In her previous cookbooks Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and the classic Greens Cookbook, among others, Deborah Madison scored with savory yet sophisticated fare--the kind of food even meat lovers relish. Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets finds Madison shopping those havens of quality, taste, and diversity, and devising recipes based on their seasonally available bounty. Among the 350 recipes--not all vegetarian--fans will immediately recognize the Madison hand in dishes like Soft Tacos with Roasted Green Chiles, Spinach and Green Garlic Soufflé, and Winter Squash "Pancake" with Mozzarella and Sage. There's more to the book, however: "Many people still think that the farmers' market is the place you go to for cheap food," says Madison. More to the point, they're a source for "truly local and therefore truly seasonal [food], quite likely raised by sound sustainable methods and by someone who might become your friend." It's a message most readers will embrace.
The book offers chapters deftly arranged by fruit and vegetable families as they appear in the markets, such as "The Vegetable Fruits of Summer: Eggplants, Tomatoes, and Peppers" and "A Cool Weather Miscellany," which includes recipes such as Sautéed Artichokes with Potatoes and Garlic Chives and a marvelous "essence-of" soup, Elixir of Fresh Peas. Madison also treats unfamiliar fruits and vegetables, presenting the likes of lamb quarters in a soup made with Sonoma Teleme cheese, and sugar loaf chicory simply grilled and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Recipes for delightful salads like Melon Salad with Thai Basil also appear, as do a selection of pastas and risotto, such as Winter Squash Risotto with Seared Radicchio, and sweets like White Peaches in Lemon Verbena Syrup and Date, Dried Cherry, and Chocolate Nut Torte. With sidebars like Atlanta's All-Organic Market: Late October and color photos throughout of vendors, produce, and many of the dishes, the book offers the perfect match of Madison and the markets. --Arthur Boehm [via]