Rustic in Review

Need an excuse to cook up some wholesome family meals? Then I have two books that will give you plenty of ideas for a complete meal:

The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food []

When Ian Knauer was a cook in the Gourmet test kitchen, he quickly became known for recipes so stupendously good that they turned the heads of the country’s top food editors—effortless combinations that made the best of seasonal produce or treats from the Pennsylvania farm that has been in his family since the eighteenth century.

In The Farm, Knauer brings his creations to your kitchen. From Cold-Spring-Night Asparagus Soup to Brick Chicken with Corn and Basil Salad, the 150 recipes in this book will help you make the most of your market, garden, or CSA. They are fresh, modern spins on American classics, with ingredients anyone can obtain. Each one is simple, distinctive, and satisfying, getting the best food to the table in the least amount of time. They are both homey and sophisticated.

You’ll find recipes that incorporate all parts of the vegetable, like Pasta with Radishes and Blue Cheese, which incorporates the radish leaves as well as the root, and spritely Swiss Chard Salad. You’ll learn how to make great food from simple ingredients you have on hand, like Potato Nachos. You’ll discover recipes for less-familiar produce from your market or your backyard, such as Chicken with Garlic Scape Pesto and Dandelion Green Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing.

Many of these recipes have been in Knauer’s family for generations, like Pennsylvania Dutch-Style Green Beans or Cloud Biscuits. You won’t want to miss his expertly tweaked renditions of his mother and grandmother’s desserts: Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie, Blueberry Belle Crunch, and Mary’s Lemon Sponge Pie.

Whether you want to learn how to roast a pig, make your own hot sauce, or brew hard cider, The Farm brings artisanal cooking home, even as Knauer’s vivid stories trace a year in the seasons of the farm.

I bet you’re as hungry as I am. Now it is time for dessert!

Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More []

An early fall cobbler with blackberries bubbling in their juice beneath a golden cream biscuit. A crunchy oatmeal crisp made with mid-summer’s nectarines and raspberries. Or a comforting pear bread pudding to soften a harsh winter’s day. Simple, scrumptious, cherished–these heritage desserts featuring local fruit are thankfully experiencing a long-due revival.

In Rustic Fruit Desserts, each season’s bounty inspires unique ways to showcase the distinct flavor combinations that appear fleetingly. James Beard Award—winning chef Cory Schreiber teams up with Julie Richardson, owner of Portland’s Baker & Spice, to showcase the freshest fruit available amidst a repertoire of satisfying old-timey fruit desserts, including crumbles, crisps, buckles, and pies.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect ending to a sit-down dinner party or a delicious sweet to wrap up any night of the week, these broadly appealing and easy-to-prepare classics will become family favorites.

Cory Schreiber is the founder of Wildwood Restaurant and winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific Northwest. Schreiber now works with the Oregon Department of Agriculture as the Farm-to-School Food Coordinator and writes, consults, and teaches cooking classes in Portland, Oregon.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Julie Richardson grew up enjoying the flavors that defined the changing seasons of her Vermont childhood. Her lively small-batch bakery, Baker & Spice, evolved from her involvement in the Portland and Hillsdale farmers’ markets. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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