Mini-reviews – catching up

Relish: My Life in the KitchenRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Published by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

This is an adorable food-themed graphic memoir that was super enjoyable to read. Lucy Knisley basically takes the most pivotal moments in her life and relates them to what she was eating, cooking, or learning to make at that time. I really loved the experience of reading this book – not only is it a heartwarming memoir, but the illustrations are great and Knisley includes several of her tried-and-true and family recipes, as well. Overall I just really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Published by Flatiron Books

The basic gist of this one is three couples, of varying degrees of friendship, get together one night for a barbecue and something disastrous happens. The book details the personalities and relationships of the characters before the big event, and then goes into depth on how it has a ripple effect on each one of the characters for quite some time after. I have really loved all of Moriarty’s novels and this one was no exception. The way she is able to create tension amongst a group of people and the way she is able to make even the most vile of characters sympathetic and relatable are two talents that she has that very few authors share with her to this degree. I was definitely kept on the edge of my seat throughout this novel and continue to be impressed with her writing and ability to craft a well-paced, unputdownable story.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Feyre is nineteen years old and her life revolves around finding food for her family and staying safe from the faeries that once ruled the world she lives in. When she kills a wolf in the woods, who turns out to not be a wolf but a faerie, she is collected by Tamlin, another faerie, to give her life in exchange for the one she killed. Once she gets to his estate, she finds herself falling in love with him and subsequently doing everything in her power to protect Tamlin and his world from the dark power that threatens to overtake it.

That was a cliffnotes version of a summary of this book – a book that I liked a LOT. I don’t read a ton of fantasy (almost none, actually) but this one really worked for me. The main element of the book that I loved was getting to know the characters – Maas did an excellent job making Feyre an incredibly believable character that I could really relate to. And Tamlin drew me in with his fiery, dark personality – I loved the two of them together. Plus, their chemistry was seriously hot. This is NOT a book for young teens – there were some pretty intense sexy times happening here. Anyway – I really liked this book and definitely will get to the sequel.

Sweet Disorder (Lively St. Lemeston, #1)Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner
Published by Samhain Publishing

Romance is a genre that I’m just getting into and Rose Lerner is an author recommended to me by the lovely and brilliant Jenny at Reading the End. I am happy to say that I did like this one and it is a good example of feminist romance – the type of romance that I would like to read more of, for sure. Something I appreciated about the plot of this one is that both main characters’ actions were motivated by helping their families, and there was a lot of character development of not only the main love interests but their family members as well. Both Nick and Phoebe were drawn to each other, but both knew that their being together would go against everything they needed to do to take care of their families. In the end, obviously, it’s a romance novel – there’s a happily ever after. But the getting there was quite enjoyable and I really liked the journey these characters took.

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately – week 3

So. I didn’t have AS successful of a cooking week as I would have liked, but I did make a few things. I ate leftovers or stuff I quickly threw together three times this week – including one night where I made my tried and true standby of all-veggies-in-the-fridge-go-into-fried-rice (which you’ll learn happens about once a week, sometimes more if I’m running low on ideas and time). I also ate at restaurants twice this week, once with friends and once with the hubby.

BUT. I did make some stuff. First, I made another pizza with fried egg on top, but this time I used basil pesto as the base instead of traditional pizza sauce. I LOVE pesto and can find reasons to substitute it for all kinds of things, but as pizza sauce is probably my absolute favorite – followed closely by in pasta, with a touch of cream. YUM. Anyway, the pizza was delicious and I highly recommend pesto on pizza if you haven’t done it already. And egg! Egg on pizza is amazing, too, but I think I’ve preached that already.

I cooked another meal that was cooking TWO new recipes in one night. Friends, that never happens. Just one new recipe is usually enough to stress me out. But these two both sounded super quick and easy, and the flavors were so similar I thought they’d really pair well together. I made baked lemon butter tilapia from Damn Delicious, with lemon butter green beans from Budget Bytes on the side. I was right – the combination of these two recipes was great and the meal couldn’t have been easier to put together. I also have to say, of all the cooking/recipe blogs I follow, these two are by far my favorites. Every recipe I’ve made from either one of them has turned out great and not one I’ve tried has been too complicated to make on a weeknight. I highly recommend both sites and both of these recipes.

