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Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated, March 12, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 358 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Featured Recipe from Vegetable Literacy: Ivory Carrot Soup with a Fine Dice of Orange Carrots

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions

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

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions

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.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Committed vegetarians will cheer over another book from the hands of Madison. One of the nation’s best-known vegetarian cooks, Madison has practiced her craft both at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse and her own restaurant. Comprehensive and exhaustive, this new cookbook surveys the world of edible plant products in rigorous scientific groupings. Both text and color photographs educate readers to discover correlations and kinships and to explore how recipes adapt to encompass related ingredients. All of the nightshade family—eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers—appear together. A sandwich of spinach, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers neighbors a sort of casserole assembled from little-known quelites (lamb’s quarters) and mushrooms layered with corn tortillas. Madison introduces even more curious vegetables, such as fourwing saltbush. Although most recipes fall into the vegan category, there are plenty of dairy products and eggs to broaden recipes’ appeal. Madison herself confesses partiality to tomatoes baked in cream. A necessary addition for both reference and circulating collections. --Mark Knoblauch

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten Speed Press; Illustrated edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1607741911
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1607741916
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.18 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.43 x 1.3 x 10.29 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 358 ratings

About the author

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Deborah Madison is the author of 14 cookbooks and countless articles on food, cooking, and farming. She is revered for bringing vegetarian cooking to a wide audience, including non-vegetarians, via Greens restaurant and her cookbooks. A bestselling author, her first cookbook was The Greens Cookbook and her latest two books are The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Vegetable Literacy, which was awarded both a James Beard award and an IACP award.

Well-known for her seasonal, vegetable-based cooking, Deborah got her start in the San Francisco Bay Area at Chez Panisse before opening Greens at Fort Mason. In 1996, she received the M.F.K. Fisher Mid-Career Award from Les Dames d'Escoffier and in 2016 she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame. In between she has received many awards from both the IACP (including Cookbook of the Year, twice) and James Beard awards (including Who's Who in American Food and Wine).

Deborah has lived in Rome, Ireland, San Francisco and New Mexico, where she presently resides. She has an office for writing, a small kitchen, and a large garden for growing food and flowers. She is also passionate about her farmers market, which she once managed and still uses weekly. A small Labradoodle takes her on long walks every day. Her latest book, which will be released in March, 2017, is called In My Kitchen.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
358 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2013
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr B
5.0 out of 5 stars Vegetable literacy. D Madison
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2014
2 people found this helpful
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S. Arturi
5.0 out of 5 stars ... many of her books and this one is very good too. Madison gives u delicious
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2015
dnmartin87
5.0 out of 5 stars a great addition to your book shelf
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2014
Author
5.0 out of 5 stars Deborah Madison writes beautifully. I borrowed this book of a friend and ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2016
Mrs C Kane
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2015