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Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes by Deborah Madison

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Braised cabbage with chewy fried potatoes, feta, and dill

    • alexmann8 on April 22, 2013

      3/17/2103 Made this recipe on St Patrick's Day. I used, ghee, fingerling potatoes, and dill. It was very good. Definitely better than many boiled cabbage and potatoes meals I have made for past holidays. But I would consider it more of a side dish than a main course. I wish there was a better main course option for vegetarians on this holiday

  • Quelites with onion and chile

    • fprincess on May 29, 2013

      I got quelites (lamb's quarters) in my vegetable bag. It takes a little bit of patience to pick all the leaves (the stems seemed hard so I did not use them). The preparation is similar to spinach - cook some shallots, green onion and chile de arbol in olive oil, add the quelites with a little bit of water, add salt, cover and it's ready in 2 minutes. I added a spoonful of creme fraiche and a squeeze of lemon oil before serving. Very similar to spinach; slightly more bitter (good in my book) and a better texture (no slime). Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/144603-dinner-2013-part-2/?p=1915091

  • Leek and fennel soup with garlic scapes and chives

    • fprincess on May 30, 2013

      I liked what the fennel added to this traditional potato + leek combination. I prefer it blended and warm. I garnished it with chives from my little herb garden. Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/144598-the-soup-topic-2013/?p=1920459

    • lorloff on November 20, 2016

      I made this potatoe leek soup adding fennel in cheesecloth then running the cooked fennel through a food mill. I added fresh herbs from the garden at the end parsley, lovage and fennel fronds. Along with the leeks I added a large handful of fresh garden chives. It was very good, subtle and flavorful. I will make this again.

  • Carrot almond cake with ricotta cream

    • TrishaCP on June 10, 2013

      I have been eyeing this recipe since I purchased this book and it does not disappoint. A nice light, and not too sweet, alternative to heavier carrot cakes. I used orange carrots and i think it is just as pretty as her version with yellow carrots. The ricotta cream is particularly nice- mainly smooth with small flecks of ricotta showing up every now and then. Consider halving the ricotta cream and make more if you need it though- I made the full amount and it is just too much. One complaint- this recipe calls for tons of lemon zest but no lemon juice, so plan on another use for it.

  • Yellow carrots with coconut butter and lime

    • westminstr on July 19, 2013

      A very simple recipe. Carrots are cut into half inch coins and boiled in salted water until barely tender. Drain, return to the hot pot to dry a bit, then toss with 2 tbsp coconut oil and the juice of half a lime. Verdict: Mixed. I loved the coconut and lime flavor combination with carrots. However, in the end they were still boiled carrots, not my fave. I think these seasonings would be fantastic with roasted carrots and I will do it that way next time.

  • Bitter greens with walnut oil and mustard vinaigrette

    • westminstr on July 19, 2013

      I came home from the farmer's market with a HUGE bunch of young dandelion greens and an EYB search led me to this recipe. The recipe calls for 8 cups of mixed bitter greens but I used only dandelion. The greens are cut into bite sized pieces, then tossed with toasted walnuts and a dressing consisting of: garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, walnut oil, olive oil, and a tbsp of creme fraiche. DM states in the headnotes that the dressing is fairly pungent, and it is. I liked it though. My husband thought it was a bit TOO pungent (or perhaps I overdressed the salad). I thought the dressing did an excellent job of offsetting the bitterness in the greens. I love these wild, bitter salads - they taste like spring to me. This was my first time using walnut oil. I liked it, but with all the strong flavors in the dressing, the flavor wasn't all that discernible. I think the dressing would be just as good using only olive oil and creme fraiche

  • A fragrant onion tart

    • westminstr on July 19, 2013

      I did the crust over the weekend, using half white and half whole wheat flour, then ended up popping it into the freezer because I couldn't get to the tart filling for a while. For the filling, I used a mix of small yellow onions and a huge bunch of spring onions with greens. These are sauteed until golden brown and combined with crumbled bacon, creme fraiche, eggs, milk, salt and pepper and cheese (I used gruyere). It worked perfectly and was delicious, my family loved it. I served it with a green salad. I don't make dishes like this very often because of the calorie splurge, but I felt this was fairly healthful for a savory pie/quiche type of thing, and as I said, it was good.

