Though it feels like a leap of faith in the snowy Northeast, I know that spring will come, and with it all the joys of fresh, tender veggies. For many of us, the best part of the growing season is the seasonal cooking it engenders.The Kitchen Garden Cookbook offers more than 200 recipes in celebration of these seasonal splendors, plus a host of techniques for preserving the harvest, from packing vegetables in oil to drying, freezing, pickling and making conserves, jellies, jams and chutneys. Savor Asparagus Quiche, fresh Pea Soup with Mint Gremolata and Rhubarb and Ginger Meringue Cake in spring. Baked Ricotta with Roasted Tomatoes, Zucchini with Chive Marinade and Blackberry Brioche with Mascarpone are the essence of summer. Pumpkin and Orange Spiced Jam heralds fall, as does an earthy Beet Risotto and Grape and Cinnamon Cake. Then, we’re back in that winter wonderland, keeping the cold at bay with Spicy Spaghetti with Broccoli, warming Tuscan Ribollita and Wasabi Beef with Bok Choy. Innovative and tempting, these easy-to-follow recipes star prime-time produce all year long.
A YEAR IN THE GARDEN
For gardening authority P. Allen Smith, it’s natural to incorporate home-grown and local fruits, herbs and vegetables in everyday cooking. His debut cookbook, P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden, is his enthusiastic invitation to reconnect with the “culture of the earth.” The book’s 120 recipes, all tested in his own kitchen and introduced in his warm, informative, Southern style, take us through the year, with 30 dishes for each of the four seasons. When those first sweet strawberries appear, use them in Strawberry Lemonade and Speckled Strawberry Ice Cream. Ripe, juicy tomatoes are front and center in Tomato Herb Soup, Red Tomato Relish or Oven-Smoked Tomatoes with Savory Grit Cakes. Pears shine in a crunchy pecan-and-blue-cheese-topped salad or a smooth Sorbet, while fresh and home-dried herbs make a rub for Beef Tenderloin or scent Savory Rosemary Butternut Squash. Smith includes a short how-to guide for setting up a small garden and selecting the plants that are just right for you.
COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH
Madhur Jaffrey introduced classic Indian cooking to our shores more than 30 years ago and through her many award-winning cookbooks has made its marvels accessible to American home cooks . Like all of us, Jaffrey is always looking for ways to simplify her cooking, to save time but still get the same great Indian flavors. She does just that in her latest, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, and in so doing, she removes the “fear of spicing” that keeps many of us from preparing aromatic curries, kormas, chutneys and chaats, not to mention dals, raitas and pickles, in our own kitchens. Jaffrey is at your side throughout the cooking process, with detailed explanations, super-clear instructions and great header notes. She reduces the spice palette somewhat, offers serving suggestions and even encourages you to mix and match with Western accompaniments—wrap Lamb Curry with Whole Spices in a tortilla or jazz up popcorn with a marvelous mélange of spices. Jaffrey’s innate elegance, practicality and love of Indian cooking informs each and every one of these recipes.