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The Arrows Cookbook: Cooking and Gardening from Maine's Most Beautiful Farmhouse Restaurant Hardcover – May 27, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Located in Ogunquit, Maine, Arrows is a country restaurant owned by Clark Fraiser and Mark Gaier, who are also its chefs. The Arrows Cookbook, written by the pair, offers 150 recipes from the dining spot, contemporary food like Plank-Roasted Salmon with Rosemary-Mustard Vinaigrette, Baby Bok Choy with Chives and Smoked Ham, and Grilled Sea Scallops with Chile Pepper Sauce. These attractive, uncomplicated dishes are suitable for company or "dressier" weeknight cooking. What sets the book apart from similar works is its attention to the "backyard" garden that supplies the restaurant with over 250 varieties of fresh seasonal produce. The authors' garden smarts yields useful advice, including "How to Build Herb Boxes," "14 Easy Seeds," and "Heirloom Gardening."

The authors make a larger point. "You don't have to believe in the cosmic wisdom of cooking from the garden," they say. "It's enough that your garden will make you smarter about food." Cooking seasonally from the garden "has kept our culinary experimentation firmly rooted," they add, "and will do the same for you." The message is born out by the book's organization, which presents dishes--soup to desserts--season by the season. The winter section, for example, begins with a brief description of Arrows's cold-weather life ("Hardy herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme are still thriving in our garden beds at Thanksgiving...") then offers appropriate fare including Maine Shrimp Dumplings with Cilantro, Boiled Dinner Our Way (a particularly good version of the traditional dish), and Kale, Swiss Cheese, and Bacon Casserole. "Winter" desserts consist of the tempting likes of Steamed Pumpkin Pudding with Vanilla Crème Anglaise and Chocolate Carrot Cake with Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting. As both cooking and gardening guide, the book occupies a special--and engaging--spot. With color photos plus line drawings that particularly capture Arrows' special spirit. –-Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Artfully combined, fresh ingredients require little flourish to produce good recipes. In 1988, Maine restaurateurs Frasier and Gaier planted the garden and opened the restaurant to prove it. Simple recipes designed to showcase the flavors and aesthetics of fresh-grown produce fill their cookbook featuring dishes inspired by the one-acre garden that supplies their restaurant. The book, a tribute to purity and simplicity, is organized by season-each section includes an essay or memoir, food-preparation suggestion, gardening tip and, sometimes, a tidbit of culinary history. The recipes are concise and thoughtfully written. The ingredient combinations are generally innovative (morels, gruyere) but never rare, so cooks in Ohio can use the book as easily as cooks in San Francisco or Maine. In keeping with their philosophy, Frasier and Gaier have written recipes that highlight, rather than overwhelm, any key seasonal ingredients. Unfortunately, the essays, tips and culinary histories lack the sophistication and logical cohesion of the recipes. While these writings may contribute, in a vague way, to the overall "experience" of the book, the tips and histories tend to be reiterations of relatively well-known information. Yet this volume is filled with recipes home cooks will want to prepare for friends. Includes photos and illustrations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st Printing edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743236734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743236737
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
`The Arrows Cookbook' combines 156 recipes from the four seasons of the highly regarded coastal Maine restaurant with a experienced amateur gardener's recommendations on planting and running a large southern Maine vegetable garden for the restaurant. The book embodies the familiar mantra of using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients fortified by giving you the information you need to grow fresh, local ingredients. This is the special slant the book offers, as no publisher has yet gotten the chutzpah to charge $40 for a book without trying to give the reader something extra.
The tone of the book is heavily oriented to their rural Maine terroir in style and content. In Maine, the seasons play a much greater role in daily life than they do in California or even in Manhattan. Therefore, the book's attitude toward its product has neither the mystical reverence of Paul Bertolli or Alice Waters nor the high maintenance, high craftsmanship of Daniel Boulud or Eric Rippert. Even though there is considerable respect for ingredients and home brewed food making here in both the gardening in the Spring and Summer and ham curing done in the Winter. There is also no evidence of high tech houte cuisine (there are no prep or cook times or difficulties ascribed to the recipes) or of Napa Valley chic wine recommendations. This is Maine! This is boiled lobsters, boiled meat, and wild apple country.
The asking price of $0.26 a recipe is a relatively high price for the average cookbook. Many very good books average out at $0.10 to $0.20 a recipe, list. What would make you willing to pay the extra toll for this book aside from the celebrity status of the venue?
1. The recipes are good, simple preparations.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who's ever visited Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, knows the owners are sticklers for exquisite detail. From the views of the lush and meticulous one-acre garden out the freshly painted farmhouse windows, to the seasonal food artfully arranged on the plate, the experience is a treat for the eye as well as the palate. With the garden full of flowers, herbs, vegetables and heirloom tomatoes for inspiration, the food is creative and bursting with bright and subtle flavors.
The owners' first book reflects this with a balanced presentation of recipes, gardening advice and personal details. Organized seasonally, the authors showcase Maine staples such as lobster, Maine shrimp and cod and halibut, fiddleheads and blueberries. But the fiddleheads come served in brown butter with Bundnerfleisch, a German cured beef (you could also substitute prosciutto or smoked salmon); the lobster comes in an Asparagus Soup with Lobster, Morels and Chervil, and the lobster salad is served, not with mayonnaise, but with Tomato-Tarragon Vinaigrette.
The authors cross cultures freely and do not mind a little extra effort for a spectacular result. The skewers for the Chinese-inspired Grilled Lamb Brochettes on Basil Skewers with Spicy Basil-Cilantro Marinade, for instance, are basil stems left to dry over the winter.
Each chapter opens with a short essay on the season and state of the garden (which provides 90 percent of the restaurant's produce) and business, then moves on to feature appetizers, main and side dishes, sauces and desserts. Recipes are prefaced with short, useful notes on growing (even in Maine, "tomatillos grow like weeds"), selecting (the best piece of bluefin tuna, for instance), variations, accompaniments, and cooking tips.
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Format: Hardcover
When I need to plan a dinner for friends that are not foodies this is the first cookbook I choose. The recipes are delicious, easy to prepare and are not over the top. Every recipe has been meticulously checked and all have proven to be delicious. The book helps capture the feel of eating at the restaurant. The seasonality of the book's organization helps us northern new englanders plan an appropriate meal.
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By A Customer on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As both a cook and a gardener, this cookbook is a treat. Oganized by season, the recipes use fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables found in the garden and at the farmer's market. There are ambitious recipes that call for a lot of time and preparation, as well as extremely simple fare. The book also gives hints and instructions for everything from freezing berries and shucking oysters to building raised beds; even providing advice on whether or not to buy a greenhouse! You can plant the authors' "10 veggies that let you have a life," and then use their recipes to create such dishes as Red and Golden Beet Salad or the very simple Ginger-Roasted Parsnips. Armed with my seed catalogs and Frasier and Gaier's cookbook for inspiration and ideas (not to mention a slice of Super-Moist Apple Cake and a cup of coffee), I am looking forward to planning my garden for 2004. I can hardly wait until next year's harvest!
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