The recommendations and the recipes were flying fast and furious at the August Bibliobites meeting. Everyone seemed inspired by summer’s bountiful produce to try new things, as well as new variations on old favorites. We did not read a specific title; each person checked out a book from our collection that related to the theme. Among the recommended cookbooks:
Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop: Though the book had no pictures, it had lots of good recipes. In particular P. raved about the Sicilian Cauliflower, braised with tomatoes, onions, and raisins.
Asian Vegetables by Sarah Deseran: T. enjoyed shopping for Asian greens at the Lowell Farmers’ Market. She’d never seen most of these items before, but took along her book as a guide to what to purchase. One favorite was jap chae, a Korean noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles. She also tried a water spinach dish which contained shrimp paste, a highly fragrant ingredient! The photographs in this book were especially appreciated, as they enable the newbie to buy and use unfamiliar produce with more confidence.
River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. G. loved many of the recipes in this book, and brought in a sample for us to try: Beet Ice Cream! This was an intensely purple concoction of beets, chocolate, and cream. Even beet haters would have loved it!
Taste of Home Farm Fresh Favorites by Sara Lancaster; Go Fresh: a Heart-Healthy Cookbook by American Heart Association; Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells. Though L. admitted she’s not that big on vegetables, she changed her mind after trying recipes from all three books! The Taste of Home book won points for its lavish illustrations and nutrition info for each recipe, and Vegetable Harvest had great tips on cooking with vegetables. L. enjoyed the AHA book’s spaghetti sauce (with turkey sausage) recipe, as well as a simple saute of corn, onions, and red pepper. L. also brought us a sample of a nontraditional zucchini bread she had tried: not too sweet, with nuts and dried fruit. A great twist on an old favorite!
Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes For the Single Cook by Joe Yonan; One World Vegetarian Cookbook by Troth Wells. D. was in an eggplant frame of mind, and tried the eggplant parm from Joe Yonan’s book, which made tidy little stacks of eggplant, cheese, and sauce. The eggplant was roasted, rather than breaded and fried, a time- and calorie-saver. From the One World book she made ratatouille, which she had eaten but never made before. Some of the ratatouille wound up in the freezer, so we’ll stay tuned to see how it is in a few months.
One member (another D.!) tried some vegetable recipes from her book of traditional Greek recipes. One she enjoyed is called toulou, a layered dish of potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, tomato sauce, garlic, and parsley. Like a lasagna, all the ingredients must be cooked before baking, which made it time-consuming. However the recipe makes a large panful, and is so delicious it’s worth the effort.
Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman. C. brought in a recipe she especially enjoyed from this book, Black Bean and Corn Salad, which she served as a salsa-like dip with tortilla chips. It was delicious! This book has an extensive collection of recipes using both vegetables and fruits. Though produce is the focus, there are chapters devoted to main dishes both vegetarian and carnivorous. Many beautiful photographs complement the text.