  • Summer quinoa cakes with beet greens and beet salad

    • pluralcow on July 23, 2013

      If beets are roasted ahead of time this is a very easy, mostly healthy and quite tasty weeknight meal. Light enough for a hot summer night but I could see eating this deep into winter as well. The beet greens in the patties give them some nice depth.

    • Zosia on September 09, 2016

      This was a great combination of flavours and textures. The cakes were crisp with a moist interior and tasty served with a bit of yogurt but even better with the sweet and tangy beet salad.

  • Melon and cucumber salad with black pepper and mint

    • TrishaCP on August 04, 2013

      A really light and refreshing salad. I used a cantaloupe and a regular cucumber and they worked well together. I also used a bit of feta to up the savory notes. The salad can take quite a bit of black pepper because of the sweet melon, so feel free to go quite heavy.

    • westminstr on August 12, 2013

      A very simple, refreshing salad that straddles the line between sweet and savory. Melon (I used watermelon) and cucumber are chopped and dressed with a viniagrette consisting of: olive oil, chopped fresh mint, lemon juice and zest, a bit of salt and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Combine and chill for at least an hour before serving.

  • Lemon-basil-mint lemonade

    • westminstr on August 12, 2013

      Basil and mint leaves are muddled with sugar, then combined with lemon juice (and zest, but I omitted this step) and water. When the basil and mint are combined like this, you can really taste how very similar they are. A very refreshing beverage, especially if you allow it to steep for an hour or two before serving. There is a sparkling water variation which I think would be even better.

    • TrishaCP on July 25, 2015

      Very light and refreshing and not too sweet. I used lemon basil per the recipe, and it worked very nicely with the mint and lemons.

  • Summer squash tartines with rosemary and lemon

    • NanaCooks on August 13, 2013

      We really enjoyed this with our own crookneck squash. I used goat cheese and it was delicious.

    • ellabee on August 17, 2013

      p.292. Made with chiffonade of mint and basil, with lime rather than lemon zest. Excellent just as veg side as well as on crostini.

  • Eggplant gratin in Parmesan custard

    • Emily Hope on October 20, 2013

      This dish is a nice way to use up some eggplant and tomatoes--I used somewhat more of each than called for, and increased the custard by 50%. A 9x13 pan was the perfect size. There's not a lot of textural contrast between the custard and the sauteed vegetables underneath, so we served with some whole grain bread. Deeply flavorful, this is worth the time it took to make it (probably an hour and twenty minutes, including baking time). Made six adult-sized servings and two baby-sized servings. With the dandelion-bacon salad from Tasty by Roy Finamore, which brought some needed acidity to the mix.

  • Tuscan kale with anchovy-garlic dressing

    • westminstr on November 05, 2013

      This salad is nothing earth shattering, but I loved it. It is your basic raw kale salad with an anchovy-garlic viniagrette. The salad also contains croutons but I subbed toasted, herbed bread crumbs because I had some on hand to use up. I'd previously used a similar recipe by Melissa Clark, and I liked this one better. I thought the proportions of the dressing were perfect. It was pungent, but not overly so.

    • imaluckyducky on January 01, 2015

      Pg 137 5 stars. Beautifully simple. If you're trying anchovies for the first time in something like a salad dressing, go by this recipe's proportions. Fish/anchovy haters won't be able to tell put their finger on where the slightly salty umami-boost is coming from! I ate the entire bowl by myself for a lazy, quick dinner.

  • Sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic

    • Zosia on November 19, 2013

      Delicious! The 2-stage cooking method reduces the bitterness of the vegetable, leaving just enough to keep the flavour interesting. Next time I'll add the garlic to the pan to saute for a bit before adding the other ingredients since I prefer my garlic a little more fully cooked.