Also, I have to tell you guys that earlier this year I got a rice cooker and it has changed my life. I always loved eating rice but hated cooking it. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I had trouble getting the right proportion of rice to water to cooking time, and sometimes my rice would turn out perfect and other times it would be either a soggy mess or dry and crunchy. I never have this problem now because my rice cooker does everything for me and it really has made it possible for me to have rice anytime I want. Now you know why I make fried rice once or twice a week – I always have cold leftover rice in my fridge! 😉

What I’ve been cooking lately – week 2

So this week wasn’t as successful at cooking new recipes as last, but I did make a couple of things that I wanted to share.

Sunday I made my favorite easy pasta sauce. It literally has three ingredients and tastes amazing. Apparently it’s originally from Marcella Hazan, but here’s the adapted version from Smitten Kitchen. I guess it’s a relatively famous recipe but I only learned about it last year. I served it over cheese tortellini for an easy and delicious dinner.

Monday I took some of that leftover sauce and used it as the base for a homemade pizza. Don’t get too excited – I didn’t make the crust or anything fancy. I used a Boboli pizza crust, the leftover sauce, and some cheese. BUT I did use this breakfast pizza from Budget Bytes as an inspiration to add a fried egg on my pizza. I actually do this a lot, when I’m looking for something “extra” on my pizza that’s not meat, and it’s always phenomenally delicious.

Tuesday I took some veggies I had on hand and chicken from a roast chicken my mother-in-law had eaten a few days prior and made a stir-fry. Wednesday I think I made a quick sandwich or salad, my husband worked late that night so we didn’t have dinner together.

Thursday I gathered all the veggies that needed to be eaten – broccoli, snap peas, a quarter of an onion, some green onion, carrots, and eggs – and made vegetable fried rice. This is one of my favorite things to make because you can’t really screw it up. If you’ve never made fried rice before here is a really good tutorial from Steamy Kitchen, but once you get the hang of it, fried rice is incredibly easy and always delicious.

Friday I went out with coworkers for really great Mexican food at this new place that just opened up near my work, Don Julio’s. I had a blue crab quesadilla – so so yummy! It was a great time with my work family.

Last night (Saturday) we went out to one of our favorite local restaurants, Colorado Fondue Company, and as always when we go there I was SO FREAKING FULL when we left. But man it was fantastic.

So that was my week! What have you been cooking this week?

 

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

I love reading Michelle’s (of That’s What She Read fame) posts every week about the meals she and her family enjoyed each day of the week and for a while now, I’ve been thinking about doing something similar myself. After thinking about it for a while, I realized I don’t cook enough “real” meals to talk about what I make every single day, but rather I cook one or two decent meals every week, usually trying new recipes, so I’ll just share those each week. Sometimes there might be a week where I eat nothing but rice and broccoli every night – or worse, popcorn – but hey, more often than not I’ll get to share with you new and fun recipes I’ve tried and report back on the level of success I had. Sounds good? Great!

This week was really excellent, cooking-wise. Sunday I tried something I had always been afraid of – TOFU – and it turned out fantastic, thanks to this easy recipe and tofu tutorial at Budget Bytes, Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli. The tofu was so much tastier than I expected, and the stir-fry sauce was easy and SO yummy. The recipe could easily be changed to suit whatever vegetables you have on hand – I’ll probably throw some carrots and maybe snap peas in the next time I make it.

I can’t remember what we did for dinner on Monday, probably something super quick and easy, but Tuesday I got cooking again and made this Chicken Tortellini Soup from Damn Delicious. I’m super proud of myself because I’ve been trying to get better about not wasting food, eating leftovers, re-purposing something I made once into something else, etc., so in this recipe I substituted some cooked turkey I had in the freezer for the chicken and it turned out great! I’d been meaning to find a use for that turkey for weeks and this soup was the perfect thing for it. I have another bag of cooked leftover turkey in the freezer that I hope to come up with a use for in the next couple of weeks, too.

