Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets [A Cookbook]

Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets [A Cookbook]

by Deborah Madison
Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets [A Cookbook]

Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets [A Cookbook]

by Deborah Madison


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First published in hardcover in 2002, Local Flavors was a book ahead of its time. Now, imported food scares and a countrywide infatuation with fresh, local, organic produce has caught up with this groundbreaking cookbook, available for the first time in paperback.

Deborah Madison celebrates the glories of the farmers’ markets of America in a richly illustrated collection of seasonal recipes for a profusion of produce grown coast to coast. As more and more people shun industrially produced foods and instead choose to go local and organic, this is the ideal cookbook to capitalize on a major and growing trend.

Local Flavors emphasizes seasonal, regional ingredients found in farmers’ markets and roadside farm stands and awakens the reader to the real joy of making a direct connection with the food we eat and the person who grows it. Deborah Madison’s 350 full-flavored recipes and accompanying menus include dishes as diverse as Pea and Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk; Rustic Onion Tart with Walnuts; Risotto with Sorrel; Mustard Greens Braised with Ginger, Cilantro, and Rice; Poached Chicken with Leeks and Salsa Verde; Soy Glazed Sweet Potatoes; Cherry Apricot Crisp; and Plum Kuchen with Crushed Walnut Topping.

Covering markets around the country from Vermont to Hawaii, Deborah Madison reveals the astonishing range of produce and other foods available and the sheer pleasure of shopping for them. A celebration of farmers and their bounty, Local Flavors is a must-have cookbook for anyone who loves fresh, seasonal food simply and imaginatively prepared.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767929493
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
Publication date: 05/13/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Deborah Madison, founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, is the award-winning author of nine cookbooks, including The Greens Cookbook (her first), Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and her latest, Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen. She has received the M.F.K. Fisher Award, the International Association of Culinary Professional’s Julia Child Cookbook of the Year award, and three James Beard awards.

In addition to writing on food and farming for such magazines as Gourmet, Saveur, Orion, and the blog Culinate.com, she has long been active in Slow Food (www.slowfoodusa.org) and other groups involved in local food issues. Before writing Local Flavors, she was a manager of her local farmers’ market in Santa Fe and served as a board member of the same market for twelve years. Although she now grows vegetables at her home in Galisteo, New Mexico, she is still an avid farmers’ market shopper and never goes anywhere without bringing home a big bag of the local bounty.

Read an Excerpt

Greens Wild and Domestic

It's spring, and farmers' markets across the country are beginning to open. Greens are the vegetables that many will start out with. They're what you can count on finding early in the season. And depending on where you live, greens may flourish throughout the duration of the market, or they may disappear as soon as some real heat comes on. Greens like it cool, and some even like it cold. Salad greens are a huge challenge in Phoenix past March, which is just when they're looking great in Santa Monica. They might be diminishing in Sacramento by about June, but in Santa Fe or Londonderry, Vermont, they're with us from start to finish.

A key sign that it's spring isn't only that greens are available but that they have an irrepressible quality. They practically glow. I've picked up bunches of kale that squeak with vitality, spinach and chard that bounce with life. The arugula is nutty, not bitter; chicories have a sweet edge from the last frost of the season. Green potherbs, like sorrel, nettes, and wild spinach, are tender and delicate, and the deep reds of the red lettuces, like Merlot, haven't lost their luster as long as there are those nightly temperature dips. This is also when you might find miner's lettuce, chickweed, and other edible weeds, which, if you haven't tried them, make exciting additions to salads.

This green glory will fade as the season progresses into labored production, when hot days and nights keep plants churning and growing overtime. But for now, everything is leafy at its very best. This, in fact, is one of the prime times for big green salads, now and the fall. Come midsummer, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers will better fill that role.

The Simplest Tender Greens serves 2 to 4

If your greens are tender and not too voluminous for your pan, simply wilt them in a skillet with the water that clings to their leaves after washing, or steam them. Although boiling is usually considered a less nutritious way of cooking vegetables, the more quickly they cook, the fewer nutrients they lose, and tender greens will spend only the briefest time in a big pot of boiling water.

These methods are especially well suited to those quick-cooking greens, such as spinach, young chard, and wild spinach, although tougher greens, like kale, can also be treated this way if simply cooked a bit longer. (For the more assertive greens, like mustard, see the next recipe.) In general, 2 or 3 people can easily consume a pound of greens, for they shrink to nearly nothing.

