Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys

With all the beautiful summer fruits, vegetables, and herbs overflowing from market bins, we’re all on the lookout for recipes and cookbooks to help us make the most of the colorful, aromatic, ripe bounty. Even better are those books that can offer tips for making quick work of the washing, cutting, chopping, and other labor-intensive aspects of preparing vegetables.

 

A Modern Way to Cook:
150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals

by Anna Jones
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

London-based food writer and stylist Anna Jones has worked with chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Sophie Dahl, Stevie Parle, and Jamie Oliver. Her new collection includes more than 150 quick-prep vegetarian recipes like Kale, Tomato, and Lemon Magic One-Pot Spaghetti. Fill a pot with water and lay in your pasta, cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, kale, and other ingredients. Set to boil, top with some grated cheese, and you’re done! Or a similarly simple recipe that involves placing vermicelli noodles, fresh peppers, a handful of snipped herbs, and ginger in a jar and pouring over boiling water: voila—soup’s on! Other recipes involve just a bit more. Try Black-Eyed Peas with Chard and Green Herb Smash, Smoky Corn Chowder with Maple-Toasted Coconut, Summer Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp Bars, and Honey and Orange Ricotta and Baked Figs. Plus, a whole section of really useful basics to have on hand.
 

Vegetable Perfection:
100 Tasty Recipes for Roots, Bulbs, Shoots and Stems

by Mat Follas
(Ryland Peters & Small, 2016)

MasterChef winner Mat Follas uses his considerable culinary skills and understanding of flavor to create more than 100 recipes for dishes like Red Cabbage & Burnt Aubergine Baba Ganoush, Kale Gnocchi, Kimchi, Fennel & Roast Tomato Lasagne, and a selection of versatile sauces, ketchups, chutneys, pickles, pestos, and oils. He emphasizes the importance of quality produce in dishes for simple suppers and more elaborate occasions. Particularly enticing is a Red Onion Tarte Tatin with Goat’s Cheese and Dandelion Sauce. A red onion is halved and set in puff pastry and topped with a cheese sauce enhanced with the bitter dandelion.

 

 

The Vegetable Butcher:
How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook
Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchinis

by Cara Mangini
(Workman Publishing, 2016)

Cara Mangini hails from a long line of meat butchers. But she wields her knife against vegetables at Little Eater, her vegetable-inspired restaurant, produce stand, and food boutique in Columbus, Ohio. In step-by-step photographs, she’ll teach you to cut a cauliflower into steaks, peel a tomato properly, chiffonade kale, turn carrots into coins and parsnips into matchsticks, and find the meaty heart of an artichoke. More than 150 original, simple recipes put vegetables front and center, in dishes like Kohlrabi Carpaccio, Creamy Corn Chowder with Spiced and Sweet Pepitas and Cilantro, Corn Fritters with Summer Bean Ragout, and Tomato and Thyme Scones. The book contains loads of tips and tricks for prepping and getting the most out of your produce, like avoiding garlic with black soot-like powder, choosing carrots with the tops on, and buying Brussels sprouts on the stalk for freshness.