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Jun 29, 2006 03:59 AM

Favorite recipes in Local Flavors by Deborah Madison?

It's been too long since I made a trip to my public library (and I live right next door!). Sadly, I haven't been cooking or baking as much as before, but I'm looking to turn the tide. Stopped in last night and picked up a few books for inspiration. My goal is to cook at LEAST one recipe from every cookbook I check out, since often times, I just look through, drool, get a few ideas, and return it when it's due.

So I flipped through Local Flavors (see link) by the vegetarian goddess, Deborah Madison, last night. I drooled at the recipes and pretty photos of vibrant, farm fresh produce. Now it's time to cook something. Usually something will resonate w/ me such that I know I must make it, but so far, everything sounds good!

So I'm turning to you hounds to help focus me. Any favorite recipes from this book that are a must try? Of course, I'm most interested in recipes that feature fruits and veggies that are available at farmer's markets in NorCal right now.

And any general thoughts on the cookbook as a whole are appreciated. I wasn't crazy about her other book, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, so gave it away. This one gets me more excited, so I'm thinking of eventually buying it since I need more veggie-centric books. Thanks for your input!

Local Flavors on Amazon:

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  1. I have the book and was just looking at it yesterday, enjoying the colorful summery photographs. I was especially thinking of making the Apricot-Lavender Refrigerator Jam (p 291) since I am on a lavender kick. Truthfully, I have owned it over a year and never made anything from it. Nor have I made anything from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which I also own. I don't seem to get very inspired by her recipes, though I don't know why, and end up reaching for my standby cookbooks instead. I'll be interested to hear what you discover.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Junie D

      What are your standbys? I'm curious because for me, VCFE is pretty much a standby.

      1. re: Pei

        I'm glad to hear VCFE is a standby for you - I will have to try something already. For vegetables/produce ideas, I gravitate to Chez Panisse Vegetables (my favorite), CP Fruit, Verdura by Viana La Place and often Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.

        1. re: Pei

          What are your favorite recipes in VCFE?

          1. re: Junie D

            I flip through it all the time for inspiration and change the recipes to fit what I have in the kitchen. I find her recipes easy enough to adapt that way.

            Recipes I actually follow include:
            -olive tapenade
            -various crackers and crisps
            -any of the recipes for bread/dough/crusts. I find her instructions clear and precise enough that I could follow them even when I made bread for the first time ever.
            -I always use her crepe and pancake recipes
            -my favorite complete recipe is for the winter squash galette. Every time I've made it I've gotten compliments and requests for the recipe. It's great with any of the crusts recommended.
            -onion gruyere tarts are great too.

            Flipping through the book, I can see why some people would find it dull or uninspiring. However, I grew up with a Chinese mom who is an amazing but narrowly focused cook, and cooking Western food is actually rather new to me. Until last year, I had no idea what to do with kale or rhubarb. They just weren't things that ever appeared in our kitchen. Heck, my mom won't even cook a bell pepper.

            VCFE is good for me because I can find a recipe for most vegetables, and the recipe will most likely be incredibly simple. That allows me to see how the vegetable will taste with just a few complementary accompaniments. Those who grew up knowing that spinach goes well with goat cheese or mozarella with olives might not get very excited by VCFE. I for one, would never have thought of combining butternut squash, rosemary, onions, and parmesan. But yes, it is one of the most heavenly combinations ever.

      2. I LOVE the recipe for cauliflower that uses green olives. It's not in front of me now, so I can't remember what else was in it, or the page, but there are only a few cauliflower, so it'll be easy enough to find, and cauliflower is great right now to boot. Try it...fantastic.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Aaron

          Oh- I like that one too! It's steamed cauliflower tossed with capers, parsley, tarragon, green olives, and olive oil. I haven't tried many of the recipes, which is why this is a good thread, as now I will . Other recipes I like are the sauteed artichokes and potatoes with garlic chives (her suggestion of a drizzle of truffle oil was great too), the pea and spinach soup wtih coconut milk, the pasta with caramelized fennel, the leek and green garlic risotto, and the fig tart.

        2. Thanks for the recs, all! I can't wait to make something and will report back.