Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden by New York-based chef April Bloomfield (Ecco). This is the second book by Bloomfield, who published A Girl and Her Pig in 2012, and this one’s about — you guessed it — vegetables.
Noteworthy: Growing up in a working-class family in Birmingham, England, Bloomfield didn’t have access to fresh vegetables all of the time. “I ate plenty of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots that came from freezer bags,” she writes in the introduction to the book. “I’d cram these horrible veg into my cheeks like a chipmunk does, because I knew I had to eat them but wanted to delay the chewing and the tasting.” In the warm months, though, her mother did keep a small garden, and that’s how Bloomfield learned the difference between frozen and fresh produce — and fell in love with the latter. “Frozen peas, however, I loved. I still do.”
The Team: Bloomfield, the executive chef and co-owner of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar, and Salvation Taco in New York City and Tosca in San Francisco. Food & Wine named her Best New Chef in 2007 and the James Beard Foundation gave her an award for Best Chef: New York City in 2014. Food writer JJ Goode, who has also worked with chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Andy Ricker, and Dale Talde, co-wrote the book. The prolific David Loftus took the photos and Sun Young Park scattered the pages of the book with illustrations of peas, carrots, and pigs holding hooves.
Photo: David Loftus
The Cuisine: While the recipes in this book are vegetable-driven, they’re not all vegetarian. Bacon and anchovies both make appearances, for example. But they’re included to highlight the best products of each season, which they do simply and expertly. And they’re still true to Bloomfield’s way of cooking, which legendary food writer Mimi Sheraton calls innovative, but also “rooted in tradition; you don’t feel as if you’re on another planet while you’re eating.” (Sheraton also called Bloomfield’s food “lusty” and “marvelous.” My word!)
Who Should Buy It: Those who love vegetables and want to learn to make them shine. Those who want to eat healthy, hearty dishes — and and don’t mind a bit of cream.
Must-Make Recipes: Pot-roasted artichokes with white wine and capers, snap pea salad, salad sandwiches (“bread piled with stuff like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onion”), vegetable crisps with red za’atar, and Jansson’s Temptation, or a fennel and potato gratin that Bloomfield told Gail Simmons is “delicate and beautiful” in a talk at Cherry Bombe’s Jubilee conference. “The texture is very melting … you can press a spoon through it.”
Check out these other Cookbooks of the Week from Yahoo Food: