OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD - A FARM TO TABLE COOKBOOK
BY JIM DENEVAN
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
Outstanding in the Field - A Farm to Table Cookbook
(Clarkson Potter) ISBN 978-0307381996 0307381994
Chef Jim Denevan provides 100 seasonal recipes for local dishes that connect ingredients with the ranchers, fishermen, foragers, cheesemakers, vintners and farmers who produce them. His organization, Outstanding in the Field, serves farm to table dishes to locavores at tables in fields, vineyards, dairies, ranches and community gardens across North America. Recipes use ripe ingredients and fresh local fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses.
Jim Denevan introduces each recipe in Outstanding in the Field - A Farm to Table Cookbook with a description of ingredients, the farmers who grew them and cooking instructions. For example, he describes farro as a grain similar to spelt, or emmer wheat, with a nutty taste and chewy texture.
Inserts, on colored pages, provide descriptions of community garden dinners, wineries across America and individual produce suppliers. An example is Claravale Dairy, in California, a small dairy farm that produces milk, cream and butter. Denevan says that the good taste of these dairy products is due to their high-butter fat content and use of raw milk. He summarizes the arguments for and against pasteurization.
Color images in the 256-page cookbook depict seasonal dishes, fresh produce and guests dining outdoors at tables in fields where the ingredients were grown.
The Extras and a Few Basics section contains useful recipes for pickled wild mushrooms, dried tomato conserve, sweet and sour cherries, beet and cranberry chutney, preserved lemons and stocks made from vegetables, chicken, fish, pork and beef.
A Resources section lists local farming associations, Slow Food, Community Supported Agriculture, Just Food, community garden groups and US Government agricultural and environmental protection agencies.
Menus for Outstanding in the Field dinners combine farm-to-table recipes from the cookbook.
Sample recipes for local ingredients
Goat cheese crostini with sweet pea pesto. Fried squash blossoms filled with lavender ricotta. Potato, sweet chile and wild fennel salad. Chestnut soup with porcini relish. Beet greens with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Goat's milk ricotta and spinach gnocchi. Salt crusted whole roast salmon with salsa verde. Lamb stew with beets and mint gremolata. Stuffed turkey legs and spit roasted turkey breast. Green tomato marmalade. Pavlova with hachiya persimmons. Rhubarb cobbler. Grape and walnut schiacciata.
- Grains and pasta
- Fish and shellfish
- Poultry and Meat
- Extras and a few basics
Chef Jim Denevan founded Outstanding in the Field, an organization which serves open air meals in locations where the food is produced.