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The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm Paperback – August 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sure, the farmer's market can provide the freshest food available, but how can you tell? And once you've found the perfect heirloom tomatoes, what do you do with them? Cooking teacher and television host Saltsman provides plenty of answers to those questions in this compilation of recipes that shrugs off complex preparation to focus on using seasonal ingredients to their fullest. Saltsman offers tips on buying (how to pick the best corn and eggs, for instance) as well as which vendors to seek out at her local farmer's market in Santa Monica, should you decide to make the trip. Meat, fowl and fish make appearances, but the star of this book is the produce. Saltsman provides a wealth of variations for familiar favorites like tomatoes, mushrooms and squash, and uses more exotic fare to spike some standard dishes: sapote, for instance, is a citrusy, custard-like South American fruit that makes a great twist on crème brulee. Cooks will get a lot of mileage out of Saltsman's simple yet innovative uses for fresh fruit, like a memorable tart made of seared nectarines and peaches, burnt honey and fresh berries, or a savory-sweet salad made with mixed cherries, toasted almonds, greens and aged goat cheese. In her first book, Saltsman proves that minimal effort, coupled with high-quality food, can produce extraordinary results.
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Review

Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years: We looked through basketfuls of market-based cookbooks before picking The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook as best in field. Beginners and confident locavores alike will love every bite. --Tiffany Vickers Davis, Cooking Light Magazine

Amelia's book is really three volumes in one: gleanings from the culture of farming; a guide to produce, meats, and cheeses found at this extraordinary market; and a great cookbook. -From the Foreword by Deborah Madison

Amelia's book is an amazing resource to have with you, a complete season-by-season handbook to guide you through the bounty of the market. -Alice Waters owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant

...for anyone who has ever stood in the produce aisle of the supermarket, wishing for something more; for anyone who has wandered past the rows of beautiful produce at a farmers' market gazing longingly but unsure where to start. -Suzanne Goin, chef-owner of Lucques and AOC restaurants

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blenheim Press; 1st edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979042909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979042904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amelia Saltsman is the award-winning author of The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm. In 2006, Amelia founded Blenheim Press in order to produce her first book. Described by Alice Waters as "an amazing resource" and by Deborah Madison in the book's foreword as "a seamless work," The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook tells the story of passionate, small California growers and their extraordinary crops, and is a great market guide and cookbook. The book has received numerous awards including the Santa Monica Library 2008 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature and the Writers' Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Books.

Amelia is a familiar voice on KCRW's "Good Food," and her work has appeared in such publications as Bon Appétit, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and coming soon, Cooking Light. She is the host and producer of the local cable cooking show "Fresh from the Farmers' Market," and serves on the California Certified Farmers' Market Advisory Committee. She is the editor of the publication of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, and enjoys teaching food writing to elementary and middle schoolers through the Young Writers' Conference.

Amelia is passionate about getting everyone out to their local farmers' markets to shop seasonally and cook simply and deliciously for their families. These days, when we are so concerned about food safety, our children's health, the economy, and having enough time to get dinner on the table, Amelia offers a simple and tasty solution: "Look for great flavor at your farmers' market. When the raw ingredients taste good, it's the most obvious indicator that our food has been grown carefully and locally, and that it's at its freshest and most nutritious."

Inspired by her neighborhood Santa Monica Farmers' Market, one of the largest and most important growers' markets in the nation, Amelia has shopped its stalls, talked with its farmers, and cooked its magnificent produce for more than 20 years. A Los Angeles native, Amelia and her husband, Ralph Saltsman, raised their three children on the Westside and now enjoy watching their granddaughter's budding appreciation for the market's delicious bounty.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Judy Bart Kancigor on December 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family
I actually DID trail "Amelia around the Santa Monica market to learn what's in peak season, and to be introduced to the farmers that grew it" (see previous review) when I wrote about this wonderful book for the Orange County Register. But there were frequent interruptions, because Amelia Saltsman - writer, cooking teacher, producer/host of her own TV show - is the undisputed queen of the Santa Monica Farmers Market and instantly recognized by shoppers and farmers alike. This cookbook is as much an homage to the farmers, their histories, and their commitment to excellence as it is a collection of fuss-less, original and artful recipes inspired by the amazing varieties they produce. Fava Bean and Pea Shoot Salad. Fresh Porcini and Potato Soup. Slow Baked Quince with Honey and Cognac. Recipes that showcase ingredients over method, with Saltsman guiding us from the familiar to the exotic, as you can see by the following excerpt from the Register:

"People are overwhelmed by choice," she said, "but don't know how to proceed. The only way farmers are going to grow these varieties is if people know how to cook them."

