Archives For Cooking

 

Something Truly Magical

A Feature Review of

The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food
Daniel Patterson / Mandy Aftel

Hardback: Riverhead Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Andrew Camp

 

Learning to cook starts with proper techniques, from knife skills to cooking techniques. With these tools in our arsenal, we are able, given access to the right ingredients, copy a recipe with relative success. However, to move beyond this level of cooking to experimenting with different flavor combinations is a whole different skill.

Unfortunately, most cookbooks tell us what to do without explaining why we should combine those flavors. Where are we home cooks to turn, then, to move beyond mechanistic cooking, relying on what others say to a more creative, confident home cooking where we can create food that is personal, fun, and attentive to who we are? Thankfully, Daniel Patterson, a chef, and Mandy Aftel, a perfumer, together hope to fill this gap with their newest book The Art of Flavor.

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A Brief Review of
Another Fork in the Trail:
Vegetarian and Vegan
Recipes for the Backcountry.

By Laurie Ann March
Paperback: Wilderness Press, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Paperback ]
[ Amazon -Kindle ]

Reviewed by: Sara Sterley

Some of my earliest memories are weekend family camping trips: riding my dad’s shoulders on hikes, my mom’s amazing campfire breakfasts, and hiding out in our small tent together during a downpour. Those family camping trips were never too adventurous. The car was always right outside the tent full of coolers of carefully packed food and drinks. Although we camped often, I didn’t know what true trail food was until I ventured out on several backpacking trips in high school and college. Before reading Another Fork in the Trail, Laurie Ann March’s new vegetarian and vegan backcountry cookbook, I figured that trail food’s only redeeming value was the sustenance it provided. Most of the stuff I’ve eaten out on the trail, I wouldn’t think twice about eating in my own kitchen, and I certainly wouldn’t serve it to guests.

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459343: Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women

A Brief Review of

Plain Wisdom:
An Invitation into an Amish Home
and the Hearts of Two Women

By Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud.
Paperback: WaterBrook Press, 2011.

Buy Now:
[ Christianbook.com ]
[ Amazon.com – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Brittany Buczynski.

This delightful little volume of homespun anecdotes, recipes, and spiritual insights is full of more simplicity and charm than most books twice its size could manage. Two friends—one Amish housewife, one English (i.e., non-Amish) novelist—together narrate each chapter’s theme with their own experiences, and the reader gets the pleasure of learning a bit about the not-so-different lives of both lovely women.

Cindy and Miriam share more than a friendship. Their close bond ultimately grows out of their love for Jesus and their love for their families. As mothers and wives, they have gleaned much wisdom, and they are now eager to share it with their readers. Taking part in this fellowship, one feels rather privileged to have happened upon such a heartfelt pair of writers and friends.

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“The Exploitation
of the World’s Oceans

A review of
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.
By Paul Greenberg.

Reviewed by Sara Sterley.


FOUR FISH - Paul GreenbergFour Fish:
The Future of the Last Wild Food.

Paul Greenberg.
Hardback: The Penguin Press, 2010.
Buy Now [ Amazon ]

In January of 2010, after much waffling, I decided to stop eating commercially-farmed meat. I came to this conclusion after reading lots of Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin and Wendell Berry (among others) over the course of a few years. We buy a pig every January and a quarter of grass-fed beef every summer from a local farmer who we have come to know and of whose farming practices we approve. I typically eat vegetarian if we’re out to eat or at a friend’s house, but, increasingly and happily, more and more restaurants are jumping on the local food bandwagon and our friends and family tend to go out of their way to buy meat from a local butcher or farmer’s market when we come over for dinner. All that to say, my resolution has caused little actual sacrifice on my part.

Last year, when I pledged to avoid “bad” meat, I didn’t really set out any rules on fish other than to attempt to stick with fish species rated green by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. I don’t eat much fish, so I didn’t see the need to spend much time deciding what fish to eat and which ones to avoid.

That is, until I finished Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg. Greenberg uses four of today’s most popular and widespread fish species to describe in detail the exploitation of the world’s oceans: salmon, sea bass, cod, and blue fish tuna.

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The NY Times recently published an excerpt of

BLOOD, BONES & BUTTER
The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
.
Gabrielle Hamilton
Hardback: Random House, 2011.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]

I was not looking to open a restaurant. That was never on my mind.  I was just dashing out to park the car one spring morning, when I ran into my neighbor Eric, a guy I knew only peripherally from years of living on the same block. I didn’t even know his last name, but we often saw each other during that hectic morning ritual of alternate side parking that New Yorkers, or at least East Villagers, seem to barely accomplish in time to beat the meter maid. It’s a twice a week early morning ritual, Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays, depending on which side of the street you’re on, in which everyone on the block with a car comes rushing out of their building to move their machines, still wearing their pajamas and with pillow creases still marking their faces.

