Chez Panisse Vegetables (Alice Waters)
Eat your vegetables: Alice Waters, who opened the legendary Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, in 1971, is arguably the most influential chef in the history of American cuisine. As a champion of French country cooking, and as the lady who taught much of the country how to pronounce arugula, Waters is the original advocate for the fresh local fruits and vegetables that every restaurant now wants you to know it's using. Next time you see a menu listing Warmed Happy Girl Goat Cheese over Sleepy Moose Farms Mixed Greens, thank Alice. And tip your hat to her after purchasing bags of fresh "spring salad mix" at CostCo.
Arranged from A to Z, from amaranth greens to zucchini, Chez Panisse Vegetables is the only book you'll need to prepare nearly every single vegetable you'll ever stumble upon in an American farmers market. Mini essays tell you when specific vegetables are in season and how to gauge ripeness and spot quality. The cookbook offers a battery of French- and Italian-influenced recipes for soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, gratins, and side dishes composed of some vegetable you've never even heard of. This book will enable you to cruise the farmers market, buy everything that looks good, haul it home and know you'll be able to blow minds and make your cardiologist smile. Best of all, you can finally stop making that pathetic steamed broccoli you've been choking down since college.
Absurdly simple recipes you'll be loving for years: roasted winter vegetables; pasta with potatoes, rocket, and rosemary; butternut squash pizza. [$35; harpercollins.com]