Good friends came to stay at the Buffalo this summer, and they left lovely gifts including Ross Dobson’s “Market Vegetarian: Easy Organic Recipes for Every Occasion.” I wanted to tell you about it in case you need a menu pick-me-up, just in time for autumn vegetables.
The book is beautiful, its design simple and elegant with gorgeous full-page pictures of prepared recipes. The photograph of hard-boiled eggs cut open in halves, glistening green beans, basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, and olives over rice completely inspired me, and I left the book open to “Nicoise-style Brown Rice Salad with Fresh Herbs” for days.
I’m not sure I ever made Dobson’s exact recipe – but I made all sorts of variations (the sign of a great cookbook for me) – using what we had on hand and including our neighbor’s fresh eggs. (Chickens so close we can hear the rooster in the morning). Sometimes I just piled the ingredients on a thick layer of spinach leaves and included the hardboiled eggs – a trick from Italy taught me by the mother of my young friend – a meal from a salad.
Dobson divides the book into sections reflecting the way he (and most of us) eat – ideas for “sharing plates” (fritters, baked mushrooms, potato and parsnip croquettes), midweek meals, soups and stews and Saturday night dinners that are a little more complicated. Also he includes a section on savory baking.
In the short introduction Dobson makes it clear he’s talking about vegetables from the farmers’ market or your garden – fresh vegetables. Including the ones that will store, available this time of year – lots of ingredients for “Roasted Early Autumn Vegetables with Chickpeas” or “Tagliatelle with Pan-fried Pumpkin and Red Pepper Oil” – and more and more. Now I’ve read through the whole book, enjoying the little narratives before each recipe, and am excited to make pretty much everything.
Dobson’s “Roasted Vegetable Stock” is going to be my first project. I’ve known for a while that using the skins from roasted sweet potatoes or squash really improves a stock, so I know he’s right when he says, “roasted vegetables are more flavorsome.”
Five stars and I’m hungry!