Friday, August 28, 2009

Local cooking

Those of you who have been to my home know my penchant for cookbooks. They're my one material (some might say hoarding) vice: I have over 150, and I can't seem to stop there. To be fair, to me they are entertaining as well as practical; I've been known to peruse them for hours, even if I'm not looking for a specific recipe. Anything is fair game, too: spiral-bound church fundraising cookbooks sit next to works by Julia Child and Mark Bittman. International cuisine meets Midwestern chow on my bookshelves. My large collection didn't stop me from buying a few extra tomes at the beginning of our CSA season this year, however, and I'm glad I did. My favorite new addition to the library is the St. Paul Farmers' Market Cookbook. Sadly, I've never been to the St. Paul Farmers' Market, but I hope to make it before the end of the growing season, because I've heard it's spectacular. This book, however, was the closest thing I could find to a local farmers' market cookbook. Its recipe for Hmong Stuffed Cabbage has become a favorite at our house, as well as several others. The book isn't flashy, and it doesn't have any photos, so it might have slipped past me if I weren't looking specifically for a local book. I highly recommend to those of you who are interested in more local cooking to seek out something similar in your area - the book has tons of tips about preserving the harvest bounty, as well as timelines for what produce is seasonal in Minnesota. None of the ingredients are expensive or difficult to find, because the recipes are written with a Minnesota audience in mind. I think this may be my new go-to gift for newcomers to our beautiful state.

Other favorites for the CSA season (and all year, actually) have been Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and a Mennonite cookbook called More With Less (which is actually a great read apart from the recipes because of the discussions about sustainable, seasonal, unprocessed eating).

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