More Summer Cookbooks — Putting Things Together

Continuing my series on summer cookbooks, we now look at the wonderful world of produce. Summer is, of course, the time to really get into all those wonderful fruits and vegetables. Undoubtedly, there are creatures you’re not familiar with. I mean, who cannot look at an eggplant and think this thing is some sort of alien form of life from another planet?

So, now you’ve got all those lovely vegetables that looked so good in the farmers market. Now what?

How many times have you found yourself cluelessly eyeing a heap of vegetables 10 minutes before dinner and hoping it tastes good sauteed with garlic? For those kinds of situations, this book is a godsend.

That’s one reviewer’s comments about Fast, Fresh and Green: More than 90 Delicious Recipes for Veggie Lovers, by Susie Middleton. (Chronicle Books, list price: $24.95) Middleton is a culinary matchmaker, putting together vegetables with combinations of ingredients that compliment one another. Not only is Middleton an exquisite matchmaker, but she’s quick about it. The book is organized by technique: “quick-roasting,” “quick-braising,” “no cooking,” “two-stepping” (a fast blanch followed by a flash in the pan).

Here’s an important note about cookbooks: Don’t treat them as rigid formulas that you absolutely must follow. In The Bachelor’s Kitchen, we use cookbooks and recipe collections as idea starters. Often you don’t have to have everything on the ingredient list to make something good.