When most people travel and vacation, food markets are not high on the list of things to see. But whenever Robert Budwig takes a trip, the first chance he gets, it's off to the local market.
Mr. Budwig, a graphic designer and illustrator, says he is easily seduced by mounds of sun-ripened tomatoes, elegant long artichokes or some hitherto unseen fruit.
Throughout his years of travel, Mr. Budwig has sketched the various markets he visited and he has collected recipes as well. He has put both elements together in "The Vegetable Market Cookbook" (Ten Speed Press, $24.95).
His passion for markets and food began innocently. He would sit in a market with paper and paints, he says, and try to capture some of what he saw until lunch time. Then he would buy some good ripe tomatoes and a fresh loaf of bread and enjoy a hearty snack overlooking the market scene.
Eventually, he began accumulating recipes.
"Many of [the recipes] I gathered from market people, friends, professional and amateur cooks. Some of these vegetable dishes are quick and easy to do, others are more elaborate."
Mr. Budwig is not new to cookbooks. He has illustrated several successful ones, including the best-seller "The Top 100 Pasta Sauces." His experience with food and cooking is evident in "The Vegetable Market Cookbook," as the recipes are easy to follow and result in some excellent dishes.
The book covers the markets of Italy, France, Morocco, Thailand, India, Mexico, Guatemala and California. The resulting dishes, most vegetarian, are an international collection of soups, appetizers, main courses and salads.
Here are two recipes from the book.
14 ounces pitted black olives
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon capers, drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
basil leaves or lemon slices (for the garnish)
Put the olives, garlic, anchovies and capers in a blender or food processor with half the lemon juice and blend at high speed for 30 seconds, then start adding the olive oil in a thin stream and continue blending until you have a smooth paste. You may have to scrape the mixture down, using a rubber spatula. Add the salt and a generous grinding of pepper and the remaining lemon juice to taste.
Spoon into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve with toasted bread and garnish, or use as an unusual filling for baked potato.
1 pound carrots
1 clove garlic
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Peel the carrots and boil them whole in water with the garlic for about 7 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, discard the garlic and cut the carrots into 1/4 -inch-thick slices. Mix together the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, to make a dressing and pour over carrots.
Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap. Garnish with the parsley and serve.