James Peterson has been writing cookbooks for over two decades, and he's still going strong. His newly revised Vegetables hit bookshelves this spring with a fresh new look, brilliant color photographs (taken by Peterson himself), and an encyclopedic introduction covering basic techniques and tips for cooking just about any vegetable you'd encounter at a farm stand, Asian market, or grocery store. But this is no textbook—Peterson's writing is smart, humorous, and certainly opinionated. (See, for example, his note about cooking oils: "As for margarine, I have nothing nice to say.")

For cooks strapped for time, he offers quick-cooking, simple recipes complete with tips on how to make even a 20 minute dinner taste its best. For others who may want to try more intricate cooking, he gives detailed instruction on preparing a range of soups, stews, salads, and braises with proper French technique. Some of these latter recipes are a bit fussy, but their layers of flavor and careful composition make them worth the effort.

This week, we'll have a mini-lesson on vegetable cookery by taking a late-summer crop of vegetables and running them through five different techniques. We'll start out with simple preservation by making Pickled Chiles. Next, we'll build a summery baked Tomato and Herb Gratin and then it's time to break out the big guns with Spinach Gnocchi with Sage Butter and finally a no-holds-barred French-Style Vegetable Stew.

Win Vegetables Revised'

Thanks to the good folks at Ten Speed Press, we have five (5) copies of Vegetables, Revised to give away. All you need to do is tell us one vegetable you'd love to eat, but have never tried, here in the comments section.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.


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