Here’s a review written by Jen Bergevin, a new Board member with the DRAHS and a Deep River local resident. We’re enthused to have Jen volunteering with us. We’re working on a fresh, new idea of Jen’s that we’ll be announcing fairly soon. In the meantime have a read. Makes you want to get on Amazon and order it.
The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook
Andrea Chesman’s Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook is unlike any I have ever encountered. The chapters were separated by harvest season and then vegetable making it fantastic for our CSA basket. So, for example, if it is spring and I know that I will be getting a mountain of spinach in our basket, I can turn to the chapter on spinach within the Spring section. A short discussion of the idiosyncrasies of this particular vegetable is featured on the first page of each chapter. The facing page is a yellow-bordered page that runs down how to grow, sow, cultivate and harvest your veg; some conversion math (for example 1 pound of raw spinach is 2-3 cups of cooked spinach and is between 12 and 24 cups of loosely packed, washed and trimmed leaves [24 for mature; 12 for baby]); basic cooking rules; how long to expect different cooking methods to take; and nutritional information. This is followed by four to ten recipes that feature that vegetable. Some of the vegetables included are asparagus, spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, zucchini, artichokes, corn, eggplant, fennel, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, leeks, ruatbagas and pumpkins. At the end of each season, Ms. Chesman has included a “Height of the Season” section. This covers a number of the vegetable of that season: sort of a who’s who of spring, summer or fall. In the summer’s Height of the Season some of the included recipes are ratatouille, tomato-vegetable soup, summer vegetable bread pudding, and summer seafood stew. Side dishes are considered for mains and pairings are suggested for the sides’ recipes.
Also included are “Basic Recipes” and “Master Recipes.” The Basics are recipes like Herbes de Provence, Pesto, Broth, Pie Pastry, Cheese Sauce via a roux and how to Toast Nuts. In my opinion, these really are the basic cooking skills that make the difference between beginning and experienced cooks. The “Master Recipes” are recipes that you can make with any vegetable like, for example, quiche. Quiche made with broccoli follows the same process as making quiche with spinach. This section includes instructions on how to roast summer and root vegetables, grilling veggies, vegetable gratin, pasta recipes, stir-fry, and the best quiche I have ever made. These two sections alone would make it worth while to purchase for a no-longer-a-beginner cook.On top of all this, interesting information is sprinkled throughout. This information includes the origin of the vegetables and their names, as well as human interest stories about CSAers, gardeners, farmers and cooks. These stories made me feel like I was part of a community. But if you don’t like reading your cookbook, this feature will probably annoy you too much for you to enjoy this book. This cookbook is very pretty even though the pages are only black, white and a couple shades of yellow. These few colours were used very artistically. Now understand this is not a quick cook cookbook, nor is it a vegetarian cookbook either but, as omnivores who eat a lot of local vegetables, we really loved it. I will be asking for a copy for birthday/Christmas.
Articles by Guest Writers
We’ve recently added links to articles by our guest writers that have been published on the DRAHS website over the past few months.