[grooveshark width=”250″ height=”40″ id=”30568784″ style=”metal”]
Musical pairing – The Name Game by Shirley Ellis

We met in a somewhat unorthodox way. Cheryl was a panelist at a conference and I happen to sit in on her session about writing; funny, smart and articulate, I was an instant fan. Later in the day, we found ourselves sitting together at a table listening to a different group of panelists . . . actually, we were trying to listen to what was being said . . . but apparently, the two attendees also sitting at our table felt the conversation they were having was more important.

I was annoyed. Cheryl was annoyed. The constant conversation was incredibly distracting and I kept glancing back at them hoping they’d get the hint. They didn’t. Cheryl glanced too. Still nothing. Finally, Cheryl politely suggested that they might have their conversation out in the hall. It worked; talking stopped. As I said, I’m a fan.

When I learned Cheryl was writing a book I did a back-flip . . . and then I did a cartwheel . . . and then I did a somersault . . . in my head. And when Ripe was available for pre-order, I pre-ordered. When the book arrived, I did a back-flip . . . a cartwheel . . . and a somersault . . . in my head. But I did actually take an Instagram photo.

The book is gorgeous – really, really gorgeous. Filled with simple, luscious and vibrant vegetarian recipes, Ripe is as much fun to read as it is to cook from. Cheryl’s wit and personality shine – as do the fruits or vegetables used in each recipe. Ripe is beautifully arranged by color which means that you’ll find rhubarb, tomatoes, pomegranates and cherries in the ‘red’ section; peas, kiwi, avocado and beans are in the ‘green’ section and so on. And the photography by the incredibly talented Paulette Phlipot is nothing less than stunning – page after page of beautiful fruits and vegetables make you want to head to your favorite market and pick up whatever is fresh that day, come home and make a recipe from Ripe – not even kidding.

The Professor and I have had fun making several of the recipes and every single one has been a keeper; in fact, Ripe has remained open on my kitchen counter since the day it arrived – pinky swear. Broccoli soup with Cheddar Croutons, Rhubarb Cherry Mini Crisps, Polenta-Stuffed Chard with Bubbly Parmesan and Tarragon-Lime Green Tea (who knew tarragon was the perfect paring for iced tea?). This Red Curry Glazed Butternut Squash with Coconut Rice was the first recipe we made from the book – when I snapped a quick photo and posted to Instagram, people were asking for the recipe immediately – so, so good!

Ridiculously easy, there’s no need to even peel the squash – simply wash the outside skin, trim off the stem, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cut each half into halves again (you’ll end up with 4 quarters), olive oil, salt, pepper and roast for a total of 30 minutes, brush with a blended Thai Curry paste and broil – that’s it. ‘Not too spicy, not too sweet, juuust right,’ says Red Riding Hood (I’m aware I’ve mixed up my Aesop’s Fables . . . but I’m a redhead . . . so creative liberty and all that jazz). Adding the garnishes really puts this one over the top – we’ve made this dish three times now and have loved it every time. In fact, I’m adding it to my Thanksgiving table this year – acorn squash, sweet potatoes or even carrots all have similar flavor components and will work well with these spices.

I purchased a second copy of Ripe to giveaway to one of our Smith Bites readers – just leave me a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered; ‘like’ Smith Bites on facebook for an extra entry. A winner will be randomly chosen next Thursday, May 24 at noon EDT and notified via email; you have 3 days to respond or another will chosen. And please be sure you leave your contact information on the form – just don’t leave it in your actual comment for privacy reasons.

Good Luck!


  1. Hi,
    I found your site through Gluten Free Girl’s, and I’m happy I did. Right now, I want to make _your_ roasted rhubarb, but I’m very glad to have another vegetarian cookbook to look for–unless I get lucky!

  2. Oh my word … totally want this for breakfast now. The book sounds fantastic!

  3. Oh my goodness, that looks outstanding. I’m going to have to get that recipe book. What a very clever idea.

  4. This recipe ROCKS! WOW I hope I win this book for FRI-ZEEE!!!! (freeee; hehehehe)
    Good luck everyone else!

  5. I just adore Cheryl and am getting a copy of this book for review…now anticipate it even more! I am not a vegetarian but can go days without a meat dish…books like this are why; this dish sounds completely amazing Deb.

  6. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this cookbook; and this recipe sounds delicious!

  7. So funny! As I’m reading this post, I’m thinking… gosh, I need this book. And then you announce that you’re giving a copy away. I have heard so many wonderful things about it… I know I’ll just love it.

  8. I liked on FB

  9. Ohhhh looks yummy! I love Squash!

  10. I love that whenever I randomly head over to your site it’s always some delicious looking vegetarian recipe! (We’re vegetarians-so always looking for ideas)

  11. What a great recipe, simple yet full of flavor. Those recipes are always the best and the ones we return to make again.

  12. I like on FB

  13. that red curry butternut squash sounds really good, we are trying to find new ways to have meatless main dishes

  14. This book looks most awesome!

  15. I like you on facebook. πŸ™‚

  16. Yum! Coconut rice is the best!

  17. this book looks interesting.

  18. Mm! That squash looks delicious! And the book sounds like it’s right up my alley.

  19. Wow, Deb, I can see why you’re a fan of the book. All the recipes you mentioned sound delicious!

  20. I “like” Smith Bites on fb.

  21. This looks like the sort of cookbook I need to get back into cooking from the farmer’s market!