A master class on vegetables with award-winning cookbook author and renowned cooking instructor James Peterson
Have you ever purchased bundles of ingredients at the farmers' market only to arrive home and wonder what on earth to do with your bag of fiddlehead ferns, zucchini flowers, bamboo shoots, or cactus pads? Treat yourself to an in-depth education with Vegetables, acclaimed author and teacher James Peterson's comprehensive guide to identifying, selecting, and preparing ninety-five vegetables--from amaranth to zucchini--along with information on dozens of additional varieties and cultivars.
Peterson's classical French training and decades of teaching experience inform his impeccable presentation of every vegetable preparation technique and cooking method. You'll begin by stemming, seeding, peeling, chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, crushing, and pureeing, then explore less familiar but no-less-useful skills such as turning turnips, charring chile peppers, and frenching French green beans. Once the prepping is complete, Peterson explains the intricacies of the many methods for cooking each vegetable, from the most straightforward boiling, braising, steaming, and stir-frying techniques, to the more elaborate and flavor intense grilling, glazing, roasting, sauteing, and deep-frying. The text is further enhanced with handsome full-color photography and useful extras, like time-saving workarounds, tips on seasonal purchasing, storage recommendations, and suggestions for kitchen tools you'll really use.
Woven in with the fundamentals is Peterson's collection of some 300 recipes that showcase the versatility of vegetables in both familiar and unexpected ways. He offers dozens of refreshing salads; plenty of soups and rich, flavorful stews; crowd-pleasing casseroles and pastas; soul-comforting gratins and risottos; and perfect, hand-crafted gnocchi. There are some surprises, as well. For instance, the hardworking cabbage is pickled, potted, steamed, stir-fried, stuffed, and slawed, but when it appears in the Cabbage Potee with Braised Duck Legs, it is transformed into a black-tie entree. The Baked Morels Stuffed with Foie Gras is an unapologetically upscale variation on basic stuffed mushrooms, and in his iconic Eggplant Parmesan, Peterson confesses to changing the recipe every time he makes it--and urges you to do the same
So the next time you spot some salsify at the farmers' market, don't be daunted--buy some and give the Artichoke, Morel, and Salisfy Salad a chance. If tender little broccolini show up in your neighborhood grocer's, be sure to try the savory-sweet Broccolini with Pancetta, Anchovies, and Raisins. And when your fifth backyard bumper crop of summer tomatoes has your family longing for take-out after weeks of tomato soup, tomato salads, and tomato sauces, bring them back to the table with Twice-Baked Garlic and Tomato Souffles. Whether you're an iconoclastic cook looking to broaden your culinary horizons, or a tradition-minded home chef hoping to polish your prep skills while expanding your repertoire, Vegetables will become your essential go-to reference.
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.
Praise for James Peterson:
“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.”
“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.”
“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