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Everyday Greens: Home Cooking from Greens, the Celebrted Vegetarian Restaurant

Everyday Greens: Home Cooking from Greens, the Celebrted Vegetarian Restaurant

by Annie Somerville, Mayumi Oda (Illustrator)

For more than twenty years, San Francisco's beloved Greens Restaurant has been in the avant garde of the cooking revolution in America. Through its endlessly inventive, ever-changing menus and bestselling cookbooks, Greens has introduced millions of delighted fans to a sophisticated, meatless cuisine packed with transcendent, satisfying flavor.

The innovation


For more than twenty years, San Francisco's beloved Greens Restaurant has been in the avant garde of the cooking revolution in America. Through its endlessly inventive, ever-changing menus and bestselling cookbooks, Greens has introduced millions of delighted fans to a sophisticated, meatless cuisine packed with transcendent, satisfying flavor.

The innovation continues. Everyday Greens is the first Greens book in a decade, and author Annie Somerville, executive chef since 1985, has written the most accessible cookbook yet. Greens's high level of flavor and creativity is everywhere, but the cooking is simpler, more relaxed. Here are more than 250 of the restaurant's most popular dishes fine-tuned for the home cook in straightforward recipes for the way we live today.

This is spirited cooking for every day—from casual lunches and quick weeknight meals to family feasts and elegant entertaining. There are main-dish salads; soups that make a meal; rustic ragoûts; satisfying stews; vegetables on the grill; quick stir-fries; casseroles layered with flavor; innovative side dishes; pizzas, tortilla dishes, and savory tarts; pastas and risottos; warm beans and grains; sandwiches; salsas; pickles; and the famous Greens desserts.

The heart of Greens cooking is to use the best, freshest ingredients—whether from the grocery store or your local farmers' market. Advice on finding and preparing these ingredients is combined with restaurant tips that simplify work in the kitchen. Through clever use of the freezer and pantry, Somerville shows how to minimize prep time with make-ahead dishes and born-again leftovers. Special features include pairing wine with Greens's food; advice on stocking the pantry with Asian ingredients, cooking oils, and dessert-making essentials; a resource guide for locally made cheeses; and the Kitchen Tool Box, a decidedly low-tech list of invaluable equipment. A final section on worm composting brings everything back to the source—the earth—and is sure to delight the passionate gardener.

Readers of Fields of Greens love Somerville's warm, inspiring, friend-in-the-kitchen style. And Everyday Greens is more personal, so confidence-building that even beginners will want to dash into the kitchen and start cooking.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Chef Annie Somerville's cuisine couldn't be more shrewd and exacting -- she's a long way from tofu and spinach-chickpea mush. Cooking from this accessible book, you simply won't miss the meat. Somerville's recipes run the gamut from soups and sandwiches to tarts, salads, pastas, risottos, casseroles and curries. — Dwight Garner
Publishers Weekly
San Francisco Bay restaurant Greens has always had a reputation for innovative vegetarian cooking, and once more Somerville (Field of Greens) brings together more of her distinctive style in this latest volume. While the Everyday Greens of the title refers to the Zen concept of everyday mindfulness, the Buddhist teaching of bringing awareness and acceptance to every moment of everyday life, most of the recipes could be competently produced at home. Ranging in skill levels, the recipes vary in complexity but are full of flavor. Whether it's the ingredient-intensive but simple to cook Spring Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce and Thai Basil, dense Debbie's Pecan Brownies or the composite Baguette with Tapenade, Grilled Peppers, and Fontina, all the recipes are bursting with texture and taste. Mixing the influences of world cuisine whether from the Far East, Middle East or South American, Somerville blends and melds cuisine styles with ease, drawing her inspiration from the fresh and unusual ingredients that have now become readily available. In Somerville's hands, tofu becomes another ingredient rather than a substitute. Unusually the chapter on ingredients and tools, The Kitchen Cupboard, is located at the end of the book; coupled with explanatory panels throughout the book, this section helps the home cook select items available in most markets, allowing anyone to experiment with vegetarian recipe options and lifestyle. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Somerville (Fields of Greens) has been executive chef of Greens, the well-known San Francisco restaurant, since 1985. When she started working there, the chef was Deborah Madison, who wrote the restaurant's first cookbook, The Greens Cookbook. Greens has always been known for its sophisticated, innovative vegetarian food, and it was one of the first to offer a menu that showcases seasonal local ingredients at their best. Like the earlier cookbooks, Somerville's latest offers fresh and imaginative vegetarian recipes, but this time more of them are relatively easy and quick to prepare (the earlier books were noteworthy for the length of their ingredients lists). In addition to the 200 recipes, a section called "The Kitchen Cupboard" provides useful information on ingredients, pairing wine with vegetarian dishes, and other topics (including composting), and lovely woodcuts illustrate the text. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad with Arugula

Make this quick summer salad when both corn and cherry tomatoes are abundant. Use the sweetest, ripest cherry tomatoes you can find. Cut them in half, even though they're little, so their juices mingle with the corn and peppery arugula. This is a great make-ahead dish for a picnic or light supper. Serve it simply with toasted bread and goat cheese.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot, diced, about 1/4 cup

Salt and pepper

4 ears corn, shaved, about 4 cups kernels

1/4 cup water

Champagne vinegar

1/2 pint ripe, little cherry tomatoes, cut in half

A large handful of arugula

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the shallots, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the shallots begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the corn and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer until the corn is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and season with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.

Toss in the cherry tomatoes and arugula just before serving and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if needed.

VARIATION: Substitute leftover grilled or roasted peppers for the cherry tomatoes. Quickly dice the peppers and don't mind the little flecks of skin — they add a rustic touch to the salad. In place of the shallot and arugula, use scallions and thinly sliced basil.

