is [McFadden’s] approach to seasoning. . . . Trust me: Read this book and you’ll never look at cabbage the same way again.”
“Achieves the near-impossible: Recipe after recipe of restaurant-quality food that isn’t difficult to put together.”
“Stellar mix-and-match recipes that highlight produce at its gorgeous peak.”
—Food & Wine
“The Six Seasons cookbook. Have you bought it yet? I know this is awfully bossy of me, but I think you should. I think that if you, like me, delight in inventive but not overly complicated vegetable preparations (225 of them, even), things you hadn’t thought of but that you’ll immediately tuck into your repertoire, you’re going to love this book as much as I do. I confess I’ve had it for almost a year. In that year, I’ve been almost overwhelmed with how much I’ve wanted to cook from it.”
“Exciting flavor combinations mean this is no mere guide to vegetables but a primer on how to make them taste their exciting best.”
“Downright thrilling. . . . Divided into six seasons rather than the traditional four—a more accurate reflection of what’s happening in the fields—the book encourages readers to embrace what he calls ‘the joyful ride of eating with the seasons. . . .’ On page after page, McFadden presents a deliciously enlightening way of cooking with vegetables.”
“Enduringly rewarding. I am utterly consumed with Six Seasons and feel I could cook from it every day without tiring.”
“This cookbook might put meat out of business. It’s that good. . . . A rare source of new ideas about vegetables. McFadden’s forward-looking sensibility infuses every recipe.”
“[This is] a cookbook I’ve gotten a little obsessed with. . . . The book offers inspiring treatments for vegetables that are often relegated to a boring crudité tray—if you’re looking for a new way to treat celery or cabbage, you need a copy.”
“Six Seasons is a beautiful book. But it’s more than a pretty face: It’s a practical primer that begs to come into the kitchen—and won’t disappoint once you get it there.”
—Santa Fe New Mexican
“An exuberant, engaging approach to vegetables. . . . Six Seasons is a joy. . . . [It] manages to feel comprehensive without sacrificing delight and humor.”
—Portland Press Herald
“The most exciting approach to home cooking I’ve seen all year. . . . Six Seasons is one of the most satisfying cookbooks I’ve purchased in years, and McFadden’s insights into seasoning are invaluable, even for an experienced home cook.”
“A must-have cookbook that stands out from the crowd of vegetable-centric cookbooks. . . . This cookbook deserves to become a well-thumbed, vital addition to any kitchen.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Essential techniques that can help cooks become better at preparing seasonal and local vegetables. . . . Attractive vegetable recipes range from brightly colored raw and cooked salads to indulgent appetizers, pastas, and baked goods. Under McFadden’s tutelage, cooks will learn how to bring out the best in every humble vegetable.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“McFadden’s debut cookbook is an invaluable resource for all things veggie.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Visionary. . . . Beautifully produced.”
“This is not a cookbook for coffee tables or artfully curated bookshelves! Its recipes demand to be tasted until the pages are dog-eared and sauce-splattered and stick together. Compulsory for the home cook.”
—Dan Barber, chef/co-owner of Blue Hill
“Joshua McFadden has the soul of a farmer, and his recipes are beautifully in tune with the seasons and the land.”
—Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse
“Joshua [understands] vegetables from the perspective of both a farmer and chef. His mouthwatering and terrific solutions . . . get the most out of vegetables from their beginning to their last act on our plates.”
—David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku
“We always knew Joshua was a vegetable magician, but this is so much more. We learned something new on every page. Six Seasons is a brilliant cookbook.”
—Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman, cofounders of Four Season Farm
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Whether you have your own vegetable gardens or get a weekly CSA box or patronize a thriving farmers' market, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this book. If you would rather eat veggies than meat, you have to have it. I haven't seen such an exciting and creative vegetable-themed cookbook in a long time. Besides dealing with the vegetables themselves, Joshua McFadden has loaded this book with wonderful vinaigrettes, sauces, and butters. He makes valuable and experienced recommendations of his favorite flavor enhancers, too.
I am so enamored of this book that it sits on the edge of my ottoman where I prop my feet up, and I re-read some part of it daily: It is that time of the year when veggies really come into their own--exciting and varied and so obviously fresh--that I can't get enough of them. It is so, so satisfying and rewarding to have so many terrific recipes to refer to for the vegetables and herbs and greens that I have at hand, in hand. We do get a CSA half-bushel box each Wednesday, and I always have an assortment of fresh vegetables in our refrigerator bins, with overflow in a cooler on our porch. I also have a thriving herb garden, and a small raised garden of leafy greens. Plus my tomatoes are ripening, and sweet corn is ready in my area. (The corn recipes in this book are great!) So, this cookbook is right up my alley, and it came available at the perfect time.
And, get this: He encourages us to eat our green salads with our hands. Tried it and loved it and will continue to eat salads with my fingers from here on out.
He does an excellent job of training the reader to season properly. He salts, peppers, and dashes vinegars on his fresh greens, then tastes and adjusts. Then he adds olive oil for richness and mellowness. The technique works well for me.
