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Raymond Sokolov applies to vegetables the original concept of his book THE COOK'S CANON: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know, fusing imaginative recipes with a wealth of food lore. His more than 40 years' experience as a cookbook author and food historian provide a wealth of background for vegetable recipes from around the world, from traditional American (succotash) to Chinese (Sichuan spicy tofu) as well as French (Spinach Mornay) and Italian (Pasta e faglioli).
All the recipes are high points of the culinary imagination, great dishes in which vegetables are the featured ingredient. This is not a vegetarian cookbook. Many of the recipes include meat, but with the vegetables at center stage.
For each vegetable discussed and each recipe, Sokolov provides historical and cultural background with many witty comments based on his wide reading in food history and his training as a classicist.
CHEZ PANISSE VEGETABLES by Waters, Harper, 1996, $35, 0060171472 (113,914cc, isis)
VEGETABLES by Peterson, Morrow, 1998, $35, 0688146589 (27,191cc, isis)
|Product dimensions:||7.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Raymond SokoloV was a food columnist for Natural History magazine for twenty years and is the author of several cookbooks, a much-praised novel, Native Intelligence, and a biography of New Yorker critic A. J. Liebling.
Read an Excerpt
A Canon of Vegetables
101 Classic Recipes
1 pound asparagus, prepared in the manner of Madame Saint-Ange (see page 13)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 cups Arborio or other medium-grain rice
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Remove the asparagus from the cooking water (but RESERVE the water) and cut into inch-long pieces. Discard the woody ends, but peel any sections whose interior flesh is edible. Reserve the spears.
2. Measure the cooking water. Top up to 5 cups with additional water if necessary and return to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly.
3. In a heavy 10-cup pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the asparagus pieces and any pith you have salvaged (but not the spears). Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then pour in all the rice and stir vigorously to coat each grain. Continue stirring briefly. The grains will turn opaque. Then pour in a cup of the asparagus cooking water. Stir until the liquid almost disappears. Then add another cup of water. Continue in this manner until the rice softens to the al dente point. If you run out of water, bring another cup or two to the boil.
4. As the water-absorption process comes to a close, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Toss the asparagus spears in the butter to warm them up. Set them aside on a warm plate. Pour the butter into the rice. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste and stir vigorously while the cheesemelts. Transfer to a serving bowl. Arrange the asparagus spears over the rice and serve immediately.
Crème de Tapioca com Pêssego
Tapioca Cream with Peaches
In Brazil, where tapioca comes from, they dress it up with peaches, walnuts, and cream, an Amazonian sundae.
¼ cup tapioca
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
6 ripe peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup heavy cream
1. Soak the tapioca in 4 cups cold water for 2 hours.
2. Drain. Add the salt to the boiling water and then stir in the tapioca. Lower the heat and simmer until the tapioca has swelled fully, about 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Stir in the sugar. When it has dissolved, beat 1⁄2 cup of the tapioca liquid into the egg. Mix well and then beat into the tapioca mixture. Continue cooking over low-medium heat until the mixture thickens.
4. Remove from the heat immediately and stir in the lemon juice. Then stir in the peaches and the chopped walnuts. Mix well and let cool to room temperature.
5. Whip the cream to the Chantilly stage, until it forms soft peaks but does not completely stiffen.
6. Put the tapioca cream into six individual goblets or dishes. Cover with whipped cream and refrigerate.A Canon of Vegetables
101 Classic Recipes. Copyright © by Raymond Sokolov. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.