Asparagus or Snap Peas—or Both?

When that first warm day in spring arrives and everyone's thoughts go to grilling and spending time at the lake, I am always thinking about the farmers market! I can't wait for all of those beautiful fruits and vegetables to start popping up at the local markets.

This year I have been preparing by reading the most wonderful cookbooks filled with tasty and inventive ways to prepare all the great foodstuffs that the farmers are growing. Here are a couple of titles I have found particularly special.

The Green City Market Cookbook is a collection of recipes provided by Chicago chefs and locals who frequent the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Be sure not to miss the Fresh Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas and Asparagus on page 29. It is scrumptious!

Deborah Madison has compiled an excellent collection of recipes in Local Flavors, which she has grouped loosely into food items you would find at your market at particular times of the season. It's evident that she spends a great deal of time talking to farmers at markets nationwide, which makes this book a valuable resource for your own market visits.

This post wouldn't be complete without an Alice Waters cookbook. Chez Panisse Vegetables is filled with simple recipes that make the most of that just-pulled-from-the-ground freshness you get in vegetables from the farmers market.

So if you are walking through the farmers market and see a woman with a bright green bag stuffed to overflowing with fruits and veggies, stop and chat with me about your favorite recipes that use goodies found at the market.

Hungry for more? Check out more cookbooks to help you use those fruits and veggies.

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