McFadden has a technique that I find invaluable: Dry-grill veggies. After many years of trying, I had finally discontinued grilling vegetables. Period. Didn't like the taste of most veggies on the grill. McFadden claims that off-flavor is the oil in the marinade or simply the oil that one uses to "grease" whatever vegetables get put on the grill. Solution? Don't oil them, put them on the grill without adornment, and dress them after you take them off the grate. Simply amazing how well this technique works.
He also is a fan of refrigerator pickles. I am too, and I am always searching for and buying cookbooks that contain new ideas for frig pickles. There are two charts for frig pickles--listing vegetables along with appropriate seasonings to go into a basic brine. There is a longer list of vegetables that go into a cold brine, a short list suited for a hot brine.
I like that he incorporated grains into his veggie dishes, too.
And the idea of six seasons? It’s about time we acknowledge them. Those of us who garden vegetables know in the back of our minds that there are many differences between early and late summer. Those of us down South, (I grow in south-central Texas), can even call out Early Spring and Late Spring, and Early Fall and Late Fall, rather than the three Summer seasons that are called out in this book. But it is good to acknowledge them all: For me, acknowledgement spurs me to plant earlier and more.
Recipes in this book are arranged by season, then alphabetically by main vegetable. There are line drawings in addition to full-color photos of the veggies themselves, how-to photos and finished dishes. The pages are a nice, heavy stock, and the books is a hardback.
My favorite recipe at this point is a fairly simple one: Grilled Carrots, Steak, and Red Onion with Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce. I could make it all grilling season long. And I don't need the steak. And I can make it with summer squash, too, but the carrots and onions is a must. And the Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce comes together in a few minutes of prep work. (I use Red Boat fish sauce as McFadden recommends).
The sliced Hakurei turnips with herbs, yogurt and poppy seeds is almost too awesome looking to eat--but we did, and can't wait until those turnips come back into season.
How much do I love this book? I am a reviewer of cookbooks. It's one of my hobbies. And I first received this one as a temporary download from the publisher. I worked with the recipes for quite a while before this book was published a few weeks ago. But, as you can see from the "Verified Purchase" tag at the top of this review, I had to have my own copy. And, now that it is in my hot hands, I can say that it's even better than it was in its preliminary form.
First I made the pea salsa verde. I used frozen peas because frozen peas are high quality and very rarely do you need to go out and buy fresh peas for a recipe (usually if you want to use the pods is a reason to do so) and made pickled carrot ribbons, which I knew would pickle faster and thought they would look beautiful, and they did. I'd do ribbons all the time, now, and I will be making this again as it's a delicious light, fresh, satisfying side that is great with any number of proteins. I paired it with some seared bratwursts from a local butcher. I thought his pickle brine was a touch sweeter than I prefer, and I'll be cutting back on the sugar in the future, but it's a minor quibble.
Next up was the steak with broccoli and caper raisin vinaigrette, which really does taste like Chinese beef with broccoli due to the umami, sweet, and tangy elements in anchovies, raisins, and vinegar, respectively. I did switch this up a bit choosing to char the broccoli on my griddle rather than steaming it the way he does, and I used skirt steak. In any case, it makes for a wonderful meal, the crispy breadcrumbs soaking up the dressing so you get more of it in every bite.
I do wish he'd say how many anchovies should be in the dressing, rather than calling for a can, since I usually have a jar of anchovies instead. I figured out based on taste and consistency, though. You really will want to have a batch of this vinaigrette in your fridge at all times. It's addictive stuff.
I also made the couscous with English peas, apricots, and lamb meatballs and while delicious, the best part was easily the couscous, which even a day later straight out of the fridge tasted great. The meatballs weren't bad, but they weren't my favorite lamb meatballs by any stretch and I'd probably make different ones if I were making this meal again. And now for my one major gripe: there is no way that the meatballs pictured in the book were baked. They were clearly fried. Trust me when I say that if you bake any meatball for just 8-10 minutes at 450 you will get a gray blob. You really should just fry them. Pan-fried would be my preference. You'll also get a better crust by frying. If you really don't want to fry, then BROIL them. But you need that high heat to get color on them. You just can't get that beautiful brown of the picture by baking, especially for such a short period of time.
I was going to give this book 5 stars anyway because I'm completely enamored of it and it is an exciting cookbook to look through for me, but I thought some might take issue given I pointed out some flaws, and dishonest photos like the meatballs are kind of a no-no in a cookbook, so I'll take off one star.
Adding a note: I'm fairly certain he's not much of a cilantro fan because it is noticeably absent from this book. There are two recipes in the index that feature it. Recipes where it would surely be used instead have parsley, mint, and chives. For some, I'm sure that's great news. For myself, I'll probably be using cilantro instead of what he calls for if the flavor profile fits (ahem, corn)…
I'm really looking forward to cooking my way through this book. Hell, I am even kind of looking forward to cooler weather to try some of the heartier fall and winter foods, and I hate cold weather. If you are an omnivore who loves vegetables, pick this one up. He does a great job of balancing flavors and textures in delicious ways.
Edited to add: the celery salad with dates, almonds, and parmigiano is worth the price of the book alone. That salad is a stunner!