I borrowed the “Williams Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers Market” cookbook from the library. It’s a lovely hard cover book, with loads of colorful, high-qualtiy photographs.
The book begins with tips for local seasonal eating and shopping at the farmers’ market. There is a 4 page “graph” listing each vegetable and fruit and its season. For instance, delicate lettuces are normally grown in the spring and autumn, while sturdy lettuces are grown in the winter. Garlic is a summer veg, while apples are found in the autumn and winter. It gives you a rough idea of what produce to expect at a given time of year.
The book is then organized by each vegatable/fruit “group” – for instance, Beans & Peas, Cabbages & other Crucifers, Leafy Greens, Roots & Tubers, Squashes, etc.
At the beginning of each veg/fruit section, there’s a quick “table of contents” listing which produce will be covered in that section and a descriptive summary. Onions & Cousins: onions, sweet onions, garlic, green garlic, leeks, green onions.
Then there’s more detail on each specific vegetable/fruit, like growing history, variations, growing season, and other helpful tips for buying and cooking it. Not unlike a quick encyclopedia reference for produce! There was also a fantastic photo available for each vegetable/fruit which is helpful if you aren’t sure what it looks like.
The produce are listed in two’s, with their specific recipes following. Recipes are grouped three to a page, with one fantastic photograph of a finished dish on the opposite page.
Each vegetable/fruit has a color reference, and the recipes are color coordinated. For instance, there is a section for Brussels Sprouts (orange) and Broccoli Rabe (blue) – the recipes that follow are highlighted in either orange for Brussels Sprouts or blue for Broccoli Rabe.
The recipes themselves are inspiring and creative. I’m not a big recipe follower, but I love gaining knowledge by reading through cookbooks, learning new techniques, and how to put different flavors together. There are some unique ideas in this book and some classic! I think everyone can learn a little something, whether you’re a newbie cook or experienced.
If you don’t need a permanent reference, then consider borrowing the “Williams Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers Market” cookbook from your local library.
If you are new to healthy cooking and need a general Vegetable & Fruit guide, then this would be a great addition to your cookbook collection. It’s also helpful for inspiration if you frequent your local farmers markets or receive a hefty share of veggies from your local farm CSA.
One issue to keep in mind, recipes are not categorized by type, so if you’re searching for a soup, you won’t be able to browse through a chapter of soups. You’ll need to refer to the detailed index at the back of the book, to find all “soups” of which there are plenty!
But if you return from the market with some eggplant, and don’t know what to do with it, open the book to the eggplant section and you might energized with an idea, like Rolled Eggplant with Sausage and Mozzarella (a recipe I’m looking forward to trying)
A few of the other recipes that jumped out at me were
- Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Champagne Grapes
- Sauteed Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts
- Avocado, Bacon & Tomato Tartines
- Baked eggs with spinach and cream
- Blueberry-Vanilla Panna Cotta
Note: I noticed most of the recipes that included a photograph in the cookbook, were indeed available online at the Williams Sonoma web site. Plus a few recipes were available from other bloggers.
I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.