Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipes from the Root Cellar - Andrea Chesman

Summary: Late-harvest vegetables are the treasures in every locavore's winter kitchen. Robust hearty greens, sweet winter squashes, jewel-toned root vegetables, and potatoes of every variety bring satisfying flavors and an impressive array of nutritional benefits to the dining table. Grab them from your well-tended root cellar or buy them at your local market; just be sure to use these 270 recipes to make cold-weather vegetables a delicious part of your winter diet. Summary from the book. Image from Amazon.com.

My Review: After devouring my way through one of Ms. Chesman's other books, The Roasted Vegetable, I was anticipating her latest book, Recipes from the Root Cellar with much excitement and drooling. I'm not one to jump to the dessert section first, but because it was the holidays I started with her Coconut-Pumpkin Pie. I liked her addition of coconut to a traditional pumpkin pie, but I felt like the spices were off (no cinnamon?!). With a little tweaking, I think it would have been much better. I also tried the Roasted Spiced Potatoes and a Syrian-style lentil-rice dish called Mujdhara. The potatoes were pretty good and a unique blend of several spices. The Mujdhara, which was supposedly compared to the "mess of pottage" for which Esau sold his birthright, was mediocre at best.

My first few experiences with this book were so-so, but there are nearly 300 recipes in this book, and because it is such a good reference for underused and perhaps overlooked vegetables (kohlrabi, rutabagas, and celery root anyone?) I'm willing to give it a more thorough testing. I also have hope for the sauerkraut which has been working its magic on my countertop for a couple of weeks. That may be this books redemption!

My Rating: 3.5 stars (3.75 if the sauerkraut turns out well)

Sum It Up:  A great reference book for using winter vegetables, but I haven't found any "golden recipes" yet.

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