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Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm & Field Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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"As visually stunning as it is informative. His work is incredibly compelling, and from an urban chef without any practical experience foraging, Rob makes me want to lay down my laptop, discover my own local flora, and see what I can also incorporate into our menusan amazing book by a dedicated visionary." Matthew Dolan, chef/owner of Twenty Five Lusk
This book provides a very thoughtful approach in articulating the art of foraging and really moves the concept of farm-to-table to the next level. Rob tells every part of the story, from the Earth to the plate. I grew up in Silver City and always admired the land and it’s a beauty in different way, but I never really appreciated its abundance until now; it makes me home sick now, more than ever.” Andres Padilla, culinary director of the Frontera Hospitality Group
"In this timely book by the unique and refreshing voice of Rob Connoley, the author offers one of the most significant guides to foraging for food written to date. The ethics set forth, together with his passionate appeal for food rich with the taste of the place from which it came, nourishing and delicious, are as inspiring to this seasoned chef as it will be to every home cook who picks up Acorns and Cattails." Paul Fehribach, chef and owner of Big Jones
Chef-owner Rob Connoley stocks the kitchen with ingredients he finds in the forest. He blends the foraged materials with locally sourced proteins like 4-H lamb and a touch of molecular magic.” Sunset
The award for most far-flung modernist cuisine may go to chef Rob Connoley of the Curious Kumquat in Silver City, New Mexico.” Saveur
"No ordinary guide to eating the wild, this beautiful, creative presentation takes 100 gourmet recipes to a new level." American Herb Association Quarterly
"Connoley’s impractical culinary mission makes it that much more inspiring: prepare modernist food out of the most primitive of ingredients. The James Beard Awardnominated chef is a passionate advocate for foraging and propels his restaurant cuisine with food gathered from the surrounding landscape in Silver City, New Mexico. That might mean wild grass seed risotto dusted with cattail pollen or yucca blossom ice cream drizzled with pinecone syrup. Both are recipes found in this confident cookbook, which is an articulate introduction to the principles of foraging and cooking foraged foods as well as a vigorous call to ethically and sustainably source all ingredients. Connoley begins with a guide to plants he harvests in the desert and some foraging how-to, followed by chapters divided into recipes for wild and locally raised meat, locally farmed produce, and wild plants. Several recipes are complex and seem clearly geared to the professional, but committed home cooks will also find plenty to love in this exploration of rediscovered flavors." Booklist
About the Author
Jay Hemphill grew up in the Kansas City area and is a graduate of Western New Mexico University, where he earned his BFA in photography. He resides in Silver City, New Mexico.
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes Rob and his cooking interesting, recommendable, and delicious? Integrity; his foundation is integrity. Integrity underlies every single thing he does. On that foundation is laid his curiosity, his talent as a cook, and his love of outdoor places. This means he will go out at 6am to snip some wild herbs for the evening's dinner service: just enough for the dishes, not nearly so much as to disrupt the growth of that patch of foliage. He wants there to be enough, always.
His integrity means that taking a short-cut is not only unappealing, but it is boring. Pop-tarts from scratch? Check. Your own cured ham that takes nothing more than time? Check. The best chocolate chip cookies you've ever tasted, made with sustainable mesquite flour? Check. Rob's sweet tooth is legendary and it leads to some outstanding recipes in this book, from cookies to tea cakes to chocolates. The Ginger Horehound cookies are my favorite.
Worried about difficulty? Don't be. These recipes are what you would find in any mainstream cooking magazine like Bon appetit. Some recipes are stupendously simple; others have several components that make for an impressive final dish, but could also stand alone or pared down as your time and pantry allow. For example, the Acorn Pasta dish is comprised of Acorn Pasta, Spicy Crawfish Sauce, and Preserved Kumquats. Leaving off the preserved kumquats saves some time. Serving the crawfish sauce on its own as a stew would be delicious, too. Of course, assembling each part into the whole most closely replicates what you'd receive at the restaurant, but working with what you have the bandwidth for is a huge part of Rob's strategy, too.
The back of the book includes a resources list and information on where and how to obtain the foraged ingredients. The essays within the book explore the big picture: how Rob got interested in this life as well as the people who supply and inspire him, from a local "plant whisperer" to his rabbit grower. The community around this kind of cooking is both essential and growing, and with books like these it will keep doing so for years.
Do I gush? Sure. But there are very few cooks—or humans—out there like Rob and this book lets you enjoy a little of his handiwork in your own home, even if you can't visit him in his new adventures in St. Louis.