Cooking In Season: 100 Recipes For Eating Fresh
Williams Sonoma/Weldon Owen, 2017
In many parts of the world, eating entirely seasonally is still near impossible to do, but in California, it’s a bit easier than most places. Cookbook author Brigit Binns has created a collection of recipes based on the early California seasons but the rest of us can follow along a month or so behind.
While Cooking In Season is not a vegetarian cookbook, it does make vegetables and fruits the star of every dish as it moves through the peas and asparagus of spring to the stone fruits and tomatoes of summer to the root vegetables of late fall.
Most recipes come with an accompanying photo by photographer Ray Kachatorian, and these are sharp, nicely-styled and lit, and show the dishes at their most appetizing.
I particularly like the spreads of seasonal variations on a theme — A Galette for Every Season demonstrates galettes featuring strawberry and mint for spring, stone fruit for summer, pears for autumn, and citrus for winter. A similar spread with toasts each start with a base of toasted bread and cheese and then adds peas, tomatoes, mushrooms or pomegranate based on the season.
Recipe pages are nicely laid-out with a clear ingredients list and directions. I do wish the font was slightly larger, but that’s a complaint I have with most cookbooks. The dishes have varied influences from Asian (Seared Miso-Glazed Scallops with Snow Peas and Green Garlic, Thai Beef Salad with Cucumber Chili and Greens) to Italian (Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Wild Mushrooms) to South American (Soft Tacos with Pumpkin, Black Beans and Avocado).
This is a nice collection in general and especially for anyone trying to eat seasonally and locally, even if the seasons in your own area don’t line up with those in Southern California.