This is an honest review of RICARDO’s NEW Cookbook VEGETABLES FIRST, with 120 vibrant vegetable forward recipes. All photography in this post of the book & recipe Green pea crêpes and warm green vegetable salad (from the Ricardo’s book) by @juliarecipes
I have been extremely honoured, when I have received a review copy of Ricardo’s newest cookbook Ricardo Vegetables First 120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes from Appetite by Penguin Random House, which was released on April 23r, 2019. I can’t thank you enough Appetite by Penguin Random House 🙂 I am so excited to have this amazing opportunity to review this Ricardo Larrivee’s new cookbook Ricardo Vegetables First 120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes. I am going to tell you what I like about this book and what recipes you can find in this cookbook, as well as I will share with you one of my favourite recipe from this new cookbook and that recipe will be Green Pea Crêpes with Warm Green Vegetable Salad.
When I first received this cookbook, I have instantly fallen in love with. When I was reading the first pages of this cookbook, where Ricardo explains where his original idea of writing this cookbook comes from “family roots of vegetable gardening”, it pleased me right away and brought some beautiful memories to the back of my mind. Because I am a big fan of vegetable gardening and as I have grown up in a family, where my grandmother had a huge vegetable garden and my parents as well cultivated their own vegetable garden, it was obvious, that I am gonna love this cookbook.
Ricardo Larrivee is a celebrity chef who became a household name as a Food Network star. Named a member of the Order of Canada for advocating the importance of cooking and eating together. And here is, where I so agree with Ricardo, and also I am trying to advocate the same goal, that cooking with fresh ingredients and sharing meal together is so important for family bonding, communication, nutrition, health, social, and mental benefit.
Ricardo Larrivee’s new cook book comes in colourful hardcover and offers 120 vibrant vegetable-forward & easy to prepare recipes. This isn’t a vegetarian cookbook. It’s about vegetables playing the main and leading role in our daily cooking. You will find meat and seafood, recipes calling for chicken stock or bacon garnish.
These 120 original, bright and easy-to-make-recipes are all triple tested by Ricardo’s team. Recipes aren’t presented according to courses, themes, chapters or types of vegetables. Instead, they go from simple to more complex recipes. As the first half of the recipes looks super simple, I would suggest this cookbook even for the beginners in the kitchen. By the time you will get into the more complex recipes, you will be a pro 😉 I personally find, that all steps are clearly explained, and it was easy for me to follow the recipe step by step.
The vegetable first cookbook contains recipes from simple weeknight vegetable meals to dishes ideal for entertaining, such as appetizers, soups, salads, sides, brunches, drinks, breakfasts, etc. All recipes contain one main ingredient, and it’s vegetable:-) This cookbook cover a wide range of vegetables, some are easy to love at first bite, while others can be more challenging, depending on your taste, and cultural references.
This vegetable first cookbook is very colourful, plenty of beautiful and eye-catching photos, photographed in harmony with natural setting. The texture is perfect, colours are so vibrant, that just looking at the pictures, you can seriously taste these flavourful dishes 🙂 Ricardo’s team has done an excellent job on photography in this beautiful vegetable first cookbook.
As I mentioned before (and I want to go back to this) the vegetable first cookbook starts with simple recipes and gradually grows into more complex and detailed recipes. Which is an excellent idea, you know when you open in the middle, you will find recipes requiring more ingredients or more time to cook. Then on the other hand, if you open at the beginning of the cookbook, you will find easy appetizers, sauce, dips or salads.
There is no table of content or chapters in this cookbook. Which I found personally a little inconvenient, because we are so used to of looking for recipes by the alphabetical order. But it has two detailed indexes: “INDEX BY VEGETABLES” and INDEX BY TYPE OF RECIPE” where you can look for and idea recipe by vegetable or by the type of recipe, for example; Drinks & Cocktails, Brunch, Soups, Condiments & sauces, etc.
On the other hand, this vegetable first cookbook has nice 19 introduction pages, which represents the following recipes or the theme. For example:
- DIPPING IN – A NEW SPIN ON THE VEGGIE PLATTER; An eye-catching assortment of vegetables (Hello, Fennel, Rainbow carrots, red endives). Dips reinvented with international seasoning and alternative bases. The update crudités platter feels 100% fresh and new.
- FLAT OUT EASY – IN PRAISE OF THE SHEET PAN; Among cooking tools, the sheet pan takes the prize for practicality. When carrots or Brussels sprouts are roasted and gently caramelized in the oven, it’s like discovering them all over again.
- SALAD TOSS-UP -SO MANY WINNING COMBINATIONS; Creating a stunning salad is a simple equation: Take a roasted or fresh vegetable, add a bed of lettuce, a source of protein and vinaigrette or seasoned mayo, and there you go……!
- Green Pea Crêpes with Warm Green Vegetable Salad (page 180) see the recipe below. Warm green peas crêpes covered with spread of green peas, served with delicious warm salad made from asparagus, arugula, edamame beans. I added a little touch up to this recipe and I topped them with extra junks of feta cheese.
- Butternut squash gnocchi with sage brown butter (page 192) this flavourful butternut squash gnocchi is a delight, covered in sage brown butter sauce and served with cheese shavings.
- Ratatouille tin (page 194) one of the French classics and amazing harvest season dish.
- Cauliflower purée with scallops and roasted root vegetables (page 206) as I love seafood enormously, and lately we cook very often with cauliflower, this combo of cauliflower purée and seared scallops is a joy on my palette.
BONUS RECIPE kindly provided within the cookbook by Appetite by Random House® & by Ricardo Larrivée. Copyright © 2019 Ricardo Media.
(Recipe from cookbook Ricardo Vegetables First 120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes Page 180)
Preparation time: 25 minutes ⭐ cooking time: 45 minutes servings: 4
GREEN PEAS PURÉE
- 2 cups (300 g) frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (150 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) milk
- Melted butter, for cooking
WARM GREEN VEGETABLE SALAD
- 1/2 lb (225 g) thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1shallot, sliced
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (145 g) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
- 1garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp (5 ml) honey
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
- 6 cups (140 g) arugula
Green peas purée
- In a blender or food processor, purée all the ingredients until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, combine half of the pea purée with the eggs. Add the flour and 1/2 cup(125 ml) of the milk. Whisk together until the batter is smooth. Add the remaining milk gradually, whisking all the while.
- Heat a non-stick skillet about 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, brush it with melted butter. For each crêpe, pour about 3 tbsp (45 ml) of batter into the centre of the skillet. Tilt the skillet to evenly distribute the batter. When the edges begin to colour, flip the crêpe over using a spatula. Continue cooking for 30 seconds until lightly coloured and then remove from the skillet.
- Transfer the crêpes to a baking sheet in an oven set at 200ºF (95ºC) while you cook the remaining crêpes.
Warm green vegetable salad
- In a large skillet over medium heat, soften the asparagus and shallot in 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the oil for 3 minutes. Add the edamame, garlic, and honey. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Add the arugula and the remaining oil just before serving. Spread the remaining pea purée on the crêpes and top with the vegetable salad.
- Fold the crêpes in half and serve. As an option, you can top the crêpes with crumbled feta cheese.
- The crêpes are also delicious with a slice of ham, cheese, and a fried egg.
Acknowledgement: Excerpted from Vegetables First: 120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes by Ricardo Larrivée. Copyright © 2019 Ricardo Media. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.