“A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals From the Garden” by April Bloomfield with JJ Goode
Ecco, $34.99 264-page hardcover
Chef and restaurateur April Bloomfield has “a bit of a reputation for meat, particularly the odd parts” — she’s co-owner of The Spotted Pig in New York City, and her first cookbook was “A Girl and Her Pig” — but she says she’s really “all about vegetables.”
The Birmingham, England, native was in Baton Rouge in October as part of the six-weekend-long “James Beard Foundation’s America: Local Flavor from Coast To Coast” national epicurean tour celebrating America’s culinary diversity. The James Beard Award-winning chef and Taste America All-Star discussed her love of vegetables as she demonstrated how to prepare roasted carrots with carrot top-pesto and burrata, a recipe from her latest cookbook, “A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden.”
Look for more tender, delicate greens on the carrots and keep some for garnish, Bloomfield advised. And, while her pesto recipe calls for walnuts, she suggested making it with hazelnuts in the winter and pine nuts in the summer. “I like them plain, not toasted,” she added.
She also talked about her favorite vegetables here versus her home country.
“I never really liked corn in England,” she said, adding that she was surprised to find “how sweet, tender and corny it was” here. The texture of corn in England is denser on the palate, she said.
“And, you don’t get great avocados in England,” Bloomfield said. “In America, they have fatness and are very satisfying.”
While her new cookbook is all about vegetables, it’s not vegetarian. Some of the dishes include anchovies, chicken stock or a bit of bacon.As she did during her Baton Rouge appearance, Bloomfield notes in her book’s introduction that “the simplest preparations deserve attention,” and one should be particular about the ingredients used.
She then lists her staple ingredients for preparing vegetable dishes, from anchovies to tomatoes.
Recipes are divided into 11 chapters, beginning with spring vegetable dishes and ending with sauces, dressings and pickles. Among the recipes are crushed spring peas with mint, potato soup with garlic and parsley, mushroom pies with swiss chard, and simple tomato sauce.
The book features full-color photos by David Loftus and illustrations by Sun Young Park.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @CheramieSonnier