  • Winter squash soup with red chile and mint

    • westminstr on January 10, 2014

      Really fantastic soup. I omitted the basil, used dried mint, and for the chile used 1 tsp aleppo pepper. It was perfect this way. Tasted just like the delicious squash soup at Mimi's, hooray! Next time garnish with feta.

    • TrishaCP on October 08, 2016

      Very nice flavors here. I used olive oil instead of the sesame oil and a combination of red kuri and kabocha squashes. I roasted these squashes before adding them to the soup. For the chile, I used two teaspoons of piment d'espelette that had been languishing, and it provided the perfect heat. One of the things I liked about this soup was that it was more savory than sweet like many squash soups can be. It may have been my choices of squashes and ground chile, but it was good. I omitted the cream as I didn't find it necessary.

  • Roasted winter squash and parsley, sage, and rosemary

    • westminstr on January 10, 2014

      This was fine, but I found the sage a bit overpowering. Preferred it as a leftover, and probably won't repeat.

  • Supper spinach

  • Lentils

    • westminstr on February 26, 2014

      This is a perfectly functional basic lentil recipe, but it doesn't stand out over any other version. I didn't think the tomato paste added much. I made it as a base for the lentils with garlicky walnut cream (which was great!) I didn't soak the lentils; they don't need it.

  • Lentils with garlicky walnuts, parsley, and cream

    • westminstr on February 26, 2014

      These lentils are fantastic! The creamy, garlicky, walnut sauce really complements them perfectly. Served with a soft-boiled egg and greens (sauteed chard for dinner, over salad for lunch the next day, both excellent) for a simple vegetarian meal. Unfortunately neither kid ate it so it doesn't go on the "make again for family dinner" list. At least not any time soon :)

  • Cabbage panade

    • IsaSim on March 20, 2014

      Comforting, but a bit bland. My daughter loved it, though.

  • Shredded purple kale, sun gold tomatoes, feta, and mint

    • westminstr on April 21, 2014

      This was a really nice kale salad, a little different from the usual, which is nice! I subbed cotija for feta but otherwise followed the recipe. I would make this again.

  • Eggplant, tomato, and zucchini gratin

    • Zosia on May 10, 2014

      Excellent flavour and quite easy to put together (for a gratin). I used good canned tomatoes since I'm nowhere near having garden-fresh and salted both the eggplant and the zucchini for the same reason. Next time I'll add the zucchini slices closer to the end of cooking so they retain more of their texture after baking. It served 3 as a main course.

  • Cauliflower soup with coconut, turmeric, and lime

    • Barb_N on May 22, 2014

      I made this as suggested with yellow cauliflower- and threw in an orphan sweet potato to boost the color. It is much more visually appealing than other cauliflower soups I have made, and tastes great. The spices were subtle with a coconut undertone. I forgot the lime juice but didn't miss it. It was so good I was forced to share my lunch at work today!

  • Kohlrabi slaw with creamy herb and avocado dressing

    • TrishaCP on July 05, 2014

      This is a great side for a BBQ. I did not have a mandolin on hand so it did take some time to prepare the kohlrabi. The avocado added a lovely green hue to the dressing, which would really work with whatever fresh herbs are on hand.

  • Buckwheat noodles with kale and sesame salad

    • westminstr on July 08, 2014

      I made this salad with a few changes -- curly instead of tuscan kale, no brussels sprouts or scallions, and just 4 oz of soba. Also subbed peanut for light sesame oil, then added some toasted sesame oil to enhance the sesame flavor. I think I had a bit more kale than was intended and could have used some extra dressing. Nobody else in the family liked this much but I liked it a lot. Leftovers held up well and were even better with some chickpeas mixed in (I would have liked baked tofu cubes too). I could definitely see making this as a take-to-work lunch salad for myself, if I could ever get it together to do that kind of thing.

