Review: Eating Well in Season
Every weekend, I review a cookbook in an attempt to lend some guidance in a field that has become overrun. These days everyone is writing cookbooks and it is incredibly upsetting to buy a dud and have it sit on your shelf for years – staring at you, mocking your poor judgment.
This book caught my eye a few weeks ago because, hey, it’s summer time. While it may be hard for some people to eat seasonal foods in the dead of winter, there isn’t really an excuse to not eat in season foods in the spring and summer. “Eating Well in Season” by Jessie Price and the EatingWell Team walks you through not only those seasons, but the dreary ones also.
Healthy and Colorful Eating
The first twenty pages or so of the book is an introduction as to why it is important to eat seasonal ingredients and why you should try to support farmer’s markets in your area. A lot of the information I’ve heard before, but they had some really inventive ways to show the importance of a varied diet.
My favorite was a two page spread with foods broken up by color. Turns out that color can tell you a lot about what you are getting from the food and that makes sense I guess. I was able to dig up a blog post that is basically the same thing (although the layout in the book is better I think) on the Eating Well Blog.
If for some reason you are skeptical about the benefits of eating in season ingredients (I know a few people), this is one of the better write ups I’ve seen on the subject.
Spring is the Season
With only two weeks left, officially, in spring, I want to try out some of these recipes. Now I say officially because you can make a good number of these spring dishes into the summer season as well. Before I get too into individual recipes in this book, I have to say that I was shocked by the number of recipes in this book. Just in the spring section there are 37 recipes, which is more than I was expecting given that the book is also packed with dietary information and beautiful photos.
Some of the recipes that caught my eye in this chapter:
Spinach Soup with Rosemary Croutons – This soup, at least the photo of this soup, is a really dark, intense green color that I want right now! It looks really good.
Sun-dried Tomato & Feta stuffed Artichokes – You will see this recipe sometime soon on Macheesmo. That’s all I’m saying about that.
Sugar Snap Pea & Cherry Tomato Pasta – The signature veggie of spring, in my mind, is the pea. They have a bunch of dishes that include different pea varieties.
Summer Time is Grilling Time
Ok. Summer isn’t just about grilling, but there isn’t much that I enjoy more than chilling on the porch with a few drinks, some friends, and good food. Unfortunately, I don’t even have a grill right now so I have to invite myself over to other peoples’ houses. These are some of the awesome grilling recipes from this chapter of the book:
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Yellow Tomato Salsa – A nice twist on the old classic.
Grilled Chicken Ratatouille – This is kind of a standard dish, but let me tell you the photo in the book of this dish is out of control.
Poblano and Skirt Steak Fajitas – Killer fajita recipe served with some guacamole.
The Colors of Fall
Fall is actually my favorite season of the year. Summer is too hot for me, and I love the food options that are in fall. Apple picking, squashes, turkeys. Those things get me really hungry.
Roasted Beet Crostini – I don’t even really like beets, but these looked awesome. Bright red and green colors on crispy bread.
Pear and Butternut Soup with Stilton – Stilton cheese is one of my favorite. That’s all I needed to hear.
Oatmeal Nut Crunch Apple Pie – I love a good apple pie and I tend to like the traditional kind. This one looks pretty darn good though.
I always imagine winter as this season of canned soups and pastas, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are 29 recipes in this chapter and some of them are very original.
Roasted Winter Veggies with Cheesy Polenta – I could curl up on the couch with a big plate of this no problem.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Broccoli & Olives – I don’t really think of broccoli as a winter food, but according to them it can be.
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash – Squash stuffed with tomatoes and cumin and Swiss cheese. Add as much hot sauce as you can handle!
The Other stuff
As I said, I was really impressed by the recipe selection in this book, but there was tons of little extras that round out this book nicely and make it a really great resource. Full nutrition information is provided for each recipe. There are really beautiful photos for a number of the dishes. There are interviews with farmers and chefs that give guidance as to what to do with some of the veggies.
One of the more helpful parts was in this book as at the very end. They take 60 of popular vegetables and tell when they are in season, what to look for when selecting that veggie, and other tips like how to store and prep the food. They also have some quick guides to canning and freezing veggies.
I found this book to be a really great read and I have a feeling that I’m going to be referring to it regularly.