I love to cook and many times it will be the description of a new book that gets me interested in taking a closer look. It was the words, “Home Cooked emphasizes the importance of making flavorful base ingredients ahead of time to use later in complete, luscious meals.” that made me want to review this book and I’m glad I did.
About the Book: A recipe collection and how-to guide for preparing base ingredients that can be used to make simple, weeknight meals, while also teaching skills like building and cooking over a fire, and preserving meat and produce, written by a sustainable food expert and founder of Belcampo Meat Co.
The book is hard bound and 295 pages. There are color pictures sprinkled throughout. You can purchase Home Cooked on Amazon for $18.99.
My Review: With this type of book I generally want to know a bit more about the author (you know before diving in) so I started off Home Cooked by reading Anya Fernald’s lengthy introduction story of how her cooking life came to be.
Anya was inspired after college, during her travels in Italy, by the simple, rustic farm cooking that is so vogue today. Of particular note (to me) is how she mentions that in one of the small villages where she was you were considered well off if you ate at the local McDonald’s and that the poor farmers had to eat their home grown food! Oh how different from what it is here in the states.
Now on to the food! The recipes in Home Cooked are rustic family friendly fare. Most of the dishes are Italian in nature but not out of depth for the average American cook. This book is not low fat and if you want to try these recipes then be prepared to throw whatever diet you are on out the window!
I can’t deny that I would love to try most everything in this volume but I don’t drink so I’ll pass on the spirits chapter (except for the recipe for the Peach Shrub which can be used as a juice concentrate. I’ll be making that this summer for sure!) and squid doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. But I never pick up a cookbook expecting to love every recipe so I’m not at all disappointed but rather pleasantly surprised at how many recipes I do want to try.
The bulk of the recipes use few ingredients (usually about less than 10) and her descriptions of the history behind each recipe, how to use it, and how to preserve it is greatly appreciated.
The premise behind Home Cooked is that you use seasonal and local ingredients to create a few building blocks of recipes for great flavor and then use those building blocks to create great dishes.
Chapter one of the book are the building blocks. There are recipes for sofritto, aioli, chicken stock, chicken stock, beef stock, pig stock (trotter), lard (rendering), cultured butter, canned tomatoes, salsa verde, and a couple more.
So far I’ve ended up spending one half a day in the kitchen shopping for and making the sofritto, and salsa verde recipes, and then using the sofritto and the idea behind the ragu sauce recipe to make some extra good homemade pizza. The salsa verde we’ve been eating on boiled eggs. It’s delicious!
Then I improvised a bit (didn’t have a whole chicken) and made the braised chicken. Boy that was flavorful!
Next on my list are the cultured butter, crackers (not gluten free), some cheese, some anise breakfast cookies and quite a few more. My pasta maker will have to be dusted off for sure.
The rest of the chapters are Snacks, Starters, and Cocktails; Pasta, Rau, Risotto, & Eggs; Vegetables;Fish & Meat; Desserts.
I almost forgot! Here’s an example of the recipes…
- You know about the sofritto, aioli, salsa verde etc.
- Cucumber Yogurt Cream
- Olive Oil Crackers
- Pickled Grapes
- Cavateddi, a pasta
- Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms in Tomato Sauce
- Chickpea Torte
- Twice Cooked Orange Duck
- Chicken Fried Rabbit (I kind of want to try this)
- Anise Seed Breakfast Cookies (lots of eggs)
- Lemon Granita
- Jam Tartlets
I enjoy cooking but still have a lot to learn. I read, watch, and absorb when I can. I love learning new recipes from different cultures. I find it inspiring and yummy!
So… I have a giveaway for you. If you love to cook. Try new recipes. Use your produce and ingredients to their fullest. Get the most out of every ingredient. Have your family hover over you while you’re stirring up pots and pans of deliciousness then. And don’t mind gaining a few pounds then please enter my giveaway sponsored by Blogging for Books.
Now I would like to give one to you. Blogging for Books kindly has provided an extra copy for one of my readers. Enter the giveaway linky below.
Enter the Giveaway
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”