When my review copy of The Boston Homegrown Cookbook: Local Food, Local Restaurants, Local Recipes arrived last month, I leafed through page-after-page of old friends, long-admired farmers, and chefs and recipes I wanted to try. This is a collection that will be dear to Boston food lovers.
The book profiles 28 Boston area chefs who work together with local farms to bring the freshest, locally grown, sustainable foods to their menus. Farmers like Kate Stillman, from Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm, and Chef JJ Gonson (above) often work together and laugh together.
The author, Leigh Belanger is a food writer and the program director for the Boston-based Chefs Collaborative, a national network of chef and culinary professionals dedicated to improving the food system through education and community building. With this publication, she has shown the strong community links that exist between Boston area chefs, local farmers, and food producers.
The book is first divided into seasons. When you create a local and sustainable menu, seasonality is a driving factor. Each season has a collection of pairings of a chef with a food producer. An introduction gives some background on each member of the team and then recipes with the chef creating dishes using the food from that farm or source.
Among the chefs of summer is Steve Johnson of Rendezvous in Central Square paired with Eva Sommaripa and her legendary Eva’s Garden herbs that have been the secret of chefs since the 1960s. Steve puts summer tomatoes to good use in a Turkish Tomato Salad that he pairs with Grilled Mackerel.
I can't wait to try both. And, with the new fish vendors at the farmers' markets, I may be able to shop for the entire menu in one spot.
In addition to celebrating local heroes, seasonal food, and having recipes you’ll want to try year round, this is a beautiful book. You may want to keep it on your coffee table so you can open it often, each season, and try new recipes.
Photographer Margaret Belanger has a keen eye for the beauty of food from hoof, to field, and onto the plate. Her photographs are a family album that captures the people, places, and products that are part of the Greater Boston foodshed right now.
You can sneak a peek at some of her art in the preview provided on Amazon.
There will be a cooking demo and book signing for The Boston Homegrown Cookbook: Local Food, Local Restaurants, Local Recipes on June 28th, 7 pm, at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street.
We've invited Leigh to update us on any other book signings and appearances in the comment section of this post. We'll send word out to you as we learn of them.
Words: Penny Cherubino
Photograph Of Kate & JJ : © 2012 Margaret Belanger
Cover Art: Courtesy of Quayside Publications.
Disclosure: The publisher did provide me with a review copy of this book. Here is our full disclosure policy.
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