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MomsMenu 12-05-2003 07:06 AM

From The Cook's Garden
[b]From The Cook's Garden[\b]

From book jacket...

Vermont is the home of The Cook's Garden, America's premier organic seed catalogue. Since 1984, The Cook's Garden has been the ultimate source for kitchen gardeners seeking Euorpean-style greens, heirloom vegetables, radiant flowers, and pungent herbs. Each winter more than one million eager gardeners await the arrival of The Cook's Garden catalogue, looking forward to reading about new seed varieties as well as reliable classics.

Successfully growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers is just part of any gardening challenge, but what do you do once they are harvested?

Ellen Ogden's recipes are one of the most delightful aspects of The Cook's Garden catalogue. As Deborah Madison, bestselling author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors writes in her forward: "These recipes, which are entirely guided by the garden and choice of seeds that grow in it, bridge the gap between a dream on a page promised by a seed packet and how the seeds can be used in the kitchen."

Ellen's recipes are simple yet elegant and speak of freshness whether you harvest ingredients from your own garden or select then at your local store - flavorful soups such as Zesty Lemon Cucumber Soup and Brilliant Butternut Bisque, salad combinations such as Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad, and Leaf Pepper's Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad, main courses such as Savory Vegetables in Polenta Crust or Herbed Chicken with Cider Sauce. Too many tomatoes or pears? Ellen offers ideas for preserving the bounty of any garden.

Note from Cindy...
This cookbook is fast becoming a favorite in my kitchen. I love to cook with fresh vegetables and herbs and Ellen Ogden has provided us with some wonderful recipes that are sure to become classics!
Sample Recipes
Ginger Carrot Soup

Makes 6 Servings.

Carrots are always fun to compare because their flavor differences are so pronounced. The sweetest by far is the Touchon, a French heirloom we grow all year round. Plant a fall crop to overwinter in a cold frame and sweet carrots will be ready to harvest in the early spring. This soup, which certainly can be made with any carrot variety, has a rich color and a fragrant bouquet of spices. Vanilla yogurt enhances the carrots' sweetness. Serve it hot or cold.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
8 medium carrots, scrubbed, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/3 medium squash)
5 cups Vegetable Broth (page 27) or water 1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and saffron and stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the carrots and squash and cover. Cook, stirring often, until the carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and cider and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.

In batches, purée the soup with the yogurt in a blender or food processor until smooth. If serving hot, return to the pot, season with the salt and pepper, and gently reheat, being sure not to boil the soup or the yogurt will curdle. If serving cold, transfer to a bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Season with the salt and pepper shortly before serving.


Twice Baked Potatoes With Savory Green Sauce

Makes 4 Servings.

Baked potatoes are a favorite in our family, so we plant four times as many starchy baking potatoes as any other type. Even though they store well in our root cellar, we have usually gone through our entire crop by spring. There may be nothing quite as satisfying as a buttered potato, but this tangy sauce is exceptionally good, and can be served with Herbed Zucchini Pancakes (page 144) or put into service as a dip for crudités. Use whatever greens are abundant in your garden --- the combination below is only a suggestion.

6 large baking potatoes, scrubbed, patted dry, and poked several times with a fork
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
A cup milk or half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Savory Green Sauce

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish root, or use prepared horseradish
2 cups mixed cooking greens and herbs, such as a combination of fresh spinach, young kale, or mustard greens

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving potato-skin shells. Mash the potato flesh with the butter and milk, and season with the salt and pepper. Refill the shells and, if necessary, return to the oven to keep warm.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Fit a food processor with the metal blade. With the machine running, drop the garlic through the feed tube to mince the garlic. Add the yogurt and horseradish and pulse to combine. Add the greens and process until the greens are puréed. Serve the potatoes hot, with the sauce passed on the side.

From From the Cook's Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden. HarperCollins Publishers. Used by permission.

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060008415; (March 2003)

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