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The Coastal Cupboard Blog
Cookbook of the Month: The Fresh and Green Table
Looking for the latest, most delicious recipes for your summer crops? The Fresh and Green Table by Susie Middleton is our Cookbook of the Month for its inspiring, sophisticated twist on vegetable dishes, simple but delicious meats and more. Check out our own Ellen Gansen's review of this amazing cookbook:
Susie Middleton had a goal in mind when she wrote her latest book, and that was to help her readers move vegetables to the center of their dinner plates. In The Fresh & Green Table, Middleton inspires home cooks to look at creating vegetable dishes that satisfy in the same way many of our meat heavy stand bys do. She considers herself “pro-veggie rather than anti-meat” and while most of the recipes included in the book are vegetarian, they pair well with simply grilled meats and fish. And by “green” she means all veggies, red tomatoes and yellow squash included.
Having just completed a major renovation on my kitchen and eating nothing but frozen dinners and bags of food delivered from drive thru windows for over six weeks, I was eager to eat something fresh once my kitchen was complete…and I had to test out all those new appliances! So I stocked my new frig with an array of vegetables and settled in to making some of the recipes in The Fresh & Green Table. Middleton, who is the editor- at-large of Fine Cooking magazine, focuses on teaching proper techniques. She expands on the details, how to properly prepare each vegetable, how to choose the right pan, and how to assess when something is done from visual clues as opposed to just looking at a timer. It is attention to these details that become the foundation for confidence when cooking vegetables. And she has a good time doing so too, as her kitchen mantra is all about how fun things are to make. Let me tell you that I did a whole lot more than just steam broccoli all week! I chopped, seared, sautéed, simmered, pureed and baked my way through the book; this is full on cooking at its best.
The Asparagus & Leek Bisque with Crème Fraiche & Tarragon is creamy and light at the same time, and is delicious served with a few goat cheese crostini. Local, fresh asparagus really shine in this recipe. Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta with Feta, Olives, Artichokes, Tomatoes & Pepperoncini pairs warm pasta with cool marinated salad ingredients and fresh spinach for a sophisticated room temperature pasta dish, perfect for summer. My brunch guests practically inhaled the Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata with Red Potatoes & Scallions! (In the interest of full disclosure, I did serve it with a mixed grill of bacon and sausage.) The Double-Corn, Black Bean & Cheddar Quesadillas brings a crisp exterior together with a meaty filling; paired with the Shades of Green Salad with Avocado & Lime Honey Dressing it makes a satisfying dinner. Roasted Portobellos with Farro and Balsamic-Rosemary-Roasted Shallots & Grapes is earthy, sweet and tart all at once. All of these dishes have the added bonus of being gorgeous to look at as well as delicious to eat.
After sampling recipes from The Fresh & Green Table for almost a week straight I got a great and unexpected endorsement about the success of these recipes from my husband. First I should say that my husband runs a fine dining restaurant and has done so for 40 years. Many of our friends are chefs. And I’m no slouch when it comes to putting a great dinner on the table. My husband is one well fed guy…and a total meat lover. At the end of the week he said to me “honey you have made some really terrific meals this past week, I would be happy to eat them all again and again." Only then did I point out to him that they were all vegetarian recipes from this new book I was reviewing. When he replied, “I didn’t even notice there wasn’t any meat”, that’s when I knew I had found a jewel of a resource in The Fresh and Green Table. One I would be turning to for years to come. With farmers markets and backyard gardens overflowing with fresh vegetables, now is the time to pick up a copy for yourself and put some delicious vegetables into the center of your family’s dinner plates as well.
The Fresh & Green Table
By Susie Middleton