1 to 2 pounds greens, coarse stems removed sea salt and freshly ground pepper olive oil or butter lemon wedges or vinegar

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it's heating, wash the greens.
2. Add salt to taste to the water, then plunge the greens in all at once.
Cook just until they're tender, then scoop them into a colander. Leave them to drain from 2 to 5.
3. Toss the greens with olive oil or butter to taste and season with salt and pepper. Put them in a bowl or on a platter and serve with lemon wedges or vinegar. A bit of acid always benefits greens.

Cooking Greens In the Pan: Put greens that have been washed and not dried in a wide skillet and sprinkle with salt. Cook over high heat until tender from
3 to 5 minutes turning them occasionally with tongs. Lift them out of the pan,
leaving any liquid behind. Toss with butter or oil, taste for salt, season with pepper, and serve.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Her books have sold more than 700,000 copies.PRAISE FOR LOCAL FLAVORS“For anyone trying to eat locally and seasonally, Local Flavors is indispensable.” —Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma


Serves 6 generously

After a damp spring day spent visiting the organic vegetable gardens on the UCSC campus in Santa Cruz, a town that is unusually committed to using its local produce, it was time for dinner. There is always a moment during asparagus season when you want something hearty, and this was the day. Fortunately, the chef had the dish for it -- a golden bread pudding studded with asparagus.

I like to simmer the milk with green garlic (immature garlic whose leaves are still green) for flavor. If you live where fresh chanterelles or morels are in season as well as asparagus, here's a good opportunity to use them. But dried chanterelles or morels from the previous year are delicious, too.

1 head green garlic
3 cups milk
a 1-pound loaf good firm white bread, cut into thick slices
1 to 2 pounds asparagus, preferably fat ones
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely diced
1/2 to 1 pound chanterelles or morels, cleaned, and coarsely chopped
4 large market eggs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon or marjoram
2 cups grated Fontina or Gruyère cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter or oil an 8- x 12-inch gratin dish. Coarsely chop the garlic, add it to the milk, and bring to a boil. Turn it off and set it aside to steep.
  2. If the bread isn't stale, lay it on a sheet pan and bake until golden and crisp (but not hard); otherwise your pudding will be mushy. Break it into chunks, put it in a large dish, and strain the milk over it. Let it sit while you prepare the vegetables. Occasionally turn the bread so that it soaks up as much of the milk as possible.
  3. Peel thick asparagus up to where the tips begin. Slice it on the diagonal, about 1/3 inch thick, then soak in cold water for a few minutes. (It's not necessary to peel thin ones.) Fill a skillet with water and when it boils, add salt to taste and the asparagus. Simmer until bright green and partially tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Melt half the butter in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the shallot, cook for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat until they brown in places, exude their liquid, and are tender, after several minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them until smooth. Add the herbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. By now the bread should have soaked up most of the milk. Add the bread and any milk that is left to the bowl, along with the asparagus and mushrooms plus any juices, and two thirds of the cheese. Toss well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, even it out some, and dot with the remaining butter. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and bake until puffy and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve.
Serves 4

Few recipes are as simple as this one, but if Harriet Bell hadn't told me about it, I might never have known what a great little dish this is. If you should be fortunate to find some undersized cauliflower at your farmers' market, bake them whole and serve one per person.

1 larger or 4 small cauliflowers, about 1 pound
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Leave small cauliflowers whole, but slice a larger vegetable into wedges about 1-1/2 inches wide at the widest point. Brush with olive oil, season with salt, and place in a baking dish in a single layer. Bake until browned on top, about 25 minutes, then turn to brown the second side (if cut into wedges).

Makes about 1-1/2 pints

Because this isn't nearly as sweet as commercial jams, the flavor of apricots is rich and full. This is a simple little preserve to make in small quantities, not an all-day project. The lavender makes a fine match with apricots -- just make sure that you use the sweet fragrant kind, not the variety that smells of camphor.

If you leave this a little on the thin side, you'll have a sauce to spoon over warm biscuits, to flavor a semifreddo, or to drizzle over almond ice cream and top with toasted almonds. It also makes a shiny orange pool for panna cotta [see recipe in book].

7 cups ripe apricots
12 apricot pits, cracked, the kernels removed
1 cup sugar
7 lavender blossom sprigs
juice of 1/2 lemon, optional

  1. Halve the apricots or quarter them if very large. Large pieces will give your jam a little texture. Place the apricots in a heavy pan with the kernels, sugar, and lavender. Cook over high heat, watching closely and stirring at first until the juices are released and sugar is dissolved. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the fruit is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Taste and, if you wish, add lemon juice if it needs sharpening. With so little sugar, the natural tartness of the fruit may be sufficient. Pour into sterilized containers, cap tightly, and store in the refrigerator.

Copyright © 2002 by Deborah Madison.

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