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The Herbfarm Cookbook Hardcover – March 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since 1990, Jerry Traunfeld has been the chef at the Herbfarm, a restaurant-nursery nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State devoted to propagating an exceptional variety of culinary herbs, edible flowers, and greens. People wait months for a table at this restaurant, where Traunfeld's unaffected yet sophisticated cooking unfolds in a nine-course dinner. Reading his recipes, you understand why. It is hard to get through even the first chapter, on soups, without starting a shopping list for making Green Gazpacho, a cooling blend of cucumbers and green pepper with spearmint, parsley, and cilantro, or Herbal Chicken Noodle Soup, lavish with fresh basil, chives, tarragon, and marjoram.

After enticing you with the story of his signature dish, a green salad made with up to 30 ingredients, each literally harvested and assembled on the plate one leaf and blossom at a time, Traunfeld shows how, using more typical resources, you can construct a salad friends will declare a delicious work of art. To make it really simple, he provides a chart listing 50 possible choices that helps you balance the flavors, including hot, sweet, bitter, and aromatic, and the colors and textures that make a salad more than a plate of lovely greens.

However, if you don't live in a culinary paradise like the Seattle area, only have access to a typical supermarket, and you don't want to grow your own herbs, you can still infuse your cooking with the same enticing magic Traunfeld creates at the Herbfarm. Just tuck sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or oregano between the slices of a loaf of country bread spread with butter or olive oil and roasted garlic, wrap it in foil, and pop it in the oven for a quick 12 minutes. Or try Mashed Potatoes with Toasted Coriander, the seeds adding earthy flavor to a perennial favorite, and serve with chicken piccata enlivened with fresh dill.

Traunfeld is such a good teacher and clear writer that you follow with confidence when he guides you through Herb-Smoked Salmon--first dry-rubbed, then smoked over dried stems from basil, thyme, or fennel and finally baked until the fish is just gently set. You also get an introduction to the Japanese concept of umami, a state of food perfection that Traunfeld achieves in his Umami Carrot Soup with Mint.

Following the 200 recipes and alluring photos of some prepared dishes, you learn about growing herbs, both in the garden and in containers. A section describing herbs and edible flowers, from angelica to violets, is ample and articulate enough to stand on its own as a book, and those interested in gardening will appreciate the list of nurseries here. Finally, this section includes a table covering 29 herbs that will help you transform your own favorite dishes simply by adding fresh herbs. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684839768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684839769
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Namir Gharaibeh on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
So when I moved into my new house, I started an herb garden thinking it would be cool to incorporate them into my meals. When they all finally matured, I was so happy, but didn't know what to do with them, so I set out looking for a cookbook that centered around herbs.
This was the best I found, and after trying out a few, it has very, very well written recipies. Everyone I tried came out perfect, and tasted scrumptious! Honestly. The recipies have are as descriptive as the rest of the book. "The mixture will be satiny & sticky and have a consistancy between soft dough & thick batter."
Additionally, there is detailed explinations on how to start, care for, cook, store, dry, and love your herbs. Albiet a tad pricy, definately worth every penny in it's depth, honesty, detail, and quality.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By scottsharot on June 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I teach classes in growing and cooking with herbs. I have never found a more infomative, beautifully laid out and designed book on herbs.Like "Herbs and Spices" by Waverly Root It is chocked full of information and recipes. But somehow Jerry Trauneld's experience and passion for herbs shines through in a delightful user friendly way. This book is bound to become a classic.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been gourmet cooking and growing most of my own herbs now for years, some successfully, and others not so. In looking for some aid with what ails my herb garden, sought this one out as possibility.

It provided what I needed and more. What I needed was some specific help with cultivation and amount of each herb for the kitchen. Exactly one of the main portions of this book. The bonus is the exciting recipe collection that composes this award winning cookbook.

Feast your eyes and tastebuds on: Roasted Asparagus Salad with Fried Sage; Smoked Trout and Corn Pudding; Individual Crab and Lemon Thyme Souffles with Chervil Sauce; Shrimp and Tarragon Risotto; Poached Salmon Fillets with Tarragon Sauce; Grilled Flank Steak with Oregano Marinade; Apple-Rosemary Souffle; Red Pepper and Hazlenut Sauce.

If you're serious about cooking, this is must have on your shelves. Herbs and fresh ones are a must, and this provides advice from a pro oriented towards whatever size garden one can have.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having grown up in Washington and hearing about the Herbfarm for years, I finally had the pleasure of dining there last month. After the first of nine different courses, I decided to purchase the book and it has rapidly become a favorite.
The information contained within is invaluable for anyone looking to expand their technique through the incorporation of more herbs other than just parsley. From the section on pairing herbs with different foods to cultivating your own, each section contains a wealth of information one will find informative and helpful.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jerry Traunfeld has given us an excellent guide to growing, handling, and cooking with fresh herbs and edible flowers. He offers familiar as well as novel recipes that are simple yet far from boring. He also includes attractive full-color photos of finished dishes, botanical watercolors of herbs, and a helpful glossary. In sum, this is a valuable and well-researched book from an enthusiastic chef who shares his knowledge and expertise in a sincere and straightforward manner. "The Herbfarm Cookbook" sits alongside another great favorite of mine, Sonia Uvezian's "Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen," a brilliant and highly original volume featuring fascinating text and exceptional recipes that make imaginative use of herbs (and spices). Both Traunfeld and Uvezian write remarkably clear recipes that even beginners can follow without difficulty. Every lover of good food should acquire these two books, which are certain to become classics.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joan Roberta on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The recipes in Jerry Traunfeld's The Herbfarm Cookbook will make your taste buds perk up and sing. And they'll have your friends begging for dinner invitations.
After reading an essay by the author on growing herbs, I bought this book to learn about herb gardening. Three months later, I find it my favorite--and most-used-- new cookbook since I discovered Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking thirty-odd years ago. The Herbfarm Cookbook is not merely an extraordinary source of scrumptious recipes; it has transformed the way I cook--even the way I think about food.
Traubman uses herbs to intensify the flavors of foods--in glorious combinations. He infuses the cream for a panna cotta with ginger and lavender or turns a simple white gazbacho into the essence of summer with the addition of mint, parsley and tarragon. Purees of fresh herbs form bases for relatively light yet rich-tasting sauces.
While he may call for a half cup of basil here or ¾ cups of tarragon there, none of his dishes are overpowered by a too-dominant flavor. In fact, the amazing thing about cooking with herbs in this manner is the way they underscore the tastes of star ingredients.
Vegetables as ordinary as parsnips and carrots become sublime. The simplest roast chicken or linguine in clam sauce gains intriguing overtones and new interest.

Halibut roasted in an herbal green robe. Couscous salad with cumin, cilantro and apricots. Appetizers of broiled figs sprinkled with thyme on gorgonzola-slathered croutes or mussels on little beds of broiled mint pesto. Every recipe I have tried has been amazing. And most of them have been surprisingly simple.
The author is the chef of one of America's most acclaimed restaurants.
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