Book of the month: May

“This book is the product of my years devoted to working exclusively with produce, and it includes all of the notes and lessons I have gathered along the way. I hope it will be your ultimate guide with practical, how-to information (the stuff that, somehow, no one ever taught you). Here, vegetables are the center of your plate, not an afterthought or obligation. They are modern, sexy, and extraordinarily delicious - the way they deserve to be.”

There had to come a time, when the book of the month is a cookbook considering this is a food blog :-). Well, the time has come! I absolutely adore this cookbook. This is the book I never wrote. It’s a bible for all vegetables from A-Z with some really exotic ones you may have never heard of like cardoons, ferns, mizuna, and sunchokes. Mangini is a genius, turning any vegetable into a delicious meal. Salads aren’t just limp leaves with a dressing from a bottle, and broccoli isn’t just an overcooked side to a heavier meat dish. Every recipe in here is super easy to follow with exact step by step instructions, even breaking down chopping essentials with photos. Every vegetable is described in detail, when to buy it, how to store it, and with what to pair it.

While some of the recipes are a little dairy heavy, I usually just adjust and try to use more vegan options. Some of my favorite recipes include the creamy sunchoke soup with apple and walnut oil, the Turkish zucchini cakes, and the smashed and seared beets with chimichurri. Seriously, no recipes will disappoint, and there are plenty to choose from. On top of recipes for every vegetable, there are also favorite cooking methods and more freestyle recipe ideas mentioned. You could make a different vegetable every single night, and never get bored.

On top of all the recipes, you will find useful little tips sprinkled on every page. For example:

  • learn how to control the sliminess of okra by roasting or grilling them, it will dramatically change the texture

  • always store mushrooms in a brown paper bag to prevent dehydration while still letting them breathe

  • crushing, mincing, pressing or pureeing garlic makes for sharper flavors than if you just slice the garlic

  • if you are exerting a lot of effort with your knife without good results (for example the cuts are mashed, crushed or jagged), then your knife needs sharpening.

  • when you plan to keep winter squash for a long time, then buy the ones with the stem so no bacteria can enter

To me, this book should be given out when you move out of home. It’s the essential guide on how to make vegetables delicious, something most of us have no idea how to do. In all of my workshops, cooking classes, and one-on-one coaching I always stress how important vegetables are on our plate. Instead of worrying how many grams of protein, fat or carbs we are getting in a meal, we should be looking at a rainbow of plants on our plate. There is nothing wrong with adding a piece of meat if you so choose to, it is simply taking the focus and bringing it to living foods. Foods that grow in the soil with the help of water and sunlight are naturally full of energy and filled with abundant nutrients to keep us glowing, healthy, and ready to take on the day.

And if you think this book is all about vegetables sides, then think again! There are seriously delicious dessert options - unconventional, yes; super creative, absolutely! Try the pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this fall, make the rhubarb and strawberry crumble with lime yogurt for a summer BBQ, and definitely check out the honeyed eggplant and polenta with orange mascarpone frosting.

Grab this book now, and get cooking! You will never look at vegetables the same way again.

For more information:

Cara Mangini's restaurant Little Eater:

on Instagram: caramangini

on Facebook: littleEATER

Buy your copy of “The Vegetable Butcher" on Amazon

#foodprep #bookofthemonth