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Vegetable Literacy

Vegetable Literacy

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By Deborah Madison
Ten Speed Press, $40

Deborah Madison’s newest cookbook explores 12 edible plant families, profiling the typical and more exotic members of each and offering more than 300 vegetarian recipes that show off their unique personalities. Some of the families may be familiar (cabbage, carrot, legume); others less so (meet the knotweeds, which include rhubarb and sorrel). Like human families, these plant families contain quirky members (the pungent herb epazote, for instance, is the hard-hitting cousin of mild-mannered chard) and become more interesting as you get to know them through Madison’s recipes, which strike a good balance between tried-and-true favorites and more unusual fare. You can’t go wrong with her Fresh Tomato Relish, Sautéed Broccoli Raab with Garlic, or crumbly Peanut Butter Cookies. But if you’re in the mood for adventure, there is also Ann’s Squash Blossom Frittata and a Carrot Almond Cake with Ricotta Cream. Bountiful botanical and culinary information on each featured vegetable, stunning photography, personal anecdotes, and helpful kitchen tips round out this encyclopedic tome.

Tasting Notes

Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Plenty of Parsley, and Pasta (page 144) What a dazzling way to serve cauliflower! You can enjoy this fragrant, golden vegetable- which gets steamed and then sautéed with aromatics-as a side dish, or make it a main course by tossing with hot pasta and grated cheese.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk, Miso, and Lime (page 282) The bright, zingy flavors of ginger, cilantro, and lime prove that squash soup isn’t just for winter.

Featured Recipes from Vegetable Literacy
Peas with Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs Wilted Red Cabbage with Mint and Goat Feta Peanut Butter Cookies Studded with Salted Roasted Peanuts
Peas with Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs Wilted Red Cabbage with Mint and Goat Feta Peanut Butter Cookies Studded with Salted Roasted Peanuts

Photos by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton © 2013

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