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Review of The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook

Updated on August 2, 2007
Author Amelia Saltsman
Author Amelia Saltsman

Review of The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook

I love going to a great farmers' market. There is something really appealing about shopping for local produce in an open air market. The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, written by cooking writer, instructor, and television host Amelia Saltsman, is full of great recipes designed to take full advantage of the huge variety of fresh ingredients that can be found at farmers' markets from coast to coast.

More than a book of recipes, The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook contains tips on how to shop for, select, and store fresh produce. The book includes beautiful photography of the market. It also features a seasonal guide to fresh fruits and vegetables, detailed information about differences among varieties of fruits and vegetables, interesting plant terminology, kitchen techniques, suggested pantry supplies, kitchen tools, and other great tips and advice.

Even without the awesome recipes, the how-to advice in this book alone makes it worth the price. As much as I love to cook, I was never able to master the art of roasting red peppers before coming across the detailed instructions in this book. Most recipes simply state "roast peppers and peel." Unfortunately, if you don't really know how to roast peppers, such instructions are useless. Now, thanks to The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, I know exactly how to roast red peppers.

Some of the other really interesting how to advice you'll find in this great cookbook include: how to peel peaches, how to cook dried beans, how to toast nuts, how to peel and seed tomatoes, how to zest citrus, how to build a tomato salad, and much more.

The recipes in The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook are uncomplicated, yet they are still unique and interesting. Now that I have this book, I know how to prepare some of the vegetables that I usually walk right by when I see them at my local farmers' market or supermarket.

Escarole, for example, is a vegetable that I had never eaten before I got this book. I tried the sautéed escarole recipe, and I now have a new (and healthy) favorite veggie! The recipe is easy to make, and the instructions even offer suggestions for using other types of greens -- such as Swiss chard, dandelion greens, or beet tops. I don't think I'm brave enough to try the beet tops just yet, but I'll be defintiley be looking for Swiss chard, and maybe even dandelion greens, on my next trip to the market!


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