Discover more from To Vegetables, With Love
Inside Tenderheart...a story.
And the launch of the US PRE-ORDER BONUS!
Today is exciting, with a big, news-loaded newsletter. As always, thanks for reading.
Not only am I sharing a little story (both written and audio!) about why I wrote Tenderheart and a sneak peek recipe from the book, but I’m also announcing our pre-order bonus incentive for the US edition. It’s a good one too. Read on.
The Tenderheart US pre-order bonus is here!
For everyone that has pre-ordered the North American edition of Tenderheart, you’ll receive a PDF ebook featuring 3 mini chapters and 13 new recipes. This offer applies to everyone who has already pre-ordered Tenderheart and to all preorders until 5/15/23. Make sure you pre-order and fill in your form below to claim your free ebook.
TO CLAIM YOUR PRE-ORDER BONUS, FILL OUT THIS FORM
This ebook gave me the chance to feature two vegetables that I love, but which did not get their own chapters in Tenderheart - corn and green beans. To be honest, I’m not really sure how this happened, but Tenderheart is over 500 pages, and I had to stop somewhere - though there are green bean and corn featured in other chapters in the book. But now, with this cute ebook that my lovely publishers at Knopf Cooks produced, I am able to share mini chapters on corn, green beans plus 'winter-ish recipes’ which you can cook right now!
Note: If you already pre-ordered the book or you purchased a copy bundled with a book tour ticket, you are still eligible to receive the bonus recipes.
I was chatting with the lovely Jennifer recently on Instagram DM and she asked for advice on whether to purchase my book now or wait until after it is released (she was waiting because she wanted to get a signed copy, and was waiting to see if I would visit her city on my tour - details of that coming soon!). I explained to her why pre-orders are so important to authors and she encouraged me to share this story with everyone here. Thank you for your generosity Jennifer, I appreciate your encouragement and here, I will share the reasons for pre-ordering again, just as I shared with Jennifer over DM:
- Over the years, pre-orders have become more and more important for book launches. Supply chain issues are still real and preorders will help my publishers and bookstores understand demand and how many copies are needed to ensure that there are no shortages on release. Many of you will remember the frustrations around the release of To Asia, With Love. It was sold out by day 3 of release, and then was out of stock for 3 months. In the first 12 months of release, To Asia, With Love was out of stock for 6 months of that year. It was incredibly frustrating and really affected access to this book and it’s overall success. I am confident we will not run into these problems this time around but pre-orders do make the process more seamless for publishers and booksellers.
- Pre-orders will help my book get a strong start on release, which is critical in its overall success. Strong preorders will signal to bookstores that people want this book and hence, they will keep more copies in stock. My community is incredibly loyal and what I love is that you are all here because you all truly love food, cooking and storytelling. That makes this community incredibly special and powerful. Let’s show the world the power of veggies and community!
- Preorders are the best way of ensuring that you will get your copy on launch day or soon after, and that you can get cooking as soon as possible.
- plus, you will receive exclusive bonus content!!!!!!
And a note for those who want signed copies - I will be announcing tour dates soon and if I come to your city, I’d be very happy to sign your pre-ordered copy.
Where to pre-order?
This is another popular question. The answer is ANYWHERE! Support your local indie booksellers, if you can. They are the heart of communities all over the world so if you are fortunate enough to have a bookstore in your local area, ask them to order Tenderheart. Many indies are running pre-order sales now including Now Serving LA (with signed bookplate), Book Larder, Books are Magic, Omnivore Books (SF), Bold Fork Books and more. Otherwise, pre-order here.
For Canadian friends, click this link, and for UK, here. For those in other parts of the world where stockists are less clear, Amazon USA should send to everywhere, except Australia and NZ, of course.
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I wanted to share a little story about Tenderheart…
(read it or you can listen to me tell it in this audio link)
I’ve always loved stories. Storytelling is one of the main reasons I love food writing. Food is the lens which allows me to make sense of the world around me, brings order to my lived experiences, and gives me the channel to connect with others over shared histories.
Tenderheart delivers an inventive, flavor-walloping collection of vegetable recipes. But there is another story in Tenderheart that you will discover between the covers.
And that is my vegetable-origin story. That story is centered around my father. My father worked at the produce markets - he was a banana monger, in fact - so I grew up surrounded by crates and boxes of fresh vegetables and fruits which he brought home from work. Our diet was abundant, excessively so. We ate very well, gorging upon the freshest and most seasonal produce all year round. But one day, that stopped. I lost my father on the last day of 1989. I was 15 and my life was forever changed. A few years later, I became vegetarian but my love of vegetables preceded this change in diet. Vegetables feel like they are part of my soul, and I really didn’t understand why or how until I started writing Tenderheart. In creating this book, I gave myself permission to remember my father, and, if I’m being honest, to really think about his life and his legacy for the first time, and while that was very painful at times, this manifested in this JOYOUS collection of vegetable recipes.
