As an extension of my intention to prioritize self-care this year, I am resolving to eat more vegetables. That means doing my best to include something green in every meal and eating the rainbow to benefit from all the goodness the plant kingdom has to offer. It also means finding new vegetables to try and learning how to cook them. For that, I have a collection of new cookbooks to help me out, which I'm going to share here in hopes that you can get some inspiration too.
After a break over the holiday season, our CSA farm share is back and we recently received our first box of the year. Oh, I am grateful for California's fresh produce. Even in the dead of winter, we get the most gorgeous and vibrant vegetables; squash is plump and leaves are generous. I couldn't help but take a few quick snaps to show you how perky our plant friends are. Look at that flirtatious swiss chard and rambunctious curly kale!
Staying true to my intention, I placed an order for radicchio, a vegetable I wasn't very familiar with. I didn't really know how to work with its cutting bitter character but I was determined to learn. I mean, can you resist the beauty that is the Castelfranco radicchio (pictured below), with its flower-like face and artful splashes of cream green and bold specks of burgundy?
I remember a recipe for Sauteed Turnips with Prunes and Radicchio in Joshua McFadden's cookbook, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. He calls for the bitter green (soaked in ice water for 20 minutes to reduce bitterness) to be paired with prunes, and uses the words "sex appeal" to describe the dish. I was sold, gave it a try, and fell in love.
Another tip I learned: quickly roast radicchio leaves in the oven at 400F with olive oil and sea salt and end with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Wow!
I'm really loving the plant-strong cookbooks that have been flooding the market. The loyalty of these authors to vegetables is unwavering, making their intentions clear with such crisp titles as "Eat More Greens", "Market Cooking", and simply "The Vegetable". I trust that they are going to make my resolution to eat more vegetables fun and delicious. Join me? Let me tell you about the cookbooks I love:
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden - Shows how to use every part of a vegetable at its peak and why seasonal eating is so rewarding.
David Tanis Market Cooking - To cook well, it is essential to know the ingredients we're working with and this books helps us make the most of our weekend jaunts to the farmer's market.
The Vegetable: Recipes that Celebrate Nature by Caroline Griffiths and Vicki Valsamis - The message is clear, if we respect the nature of food, everyone wins and your tummy will be very happy indeed. I call it feng shui in the kitchen.
Grow Cook Nourish by Darina Allen - Comes with gardening tips to grow our own veggies and teaches us how to make them good for our body with a plethora of culturally diverse recipes.
The Book of Greens by Jenn Louis - Presents quick facts and easy recipes for mostly uncommon greens in a thrilling encyclopaedic structure for the kitchen nerds in all of us.
Eating from the Ground Up by Alana Chernila - A friendly voice sharing plant-strong recipes with personal anecdotes that encourage a healthy relationship with vegetables.
The Microgreens Cookbook by Brendan Davison - Microgreens are flavor-packed shoots of young herbs and leafy greens that have higher nutritional value than their mature counterparts so it's a good idea to eat them and this book offers a nifty collection of recipes from chefs and top food bloggers to help us do that.
Eat More Greens by Zita Steyn - Recipes that make the best of under-appreciated veggies like aquatic greens (seaweed, watercress), bitter vegetables, and leafy tops that usually end up in the bin (like beet greens... who's guilty?).
Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw - An inspiring vegan guide on how to get a good balance of vital macronutrients on one mouthwatering plate.
Good Veg by Alice Hart - For the adventurous cooks, this vegetarian cookbook celebrates flavors from around the world.
Green Kitchen at Home by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl - The cookbook you need to make creative Insta-worthy vegetarian dishes that your mum would be proud of, you know, like vegan tuna and cauli 'fish' and chips.
Kale and Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond - Zooms in on a selection of herbs and flowers that you can eat, drink, and use on your body.
You're invited to my Cookbooks section to check out what other books I cook with. I also have an ongoing series called Spring Discovery that puts the spotlight on vegetables I hope we'll cook more with, including a guide to Asian greens. Happy cooking!
Leave me a comment and tell me about your latest veggie discovery!
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