Where we live in Indiana, there are seven farmers markets within 25 miles of me. Seven markets loaded with farmers selling produce fresh from their farms in my very own town, the town next door, or even my own neighborhood. Each Saturday morning, we wake up at early, hop in the car, and head to our town’s farmer’s market, then another nearby market. By noon, my fridge is loaded with produce of all sorts, usually the varieties that looked prettiest or inspired me or that I hadn’t yet worked with or I knew I could use in a million ways throughout the week.
There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my shopping habits at the market which can often lead to much head scratching as I notice that I haven’t used [fill-in-the-blank-with-some-random-produce-I-bought] yet and it will start to go bad soon. My brain starts to churn, looking for ways I can use the produce that will challenge me yet not cause me too much of a headache and will definitely taste good on my dinner table. As a baker, I often come up short on ideas. I can only eat a fridge-dump quiche so many times.
Enter Hugh Acheson, here to save the day for all of us farmer’s market goers whose eyes are bigger than our culinary ideas. I knew his new book, The Broad Fork, could help me in my struggles as soon as I turned the cover to find a question I myself had asked just a month earlier: “What the h#%$ do I do with kohlrabi?”
In the first few pages, Acheson answers this question for a friend with a slew of ideas that all tempt me to buy up all the kohlrabi at my local market. Pickled kohlrabi, roasted kohlrabi with lobster, shaved kohlrabi salad. Here, Acheson perfectly sets the stage for what’s coming throughout the rest of the book: Idea upon idea for the many fruits and veggies you might find at your local farmers market.
Ordered by season, The Broad Fork features section after section based on one product featuring up to five recipes and gorgeous photos of both the product and your delicious finished results. Of course, any good cookbook is going to teach you concepts and creativity, which Acheson instills as he points out variations and gives you a good jumping off point for having fun with the foods you find at your local market.
You can easily switch out green beans for asparagus in the “Green Beans with Tarragon-Lemon Sabayon” recipe or make your “Peach Salad with Prosciutto, Arugula, Mint, Pickled Peppers, Pine Nuts, and Balsamic Vinegar” with whatever salad you have on hand and bacon. As you flip through the pages of this book, you’ll find loads of inspiration for the fresh foods sitting in your fridge.
One of my favorite parts about this book are the plethora of preserved and canned recipes that you can use later in on in any number of ways. Of course, pickled pearl onions, fermented carrots, and pickled turnip stems all sound wonderful, but I was most intrigued by the sweet picklings of peaches and blueberries! And since they’re in season now, I jumped right into the recipe and couldn’t wait to savor the results.
The process was quick and painless, but the time spent waiting for the flavors to meld in the fridge left me anxious every time I took a peek at them. But trust me, it was well worth the wait. We popped open the jar and took a sampling before throwing them into the salad and instantly fell in love with the results. Sweet and tart, they make the perfect little snack as well as a great addition to our favorite salad- apples and candied almonds on a bed of green leaf lettuce with a honey vinaigrette. Regardless of how you use them, you must try these pickled blueberries while they’re still in season at your local market!
Get on it.
This book had gorgeous photography, thoughtful and informative writing, and featured both in-depth and simple recipes that anyone from a beginner to seasoned cook can appreciate. My one complaint was that many of the ingredients cannot be found in the average home cook’s pantry and weren’t used enough throughout the book to justify buying the ingredients just for one recipe. But I love the variety and depth of flavor found in these recipes and can appreciate the attention to little details and bold flavors. I’ll definitely be using this book as a resource year-round.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.