  • Sautéed shishito peppers, summer’s best new bite

    • westminstr on July 14, 2014

      Yum. I think the splash of lemon is key.

  • Garlic scape and walnut pesto

    • TrishaCP on July 14, 2014

      I was excited to try this walnut version of garlic scape pesto, but the garlic scapes overpowered every other flavor and the walnut oil was wasted in this application.

  • Chilled avocado soup with poblano chile and pepitas

    • TrishaCP on July 25, 2014

      Even without the pepitas (I didn't have any), this was delicious. I added the entire roasted poblano rather than serving some on top. Plan on making this the day you plan to eat it- it does not keep well.

  • Jimmy Nardello frying peppers with onion

    • TrishaCP on August 10, 2014

      Can substitute basil for marjoram.

    • TrishaCP on August 16, 2014

      I found beautiful Jimmy Nardello peppers at the farmer's market, which led me to this super simple recipe for sautéed peppers and onions. Deborah Madison's treatment really brings out the sweetness and freshness of perfectly in season peppers, and since this recipe can be used for other sweet peppers and bell peppers, would be a good option for anyone needing to use up a glut of peppers.

  • Smoky kale and potato cakes

    • Zosia on September 17, 2014

      These had great flavour but were quite a bit of work with rather disappointing results. Everything was going well ie the making of the kale and potato mash and shaping of the little cakes, until it came time to cook the cakes. Cooked in a small amount of oil on med heat, they became too soft to turn and the coating didn't have a chance to crisp. What did work was cooking them in more oil at a higher temperature - what almost amounted to deep frying. Perhaps chilling the cakes first would have helped. I would make this again but as one big cake. I served it with a tomato salad instead of the romesco sauce.

  • Winter stew of braised rutabagas with carrots, potatoes, and parsley sauce

    • vickster on November 15, 2014

      A good, basic vegetarian stew. I didn't make the parsley sauce, but probably would if I make this again.

  • Brussels sprouts with caraway seeds and mustard

    • imaluckyducky on November 21, 2014

      pg 140 4 stars. Cooks very quickly and the flavors are simple but stand out. Using a really good mustard is key, and the caraway seeds add a good dimension. Keeps well for lunch the next day, and tastes just as good cold. Kind of felt like I was eating vegetable pastrami,

  • Seared beets with walnuts over wilted kale and micro greens

    • okcook on December 02, 2014

      Easy to make. A good dish for company because it comes together quickly once the beets are cooked and the kale is washed and chopped. It looks really nice and the flavour and textures are good. Needs plenty of seasoning.

  • Cauliflower with saffron, pepper flakes, plenty of parsley, and pasta

    • okcook on December 05, 2014

      This is a delicious side dish. I was wanting more of a vegetable side so I reduced the pasta to half of the recipe but kept the cauliflower the same. It was fabulous all the way round. It looked really nice as well. Definitely on my list of regular recipes.

    • Zosia on October 02, 2016

      Fragrant and flavourful, this was a great way to prepare cauliflower. I didn't precook the vegetable, just let it cook a bit longer once it was combined with the sauteed onions. I served it as a vegetarian main topped with the optional feta.

  • Wilted red cabbage with tahini-yogurt sauce

    • okcook on December 05, 2014

      This is a nice crunchy, savoury vegetable side that is excellent for when you have company because you can make it all ahead. A mandolin really helps here getting the cabbage a nice even thinness. The tahini sauce is a must. I did not have any fresh dill (and I'm not a dill fan) so I used extra mint and used sesame oil drizzled over the tahini sauce as suggested. Definitely a recipe for my regular list especially in the winter when green salads aren't quite what they are in the summer.

    • imaluckyducky on January 04, 2015

      Pg 122 5 stars. This has made me a cooked cabbage convert! It's crunchy, refreshing, and gorgeous to look at, and I'm in complete agreement that the tahini sauce is a must (seriously, greek yogurt and tahini is genius!). I used a knife instead of a mandolin, and the results came out really well. Dill isn't as pronounced, especially when combined with the tahini sauce, which is just fine by me.