Wednesday I went out to dinner with friends, Thursday we ate leftovers, and Friday I threw all the vegetables I had in my fridge that were soon to go bad into a pan for a stir-fry. I had this soy sesame sauce in my pantry, so I used that, and while it was a bit too sweet for my tastes I did like it. I probably won’t buy it again, especially now that I know how easy it is to make a delicious stir-fry sauce from scratch from earlier in the week, but the meal was good, healthy, and including chopping up the veggies took me less than fifteen minutes to put together. I call that a win.

Tonight I think we will go out, and I haven’t started to plan what I want to make next week. Stay tuned to find out! Hopefully I keep doing this as a regular feature on the blog – what do you think?

Weekend Cooking: Cooking from Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Get Real Meals

30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to ExtremesBack when Trish hosted the Cook It Up Challenge, which focused on using one cookbook each month, I decided to start with 30-Minute Get Real Meals by Rachael Ray. I chose this particular cookbook because it’s the cookbook I’ve had the longest (my mom bought it for me when I moved from a dorm room to an apartment in college and could start cooking in an actual kitchen), and I had only used it once or twice. I also feared I wouldn’t find much to cook since it’s focused on low-carb which I don’t really believe in (pasta, please. All the pasta!).

The book is divided into chapters for snacks, salads, soups, fondue, burgers, main dishes, pastas (I know, right!), and desserts. The first thing I made was the Indian Summer Turkey Chili. This chili was SO GOOD and possibly my favorite chili I’ve ever made (I love chili and have made many kinds). The kicker with this one is it literally tastes like summer, probably because barbecue sauce is a prominent ingredient. The one thing I can tell you about this dish is that if you make it, choose your BBQ sauce wisely – the taste REALLY comes through in the chili. I’ve made it twice since the first time, truly this was delicious and I will make it lots more times. And it makes GREAT leftovers.

The second thing I made was Pumpkin Sage Pasta. Here’s where it gets tricky because this recipe is the closest one I can find online to the one in the cookbook, and it’s slightly different. But it’s close enough that you get the idea. Yes, there’s pasta and cream in a low-carb cookbook, but she uses such a small amount of each that it’s still pretty healthy overall. I liked this okay. The taste was really good but because of the huge proportion of pumpkin puree to cream, the texture was a little off. I made it a second time using about twice the amount of cream, and while it obviously wasn’t as healthy that way, the texture was way more creamy and delicious. I REALLY liked the use of fresh sage, a herb I had never cooked with before.

The third dish I made was a white chicken chili that I can’t find online. Which is fine, because this chili was nothing to write home about. It was okay the night I made it, but it lacked that something special and wasn’t very good reheated the next day for lunch.

In the end, while I liked one thing I made and loved another, I ended up donating this cookbook. There are just too many things in here that don’t interest me – I don’t make fondue, am not a huge fan of burgers, and never make salads at home (my hubby doesn’t eat salad). While I’ll definitely be making the chili again and again, and will experiment more with pumpkin puree in my cooking, overall I’d only recommend 30-Minute Get Real Meals to people looking for fresh and new low-carb options to add into their cooking repertoire.

Weekend Cooking is a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Stop by and check out other posts related to food and cooking!

Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson (Weekend Cooking)

Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and EatConsider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson
Published by Basic Books

From the publisher:

Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide of the modernist kitchen. It can also mean the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks.

In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson provides a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of everyday objects we often take for granted. Knives—perhaps our most important gastronomic tool—predate the discovery of fire, whereas the fork endured centuries of ridicule before gaining widespread acceptance; pots and pans have been around for millennia, while plates are a relatively recent invention. Many once-new technologies have become essential elements of any well-stocked kitchen—mortars and pestles, serrated knives, stainless steel pots, refrigerators. Others have proved only passing fancies, or were supplanted by better technologies; one would be hard pressed now to find a water-powered egg whisk, a magnet-operated spit roaster, a cider owl, or a turnspit dog. Although many tools have disappeared from the modern kitchen, they have left us with traditions, tastes, and even physical characteristics that we would never have possessed otherwise.