[ Continue reading the excerpt on the NY Times website… ]

 

A sneak peek at the forthcoming book:

Meat: A Benign Extravagance.
Simon Fairlie.
Paperback: Chelsea Green, Feb 2011.
Pre-Order Now: [ Amazon ]

 

SAVING THE SEASONS A Review of

Saving the Seasons.
How to Can, Freeze or
Dry Almost Anything
.
Mary Clemens Meyer
and Susanna Meyer.
Paperback: Herald Press, 2010.
Buy now:
[ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Kate Roden.

Scroll down to the end of the review
for the recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam
from this book!

Saving the Seasons is the newest cookbook from the publishers of the trifecta of beloved Mennonite cookbooks: Simply in Season, More with Less, and Extending the Table. This new work lives up to and expands the ideals of its predecessors.

In the nearly 35 years since More with Less first appeared on the scene, American kitchens have undergone some big changes, and not just in the shift from “autumn harvest” appliance colors to stainless steel.  In much of the country, the locavore movement is in full swing, folks are prioritizing where their food comes from and how it gets to them. They are looking for farmer’s markets and buying up farm shares and subscriptions on such sites as http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.   Vegetable gardens, chicken coops and beehives are popping up in urban neighborhoods, and with the current DIY climate, and the financial necessities many families are facing, the More with Less approach to homemaking has new relevance.

The upsurge in interest in various arts of domesticity and homesteading means this book comes out at exactly the right time for a new group of novice gardeners who are wondering what exactly they are supposed to do with the 10 pounds of pickling cucumbers they accidentally grew.

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A Brief Review of

FARMfood: Greener Living
With Chef Daniel Orr
.

Flexibound: Indiana UP, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Daniel Orr is one of the most-heralded chefs in Indiana, and he is without a doubt the finest local food chef in the state.  Although he has traveled extensively and honed his culinary skills in New York City, France, Belgium and elsewhere, he eventually came home and opened the restaurant FARMbloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University and perhaps the cultural mecca of Indiana.  I was excited to hear of the release of his new cookbook based on his experiences, most notably coming home again to Indiana.  He says: “FARMfood is all about… going ‘home’ and getting back in touch with locally produced foods while cooking with a global palette of flavors picked up along the way, and then sharing these culinary travels with my family, old friends, and new folks I meet every day at FARMbloomington” (x).
Illustrated with Orr’s own photography, FARMfood superbly captures the colors and textures of both the local produce that make his recipes excel and the local market venues where such produce is sold.  I imagine that many of the recipes here are beyond the everyday scope of most people’s cuisine (or many of them are beyond the limit of our family’s everyday budget at least!), but they are inspiring, especially in their focus on using local produce.  The recipes are organized in the book more or less by the order of meals in the day, and within the broad strokes of the meals are types of foods befitting that meal – e.g., soups, sandwiches, burgers and drinks(???) for lunch.  Orr’s commentary throughout is wonderful, bringing the recipes to life and raising FARMfood to a level above the typical cookbook.  Given that Autumn is now upon us, our family is turning again to a steady diet of soups.  Thus, I paid particular attention to Orr’s section on soups, and therein found a number of tantalizing recipes, and in particular the “Farmers’ Market Corn Chowder with Herbs” and the “Roasted Tomato Soup with Feta and Grilled Red Onions” seemed like recipes that might likely end up in our autumnal rotation of soups.
FARMfood will be of particular interest to mid-westerners (especially Hoosiers), but its colorful and stellar design couple with the excellence of cuisine that it offers make it a cookbook of the highest caliber that will be relevant to most North Americans.

FARMfood - Daniel Orr

Daniel Orr is one of the most-heralded chefs in Indiana, and he is without a doubt the finest local food chef in the state.  Although he has traveled extensively and honed his culinary skills in New York City, France, Belgium and elsewhere, he eventually came home and opened the restaurant FARMbloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University and perhaps the cultural mecca of Indiana.  I was excited to hear of the release of his new cookbook based on his experiences, most notably coming home again to Indiana.  He says: “FARMfood is all about… going ‘home’ and getting back in touch with locally produced foods while cooking with a global palette of flavors picked up along the way, and then sharing these culinary travels with my family, old friends, and new folks I meet every day at FARMbloomington” (x).

