Edible Landscaping

Charlie says… Check out my new book on Italian Vegetables

Italian vegetables are part of my heritage. Learn about growing some classic Italian veggies and try some of these easy recipes in this new book.

I guess it's okay to blow my own horn every once in a while. Last winter I contributed gardening information to a new cookbook on Italian vegetables. Well, the book will be out soon. Vegetables from an Italian Garden (Phaidon Press, 2011) features hundreds of recipes using traditional Italian vegetables. The recipes are organized by season so it's easy to find a lunch or dinner recipe that uses what's fresh in your garden.

Vegetables from an Italian Garden is more than a cookbook. I wrote an introduction for each seasonal section and included basic gardening information for 40 popular Italian vegetables. These vegetables ranged from the ubiquitous tomato, courgettes (zucchini), and aubergine (eggplant) to the obscure cardoon and scorzonera. For some, I wrote more about how to purchase them in markets and cook with them because avocados, truffles, and chestnuts, are not crops that gardeners commonly grow.

I particularly liked writing and editing this book because of my Italian heritage. I remember my grandmother and other relatives coming back to the farm with baskets filled with wild dandelion greens and mushrooms collected in the fields and forest. This cookbook features many traditional recipes and ingredients, but also suggests using some unusual ingredients such as nettles and wild chicory. I also love the simplicity of the recipes. Many have only a handful of ingredients and are easy and quick to cook. This is the best way to enjoy vegetables, allowing you to really appreciate all their flavors. Vegetables from an Italian Garden will be available on-line and in bookstores in a few weeks.

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