New cookbook all about produce

Move over, meat.

A new cookbook is all about vegetables (and fruits, too!).

“Power Vegetables!” ($35; out Oct. 18) comes courtesy of the folks at food mag Lucky Peach and features “turbocharged” recipes with flavorful takes on produce, from starters to dessert, including contributions from editor David Chang, as well as Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food) and more.

The book doesn’t just feature vegetables, either.

“One of the funny parts of making the book was realizing we needed to declare ‘fruits are vegetables’ or else the whole thing would’ve been potatoes and cauliflower,” Lucky Peach editorial director and cofounder Peter Meehan said.

A fruit in particular that’s perfect for fall is squash.

“You can cut just about any old squash into wedges or chunks, oil and salt them well, and roast them hard, at 400 degrees or so, and in 20 to 30 minutes have a delicious side dish,” Meehan said. “We’ve got a few more amped up options in the book, my cold weather favorite being a Sichuan squash stew I stole from Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food.”

Here’s the recipe for the stew.

Sichuan squash stew (4 servings)

1⁄4 cup dried adzuki beans

Kosher salt

1 lb. kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch wedges

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 dried shiitake mushroom

1 tsp. chopped garlic

2 tbsp. sambal oelek, plus more for garnish

Fish sauce (optional)

8 oz. watercress cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

Combine the adzuki beans with enough water to cover by 3 inches in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Add 1 tsp. salt to the water and let the beans cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the squash with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and arrange in a roasting pan. Roast the squash until tender and a little caramelized, about 1 hour. Let cool, then remove the skin. Cut half of the wedges into bite-size chunks. Puree the remaining squash with 1⁄2 cup of water.

Buzz the shiitake in a spice grinder to make mushroom powder. Reserve. (If you’re not inclined to blitz a dried mushroom to make a soup, throw a few dried shiitakes in with the 3 cups of water you’ll be adding in the next step and boil up a rich-tasting/smelling mushroom broth. Why not throw a piece of kombu in there too if you have it?)

Drain the adzuki beans and pat dry. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and when the wok emits a wisp of smoke, add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil. The oil should immediately ripple. Add the garlic, adzuki beans and mushroom powder. Add 3 cups of water, the sambal and squash puree. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Fold the squash chunks into the stew and simmer 1 minute to warm through. Season with salt and a few dashes of fish sauce, if desired. Add the watercress and remove from the heat.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and additional sambal, if desired.


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