03 29 2015.

the csa cookbook | a review

Hey readers! It’s been a while. I’m knee-deep in training right now, which I’ll talk about in a post soon, but for today I have a really exciting treat for you all.

I love cookbooks. I’m a cookbook hoarder/collector/connoisseur/hobbyist – if you will. When Linda Ly – the talent behind Garden Betty reached out to me to review her brand new cookbook (The CSA Cookbook) of course I accepted. As a regular reader of her blog, I had been anxiously awaiting her book release for a few months now. I am so honored to have an opportunity to write this review!

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As a graphic designer, I’m compelled to talk about the design – after all, who isn’t immediately drawn to a well-designed book? At first glance, the cover design is incredibly catchy – something that I would definitely hone in on at the bookstore. I especially love the spine design with its white and lime lettering reading prominently against the bold red background. The book is enriched with colorful, contrasty photographs – many of which fill entire pages. Let’s take a moment to celebrate because every single recipe has a photo! Some recipes, which have more involved processes, include step-by-step photos as well.

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I strongly encourage anyone who is lucky enough to hold this book to read it. I don’t mean absent-mindedly skimming the photos and glancing at the recipe names. There is some really valuable material in the content before the recipes. There is so much to learn from this book. Linda has filled those first 30+ pages with vegetable-storage tips, recipe basics, pantry staples and a list of helpful kitchen tools.

Many of my friends didn’t even know you could eat radish greens, let alone carrot greens. It seemed like half the vegetables you purchased went straight to the trash or, at best, made for some rather expensive compost.

Linda Ly, The CSA Cookbook

The CSA Cookbook is unlike many other cookbooks in circulation right now. The recipes are all unique in that they glorify, for the most part, using the whole plant. I didn’t even know that you could eat tomato leaves and broccoli leaves! I’m especially excited about a recipe that makes use of those tough kale stems.

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There are some fantastic recipes in this book and some really creative ways to use even the most common of vegetables. The best part: none of the ingredient lists are extensive. I found that I had most of the ingredients in my pantry that were listed in the book! Sometimes the careful curation of ingredients in a cookbook is what ends up making it the most useful book on the shelf.

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Another aspect that I picked up while reading is that there’s a lot of give with many of the recipes. Linda includes tables of ingredients in the front that work well together. For example – and I’m really excited about this one – she’s got a mix-and-match-style pesto recipe. Pick your ingredients from the table, blend, and eat.

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A few days ago I had picked up some beautiful portobello mushrooms in preparation for dinner tonight. When I saw that basic pesto recipe, I decided that I had to try it out as a portobello burger topping. I didn’t have basil – and that’s okay. In fact, the whole point of her pesto table is that you’re encouraged to use other vegetables and greens to pull together a delicious condiment.

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Using The CSA Cookbook as a guide, I pulled out some cilantro, spinach, walnuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil. Not your classic pesto by any means! Pulsing for a few seconds in the food processor, I had created a delicious spread for those portobello burgers. I love that Linda’s book encourages you to contribute some of your own creativity in the kitchen.

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A few words about the style of recipes. The recipes are definitely plant-centric. It’s not 100% vegetarian: there are a few that include meats. For those of you who love your meat, there are a handful of recipes that will appeal to your tastes – but I don’t think you’ll miss the meat all that much. For those of you who are vegetarian – you can always forego adding the meat. The real star of these recipes are the vegetables anyways!

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Interested in picking up your own copy? Check out The CSA Cookbook‘s page for everything you need to know! (Plus some interior shots of the book!)

I was given a copy of The CSA Cookbook in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, and I think this book rocks!


3 Comments

  1. I am so excited about this cookbook! I have always suspected that there are more edible things in my CSA boxes than I’m aware of, but unless I find an odd recipe somewhere (I did find a recipe for pesto using carrot greens once!), I have no idea what to do with certain parts of veggies. And I always seem to gravitate toward CSAs that send unusual vegetables, but then I don’t know how to cook them… I can’t wait to get a copy for my kitchen!

    • Kelsey @ Spice & Dice

      My first CSA arrives in two months and I’m finding myself hoping that they’ll put a lot of those unusual veggies in it! I’d love to experiment – and possibly find a new favorite vegetable!?

      Thanks so much for your comment! I think you’ll find the book really helpful!

  2. Kelsey, thank you for this great review and your lovely photos! (I’m a big fan of pesto on burgers too!) Enjoy it as the weather warms up and the CSA boxes start to arrive. :-)

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