Awhile back, Candace left me a note, asking:
“I was wondering if you might consider doing a post reviewing some great cookbooks. I plan on trying to grow a lot of new and different fall and winter crops, as recommended by Eliot Coleman, but I am really going to need some help preparing the more obscure stuff. I’m betting you know of some other great cookbooks along these lines.”
I loved seeing the list of heirloom seeds you ordered, Candace! I hope to answer your question periodically as I browse through cookbooks. A couple “basic” cookbooks that I own are The Whole Foods Market Cookbook and The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (that ubiquitous “Red Plaid” book that has been in kitchens for generations!).
However, I love browsing through new recipes, and I frequently request cookbooks from our local library. One amazing resource I found recently was The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso & Sheila Lukins.
With over 100 pages just on vegetables, this huge book tells how to cook almost everything. (Oddly, no kale recipes though.) This book includes charts on seasonal ripeness, buying, storing, preparation, and cooking tips for many types of produce.
There is at least one vegetable for almost every letter of the alphabet, and several recipes for many of the vegetable varieties. When you’re over-run with asparagus, cabbage, zucchini, or kohlrabi, their selection of recipes will keep you from serving the same thing over and over again.
Plus, as far as I could tell, they appear to stick with “real food” ingredients. (Although the ketchup and tomato paste recipes call for using a microwave! I believe they could be easily adapted for stove-top cooking, though.) No “cream of” soups or processed cheese in this book! There’s even a recipe for making your own “bouillon cubes!”
Some recipes call for “fancy” cheeses or wines, which I don’t typically keep in my kitchen, but in gleaning out basic recipes or in making substitutions, there is still an abundance of useful recipes. I appreciated the variety of venison and fish recipes, as well. There is even a full page on edible flowers for salads!
This is definitely a book to browse through if you’re looking to add some seasonal variety to your meal plans!