Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cookbook Review: Gourmet's Fresh

I think it's strange that the first cookbook I choose to review isn't even vegetarian! But during the local CSA and farmer's market season, I find myself using it all the time. Gourmet's Fresh: From the Farmer's Market to Your Kitchen Table was published almost 9 years ago, but I find I use it even more than our own CSA's recipe collection when it comes to finding recipes for unique local ingredients.
The recipes are organized in 4 segments, 1 for each season. Since I live in New England, even though it is technically summer, I am still using recipes mostly from the Spring section. There are wonderful (and easily vegan-izable) recipes for asparagus, peas & pea shoots, strawberries, rhubarb, radishes, young asian cabbages, mushrooms, spring herbs, and even one for purslane (commonly thought of as a weed that typical grows like crazy in between rows of vegetables).
Summer obviously concentrates heavily on tomato dishes, along with basil, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, green beans, corn, melons, cherries, peaches & plums.
Fall features the typical apples & squash, potatoes, cranberries, pears, nuts, & onions.
Winter includes heartier fare like soups & chowders, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, conserves & cakes, & cool weather greens.
Each section ends with a good assortment of drinks and desserts, and there are menu suggestions for assembling multi-course meals.
Chances are your local state agriculture website has a comprehensive list of farmer's markets in your area. Here are the Massachusetts listings. And here is a list of CSAs and similar farms in the United States. Both farmer's markets and CSAs/food coops are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint and purchase locally grown foods.

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