Illustrated with Orr’s own photography, FARMfood superbly captures the colors and textures of both the local produce that make his recipes excel and the local market venues where such produce is sold.  I imagine that many of the recipes here are beyond the everyday scope of most people’s cuisine (or many of them are beyond the limit of our family’s everyday budget at least!), but they are inspiring, especially in their focus on using local produce.  The recipes are organized in the book more or less by the order of meals in the day, and within the broad strokes of the meals are types of foods befitting that meal – e.g., soups, sandwiches, burgers and drinks(???) for lunch.  Orr’s commentary throughout is wonderful, bringing the recipes to life and raising FARMfood to a level above the typical cookbook.  Given that Autumn is now upon us, our family is turning again to a steady diet of soups.  Thus, I paid particular attention to Orr’s section on soups, and therein found a number of tantalizing recipes, and in particular the “Farmers’ Market Corn Chowder with Herbs” and the “Roasted Tomato Soup with Feta and Grilled Red Onions” seemed like recipes that might likely end up in our autumnal rotation of soups.
FARMfood will be of particular interest to mid-westerners (especially Hoosiers), but its colorful and stellar design couple with the excellence of cuisine that it offers make it a cookbook of the highest caliber that will be relevant to most North Americans.

 

“Preserving Cuisine,
Preserving Culture.”

A Review of
In Late Winter We Ate Pears:
A Year of Hunger and Love.

by Dierdre Heekin and Caleb Barber.

 Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.

 

In Late Winter We Ate Pears:
A Year of Hunger and Love.

Dierdre Heekin and Caleb Barber.
Paperback: Chelsea Green, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

(Don’t miss the tasty recipe from this book that appears at the end of the review!)

Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber,  as wife and husband, as well as proprietors of the acclaimed restaurant Osteria Pane e Salute, have collaboratively produced a new book that is part story-telling and part cookbook, all of which centers around their restaurant and home in Vermont, and the Italian food and places they are in constant conversation with. Food and eating as a means of remembering – other places, times, people – becomes the central narrative throughout In Late Winter We Ate Pears: A Year of Hunger and Love, as all of the items on their menu connote specific times of year, conversations with other cooks and friends, trips to new cities, or the land on which the food was grown. Divided into narrative and recipes, this book is arranged seasonally, “each season the recipes focus on dishes that use ingredients available at that time of year. Within each of these four sections we offer enough recipes so that the reader can choose to create a four-course meal appropriate to a particular season…These recipes are for simple, comforting, and graceful food” (6).

Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of
COOKING GREEN by Kate Heyhoe.

Paperback: DeCapo/Lifelong Books, 2009.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

From Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation to Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, the last decade has been chock full of books challenging us to more eco-friendly eating.  However, relatively little has been written on how to improve our processes of HOW we cook the food we eat.  Kate Heyhoe’s recent book Cooking Green aims to address this oft-ignored question.  Heyhoe offers us a here a unique book that is half ideas for greening your kitchen and half “green basics recipes.” Heyhoe begins the book by crafting the term “cookprint” in reference to “the impact you make on the planet when you cook” (1).  The cookprint of a meal, although not given a rigorous scientific definition, is useful for getting us to think about all of the ecological choices that go into its preparation from the selection of food to its transportation and storage to the ways in which it is prepared.  Heyhoe spans the breadth of her definition of cookprint, as she offers suggestions for improving how we cook.  She begins by looking at the appliances that we use in the kitchen, and focuses especially on ovens and cooktops (a.k.a., ranges), devoting a chapter to each, and summarizing in this basic rule: “The simplest way to shrink a cookprint is to reach for cooktop recipes first rather than oven ones” (67).  The chapter “What to Buy” is an excellent guide to sorting through the many ecological dilemmas to sort through at the grocery store or farmers’ market.   The latter half of the book packs many tasty recipes into relatively few pages; Heyboe’s focus here is the everyday, basic foods that when prepared properly help to lower a meal’s cookprint.  These recipes represent a broad array of cuisines from Mexican (“Frijole Fundido, Rapido”) to Oriental (“Stir-fried Vietnamese Chicken with Passively Blanched Snow Peas”) to Italian (“Short-cut, Passive Lasagna”), and many more.  Heyboe also includes a fine section of meat-free main dishes.  Cooking Green is an essential book, one that you will want to read, re-read and use frequently as a resource guide in the kitchen.  Here’s to lowering our cookprints!