So yes, Tenderheart is, on the surface, a collection of 180+ vegetable recipes. But the ‘unbreakfable family bonds’ is the heart of the book, the inspiration behind these vibrant, delicious recipes. It’s a huge responsibility to attempt to honor a lost soul in recipes, but I tried to do this by bringing joy and life to every single dish. I think you will notice this as soon as you cook a recipe from this book.
And if you are wondering about the name of the book, Tenderheart refers to my dad, a gentle man with soft heart, generous spirit and a big voice. But it also refers to vegetables, and the thought and care with which they should be handled in our everyday lives.
Thank you for letting me share this story…
A recipe from Tenderheart
Today, I’m delighted to be sharing one of my most-cooked recipes from Tenderheart. My family loves raw fennel and combined with the hearty gnocchi, it’s a sure winner. And don’t throw away those fennel fronds, use them to make pesto. And of course, if your fennel has no fronds, replace the fronds with carrot or radish tops, your herb of choice or just use a store-bought pesto.
The recipes below are excerpts from Tenderheart, A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds, published by Knopf Cooks 2023 and Plum Books 2022.
Fennel and Gnocchi Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto
Here is a lovely double fennel salad, a wonderful way to show how we can create an entire meal around one vegetable: crunchy shaved raw fennel is slathered in fennel frond pesto and tossed with crispy morsels of pan-fried gnocchi. This salad shows how anise flavors can be layered without overthrowing the other ingredients or dominating the overall dish. This is an adaptable recipe, too—add some roasted broccoli or cauliflower, incorporate a leafy green, such as baby spinach or watercress, or substitute a filled pasta like tortellini or ravioli for the gnocchi. You could also use a short pasta shape in place of the gnocchi. You can use either vacuum-sealed or frozen gnocchi—if using frozen, don’t thaw it first! I like to use baby fennel in this salad because they are sweeter and more tender, but regular fennel works just fine.
extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound 10 ounces (750 g) gnocchi
sea salt and black pepper
2 baby fennel bulbs (about 13 oz/375 g) or 1 regular fennel bulb (about 12 oz/350 g), finely sliced
3⁄4–1 cup Fennel Frond Pesto (recipe below)
handful of grated parmesan,
pecorino or cheddar
For gluten-free • use gluten-free gnocchi
Veganize • use vegan cheese
Substitute • gnocchi: boiled or roasted potatoes • parmesan, pecorino or cheddar: nutritional yeast
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, drizzle in 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the gnocchi and season with a pinch of sea salt. Pan-fry for 3–4 minutes, tossing the gnocchi often, until golden on both sides.
Transfer the gnocchi to a large serving plate, add the fennel and fennel frond pesto and toss until well coated. Serve with a handful of grated cheese on top.
Fennel Frond Pesto
Billowing, feathery fennel fronds can be transformed into a delicious pesto, with a mellow anise flavor that does not overpower. The first time I tried fennel frond pesto was during quarantine, when fresh vegetables became a precious commodity and using the whole vegetable was a necessity. During the first lockdown of 2020, my friend Lisa Marie Corso sent me her recipe for fennel frond pesto, and it was incredibly eye-opening—a vibrantly green, grassy sauce that didn’t taste distinctly of fennel, much smoother than other “vegetable top” pesto mixes. I’ve been experimenting with different versions of fennel frond pesto ever since, sometimes with other herbs or leaves added, often without cheese, or with different nuts and seeds.
This is my favorite recipe, incorporating toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a mild nuttiness and gentle sweetness. Serve with pasta, roasted vegetables, on grain bowls or as a salad dressing.
MAKES 1 1⁄2 CUPS
about 21⁄2 cups (150 g) fennel fronds
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup (240 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 3⁄4 ounces (50 g) hard cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan or pecorino, finely grated
Veganize • replace the hard cheese with 2–3 tablespoons of nutritionalyeast or 1–2 tablespoons of miso
Substitute • pumpkin seeds: walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds
Place the fennel fronds, garlic and pumpkin seeds in a blender and pulse a few times to chop everything up. Add about 1 teaspoon of sea salt, along with the olive oil, and blitz until you have a coarse paste.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste and add more sea salt, if needed.
Storage: This pesto will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze in a container or resealable bag for up to 3 months.