Review: ‘A Girl and Her Greens’ An Ode to Veggies
This marvelous cookbook is jam backed with tasty recipes that are sure to help you get more veggies onto your dinner table.
April Bloomfield is not a vegetarian. However, she does have a genuine passion for the produce aisle, the farmer’s market, and the vegetable garden. Her enthusiasm is infectious. In fact, reading A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden makes you want to put more veggies on your own table.
Better yet, this outstanding cookbook contains so many phenomenal recipes, that you’re bound to find something tasty for any occasion. The recipes range from the ultra simple to the sophisticated and complex.
In fact, A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden also includes fresh, veggie-laden takes on old favorites. For instance, Ms. Bloomfield has developed a recipe for Spring Egg Drop Soup. Unlike the classic recipe which occasionally features corn, this recipe features carrots, peas, asparagus, mint, and basil. What an inspired and refreshing change of pace!
One of my favorite aspects of A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden is the book’s structure. There are chapters for the various seasons of produce, and for specific types of veggie dishes. For instance, Ms. Bloomfield helpfully gathers dishes involving cream, meat or flour into their own, individual chapters. Thus, if you are looking for a particular type of recipe, you know instantly where it can be found.
Ms. Bloomfield writes as if she’s talking to a friend. Her recipes include personal anecdotes, which draw you in and make you want to try them.
However, as casual and accessible as the text is, it still imparts abundant culinary wisdom and advice. Ms. Bloomfield provides tutorials — with helpful illustrations — on techniques that might be foreign to the home cook.
Turning artichokes, for instance, is explained in detail. Better yet, the technique is presented in a way that gives even a novice the confidence to try.
Over all, the recipes in A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden lean towards the “less is more” principle. Ms. Bloomfield’s recipes are elegant. They highlight the natural flavors of the produce, rather than covering them up with lots of fussy sauces and seasonings. Ms. Bloomfield inspires the reader to experiment and work with the produce available locally.
The only criticism I have of this book is that I wish there weren’t so many recipes calling for produce, such as green garlic or ramps, which are not yet readily available in Johannesburg. Despite this complaint, A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden is an invaluable book. It contains lots of recipes that will undoubtedly help you make better use of the high quality and abundant produce available year round in South Africa.