Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate

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9780060752446: Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate

The potager, or French vegetable garden, represents the very best of French cuisine: fresh, flavorful, and easily accessible for home cooks everywhere. In Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells presents a collection of recipes inspired by the garden she tends at her home in Provence.

No one has done more than Patricia to bring the art and techniques of French cooking into American kitchens. Now, in her tenth cookbook, she covers every kind of produce favored by French cooks from north to south. In addition, there are charming profiles of French farmers, home gardeners, and cooks, with sixty-five stunning color photographs.

From arugula to zucchini, Patricia offers up a wealth of dishes that incorporate vegetables, herbs, nuts, legumes, and fruits fresh from the garden. And her recipes aren't limited to summer's bounty—there are plenty for fall squash and winter potatoes, too.

The recipes in Vegetable Harvest include everything from appetizers, soups, and salads, to meats, poultry, and pasta. There are classics like Spicy Butternut Squash Soup, Roast Leg of Lamb with Honey and Mint Crust, and Pea and Mint Risotto, as well as innovative new dishes that are sure to become time-honored favorites, such as Potato-Chive Waffles with Smoked Salmon, Capers, and Crème Fraîche, Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho, and Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil. To finish your meal with a flourish, there are decadent, fruity desserts like Pistachio-Cherry Cake with Cherry Sorbet, Rhubarb-Berry Compote in Grenadine, and Crunchy Almond-Pear Cake. In addition, there is a chapter on pantry staples that includes Patricia's recipes for Zesty Lemon Salt, Truffle Butter, and Fresh Cilantro Sauce.

And while Patricia's wonderful dishes sound sinful, they are in fact quite healthful, low in fat and calories; nutritional information is given for each recipe.

With Vegetable Harvest, you'll be eating the best nature has to offer—fresh, flavorful produce—all year round.

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Review:

To dispense with a puzzlement right away--though named Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells's marvelous 190-plus recipe collection doesn't center on those edibles exclusively. Rather, it offers a well-rounded dish selection that puts them to brilliant use, often as supporting players (except, of course, in chapters titled "Vegetables" and "Potatoes"). This bit of culinary license shouldn't discourage anyone from buying the book, whose recipes, such as Baby Squid Salad with Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes and Parsley; Penne with Fava Beans, Basil Puree, and Parmesan; and Lamb Couscous with Chickpeas and Zucchini, exemplify all that's remarkable about Wells's approach to modern French cooking. Emphasizing simplicity, ingredient freshness and, yes, ease of preparation, the dishes--including breads and desserts like Lemon and Rosemary Flatbread and Almond Buttermilk Sorbet--will delight any cook who prizes direct yet brilliantly orchestrated flavor. In addition to wine advice, Wells also offers a pantry chapter including sauce and vinaigrette recipes--Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing is one--nearly worth owning the book for. In works including The Provence Cookbook and Bistro Cooking, Wells brought French cooking to the American kitchen in a way both authentic and relaxed. Vegetable Harvest furthers that approach spectacularly. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs the popular cooking school At Home with Patricia Wells in Paris and Provence. She has won four James Beard Awards and the French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and the only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. She served as the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Paris and Provence with her husband, Walter Wells.

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