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Do you have a favourite cookbook for side vegetables?

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I really need some inspiration for cooking vegetable sides......do you have a favourite recipe or cookbook?

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  1. Mark Bittman, "How To Cook Everything"
    comprehensive and great variety of cuisines - I like it because I can buy whatever looks good in the market and get inspiration if I need some

    4 Replies
    1. re: pitu
      b
      Becca Porter

      James Petersons Vegetables. It is very comprehensive.
      -Becca

      1. re: Becca Porter

        Thanks Becca!! I will check out that one too!

      2. re: pitu

        Thank-you! I've often been tempted by that book so I will definitely chk it out!

        1. re: shazzer65

          I have Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and I've given it to my son and his s.o., my sister, a young girl getting married at the office. It's become my religion. What a fabulous cookbook...actually a fab. book. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I've looked something up and not found it.

      3. All of the Green's cookbooks (from the veggie restaurant in SF) are spectac for veggie sides and mains. Savory Way and Green's Cookbook and Fields of Greens (Deborah Madison wrote the first 2 and the current chef at Greens wrote the last one). I use all of these books all the time...they have good desserts, too. Moosewood Lowfat Favorites is good, too.

        5 Replies
        1. re: oakjoan

          How would you compare the Deborah Madison books you've recommended above to her other book, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone?

          I've found VCfE to be very helpful. I'm a far cry from vegetarian, but my guests and I have always enjoyed her recipes. I find her instructions incredibly well written compared to the sloppy writing in many other cookbooks, and I have never had a recipe turn out badly if I just follow step by step.

          The biggest plus for VCfE, in my opinion, is that most of the recipes don't call for anything that can't readily be found in the market. I know I'm lucky to live in California where I can get a lot of things year round, but I really don't think that DM is a fiend for exotic ingredients.

          Sure, there are plenty of recipes that let you get adventurous (the book is huge, after all), but I think the book is meant to be more utilitarian than that. More often than not, this book allows me to indulge in flavor combinations that are simple but really wow the tastebuds, and which I never would have dreamt up on my own.

          1. re: nooodles

            I haven't cooked from the other madison cookbooks, but have talked with folks who have and have skimmed through them. My impression is that Greens is a much more complex cookbook than VCFE. The recipes take more time, and often require one cup of a sauce that is on p. 88 and also has 10 ingredients in it. Most of the techniques are not difficult, nor are they beyond the scope of a reasonable cook, but they're simply time consuming recipes. VCFE has some recipes like that (not many IIRC), but as you noted, it's such a large cookbook that there are also lots of simple recipes.

            Whether the Greens-style cookbook works for you, obviously, depends on your preferences, lifestyle, etc. If you have a decent library near you, check it out of the library. It's a great way to give a cookbook a dry run. I've bought books based on what I thought of them after cooking from them (inc. books where my quick glance suggested I wouldn't like them) and I've chosen not to buy other books based on a 'cook through'.

            1. re: nooodles

              Sheesh, I'm posting about every 5 minutes re this thread. Sorry, but I can't help it.

              Re the q about Madison's other cookbooks (besides Veg Cook for Everyone)...I love the first Green's Cookbook. Her second one, Savory Way is less successful - too much emphasis on Italian (she apparently lived there for a while and was totally smitten - as who wouldn't be?). Anyway, that's my take. I lovvvvvve the Green's and like V C for Evyone. For a giant veg book, however, I like Jaffrey's World Veg Cooking better. Also her Asian Veg Cooking (or something like that) book. Great.

            2. re: oakjoan

              I LOVE the first Greens cookbook, but didn't find the subsequent ones as good.

              Try the Bresse Wild Mushroom Soup - FANTASTIC for fall and winter, a great hearty soup to have on hand in the fridge all week after cooking on the weekend. It's thickened with bread, and is wonderful and rich tasting without creme.

              1. re: pitu

                I agree that the later 2 aren't as good, but they have many, many good recipes in them. D. Madison's middle one (Savory Way) is pretty limited, but still is worth getting used or from the library.

                D. Madison's Veg. Cooking for Everyone is pretty great, however. As is Madhur Jaffrey's World Veg. Cooking.

            3. I will second, third, fourth, whatever the rec for Bittman. I think it's the best American all-purpose cookbook.

              But specifically for vegetables, I would recommend Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop and Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters. I love vegetables, and I'm always looking for interesting/creative ways to prepare them so that my husband, less keen, will eat more of them. I use these books all of the time, all year long. Even though I don't always use recipes--and many of the preparations in CPV are not recipes per se--they give me great ideas for using things I stumble on at the farmers' market.

