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Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The…

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference: 500…

by Elizabeth Schneider

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At 6 pounds, Elizabeth Schneider's Vegetables From Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference: 500 Recipes and 275 Photographs is an absolute doorstop of a book. Happily for a book of this size and density, the text is quite lively ... educational, surely, but with just enough humor to keep things fun.

Every entry is accompanied by a full color photograph of the subject, includes common and botanical names, and gives some history of the vegetable as well as providing lots of good information regarding selection, storage, and cooking. The author is even nice enough to toss in a few recipes with each entry ("Parsley Root-Bean Puree with Bacon and Shallots" ... yum).

I also appreciated that rather than having a general entry called "Mushrooms" each variety was given it's own entry and full justice. Where I expected to find a general mushroom entry is instead a couple pages of thumbnail photographs and "see also" -- very nice idea for those of us who want a quick and easy visual guide for identifying the gnarly-looking mushroom we bought yesterday.

This book is very thoroughly indexed (Multiple indexes! By recipe category! By common and botanical name! By recipe, recipe ideas, chefs and cooks! I am in love) and comes with a nice bibliography full of some interesting sounding books.

I love this book and, if I owned it, would keep by my bedside table and read it every night. ( )
  lagardner | May 1, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688152600, Hardcover)

Elizabeth Schneider's Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables set a standard for exact yet lively investigation. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini follows in her earlier book's footsteps to create a compelling guide to 350 common and exotic vegetables. This seed-to-table exploration does more, however. In addition to its usefulness as a reference work (vegetables are, for example, listed by their market, botanical, and common names), the book offers 500 up-to-the-minute recipes--such as Shredded Yellow Squash with Garlic Chives and Baked Sweet Potato-Apple Puree with Horseradish--valuable advice on seasonality and selection, multiple-method cooking instructions, and color photos of all the entries that make market identification a breeze.

Interested in amaranth? Find its entry and discover, first, the magenta-veined plant's common aliases (among them, the Caribbean callaloo, the Indian bhaji, and the Korean namul); an engaging vegetable biography that distills information from many fields (for example, the Greeks thought amaranth immortal); information on selection, storage, and preparation (use the vegetable's tiniest leaves for salads; steam, braise, or sauté the larger "with garlic, shallots, tomato dice, and a touch of chilies"); and full-dress recipes (such as Garlicky Sauté of Amaranth and Tomatoes, Cuban Style). A final section, called Pros Propose, offers recipe sketches from cooking experts, like Paula Wolfert's Amaranth and Sheep's Milk Cheese. This lucid organizational scheme, common to all the entries, and Schneider's expert handling of it, promote a full yet relaxed familiarization with the selected vegetables. This is one of those few books that most cooks will want, as well as need, to own. --Arthur Boehm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

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