Earth to Table

January 15th, 2010    •  by Bethia    •   No Comments »

Yesterday I wrote about returning to an old favorite cookbook. Today I want to write about a new one. I was given ‘Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes From An Organic Farm‘ for Christmas and it has become an instant favorite. It is a cookbook with beautiful photographs and enticing recipes but it is also a resource for seasonal ‘good, clean and fair’ eating. The authors Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann are avid proponents of Slow Food. Their recipes are focused on local seasonal ingredients but with the acknowledgement that there are some things that are worth the food miles.

The book is divided into four seasons and as well as recipes each season has a list of ‘what to eat’, a lengthy introduction, chef profiles, a ‘how to section’ and a ‘spotlight’. There is also an ongoing story about Bettina’s wheat growing project. She wanted to make bread from start to finish ‘I’m a Slow Food member after all, and practicing tastes a lot better than preaching’. The ‘how to’ sections include canning, foraging, farmers markets and planning a herb garden. The spotlights are seafood, meat, compost and dairy. Chef profiles include Thomas Keller, Dan Barber and Heston Blumenthal, the latter of whom Crump has worked for.

So far I have been experimenting with the winter recipes. I have made braised pork belly, maple molasses and beer bean pot and pickled fennel. I used mostly pinto beans that I bought at the State Fair. They made a wonderful comfort food dinner with some skillet cornbread.

For tonight I have made their beet horseradish relish to go with a beef fondue. Their instruction to peel the warm beets using a tea towel was a small epiphany yesterday, so much easier than my previous method of trying to peel them with my fingers. There are a lot of other tempting winter recipes: one-pot fish soup with rouille, rabbit stew with herbed dumplings, oatmeal molasses bread and roasted fingerling potato salad with watercress and horseradish dressing and I am sure that I will learn some other useful techniques in the process. I haven’t even let myself look at the other seasons yet!

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