    • imaluckyducky on January 06, 2015

      Update: This keeps well even 2 days later. Great for lunches during the week.

    • westminstr on March 20, 2015

      I made this cabbage salad after seeing the positive reviews here. I completely agree that this is a great salad with an addictive dressing. I used the dill but can't remember whether I added parsley or mint - I'm sure I didn't have all three. Leftovers held up well for lunch, this was just really delicious.

  • Sweet potatoes with white miso ginger sauce

    • jenmacgregor18 on December 31, 2014

      Best sweet potato ever! So good, I can and will eat it for breakfast.

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      My new favourite way to enjoy sweet potatoes. The salty-tangy sauce went incredibly well with the sweet vegetable (which I "baked" in the microwave)

  • Elissa’s mustard green dumplings with sweet and spicy dipping sauce

    • swegener on February 23, 2015

      This is very good and quite easy--I particularly like the tip about freezing ahead. The sauce is particularly delicious, though I couldn't find that specific chili paste in my asian market the one I did find was pretty good.

  • Red rhubarb-berry ice cream

    • Zosia on March 12, 2015

      Fantastic fruity ice cream that, despite the richness of the custard base, allowed the rhubarb and raspberries from the compote to sing. The orange flower water was a little lost once frozen so I'll need to add more next time, but the orange from the zest came through. I'll definitely be making this one again! The compote recipe is on page 111.

  • Rhubarb-raspberry compote

    • Zosia on March 12, 2015

      Rhubarb and raspberries work beautifully together in this delicious compote. It can be served in numerous ways but I used it to make the red rhubarb berry ice cream (page 110). I used fresh field rhubarb and frozen red raspberries.

  • Soy-braised tofu with five-spice powder

    • lilham on May 19, 2015

      The vinegar taste overpowered all the other flavours in the sauce. I used Chinese black vinegar which is stronger than balsamic, An alternative suggested by Madison is balsamic so maybe she used that in her testing? Though why would you use balsamic in a Chinese dish. I won't repeat this again.

  • Halloumi with seared red peppers, olives, and capers

    • galena on January 23, 2016

      Wonderful recipe - so much flavour in so little time. Used pre-roasted jarred peppers for convenience but still heated them in the frying pan. Also used the lighter halloumi. Yum!

  • Chervil-chive butter

  • Ann’s squash blossom frittata

    • Zosia on July 17, 2016

      With a low egg:blossom ratio and mild cheese, the delicate flavour of the flowers really came through but I do wonder if the flouring and frying steps are necessary......next time I'll try it without, cooking the blossoms briefly to wilt them before adding the egg mixture.

  • Lavender syrup

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      This is very sweet and the lavender flavour is quite strong. Used sparingly, it was delicious as a sweetener for iced herbal teas and fresh fruit, especially raspberries.

  • White nectarines in lavender syrup

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      The lavender syrup added elegance to a bowl of summer fruit and of course tasted quite lovely with the peaches and raspberries.

  • A fresh tomato relish

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      Provided you use the tastiest tomatoes available, this simple condiment is a winner every time no matter which variation you make. I used it to top Griddled Eggplant Rounds with fresh ricotta (page 196) and Chive and Saffron Crepes (page 261).

  • Chive and saffron crepes

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      These had great flavour from the nutty spelt flour (a suggested substitute for all-purpose), and earthy saffron and were quite delicate (though easy to cook).

  • Sautéed zucchini with mint, basil, and pine nuts

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      The fresh herb relish was excellent with the zucchini, which I grilled briefly, but made far too much. I used the extra for grilled salmon, another good pairing.

  • Snow peas with sesame oil, tarragon, and toasted sesame seeds

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      The fresh tarragon complemented the snow peas and sesame beautifully.