              I also have James Peterson's Vegetables, recommended by another poster. For whatever reason I don't use this one nearly as much--I always reach for the other two.

              Good luck!

              1. Far and away, The Victory Garden Cookbook.

                I have Peterson (whom I treasure) and Madison and Bittman and, well, you name it. Victory Garden, a generation old, still kicks their collective butt.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Karl S.

                  I'll definitely second this one! Even tells you how to grow and get these babies at the farmer's markets. Great resource!

                  1. re: Karl S.

                    I have watched the Victory Garden program on PBS but have never seen the cookbook. Sounds intriguing. One of the best things I've found about the Madhur Jaffrey veggie cookbooks is that they are truly international. I love making and serving side dishes that are not the usual rice, potatoes, steamed veggies, or the latest trendy California or Italian cuisine recipes. Jaffrey's books (and to a certain extent Madison's Veg. Cooking for Everyone) have lots of interesting and unusual sides like pakoras and samosas, lots of unusual pickles, soups and salads and dips, from Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc., that one usually doesn't see in everyday cookbooks). A simple dinner of sauteed boneless chicken breasts or hamburger patties is made into something special by adding some fritters and a raita-esque dip.

                    I am certainly going to get the Victory Garden out of my local library to look it over. Sounds spectacular.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      The cookbook is from the second of the four incarnations of the series

                      1. James (Jim) Underwood Crockett, who founded the show (as "Crockett's Victory Garden") with Russ Morash (husband of Marian Morash) in 1974 and then died 5 years later, too young for his legions of fans. He was irreplaceable. He authored the gardening books associated with the series before it morphed into the lifestyle thing it has become.

                      2. Bob Thompson, who worked with Jim on his later books, and then kept the series alive from 1979-1991. A wonderful nurseryman (running a nursery for almost 35 years), who wrote the Boston Herald's gardening column and did radio gardening commentary for 30 years, and who died in 2003 after a very long run with Alzheimer's disease. The series expanded to include cooking segments by Marian Morash, who ran the highly esteemed North Wharf restaurant on Nantucket and then wrote The Victory Garden Cookbook in the early '80s.

                      3. Roger Swain, who was introduced as the landscape expert during Thompson's tenure. During his tenure, the series expanded with a lot more off-site (that is, outside of metro-Boston) stuff and also became even more focused on landscaping. Marian Morash continued her very focused (usually focusing on a single vegetable star) but well-thought-through cooking segment, though, much as before.

                      4. Then Russ Morash came off the program and the whole thing ran off the rails (IMNSHO)under the current version of the series under Michael Weishan, which has become almost fully a lifestyle program, with some episodes almost entirely about cooking!!!

                      So don't use the current series to judge the much higher standards of its older incarnations.

                      1. re: Karl S.

                        Correction: Straight Wharf Restaurant. I couldn't afford to go there when I was visiting Nantucket on several occasions in the 1980s.

                      2. re: oakjoan

                        I should add that the Victory Garden Cookbook is not vegetarian. It is vegetable focused (organized by vegetable). But there are recipes that include meat here and there, and more commonly the use of stocks and such.

                    2. In addition to Bittman's book (which is multi-purpose), I'd point you to Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference by Elizabeth Schneider. This book has great recipes and interesting text as well.

                      1. Bittman rules!
                        My other favorite is Roger Verge's Vegetables in the French Style. 1994 Artisan Publishing. ISBN 1-885183-04-6. Lots of unusual combinations and treatments.

                        1. Moosewood Low-Fat Favourites has great ideas for side dishes (and everything else too) :-)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Louise

                            Though many, many people find that Moosewood recipes tend to be underseasoned, especially understalted. So use and be prepared to amplify seasoning as needed.

                            1. re: Louise

                              Anna Thomas' 70's cookbooks 'The Vegetarian Epicure' and 'VE, Book Two' as well as a new edition published in 1996 'The New Vegetarian Epicure'; these are not so much 'vegetables in supporting roles' as main dishes that can be used to balance meals putting a lesser emphasis on large meat portions. Lots of wonderful Eastern European and Indian dishes in the first two books, and a decidedly lighter use of butterfats in the third book. Thomas has a delighful writing style and is a joy to read. I continue to use some of my favorities from the first book 35 years later!
                              I've replaced my well-worn early copies several times from the local used book store. These are cookbooks that anyone wanting to expand their use of vegetables will benefit from!