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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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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many of the vegetables are hard to find outside of the west coast, even at Whole Foods or smaller farmer's markets (e.g. fiddleheads). There are absolutely no pictures.Published 7 months ago by Zoraya De La Cruz
We love this cookbook. Every single thing we've made -- and at this point I think we've tried almost every recipe -- has been simple, but delicious. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Allison
Have moseyed through this cookbook and picked out some great recipes to try. And since I live in California this book has prompted me to visit this Farmer's Market to pick up some... Read morePublished 18 months ago by C. J. Jordan
I am not a "cook book" cook. I like to improvise and change recipes...but this cook book has recipes that are easy to follow and unfailingly delicious! Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by DEB
Food Lovers everywhere here is a book for us all and at this price I'll be sending them as Christmas gifts to relatives back East just to prove you don't have to live in Santa... Read morePublished on November 1, 2009 by Sandra L. Melvoin
I bought this on impulse, and it has become well worn in just a couple of seasons. I notice that she assumes some experience and her instructions could appear vague in places if... Read morePublished on January 16, 2009 by Emily
Saltsman does a fabulous job of putting the Santa Monica Farmers' Market in the golden light those of us who have lived with its fruits (and veg and milk and meat and bread and... Read morePublished on November 13, 2008 by Margaret