Blending history, science, and anthropology, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be, and how their influence has shaped modern food culture. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.

I almost never participate in Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads every Saturday, but I almost always wish I did. I figured the fact that I read a foodie book recently is as good a reason as any to join this week!

I’m not sure why exactly I got this one from Audible – I think it was a daily deal or deeply discounted or something – because it’s not really something I’d pick up on my own. I like food, and I like food books, and I like history, which is probably what made me think I’d enjoy this one, and I did enjoy it, but it’s pretty different from the typical nonfiction I read.

First, let me say that Consider the Fork is impeccably well-researched. To say there’s a ton of food history here is a huge understatement – Wilson traces food technology from the days before the invention of the knife up to the present, details how different cultures have used different technology in different and unique ways, and makes what could be quite a dull subject incredibly interesting. I learned a lot, and I think if you’re a bigger foodie and more accomplished chef them myself (which is probably most people), you will get even more out of the book than I did.

The audio was well done, too. Alison Larkin narrates and she has a sweet voice with an English accent that makes for a very pleasant listening experience. Whenever I spent time listening to the book, I very much enjoyed her narration.

The only issue I had with Consider the Fork is that I just wasn’t hugely compelled to pick it up almost ever. When I listened to it, I enjoyed the experience and came away with some nugget of new knowledge, but I never felt that feeling of being excited to pick it up again – does that make sense? I’m wondering if I personally would have benefited more from reading this one in print? I’m not sure, to be honest. It also could be that I’m just not super excited about and interested in food history/technology.

Either way, I can still recommend Consider the Fork for foodies and those who love learning about cooking history and technology. Wilson did an incredible job with her research on this one, and even though I can recognize this might not have been the best book for my personal tastes, it is clear that those with interest in this subject will find a lot to enjoy within the book.

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

A Place at the TableA Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White
Published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Review copy provided by the publicist

Bobby, Amelia, and Alice don’t have very much in common at first glance: Bobby, a gay man from Georgia, has been shunned by his family and so has moved to New York City to start a new life, Amelia is a well-to-do woman from Connecticut whose happy face hides the secrets of her abusive marriage, and Alice is an African-American chef whose recipes founded a famed New York City restaurant. However, they are connected in surprising ways, and as they get to know one another, each of their lives will be forever changed.

My summary above barely skims the surface of what A Place at the Table is about, and it definitely doesn’t do justice to this beautiful novel. Guys, I loved this book! It is such a heartfelt, gorgeous, true novel and I can’t come up with the right words to tell you why. Let me at least try.

The main reason I loved this book so much is that Bobby is one of the best characters I’ve seen in fiction in a while. He is such a genuine person, so desperate to be loved for who he is, and so loving and forgiving of his family even when they cast him aside and refuse to accept his sexuality. I loved reading about his journey to find himself in New York, his adventures in becoming a chef, and his first experience with finding true love. He was such a joy to read about and truly, my emotions as I was reading his story mirrored his. He was happy, I celebrated with him, he grieved, I sobbed with him. It is such a lovely thing for a character in a novel to get this close to the reader, to submerge themselves in the reader’s brain, and this totally happened to me with Bobby. I loved every minute I spent with him.

Another thing that was so wonderful about A Place at the Table is how so much of the book centers around cooking and celebrating with food. I love food, and I love to cook, and foodie books are great because of those two facts. This isn’t exactly a foodie book, but it does have those elements within its pages – drool-worthy descriptions of what the characters are cooking, much of the book take place at a restaurant, and two of the main characters are chefs. The book would have been great without these elements, but having the foodie stuff in the novel took it to that next level for me.

