Friday, June 20, 2008

Ten Cookbooks I Use Often for Vegetables...

Jerry Traunfeld is one of my favorite cooks. A few years back, the New York Times traveled the country, looking for the best restaurant meal in America. Traunfeld's restaurant won that honor. This book is a wonderful reference for everything you need to know about growing, harvesting, using, and storing herbs, but it's also a book full of delicious recipes. I look to this one often when cooking vegetables or anything else. Traunfeld's book, The Herbal Kitchen, is a collection of delicious, easy to make recipes. I love that one, too.

This is a great book. It's a collection of recipes from gardener-cooks all over America, but it's no ho-hum collection. The editor of this book is a well-known cook and food writer, and she is very picky about the recipes she chooses. Many chefs and well-known food people (Alice Waters and Lindsey Shere, to name two) contributed to this book. There are lots of great ideas here!

I am a Patricia Wells fan. She keeps things simple, but her foods are really delicious. The thing that draws me again and again to this book is the fact that the recipes have just a handful of ingredients. Everything is simple and delicious. I got the recipe for one of my favorite summer salads from this book (Cherry Tomato and Black Olive Salad-- it's really pretty and the flavors are wonderful! We add fresh, raw corn to it.).

Fresh Every Day

I really like Sara Foster's flavors, so I use this book often. The recipes are not ever heavy or too rich for me. I've made many of her salads and vegetable recipes, and we often cook a really delicious white fish with roasted cherry tomatoes and butternut squash recipe from this book that calls for marjoram and has a nice citrusy sauce. It's just delicious! I could eat it constantly in the fall.

The Cook and the Gardener

I really enjoyed reading this. Amanda Hess writes very nicely (some call her the successor to MFK Fischer), and she's a cook who was trained at Ann Willan's famous school in France. In fact, the book is set there, as Amanda became the cook for the chateau after her training. In this book, she writes of her relationship with the eccentric gardener for the place. There are lots of good recipes here. I have Amanda's other book, Cooking for Mr. Latte. I read it on our recent flight to Washington DC. It was light, fun reading, and the recipes she includes have been delicious. I keep making the beet-apple salad with citrus vinaigrette-- light and fresh and clean-tasting.

Entertaining for a Veggie Planet

This one is really fun to read! I have Didi's other book, but I use this one the most. I love her Mango Slaw, and her version of Potato Salad Nicoise is my favorite. She has a killer peanut butter-hot fudge recipe in this book.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I think everyone should have this cookbook. It's a great vegetable and herb reference book, and there are lots and lots of recipes and ideas for cooking them. I use this book a lot. I also really like Madison's The Savory Way. And I check her Local Harvest when I'm looking for a good recipe for a particular vegetable.

I recently bought this book used, and I've been reading bits of it every day since! The philosophy of the author toward cooking and kitchen life is exactly along the lines of how I've been thinking and changing lately. I will definitely share some of her thoughts about an "unplugged" kitchen later. The recipes are quite Italian or Mediterranean, and I like what she does with them. She keeps things very simple, focusing on bringing out the best in an ingredient without overshadowing it with other ingredients. There aren't a ton of recipes in this book, but it gives a nice overall look at cooking simply.

My Raw Food Books

I posted a raw cookbook list here. Some of my favorite salads have come from my raw foods books. Melissa's favorite salad dressing (and I love it, too) comes from Renee Loux's book, Living Cuisine. I suppose I may as well end this with a recipe, so here's a slightly adapted version of the dressing that Melissa likes. Renee created it for her New Waldorf Salad (basically the salad is made with greens, apple, celery, grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts), but we use it in lots of ways. We like steamed broccoli tossed in this. Suddenly, it seems like I've posted this before, but I suppose it's worth posting again if I have:

Whizz all of the ingredients in a blender, or shake them vigorously in a jar with a tightly closed lid. If this gets overly thick, just add some water:

3 T. raw sesame tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. raw honey or maple syrup
2 t. dill (optional)
1-2 t. sea salt, or to taste