If you’re committed to local, seasonal eating from Kitsap County farmers’ markets, then you’re committing yourself to a lot of vegetarian food. That leads to an obvious question: Which vegetarian cookbook should you use?
There are hundreds of options, from sentimental favorites (The Enchanted Broccoli Forest) to modern classics (Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a James Beard Foundation award winner), to cookbooks that aren’t exclusively vegetarian but from cuisines with excellent vegetarian dishes (Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking).
If I had to buy just one cookbook for seasonal eating from farmers’ markets, it would be Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters.
Many of you already know about Alice Waters, but for those who don’t, she is credited as one of the founders of the modern era of fresh, seasonal eating, pioneered at Chez Panisse, her Berkeley restaurant. She has published many cookbooks, but Chez Panisse Vegetables is my pick for Sound Food readers: It’s alphabetical (Got beets? Just go to “B” and see what’s there!) and it’s easy (the recipes depend on the quality of the ingredients for their success), making it the perfect resource for when you come back from the farmers’ market and need to figure out a quick dinner with the ingredients you’ve just picked up.
Over the past few weeks, Butler Green Farms has had small carrots and spring onions for sale at the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market. I looked up “C” and “O” in my copy of Chez Panisse vegetables and made these tasty little side dishes to go with grilled halibut. I’m adapting them here so you can enjoy them while they’re still in season:
MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD (adapted from Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)
1 bunch baby carrots
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 c chopped parsley
1/4 c olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1. Peel baby carrots, leaving ¼ inch of stem attached (just for the appearance – take it off if you want)
2. Cut carrots in half lengthwise and boil in salted water with the crushed clove of garlic until just tender (about 3-5 minutes)
3. Toss with cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.
4. Toss again with lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley.
5. Let sit for 1hr, then serve.
PICKLED SPRING ONIONS (adapted from Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)
Bunch spring onions
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch whole coriander
Pinch whole peppercorns
Pinch whole allspice
1 sprig fresh thyme
1. Put all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the onions are tender (until you can easily pierce them through with a knife) (5-8 minutes).
2. Let cool in their own liquid.
3. Drain and serve, either at room temperature when cooled or after refrigerating.
Enjoy, and keep buying your food from our local farms!