The novel takes place mostly in the ’80’s and a lot of attention is paid to the AIDS crisis of that time. White handled this subject with a careful touch, giving it the respect it deserves and the heaviness that is associated with the vast number of people who died of AIDS in America when it was an unknown, not understood disease, but the overall tone of the novel was not heavy at all. There is also a bit of attention paid to racism, definitely attention paid to abusive relationships, issues with religion – basically, lots of stuff happening here but never does White make it an “issues” novel. Instead, it is about the characters and the ways in which these issues shape their lives – and how they rise above these challenges even when it seems all in the world is against them.

There is SO MUCH I loved about A Place at the Table that I didn’t even touch on here. Honestly, I cannot more highly recommend this novel. It is such a gorgeous piece of fiction that I think everyone can benefit from reading.

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

The Lost Art of MixingThe Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
Published by Putnam, an imprint of Penguin
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours

From the publisher:

Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .

Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

I wanted to read this book because I truly enjoyed its predecessor, The School of Essential Ingredients, when I read it a few years back. True to what I’ve come to expect from Bauermeister, this novel was a lovely return to beloved characters and was a comfortable, entertaining read. I really enjoyed it.

I would definitely recommend reading The School of Essential Ingredients before this book (if you haven’t already, and you like foodie books, what are you waiting for?) because the characters’ stories pick up shortly after they left off in the first book. It’s definitely helpful to have experienced these characters once before to truly appreciate this novel. I loved where Bauermeister took their stories (especially Lillian’s!) and even more I appreciated how each character was related to the others in different and sometimes unexpected ways. Each character had their own perspective, and it was interesting to see how each person saw the exact same event or series of events through very different lenses, depending on their perspective and bias towards what was going on. I vaguely remember that same kind of thing happening in the first book, but it struck me as more profound in this novel.

I would be remiss not to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed to see a lack of mouth-watering descriptive food scenes in this novel. Yes, there were some of course, and much of the book is set in Lillian’s restaurant kitchen, but The School of Essential Ingredients is chock-full of these delicious descriptions and I didn’t find as many as I was looking forward to in The Lost Art of Mixing. That’s a minor quibble, but for readers who loved that about the first book, be prepared to potentially not get your foodie fix in this second installment.

The Lost Art of Mixing was such a great companion to Bauermeister’s first novel and I highly recommend reading it for lovers of foodie fiction and/or women’s fiction. What was really fun about the ending to this novel is that she totally left it open to continuing these characters’ stories with a third book. I would love that! Definitely pick up these two books, Bauermeister is a gem of an author and her stories are not to be missed.

A Moveable Blog – “Field to Feast”

Welcome to A Moveable Blog “Field to Feast” presented to you by Sandy, Heather, Jill, and I, with the cooperation of Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson, authors of the lovely Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans. Today I’m featuring a recipe from Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant, here in Orlando – Sautéed Florida Snapper with Succotash and Lemon Thyme Butter. Here we go!

Ingredients:

Lemon Thyme Butter:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Succotash:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon diced shallot or red onion
3 cups fresh sweet corn kernels
1 cup fresh beans, such as limas or pink-eyed peas
1/2 cup chopped ripe tomato
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Snapper:
4 (7- to 8-ounce) snapper fillets
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter

Let’s make it!

Prepare the Lemon Thyme Butter:
Combine butter, lemon thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Make the Succotash:
1. Heat oil and butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Add shallots or onion and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
2. Add corn and saute 2 minutes. Add beans and saute 1 minute. Add tomato, parsley, and chives, stirring to combine. Cook until mixture is hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low to keep warm.

Cook the snapper:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle snapper with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a large ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat until butter turns golden brown. Reduce heat to medium and place fish in pan. Saute 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until fish is golden brown.
3. Place pan in oven and bake 10 minutes.
4. Place 1 tablespoon lemon thyme butter on each fish fillet and return pan to oven for a few seconds to melt butter. Place 1 cup warm succotash on plate. Top with sautéed snapper.