Copyright © 2003 by Annie Somerville

Dinosaur Kale with Toasted Almonds

This funny-looking kale goes by many names — Tuscan kale, cavolo nero, lacinato, or, simply, dino kale. We call it dinosaur kale, with its thick center rib that runs straight like a spine down pebbly, dark green leaves. With a color and texture unlike any other, dinosaur kale is incomparable in hearty fall and winter soups and ragoûts. It's also delicious spooned over Warm White Beans or served alongside Roasted Winter Vegetable Lasagne.

Parboil the greens before you sauté them, so they're tender when you add them to the pan. This step softens their strong flavor and shortens the cooking time all around.


1 or 2 bunches dinosaur kale, about 1/2 pound, stems and ribs discarded, leaves cut into thick strips, about 10 cups

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper

1 or 2 tablespoons unskinned almonds, toasted (page 46) and chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly. Drop in the kale, cook until tender, about 5 minutes, and drain.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the kale, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, adding a little water if needed to keep the kale from sticking to the pan. Toss in the almonds just before serving and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Copyright © 2003 by Annie Somerville

Linguine with Summer Beans, Gremolata, and Olives

The fresh taste of gremolata — minced flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest, and garlic — adds zip to this summer pasta, and green beans and yellow wax beans are especially beautiful. The cooking time varies with each variety, so be sure to cook them separately. You can use Kalamata or little Niçoise olives instead of Gaeta as long as you don't use too many — 1/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped is all you'll need. Toss in the olives just before serving to keep the colors bright.


Gremolata (recipe follows)

3/4 pound summer beans, preferably Blue Lake, and yellow wax beans, stem ends trimmed, cut in half on the diagonal

3/4 pound fresh linguine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

20 Gaeta olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, about 1/3 cup (see headnote)

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup, plus more to serve at the table

Make the Gremolata and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly. Drop in the beans, one variety at a time, and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes depending on their size. Scoop out the beans, rinse under cold water, and set aside to drain.

Drop the pasta into the water and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan and add the beans, the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan, along with the lemon juice, the gremolata, the remaining oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Drain the pasta, add it to the pan, and cook for 1 minute, tossing it gently to coat with the gremolata and the sauce. Toss in the olives and the cheese at the last minute. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Gremolata: This intense, fresh condiment adds a bright touch to our pastas and vegetable dishes. You can make it an hour or two in advance, but not much more or it will lose its freshness.

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemon zest

3 garlic cloves, minced

Mix everything together in a small bowl.

TIP: Have everything ready before you cook the pasta. You can use dried pasta instead and cook it ahead of time, if you like. Be sure to rinse it under cold water and toss it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Copyright © 2003 by Annie Somerville

Asparagus Bread Pudding

We feature this delightful dish — inspired by Georgeanne Brennan's recipe — in late spring, when the local asparagus season is under way. Of course, you can use all kinds of vegetables and cheeses, depending on the time of year. Remember, the flavor and texture of the bread makes all the difference — we use day-old ciabatta or sourdough Italian.


1 pound rustic bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream

6 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of pepper

1 pound asparagus, tough stem ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 pound Fontina cheese, grated, about 1 cup

3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup

1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs: thyme, oregano or marjoram, chives, and flat-leaf parsley

Place the bread in a large shallow dish and pour the milk over. Set aside to soak until the milk is mostly absorbed, about 35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it.

Butter a 2-quart soufflé or square baking dish and set aside. Combine the cream, eggs, salt, and pepper in a medium-size bowl and whisk together. Set the custard aside.

Drop the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside to drain.

Combine the cheeses in a small bowl. Place one-third of the soaked bread in the bottom of the soufflé or baking dish. Place half of the asparagus over, sprinkle with one-third of the cheese mixture, and half of the herbs. Layer half of the remaining bread over, cover with the rest of the asparagus, half of the remaining cheese, and the rest of the herbs. Cover with the last of the bread and the cheese. Pour the custard over the top. Bake until golden, about 1 hour. Check for doneness with a skewer or paring knife; the custard should be set and the tester should come out clean.

Copyright © 2003 by Annie Somerville

Candied Ginger Shortbread

The supple dough of this spicy shortbread is exceptionally forgiving; you can roll it flat and cut it into all kinds of shapes with your favorite cookie cutters or just roll it into a cylinder and slice it into simple rounds. They're a perfect finish to a spicy Asian meal, served alongside Blackberry Sorbet.

One thing we love about this easy recipe is that you can embellish the flavors endlessly. We've included some of our favorite variations. You can fearlessly double a batch without complications, and, once baked, the cookies keep well in an airtight container.


1/2 cup sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 pound candied ginger, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup

Place the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor and work the butter in for 1 minute. (You can also do this by hand.) Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the dough just begins to come together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. (The dough freezes beautifully at this point, just be sure to wrap it well and defrost before proceeding.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into different shapes with cookie cutters. (You can use the remaining scraps of dough to make more cookies, just make sure to handle it lightly.) You can also form the dough into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. Roll it tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the cut shortbread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until the edges are just beginning to color, about 10 minutes.

Copyright © 2003 by Annie Somerville

Meet the Author

Annie Somerville is the executive chef of Greens Restaurant and the author of the award-winning cookbook Fields of Greens. She came to Greens in 1981, trained under Deborah Madison, and has been the executive chef since 1985. Under her culinary guidance, Greens has flourished, expanding and adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace while leading the way with innovative vegetarian cuisine. Now in her twenty-second year at Greens, Somerville finds that her commitment to using garden-fresh produce and cooking based on the seasons remains stronger than ever. She works closely with the organic gardeners at Green Gulch Farm, local growers, cheese makers, and other purveyors, as well as with the Greens chefs, planning menus and overseeing a talented kitchen staff.

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