Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Review

Deborah Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Reviewed by Andrea Yoder

Deborah Madison has been one of my favorite chef-authors for many years.  She has written over 10 cookbooks including Vegetable Literacy and her most recent cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I have a weakness for her cookbooks, so when I saw a copy of her most recent book on the shelf at the bookstore I couldn’t resist.  Deborah has focused her career on preparing simple, seasonal, vegetable-based cooking.  In her early days she worked at Alice Water’s well-known San Francisco restaurant, Chez Panisse.  She later opened her own restaurant, Greens, which focused on vegetarian cuisine.
   The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone was preceeded by an earlier cookbook Deborah published in 1997 entitled Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Her original work is considered a classic cookbook in the realm of vegetarian cuisine and has won several awards.  Her new cookbook is “for everyone interested in learning how to cook vegetables creatively, healthfully, and passionately.” The recipes are simple & written with the intent that they will be prepared at home, as opposed to being chef-y restaurant recipes. Since Deborah is cooking in a different region of the United States, there are a few times when you might need to make a minor substitution for an ingredient that we may not have available in a given season in Wisconsin.
   Deborah takes the time throughout the book to include her own personal commentary on most of her recipes.  She offers suggestions for making substitutions or slight alterations to recipes to give the cook more options to choose from.  She also makes suggestions for other recipes in the book that might pair well together so you can easily put together a full meal.  I also appreciate that she takes time in the beginning of the book to include some basic information about how to go about cooking in an approachable way.  She also includes a section on basic cooking fundamentals that enable any cook, no matter how much experience you may have, to become more savvy in the kitchen.
   While the list price for this book is $40, it is a value when you consider the book includes over 1600 recipes featuring many of the vegetables we grow on our farm over the course of the season.  If you’re looking for a good vegetable-centric cookbook to guide you through a CSA season, I’d encourage you to consider Deborah Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Her simple recipes & vegetable storage information will be helpful to those who may be new to CSA and are learning to cook new vegetables.  Her book also may be appealing to cooks with more experience who are looking for simple recipes that highlight the delicious vegetables they’ve grown to love.
   I selected 3 simple recipes from her book to feature this month.  If you have some of these vegetables remaining from the late season 2014 shares, perhaps you can find a use for them with some of Deborah Madison’s ideas.

Roasted Beets, Apples, and Onions with Cider Vinegar
“This is a bold dish, far greater than the sum of its parts. Any leftovers make a great little
salad or item on a composed salad plate. Use any color beet or a mixture.”
Recipe borrowed from Deborah Madison’s cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Yield: 4 servings
4 medium beets, steamed, peeled and cut into ½ –inch dice
2 cups diced apples, skin on
½ onion, diced
¾ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp brown sugar, optional
1 ½ Tbsp butter or sunflower seed oil
Freshly milled pepper
Apple cider vinegar or horseradish, for serving

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter or oil a 4-cup casserole or
gratin dish.
2. Toss the beets with the apples and onions, season with the salt,
vinegar, and nutmeg. If you favor extra sweetness, add the sugar as
3. Slide the vegetables into the baking dish and dot with the butter or
drizzle with oil. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
4. Serve warm or even chilled. Season with pepper and have extra
vinegar or horseradish on the table, if you like their extra bite

Roasted Onions with Vinegar & Rosemary
“Serve these easily prepared onions as a side dish, or add them, chopped, to arugula or
spinach salad or spoon them over bruschetta with slivered Manchego cheese.”
Recipe borrowed from Deborah Madison’s cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
4 to 5 onions, sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic or aged sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
Sea salt and freshly milled pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Toss the onions with the oil, vinegar, and rosemary. Season with salt and
pepper. Put them in a baking dish with a few tablespoons water.
3. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until the
onions are browned around the edges and tender, about 30 minutes more.
Give them a stir every 10 minutes or so toward the end.

Sweet Potato Muffins with Candied Ginger
“Chunks of candied ginger make these particularly good. If you don’t have ginger readily
at hand, replace it with chopped dates, raisins or fresh pineapple. Serve these with Brie or
other mild cheese, butter, or cream cheese.”
Recipe borrowed from Deborah Madison’s cookbook,The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Yield: 10 to 12 muffins
⅓ cup chopped candied ginger
¼ cup butter, melted
⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
or winter squash
2 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil muffin tins.
2. Mix the ginger and wet ingredients in a bowl until smooth; mix the dry
ingredients in a second bowl. Combine the two, mixing gently until well
3. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake on the middle rack until
lightly browned, 25 minutes

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