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The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor Hardcover – November 1, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are herb gardens, and then there's the Herbfarm, both an award-winning restaurant with an award winning chef, Jerry Traunfeld, and an herb farm--literally. Over the past 14-years Traunfeld has had a farm's worth of herbs to work with in his commercial kitchen and at home. He opened the doors to his commercial kitchen with The Herbfarm Cookbook. And now he takes us home with The Herbal Kitchen. Here's a hint: It's all about heightened flavor through the creative use of herbs.

There's the humble roasted oyster, for example. Traunfeld makes a sauce of fresh sorrel, butter, shallots, cream, and lemon juice. Each oyster sits in its half shell atop a dollop of the sauce and bakes until plump. They are served topped with fine strips of fresh sorrel. Briny oyster meets tart sorrel gentled with cream and butter. Does it get any better? You bet it does. Roasted Oysters with Sorrel Sauce is but an appetizer, along with Minted Lentil and Goat Cheese Strudel, and Spicy Verbena Meatballs.

After a brief introduction to herb basics, Traunfeld moves on to appetizers and drinks (the Rosemary Gin and Tonic sounds intriguing). Chapters that follow cover soups, salads, fast suppers, meals for a crowd, intimate feasts, vegetable dishes, breads, and desserts. Consider the Shiso Crab Cocktail, or Black Olive Roast Chicken, Sides of Salmon Slow-Roasted in Dill, or Lavender-Rubbed Duck Breasts with Apricots and Sweet Onions.

These are precise, carefully thought-out and executed recipes, and they are all built around the masterful use of fresh herbs. You will want to attend to your gardening as much as your cooking with this book as inspiration. Work through The Herbal Kitchen from front to back and you will transform your relationship with herbs. The food you cook and eat will never be the same. And that's a delicious gift from one of the mighty. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

The James Beard Award–winning chef of the Herbfarm near Seattle, Traunfeld (The Herbfarm Cookbook) certainly knows a thing or two about cooking masterfully with fresh herbs. Whereas his first book celebrated restaurant-status dishes, this volume concerns simple dishes for the home cook. Traunfeld concisely introduces the basics of starting one's own herb garden; storing herbs; chopping, slicing and tearing herbs; and measuring herbs. Then he launches into the redolent recipes, many as straightforward as Prosciutto Melon with Lime and Cilantro; Dilled Celery, Asian Pear, and Hazelnut Salad; and Lemon Rosemary Chicken enhanced with dried currants and green olives. Recipes in the "Intimate Feasts" chapter, including Sea Scallops on Summer Succotash, and Lavender-Rubbed Duck Breast with Apricots and Sweet Onions, can stand as complete and creative meals, or be paired with a side from the vegetables chapter, such as Mashed Winter Squash with Bay Butter, or Salt-Roasted Potatoes. Herb-infused desserts like Strawberry Rose Geranium Ice Cream are lovely and not heavy. Throughout, Traunfeld offers insight into the use of specific herbs and ingredients, creating a work that is at once practical, informative and inspiring. Color photos. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060599766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060599768
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have both of Traunfeld's cookbooks. I have had great success with the Herbfarm Cookbook, and did not think that there could be a better effort, but the Herbal Kitchen is even better. They are different books and I will use both, but the Herbal Kitchen includes more fabulous dishes that you can put together on a weeknight. The Herbfarm Cookbook is a much more thorough compendium of recipies and herb growing/properties information. Get them both.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a bookcase full of great cook books. This is one of the best I have ever used because the recipes are simple and so full of flavor and one is better the next. Most recipes have no more than seven or eight ingredients and the photos included really represent the final dish.
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Format: Hardcover
I have taken cooking classes from Jerry Traunfeld and walk away from each one with a renewed passion for cooking. This book only strengthens that feeling by providing the home cook with easy to follow recipes using herbs that kick up the flavor of every dish. Jerry offers alternates to each herb he has in his recipe which can be very helpful when faced with one not being available. I have never been a fan of duck, but after tasting the duck breast recipe at one of Jerry's recent classes I absolutely loved it.
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Format: Hardcover
The recipes in Jerry's new book are well-written, easy to follow, novel, and delicious. Every single recipe is worth serving to guests, yet simple enough to make for a weeknight meal. Anyone with access to fresh herbs - and who appreciates the creative spirit of cooking - should buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've always cooked with herbs, but always rushed off to the grocery store to get them fresh for your recipes, now is the time to stop and pick them fresh out of your own garden or pot! This book has a lot of great detailed information about how to grow, cut and cook with herbs. There are also a lot of pictures so you're not left wondering what something, you may never have seen before, should look like. The recipes are easy and tasty, the information is simple and this book makes a great gift or center piece on any coffee table. You'll be entertaining guests with your new recipes, indoor herb pots and wonderful cookbook, while explaining it all, in no time.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife and I have been fortunate enough to eat at The Herb Garden (located in the Pacific NW), but for those who can't make it up here, or can't afford the rather expensive experience of it, here is the answer! Head Chef Jerry Traunfeld's recipes are surprisingly easy, and every single one we've tried (we're working our way through the book) has been a hit. Not just okay. AWESOME. So go to your local market, or out into your garden, get the freshest produce and herbs available, and hit the kitchen. You'll be glad you did!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book speaks to a very specific audience. If you are into gourmet cooking and your family enjoys culinary adventures, this will be a home run. The images are beautiful and the food looks creative and delicious. There is no doubt the author is talented and passionate about what he does.
However, this book wasn't for me. I am an avid gardener who enjoys eating healthy, but simple. Cooking is not a love of mine, just a means to an end. I was hoping to find easy ways to incorporate the herbs I love to grow. This is not such a book. I do not find the recipes to be simple, nor would many of these be appetizing to my elementary-school aged boys. Many of the recipes include ingredients I am unfamiliar with and many also require or suggest cooking implements beyond the basics--food processors, convection ovens, etc. I pulled out approximately 10 recipes that were 'normal' enough and hassle-free enough that I would actually make on a weeknight. So, as I said, this book will be great for some, but not for me.
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Format: Hardcover
I hardly cook - the local takeout places know me all too well. But, occasionally, I'll bust something out for my book club or a potluck. I've been using the recipes in this book almost exclusively and they always turn out amazing, even the first time. They don't have a ton of ingredients and Jerry Traunfeld explains the steps remarkably well, so I'm not likely to get myself into a mess of trouble trying to cook. The Herbed Skillet Souffle was my first pass at folding egg whites and the results were delicious. I love the Cherry Tomato, Melon and Mint Salad - an unusual combination that makes me look like I know what I'm doing, but easy enough for a child to prepare. And, the Frothy Tarragon Sauce atop asparagus was incredible.

There is something about the way it's written, with careful descriptions of each dish and obvious love for food, that is truly inspiring.
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