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The Herbfarm Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated, March 1, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 101 ratings

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Editorial Reviews 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.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 2.19 pounds
  • Hardcover : 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780684839769
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0684839769
  • Dimensions : 7 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Publisher : Scribner Book Company (March 1, 2000)
  • ASIN : 0684839768
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101 ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Avid Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Relly Helpful Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2013
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Wilson! I'm sorry Wilson!
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy to use resource for all cooks and gardeners!
Reviewed in Canada on February 11, 2008
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Reviewed in Canada on July 30, 2011
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