The Herbfarm Cookbook
- Publish Date: 2000-03-01
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Jerry Traunfeld
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Not so long ago, parsley was the only fresh herb available to most American cooks. Today, bunches of fresh oregano and rosemary can be found in nearly every supermarket, basil and mint grow abundantly in backyards from coast to coast, and garden centers offer pots of edible geraniums and lemon thyme. But once these herbs reach the kitchen, the inevitable question arises: Now what do I do with them? Here, at last, is the first truly comprehensive cookbook to cover all aspects of growing, handling, and cooking with fresh herbs.
Jerry Traunfeld grew up cooking and gardening in Maryland, but it wasn't until the 1980s, after he had graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was working at Jeremiah Tower's Stars restaurant in San Francisco, that he began testing the amazing potential of herb cuisine. For the past decade, Jerry Traunfeld has been chef at The Herbfarm, an enchanted restaurant surrounded by kitchen gardens and tucked into the rainy foothills of the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle. His brilliant nine-course herb-inspired menus have made reservations at the Herbfarm among the most coveted in the country.
Eager to reveal his magic to home cooks, Jerry Traunfeld shares 200 of his best recipes in The Herbfarm Cookbook. Written with passion, humor, and a caring for detail that makes this book quite special, The Herbfarm Cookbook explains everything from how to recognize the herbs in your supermarket to how to infuse a jar of honey with the flavor of fresh lavender. Recipes include a full range of dishes from soups, salads, eggs, pasta and risotto, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, breads, and desserts to sauces, ice creams, sorbets, chutneys, vinegars, and candied flowers. On the familiar side are recipes for Bay Laurel Roasted Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Fried Sage explained with the type of detail that insures the chicken will be moist and suffused with the flavor of bay and the asparagus complemented with the delicate crunch of sage. On the novel side you will find such unusual dishes as Oysters on the Half Shell with Lemon Varbana Ice and Rhubarb and Angelica Pie.
A treasure trove of information, The Herbfarm Cookbook contains a glossary of 27 of the most common culinary herbs and edible flowers; a definitive guide to growing herbs in a garden, a city lot, or on a windowsill; a listing of the USDA has hardiness zones; how to harvest, clean, and store fresh herbs; a Growing Requirements Chart, including each herb's life cycle, height, pruning and growing needs, and number of plants to grow for an average kitchen; and a Cooking with Fresh Herbs Chart, with parts of the herb used, flavor characteristics, amount of chopped herb for six servings, and best herbal partners.
The Herbfarm Cookbook is the most complete, inspired, and useful book about cooking with herbs ever written.
-8 pages of finished dishes in full color
-16 full-page botanical watercolors in full color Since 1990, Jerry Traunfeld has been the chef at the Herbfarm, a restaurant-nursery nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State devoted to propagating an exceptional variety of culinary herbs, edible flowers, and greens. People wait months for a table at this restaurant, where Traunfeld's unaffected yet sophisticated cooking unfolds in a nine-course dinner. Reading his recipes, you understand why. It is hard to get through even the first chapter, on soups, without starting a shopping list for making Green Gazpacho, a cooling blend of cucumbers and green pepper with spearmint, parsley, and cilantro, or Herbal Chicken Noodle Soup, lavish with fresh basil, chives, tarragon, and marjoram.
After enticing you with the story of his signature dish, a green salad made with up to 30 ingredients, each literally harvested and assembled on the plate one leaf and blossom at a time, Traunfeld shows how, using more typical resources, you can construct a salad friends will declare a delicious work of art. To make it really simple, he provides a chart listing 50 possible choices that helps you balance the flavors, including hot, sweet, bitter, and aromatic, and the colors and textures that make a salad more than a plate of lovely greens.
However, if you don't live in a culinary paradise like the Seattle area, only have access to a typical supermarket, and you don't want to grow your own herbs, you can still infuse your cooking with the same enticing magic Traunfeld creates at the Herbfarm. Just tuck sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or oregano between the slices of a loaf of country bread spread with butter or olive oil and roasted garlic, wrap it in foil, and pop it in the oven for a quick 12 minutes. Or try Mashed Potatoes with Toasted Coriander, the seeds adding earthy flavor to a perennial favorite, and serve with chicken piccata enlivened with fresh dill.
Traunfeld is such a good teacher and clear writer that you follow with confidence when he guides you through Herb-Smoked Salmon--first dry-rubbed, then smoked over dried stems from basil, thyme, or fennel and finally baked until the fish is just gently set. You also get an introduction to the Japanese concept of umami, a state of food perfection that Traunfeld achieves in his Umami Carrot Soup with Mint.
Following the 200 recipes and alluring photos of some prepared dishes, you learn about growing herbs, both in the garden and in containers. A section describing herbs and edible flowers, from angelica to violets, is ample and articulate enough to stand on its own as a book, and those interested in gardening will appreciate the list of nurseries here. Finally, this section includes a table covering 29 herbs that will help you transform your own favorite dishes simply by adding fresh herbs. --Dana Jacobi