cover image The Herbfarm Cookbook

The Herbfarm Cookbook

Jerry Traunfeld. Scribner Book Company, $50 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83976-9

In his debut cookbook, Traunfeld elevates herbs to celebrity status. Chef at the Herbfarm restaurant near Seattle, he marries friendly flavors (Tomato and Fennel Soup, which includes French tarragon, and Pork Chops with Sage, Onion and Prosciutto). He also employs unusual and bold strokes to create such tantalizing dishes as Oysters on the Half-Shell with Lemon Verbena Ice, Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary, Grilled Marjoram-Scented Corn, Saut ed Duck Breasts with Mint, Coriander, and Olives and Halibut Baked with Leeks, Apple and Lovage. Pointing out that herbs and flowers are nothing new in dessert-making, Traunfeld is particularly successful with sweets; he combines flavors with a masterful touch, exemplified by Pear, Maple and Rosemary Clafouti, Pumpkin-Bay Tart and Raspberry and Rose Geranium Sorbet. A summer's abundance of herbs can be persuaded to satisfy well after autumn's frosts with such fare as Apple-Thyme Jelly, Plum and Lavender Chutney and Candied Angelica. Several herb-based drinks are also provided, including the Herbfarm Champagne Cocktail, wherein a single herb leaf or sprig is crushed between the fingers, dropped into an empty champagne flute, then filled with the proper potable. Concluding the book is an extensive chapter outlining individual herbs and their cultivars as well as advice on growing and harvesting them. With herbs increasingly common in supermarkets, this compendium of recipes and useful facts is ideal for cooks eager for new taste temptations. (Mar.)