Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook
Jim Denevan, with Marah Stets. . Clarkson Potter, $32.50 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-307-38199-6
Denevan used to be a regular, indoor chef, but inspired by foragers who brought seasonal wild foods like miner's lettuce and chanterelles to his kitchen, he began preparing feasts outdoors, in fields and orchards, using the foods at hand and giving eaters a personal introduction to the providers and sources of their meals. This cookbook, named after his traveling al fresco restaurant, brings the fruits of his labors to anybody's kitchen, at least theoretically. Recipes tend toward the exotic: Wild Rice Baked with Chicken, Fennel, and Porcini; Nettle Tagliatelle with Nettle Purée; Fried Squash Blossoms with Lavender Ricotta. Even mundane dishes like stewed green beans are jazzed up with chiles and anchovies. Novices chefs and time-strapped cooks may be intimidated by some of the more labor-intensive recipes, but others will be enticed by such mouth-watering recipes as Smoky Sturgeon and Potato Ravioli and Fresh Lamb Sausage. Interspersed are description of community gardens and vineyards, farmers and fishermen, complete with discourses on raw vs. pasteurized milk and sustainable fish choices.
Reviewed on: 05/05/2008