Spring makes us think of all things green and grown, and that includes lots of vegetables making their way from our garden to our plate.Deborah Madison's stunning new Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, $40) sheds more knowledge on 12 families from the edible plant kingdom than you may have ever imagined.Madison, considered an expert on vegetarian cooking, offers more than 300 recipes and explains how the components of the dishes can complement each other.But if you're a gardener or plant enthusiast, you'll want to keep it on the shelf for more than just the recipes. It offers a wealth of horticultural, historical and botanical information, including tips for buying and growing. (On the current kale craze, she writes: "Why didn't we see kale when we were growing up? It's not as if it's a new plant; in fact, it's been around for a very long time. My guess is that when the farmers' market movements got going, farmers needed a reliable vegetable, one that would grow easily month after month, and kale was their answer.")Here are Madison's mouth-watering recipes for summer squash tartines with rosemary and lemon; cauliflower with saffron, pepper flakes, plenty of parsley and pasta; and ivory carrot soup.Summer squash tartines with rosemary and lemon1 teaspoon olive oil1 or 2 summer squash (about 8 ounces in all), very thinly slicedScant 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemaryGrated zest of 1 lemonSea salt and freshly ground pepper4 long pieces of baguette, sliced diagonallyOlive oil and garlic for the bread1/2 cup ricotta cheese1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, saute for 1 minute or so to warm, then add a splash of water and cover. Cook over medium-high heat until the squash is soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, add the rosemary and lemon zest, toss it with the squash, and season with salt and pepper.2. Lightly brush the cut surface of the baguette pieces with olive oil, then toast until golden and crisp. While the bread is hot, rub the cut surfaces with the garlic. Spread the baguette pieces with the ricotta, then overlap the squash on top. Season with a bit more pepper and serve.Nutritional analysis per serving: 250 calories, 9 grams fat, 34 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 385 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 32 percent of calories from fat.Cauliflower with saffron, pepper flakes, plenty of parsley and pasta1 cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), broken into small florets, the core diced2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for tossing the pasta1 onion, finely diced2 pinches of saffron threads1 large clove garlic, mincedScant 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes4 tablespoons finely chopped parsleySea salt8 ounces pasta shells, snails or other shapesGrated aged cheese or crumbled feta cheese (optional)1. Steam the cauliflower florets and core over boiling water for about 3 minutes. Taste a piece. It should be on the verge of tenderness and not quite fully cooked. Set it aside.2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.3. Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saffron and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 6 minutes or so. The steam will activate the saffron so that it stains and flavors the onion. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and a few pinches of the parsley, give them a stir, and then add the cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower to coat it with the seasonings, add 1/2 cup water, and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender, just a few minutes. Season with salt, toss with half of the remaining parsley, and keep warm.4. While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta in the boiling water seasoned with salt until al dente. Drain, transfer to a warmed bowl, and toss with a few tablespoons of oil and the remaining parsley. Taste for salt, then spoon the cauliflower over the pasta, wiggle some of it into the pasta crevices, grate the cheese on top, and serve.With shrimp: When wild Gulf shrimp are in season, take advantage of their sweet goodness. Peel 1 pound shrimp, then saute them over high heat in olive oil until pink and firm, after 5 minutes or so. Toss them with chopped garlic and parsley, and divide them among the individual pasta plates or heap them over the top of the communal dish. Omit the cheese.Nutritional analysis per serving: 326 calories, 8 grams fat, 54 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, no cholesterol, 88 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 22 percent of calories from fat.Ivory carrot soup with a fine dice of orange carrots1 tablespoon butter1 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, thinly sliced1 pound white carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced1 tablespoon raw white riceSea salt1/2 teaspoon sugar1 thyme sprig4 cups water or light chicken stockFew tablespoons finely diced orange carrots and/or other colored carrotsFreshly ground pepperAbout 1 tablespoon minced fine green carrot tops1. Warm the butter and oil in a soup pot and add the onion, white carrots, rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and the sugar and thyme. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, turning everything occasionally. Add 1 cup of the water, cover, turn down the heat, and cook while you heat the remaining 3 cups water. When the water is hot, add it to the pot, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.2. While the soup is cooking, cook the diced carrots in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes and then drain.3. When ready, let cool slightly, then remove and discard the thyme sprig. Puree the soup until smooth in a blender. Taste for salt and season with the pepper. Reheat if it has cooled. Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter the diced carrots and carrot tops over each serving, and serve.Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 4: 124 calories, 7 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 104 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 45 percent of calories from fat.