Ripe, by Cheryl S Rule and Paulette Phlipot

Those of you who buy and use cookbooks may already have suspected this, but we cookbook authors are an odd lot. Our passion for food leads us away from the sociable table and the friendly farmers market to the confinement of the testing kitchen and the computer room, where we slave for hours on end, usually alone. Because of this, we need to band together and support each other.

I’m proud to say that I’ve found support and friendship with a whole host of talented cookbook creators, and we keep each other sane. At least, a little saner, in my case. We watch each other bring these labors of love from vague ideas to polished proposals, and eventually, into the light of, all with the happy understanding of just how hard, and how rewarding, the whole process really is.

It is with great expectation that our growing community awaited the first book of Cheryl Sternman Rule and Paulette Phlipot. I met Cheryl, years ago, at a food writers conference, where we were both just starting out. Since then, Cheryl has found her place in the writing world, and in so doing, forged a place where her unique voice and style ring out. Her blog, 5secondrule, is the result, and after years of consistent, wonderful writing, the blog won Best Blog at the International Association of Culinary Professionals awards this year.

Writing like Cheryl’s is rare. Her style is whimsical, funny, and down to Earth. When you read something she has written, you know who wrote it. On any given day, in Cheryl’s world, she might take a flight of fancy and run from house to house, delivering pomegranates out of the sheer joy of it, or imagine replacing all the pencils with asparagus spears, just to see who would laugh. And thanks to her blog, 5secondrule, we can all go along on these lyrical trips, all while looking at lovely photos and collecting great recipes.

If you follow along, you will see that Cheryl is somehow a busy Mom, who makes chunky, luscious cookies and stores them in big antique glass jars, or builds amazing salads that look so good even kids eat them all up. All while making us laugh, which is as nourishing as half an avocado, by my calculations.

So, when Cheryl met Paulette, a talented photographer, and the two of them decided to make a book together, with no compromises of their shared vision, well, the rest of us waited. Like aunts, on pins and needles over the latest baby in the clan, we hovered, we hoped.

And now it’s here. Ripe, A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables (Running Press $25.00) has burst from the presses, and we are just so dang proud. The book is in Cheryl’s voice, her recipes are the kind of simple that it takes real talent to come up with, and the photos are evocative and color saturated. It makes your mouth water, with each turn of the page.

So, to celebrate this genuinely gorgeous, tasty book, I made a few of the recipes. The Green Beans with Smoky Pistachio Dust leapt out at me. Like a souped up version of Gomasio, the dust should be a must have condiment for all vegans and vegetarians-you will devour it on the beans, then want to put it on everything. Seriously.

I also made the super simple Meyer Lemonade with Agave, a tasty and refreshing way to celebrate the nuances of the Meyer.

Lemonade Time!

Ovo-lacto vegetarians will find everything in this book within their pantry limits, while vegans will need to modify some things. Eggs, butter and cheese can be subbed, if you know how to veganize. Or, you may just buy the book for the pictures.

It’s really that pretty.

My photo pales in comparison to Paulettes’s, but YUM!

Green Beans with Smoky Pistachio Dust

1 pound green beans, trimmed

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop the beans in for 2-3 minutes, until desired degree of tenderness is achieved. Drain well.

2. In a food processor, grind the pistachios, paprika, salt and pepper together until the nuts are dust.

3. When the beans are drained, return them to the pan and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with pistachio dust to taste, and save the rest in a jar to put on everything else.

4. Serve the beans hot.