Vegetables Every Day: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Today's Produce, with Over 350 Recipesby Jack Bishop
The fresh vegetable sections in most supermarkets, farmers' markets, and gourmet groceries are overflowing with an amazing range of produce, both familiar and exotic. Consumers are tempted by kale and kohlrabi, taro and tomatillos, bok choy and burdock, along with all the familiar choices. Now acclaimed cookbook author and food writer Jack Bishop offers a
The fresh vegetable sections in most supermarkets, farmers' markets, and gourmet groceries are overflowing with an amazing range of produce, both familiar and exotic. Consumers are tempted by kale and kohlrabi, taro and tomatillos, bok choy and burdock, along with all the familiar choices. Now acclaimed cookbook author and food writer Jack Bishop offers a comprehensive A-to-Z guide to this bounty of produce, complete with selection tips, preparation instructions, and hundreds of recipes for more than sixty-six commonly available vegetables. With Bishop's expert advice, you'll learn how to coax the very best flavor from every vegetable, whether it's a carrot, cauliflower, or cardoon. Wondering how and when to buy the sweetest green beans? Bishop suggests buying at the height of summer, and selecting beans that are crisp and slim (older, thicker beans will be mealy and bland). Confused about how to cook the spring's first sorrel? Bishop offers such unique and delicious dishes as Sorrel and Potato Soup and Sorrel Frittata. These recipes like all 350 in the book are clear and uncomplicated, ensuring success for even the novice cook. So whether you are looking for a salad or side dish, a vibrant main course, or simply great mashed potatoes, you are sure to find it in this essential kitchen companion. We all know that vegetables are the key to healthful eating now it's time to discover how great they can taste, each and every day!
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Read an Excerpt
Sweet green peas come in three distinct forms in our markets. Traditional shelling peas (also called garden peas or English peas) have become something of a rarity. This is the pea we see in the frozen food aisle. Over with the fresh vegetables, they make a brief appearance in late spring and early summer.
Part of the problem is labor. It takes a long time to shell peas and most people would rather not bother. The other problem is flavor. Shelling peas start to lose their sweet flavor as soon as they are harvested. Peas picked last week will be starchy and mealy. If you want to buy shelling peas, buy from a source that picks them locally and frequently. For these reasons, many cooks stick with frozen peas, knowing they will never be great but that they won't be horrible either. Peas freeze better than most vegetables and are a decent option.
Thankfully, there are other fresh peas. Two kinds of edible-pod peas are available in many areas throughout the year. Snow peas are pale green and fairly flat. Inside the pods (which are the main attraction with snow peas) are tiny, immature peas, really nothing more than tiny seeds or bumps. We generally stir-fry snow peas, which may explain why some stores label them Chinese peas.
The other option is the sugar snap pea, which is a cross between the shelling pea and the snow pea. Like snow peas, sugar snap peas are completely edible, pod and all. However, inside the bright green pods are round, little peas that are especially sweet and tender when properly cooked.
Flat snow peas are best stir-fried without precooking. However, sugar snap peas taste better when blanched firstand then stir-fried or saut�ed. Blanching sets the bright green pod color and helps cook the tiny peas inside the pods, which otherwise can be tough if these peas are stir-fried or saut�ed without precooking.
Availability: Snow peas and sugar snap peas are available year-round, although summer is the best season for them. Shelling peas are usually available only in the late spring and early summer.
Selection: All peas should be brightly colored and crisp. Snow peas will be flexible, while sugar snap and shelling peas should be firm. It's a good idea to taste one or two peas before buying. Peas should be crisp and sweet. If buying shelling peas, open the pod and taste a few. They should be sweet, not starchy or mealy. The peas should fill out the pods, but you don't want swollen peas either; they tend to be starchy.
Storage: All three kinds of peas can be refrigerated in a loosely sealed plastic bag. Shelling peas start losing flavor as soon as they are picked and are best used immediately. Snow and sugar snap peas will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Basic Preparation: Snow peas are quick to prepare -- simply pull the strings off the ends like a zipper. The same thing holds true for sugar snap peas; sometimes they also have a piece of the stem attached, which needs to be removed.
As their name suggests, shelling peas must be removed from their pods, a tedious step that yields a very small amount of peas for quite a bit of effort. Grasp hold of the bit of the stem at the end of the pod and pull to open the pods like a zipper. You may need to force the pods open with your fingers by applying pressure on the seam where the string was.
Best Cooking Methods: Snow peas are best stir-fried. Sugar snap peas should be blanched and then saut�ed or stir-fried. Shelling peas are best boiled and but, tered, braised, or used in soups and stews.
Other Recipes with Peas: Indian Spiced Potatoes and Peas (page 275) Stir-Fried Water Chestnuts and Snow Peas (page 347)
Sugar Snap Peas with Walnuts and Basil
I find that blanching sugar snap peas before saut�ing them guarantees that the peas are cooked through and tender. Shocking the blanched peas prevents them from overcooking and ensures that their exterior remains bright green and does not pucker or shrivel.
1 pound sugar snap peas, stems and strings removedInstructions:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
��Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the peas and salt to taste to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and plunge the peas into the bowl of ice water. When cool, drain the peas and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the walnuts and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Meet the Author
Jack Bishop is a well-known cookbook author and food writer who writes frequently about vegetables for the New York Times and Cook's Illustrated and Natural Health magazines. His cookbooks include Pasta e Verdura, The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, and Lasagna. Jack and his family live in Sag Harbor, New York.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I wanted to add more vegetables to my diet, but found myself cooking them the same vegetables, the same way all the time. This is a great book. Chapters are in alphabetical order by vegetable. It's easy to find information and there is probably 3 to 5 recipes for each vegetable. So, now when I'm at the store, I buy what's on sale or try something new and then can easily find a recipe! If you cook often, or want to start cooking more at home, this is a great cookbook!
I compulsively check cookbooks out of the library, and I'm always looking for good ways to prepare vegetables. All too often the recipes I come across are poorly thought out, or weird for weirdness's sake, or require too many rare or expensive ingredients. This cookbook commits none of those errors. I've made 31 recipes out of it so far, and I think there was one that was just ok--otherwise, all of them have been outstanding. Bishop really understands his raw materials and how to flatter their flavors. If he suggests an unusual ingredient, such as roasted peanut oil or hoisin sauce, it's with good reason, and there are plenty of other recipes where you'll be able to use it too. I haven't been very impressed with other all-vegetable cookbooks, including some of the famous vegetarian ones (honestly, The Moosewood Cookbook is more culturally than culinarily interesting), but this one is worth its weight in arugula!
I've been eating my way through this book for about a year. I just love it. I learned that I was preparing a lot of veggies incorrectly which is why they tasted so bland and, sometimes, mushy. The recipies are interesting without being weird and often apply to more than one kind of vegetable. I've gotten a lot out of this book and I keep buying more copies as gifts for my friends and family who are trying to eat healthy and who are bored with their frozen-dumped-in-a-pan routine. I find most of the recipies are simple and fairly quick to prepare.
This is really a great cookbook if you love vegetables or are learning to love them. My go-to vegetable cookbook, always gives me a recupe or an idea or riff on one.
I bought this after hearing the author on the radio a few years ago, and I love it. I just bought it for a friend because she loved the veggie dishes I bring to work. The veggies are listed alphabetically, and you can look up any veggie you have and find numerous easy and tasty recipes for it. It's also great if you see an interesting looking unkown veggie in the store - you can buy it knowing there will be a description of the veggie, how it tastes and basic ways to prepare it and serve it in the book.