Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets

Madison, Deborah

Published by Broadway, 2002
ISBN 10: 0767903498 / ISBN 13: 9780767903493
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Synopsis: In Local Flavors, bestselling cookbook author Deborah Madison takes readers along as she explores farmers’ markets across the country, sharing stories, recipes, and dozens of market-inspired menus. Her portraits of markets from Maine to Hawaii showcase the bounty of America’s family farms and reveal the sheer pleasure to be found in shopping for and cooking with local foods.

Deborah Madison follows the seasons in her cross-country journey, beginning with the first tender greens of spring and ending with those foods that keep. Recipes such as Chard and Cilantro Soup with Noodle Nests and Lamb’s-Quarters with Sonoma Teleme Cheese launch the market season, followed by such dishes as an Elixir of Fresh Peas or a Radish Sandwich. Recipes for Whole Little Cauliflowers with Crispy Breadcrumbs and White Beans with Black Kale and Savoy Cabbage illustrate the range of the robust crucifers, while herbs and alliums provide the inspiration for a lively Herb Salad, tisanes, and Sweet and Sour Onions with Dried Pluots and Rosemary.
Deborah Madison challenges the conventional view of what’s seasonal. A Young Root Vegetable Braise celebrates that early crop of delicate roots, while Braised Root Vegetables with Black Lentils and Red Wine Sauce offers an elegant centerpiece dish for the heartier roots of winter.

Superlative fresh eggs, along with handmade cheese, are featured players at the markets everywhere, and here they appear in such simple dishes as Fried Eggs with Sizzling Vinegar and Warm Ricotta Custard featuring fresh whole-milk ricotta. Because organically raised poultry and meats have an increasingly important presence in our farmers’ markets, they are included, too, paired with other market produce that highlights their flavors, as in Roast Chicken with Herbs Under the Skin.

Late summer corn and beans inspire Corn Fritters with Aged Cheddar and Arugula and Shelly Beans with Pasta and Sage. When markets are filled with squashes and melons, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, Deborah Madison shows us that they’re perfect ingredients for simple, vibrant dishes, such as Braised Farmers’ Long Eggplant Stuffed with Garlic or Tropical Melon Soup with Coconut Milk. For the happily overwhelmed cook, Platter Salads suggest how to go ahead and use all of the market’s bounty.

Fruits, another vital part of farmers’ markets, are generously featured. Huckleberries, unusual grapes, and figs; stone fruits like plums and peaches; heirloom apples, persimmons; winter citrus and subtropical fruits are all here. Fig Tart with Orange Flower Custard; Peach Shortcake on Ginger Biscuits; a Rustic Tart of Quinces, Apples, and Pears; and a Passion Fruit and Pineapple Compote are just a few of the luscious desserts. And, because the market features more than fresh foods of the moment, recipes based on dried fruits, oils, vinegars, preserves, and other long-keeping foods help the reader continue eating locally once the market season has ended.

By going behind the scenes to speak with the farmers and producers, Deborah Madison connects readers directly with the people who grow their food. Full-color photographs of gorgeous produce, mouthwatering dishes, and evocative scenes from the markets will entice every reader to cook from the farmers’ market as often as possible.

Review: 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

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Title: Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from ...
Publisher: Broadway
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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