Looking for some delicious, colorful summer reading? If you’re the type of person who goes from the beach to the farmers’ market, two books that recently came across our desks will provide plenty of menu options for all the seasonal produce now in stores.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce and The Great Pepper Cookbook are both produced by Melissa’s, the largest distributor of specialty fruits and vegetables in the United States. The Melissa’s Great Book of Produce seeks to demystify the dizzying array of produce available at many markets. A compendium of fruits and vegetables, Melissa’s Great Book of Produce is less of a cookbook–although it contains 100 creative, colorful recipes–and more of a definitive guide to a wide range of seasonal and exotic produce, a user’s manual for how to select, store and prepare everything from alligator pears to zapote.
The book unlocks the mystery of how to pick a ripe pineapple, how to slice a mango, or what to do with the bizarre-looking fruits like buddha’s hand or jack fruit. And while some of the focus is on rare and exotic produce like cardoni, jicama and malanga, Melissa’s Great Book of Produce also provides essential information for everyday items, introducing the reader to 12 varieties of mushrooms, how to make a colorful “Red, White & Blue Potato Salad,” and buying and storing summer squash. So the next time you’re in a store and see something you don’t recognize, there’s one thing to do: buy it, look it up in Melissa’s Great Book of Produce, and enjoy.
Want to add some heat to your Meatless Monday? The Great Book of Peppers is an introduction to the “fiery, flavorful world of peppers.” From mild to wicked, from Southwestern to Asian, this heat-forward cookbook offers 140 recipes that will introduce readers to all varieties of peppers, both fresh and dried, plenty of colorful photos and useful seasonality information. Want to see how high you can go on the Scoville chart? Here, there are plenty of flavorful vegetarian Meatless Monday recipes, and for the omnivores looking for something for the rest of the week, plenty of pepper-centric meat dishes.