“Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart
Gibbs Smith, Publisher, $25
For their latest cookbook, James Beard Award-winning authors Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart have combined their favorite vegetable recipes from their book “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” with many new ones. The result is “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables.”
None of the recipes include rice or pasta. The authors say they don’t mean for the book’s vegetable dishes to stand alone as a meal. Instead, they are to be served alongside a meat entrée or as part of a vegetable plate.
They also note that the recipes are mostly unexacting, and they encourage the home cook to substitute ingredients for what is available. Their book opens with general information on cooking vegetables and moves quickly into the recipes, which are divided by vegetable, beginning with artichokes and asparagus and ending with tomatoes and turnips.
There also are recipes for vinaigrettes and sauces, and information on roasting vegetables.
Many of the recipes, but not all, are accompanied by full-color photos. Among the recipes are Southern hummus, maque choux, okra pilau and fried green tomatoes.
The recipe for Squash Casserole — a dish obviously meant to be served as a side for a large meal such as a holiday or Sunday dinner — got my attention because Dupree says it is the most popular recipe she’s ever included in a cookbook. Definitely not low-calorie or low-fat, it includes lots of butter and cheese, plus a substantial pecan-and-bread crumb topping.
Alas, it also illustrates two of my pet peeves in recipe writing: The baking dish size is vague. (It calls for a large casserole dish; I used a 9-inch-by-12-inch.) And, the cook is told “to season to taste” after raw eggs have been added to the mixture.
A suggestion for the quantity would be nice.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @CheramieSonnier.