  • Young leeks with oranges and pistachios

    • Zosia on September 05, 2016

      Easy and refreshing savoury salad. I pre-soaked the leeks as recommended to reduce their bite so their flavour was quite mild.

  • Yeasted buckwheat waffles

    • Zosia on September 06, 2016

      Great flavour and light texture but they didn't stay crisp for very long. I'll use the batter for pancakes next time.

  • Braised fennel wedges with saffron and tomato

    • Zosia on September 22, 2016

      Fennel cooked in fennel stock with fennel seeds.....I had concerns that this might be fennel overload but it wasn't, at all. The licorice flavour mellowed considerably with cooking and the saffron, thyme and tomato prevented the flavour of the dish from being one note. Excellent as a side with fish or as a vegetarian main with black rice as suggested by the author.

  • Rye-honey cake with five-spice powder and dates

    • Zosia on October 02, 2016

      A variation of a French pain d'epices, this was quite moist and very flavourful. Like most cakes of this type, both texture and flavour were better the next day.

  • Collard greens soup with sweet potatoes and crumbled coconut butter

    • shannonstoney on February 25, 2017

      Best use of collard greens I've ever found. And I've tried a lot of collard recipes.

  • Roasted artichokes

    • Ed on March 08, 2017

      Large artichokes OK, but will have to discard all the yummy leaves. Multiple smaller artichokes better.

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Reviews about this book

  • A Way to Garden

    An interview with the author Deborah Madison.

    Full review
  • Food52 by Kat Kinsman

    The 2014 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks vs. Saving the Season by Kevin West

    Full review
  • Boston Globe by T. Susan Chang

    ...a physically spectacular book and a passionate one, and it makes a fine gift...a thoughtful vegetable book is always a welcome addition to the world, and this meets and exceeds that expectation.

    Full review
  • 5 second rule

    This book is for anyone who finds bliss communing with seeds, seedlings, and edible plants in the great outdoors, and then bringing their harvest into the kitchen.

    Full review
  • Serious Eats

    The book is filled with stunning photographs... Cooking through each recipe is a calming, meditative process, and each resulting meal is delightfully wholesome.

    Full review
  • Fine Cooking

    Bountiful botanical and culinary information on each featured vegetable, stunning photography, personal anecdotes, and helpful kitchen tips round out this encyclopedic tome.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 1607741911
  • ISBN 13 9781607741916
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Mar 12 2013
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 304
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ten Speed Press
  • Imprint Ten Speed Press

Publishers Text

In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America's leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light.
 
For over three decades, Deborah Madison has been at the vanguard of the vegetarian cooking movement, authoring classic books on the subject and emboldening millions of readers to cook simple, elegant, plant-based food.

This groundbreaking new cookbook is Madison’s crowning achievement: a celebration of the diversity of the plant kingdom, and an exploration of the fascinating relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, and familiar wild plants within the same botanical families.

Destined to become the new standard reference for cooking vegetables, Vegetable Literacy shows cooks that, because of their shared characteristics, vegetables within the same family can be used interchangeably in cooking. It presents an entirely new way of looking at vegetables, drawing on Madison’s deep knowledge of cooking, gardening, and botany. For example, knowing that dill, chervil, cumin, parsley, coriander, anise, lovage, and caraway come from the umbellifer family makes it clear why they’re such good matches for carrots, also a member of that family. With more than 300 classic and exquisitely simple recipes, Madison brings this wealth of information together in dishes that highlight a world of complementary flavors. Griddled Artichokes with Tarragon Mayonnaise, Tomato Soup and Cilantro with Black Quinoa, Tuscan Kale Salad with Slivered Brussels Sprouts and Sesame Dressing, Kohlrabi Slaw with Frizzy Mustard Greens, and Fresh Peas with Sage on Baked Ricotta showcase combinations that are simultaneously familiar and revelatory.

Inspiring improvisation in the kitchen and curiosity in the garden, Vegetable Literacy—an unparalleled look at culinary vegetables and plants—will forever change the way we eat and cook.


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