The latest addition to my growing cookbook collection is called The Produce Bible, by Leanne Kitchen (nice name). I was wandering through the Powell’s Home & Garden location on Hawthorne and it caught my eye.

Although I have a few books already with some good gardener/farmer’s market recipes, this one has been a nice addition. It was one of the staff recommendations and the photography is stunning. Who knew veggies could be so pretty? Well, I guess I already knew that actually. But they include recipes for some less common fruits, like currants, quince, gooseberries, as well as the usual suspects like plum, fig, apple, pear, etc. One of the recipes that caught my eye when I was first leafing through was venison with blackberry sauce – yum.

The vegetable section includes even more plant varieties, like jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), sorrel, fava beans, eggplant, wild mushrooms, etc. It branches out to include new recipes for staple veggies, like Carrot & Winter Squash Risotto, Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes, and Zucchini Fritters.

After all that discussion on the various recipes though, I have to say they only account for about half of the reason I like the book so far. There are some new ideas, but I am not sure there are enough new recipes to blow my mind. The other half of the story is the basic preparation methods they give you for each vegetable and fruit. For example, they don’t list a single recipe for eggplant (boo), but they do tell me how to salt, bake, char grill or grill eggplant which I find helpful.

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Totally unrelated, but since the holidays are fast approaching, I had to share this awesome post from the You Grow Girl website. It lists the author’s Holiday Gifts for Gardeners 2007, which I thought were all really great ideas. They span a good range of gardening level too – for those starting-out-types that may not own a kitchen compost bin yet, as well as the more advance nerd-o’s like me that would love to stare closely through a monocular to admire my plants or investigate bugs. (wow, not much has changed with me in the last 20 years, huh?) The picture to the right is a state-of-the-art birdhouse fetching $200. Pricey, but pretty amazing.

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