And … the finished product (with my crappy phone camera):

So, a few things about this one. First of all, it was DELICIOUS. Even my meat-and-potatoes hubby loved it and went back for more succotash after being scared to try it at first. (TBH, I did have to give him a baked potato on the side – guy needs his starch with every meal – but I was good with just the meal as pictured.) A few things I did a little differently than the recipe states, first I couldn’t find lemon thyme, so I used regular thyme and added a little lemon zest, which was perfect. Easy substitute. Also you can see in the picture that the snapper isn’t “golden brown” as the recipe suggests, well I guess I didn’t get my pan hot enough first because that’s the color that it became after sauteing for 2 minutes on each side. No problem, it was still delicious.

Also, I know this sort of defeats the purpose of the book, but I used frozen corn and lima beans. Because, well, it’s November, and if you can get fresh corn in November, I certainly don’t know where. But I fully plan to make this again in the summer when fresh corn is abundant and I’m assuming fresh beans as well. Honestly, it was really great and I’ll be cooking this again and again, maybe doing a little experimenting with the type of fish I use. I loved the snapper but the recipe says you can also substitute tilapia, and I ALWAYS have tilapia in my freezer because it’s incredibly affordable. So if you are interested in this one and on a tight budget I suggest you try it with the tilapia. It also suggests you can do this with shrimp or scallops, and I always have frozen shrimp so I may try that too. The possibilities are endless!

Don’t miss the rest of our Moveable Blog Feast!

Monday and Tuesday – Sandy is featuring drinks and appetizers
Thursday – Heather is featuring sides
Friday – Jill is featuring a dessert

Field to Feast by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, & Heather McPherson

Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, & Heather McPherson
Published by University Press of Florida
Review copy received at SIBA

From the publisher:

Florida offers more to savor than merely seafood and citrus. Name an ingredient and you’re likely to find it here. To research Field to Feast, authors Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson traveled thousands of miles, tasting some of the freshest ingredients along the way. They found world-famous chefs who eagerly shared their best recipes to highlight those flavors. The result is a cookbook like no other; a delicious celebration of Florida food and cooking that’ll lead you from the kitchen to the farmers’ market and home again.

When I received this book at SIBA, I was practically drooling over the gorgeous photos and delicious-sounding recipes inside, all while I was supposed to be listening and paying attention as another author spoke. It was with much anticipation that I finally tore into the book, and I read the thing cover-to-cover the other night, excitedly perusing the recipes and the inspiring stories of farmers and chefs who, in some cases, live right here in my own city and participate in this awesome farm to table movement that I know almost nothing about.

So, the cookbook is full of recipes using local, fresh ingredients, and I think while it features Florida farmers, no matter where you live there are a myriad of ways you can take advantage of the recipes in the book. They are great recipes even if you don’t have the ability (financially or location-wise) to shop farmers’ markets. Many of them are very easy and most are healthy – especially given the fact that using fresh ingredients boosts the health factor a ton.

Each recipe is accompanied by a profile of a Florida farmer, chef, or artisan and I loved reading these stories. I was surprised to learn that a few restaurants that I already knew of here in Central FL were committed to the farm to table style of cooking and eating. That fact makes me even more intrigued to try these restaurants, and reading about all the farmers was incredibly inspiring. I don’t ever see myself farming, but I’m fascinated by the concept of farming, and learning about real people who do it definitely held my interest.

And the photographs! Oh my goodness, the photographs in this book are beyond gorgeous. I cannot even explain how pretty the book is.

Stay tuned this week because bloggers Sandy, Heather, Jill and I will be doing A Moveable Blog “Field to Feast” where we will each be featuring a recipe from this book throughout this week. Here’s the schedule so you can follow along:

Monday Sandy will feature a drink
Tuesday Sandy will feature an appetizer
Wednesday I will feature a main course
Thursday Heather will feature two sides
Friday Jill will feature a dessert

Please come along with us as we journey through this awesome cookbook this week. And in the meantime, get yourself a copy! I promise you will not be disappointed.