A delivery man whizzed by carrying mounds of bush-like, herby-looking bouquets. "Fresh garbanzo beans," Amelia informed me. "You can find unusual things at the farmers' market that you would never find anywhere else. It's not that they're so rare - they're just rare here. In Mumbai you could find them all the time. And even the very ordinary things sing with great flavor, the simplest things - carrots, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes - it makes all the difference in the world.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Betty Mallorca on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is almost as good as actually trailing Amelia around the Santa Monica market to learn what's in peak season, and to be introduced to the farmers that grew it. Amelia's recipes are simple and direct; even fledgling cooks can use them with great success. I'd eat anything that Amelia's cooked! Read this book; you will learn a lot about all sorts of interesting, delicious things.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Menthol Rum VINE VOICE on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm sure that many Amazon customers have many books and bookcases. I am no exception. I have 3 rows of cookbooks stretching several feet, but The Santa Monica Farmers Cookbook is only neatly shouldered among them occasionally. It is usually in closer proximity to the kitchen.

The emphasis is as you can guess, on the ingredients. For me (and the author) the local farmers market brings the best Southern California has to offer, which is saying a lot. She also offers suggestions for those that have to use store bought produce as well. The theme of the recipes is simplicity, letting the fresh, natural taste of the ingredients speak for themselves. For instance, the Bruschetta recipe is about as simple as you get, but the tomatoes really stand out and the flavor is amazing. This is a common occurrence with these recipes.

Not only have I made the recipes, but I have eaten them at a restaurant that hosted a book signing for the author and served her recipes. I have been able to consistently turn dishes that were as good as what I ate at the restaurant.

Not only are the recipes amazing, but the organization of the book is fantastic too. There are sections from starters to deserts and there is a section for vegetarians too. There is an index where recipes are broken down by season, as well as the crops. Other helpful sections list cooking items you might need, techniques, how to buy produce. She writes a good amount about the people that grow the various produce, which I found very interesting. So very well done.

This is a great cookbook for fresh dishes and it would also make a great cookbook to give as a gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daka_NY on October 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Plainly and simply, this book is a treasure! I use it as much for the delicious recipes as I do for the tips and tricks - which are all nestled nicely in between beautiful photographs of the farmers of the Santa Monica Market.

Amelia sheds light on those wonderful farmers' market items that you always want to cook, but aren't quite sure how to easily prepare. I use it often as a quick guide to remind me how to cook seasonal items I don't necessarily cook year round. What do I do with wax beans again? What can I do with green garlic? Spring greens? Beet tops? Amelia keeps my birdbrain in order and reminds me how to trim this, preserve that, boil, bake, reduce and roast year round. If I have a general question on how to prepare an item, I generally find that Amelia has the answer!

It's a comprehensive cookbook that teaches you to be fearless in your produce selection, adventurous in your ability to actually use the items you buy, and gives you a wonderful context for the heart and community of the Santa Monica Market.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Marty Martindale on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
THE SANTA MONICA
FARMERS MARKET COOKBOOK
"Custard from the Garden"
By Amelia Saltsman
With a foreword by Deborah Madison
A review, interview by Marty Martindale
Various attractions draw visitors year `round. Some are bold, deeper-diving roller coasters, sedate museums, mighty cliffs and deep, deep canyons. However, appearing on more attraction lists these days are farmers' markets, and Santa Monica's Farmer's Market has become a special destination for a new breed of pleasure seekers.
"Open up all your senses," urges Saltsman, "look for colors, smell the aromas, feel for ripeness, taste the sweetness and listen carefully to the farmers." Saltsman. "Shopping at a farmer' market is a communal, rather than a solitary experience and one that asks us to use all our senses and be a bit adventurous. Small farmers -- wiling to grow for flavor, wait until the crop is completely ripe, then get it to market within 24 hours of harvest - this is their passion, and they want to excel."
In her book, Amelia successfully shares her enthusiasm for everything market. She's quick to refer you to her Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Primer, pages 102 to 105. "This is a perfect example of how you can take the same simple technique, use the basic seasonings of olive oil, salt and pepper to dramatically heighten natural flavors ... from caramelized carrots to custard-centered summer squash." She's quick to recommend her Prosciutto and Persimmon Appetizer made with crushed, toasted peppercorns, also her Nettle & Potato Frittata.
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