"I thought my vegetable book would be more meat-centric," says bicoastal chef April Bloomfield of her upcoming A Girl and Her Greens. The cookbook is her second, and a follow-up to her acclaimed 2012 debut book A Girl and Her Pig. And to Bloomfield's reckoning, there are only a handful of recipes in the book that use bacon or ground pork, and another few that use anchovy, cream, or cheese.
Bloomfield — famous for her meaty fare at the Spotted Pig and the Breslin in New York City, plus her work at the John Dory in New York and the more recently-opened Tosca Cafe in San Francisco — has long had vegetables on her mind (and menus). Back in 2012, she told Eater she was thinking of doing a vegetable-focused cookbook, and now she says that the choice to focus on greens was really a way to "do something different and show a different side of myself."
Bloomfield tells Eater that she wanted her two cookbooks to "go hand in hand." Like her first book, A Girl and Her Greens is co-written with JJ Goode, and features photography by David Loftus and illustrations by Sun Young Park. As she did in A Girl and Her Pig, Bloomfield weaves together recipes from her various restaurants and her home kitchen, each providing a story, lesson, or insight to the reader — regardless of their skill level. Even though she says she "always" kept the home cook in mind while developing recipes for the cookbook, there are "more challenging recipes in there which will excite the professional cook."
"I wanted to show how easy and approachable it is to cook vegetables."
Bloomfield is also not shy about her educational goals for the book. "I wanted to show how easy and approachable it is to cook vegetables," she says. "If you don't like vegetables, I think this is a good book to start with." She also wants to embolden her reader to "not to be fearful" of cooking without meat: In the book she gives advice and strategies for vegetable shopping, hopefully inspiring her reader to "not to be fearful of the market, because it can be a daunting place."
While Bloomfield certainly seems at ease in the home kitchen-oriented cookbook world, she does have ideas for eventually writing a restaurant-focused book. "We had thought about doing [a Spotted Pig book] at our 10-year anniversary but that didn't really come into fruition," she explains. "I would still like to do that book... the Pig is pretty special in peoples' hearts. Maybe that will be my next book, we will see. Maybe Tosca — there is a lot of history, not just from us being at Tosca for some time, but [when you consider] the previous tenants. It has a lot of history." For now though, Bloomfield is just eager to have her latest book hit the shelves. "Hopefully, people appreciate it and fall in love with it."
A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals From the Garden will be released by Ecco on April 21 (pre-order on Amazon). Here now is an exclusive look inside:
Eater Video: April Bloomfield's epic vegetable meals for any occasion