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Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager Hardcover – September 15, 2011
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"Round and `round."
Author Laidlaw is no stranger to the written word. He's published two novels; Three Nights in the Heart & Blue Bel Air, lived internationally but is most at home in the country. Through clever anecdotes and totally approachable recipes Laidlaw brings a fresh voice into the fast-expanding world of foraging locally and how to cook the stuff.
"...90 percent of good cooking is good shopping--taking shopping here in its broadest sense..."
By broadest sense he often times means heading out the door and into the nearby woods surrounding his western Wisconsin cabin aptly named "Bide-A-Wee." It's in the woods or out in a local fishing hole that Laidlaw seems the most inspired to forage for the ingredients that transform into surprisingly unusual dishes.
One of the many things I found refreshing was the non-Martha Stewart attitude the author exhibited by constantly suggesting alternative ingredients as well as using what was in season and readily available to most of us rural folks. His pizza dough recipe was a snap, the Buckwheat cookies a treat and I look forward to smoking our own bacon; a staple in many of Laidlaw's creations.
If you're like many of us the idea of French cooking seems off-putting and downright scary. Though some of us can recall giggling along with Julia as she slugged wine from her measuring cup and yet managed to create some un-pronounceable dish in under a half-hour, it was off to Hamburger Helper land during commercial breaks.
The tide has shifted and many of us are returning to our gardens, to our local cheese makers, farmers markets and CSA's are all literally bursting with gastronomical possibilities and Laidlaw has the perfect guidebook. From Duck Confit, Popcorn Salad, Snap Pea Salsa and his title--Trout Caviar, it's all revealed in simple, step-by-step recipes that really do work the first time. Though I realize it's pricy, my only complaint is the lack of pictures for each and every dish. I want a face to his Mom's Hot Red Cabbage and who wouldn't want a shot to see of Gooseberry and Raspberry Fool?
And then there's cheese.
"I really love French Cheese, but I hardly eat it anymore. Take in the whole state of Wisconsin, and you'd be a long time tasting fabulous local cheeses before you started to crave a rubbery slice of under-ripe industrial grocery store Brie."
Throughout Trout Caviar there are stories full of wisdom and keen observation many, if not all, were taken from his very popular blog of the same name and it is within these snippets of insight that Laidlaw becomes an author. From Smoking Basics, Trout Caviar, In the Garden, Wild Mushroom Cookery Basics to a heartfelt homage to hunting; Laidlaw's there.
Though I've read many a cookbook from cover-to-cover this is the first one where I truly dreaded the end.
Could a sequel be in the making?