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Posted March 14, 2001
Prose as delicious as the recipes!
After visiting the Herb Farm quite a few times, I was very excited to hear that Jerry Traunfeld was writing an Herbfarm Cookbook. I waited patiently for what seemed like years, and finally the wait paid off. Jerry Traunfeld is the Executive Chef at the Herbfarm Restaurant, which has actually changed locations since the publication of this book. Jerry still relies on herb-inspired menus and has penned one of the most useful books about cooking with culinary herbs. This is the book you will turn to for inspiration and for a whole new world of fresh herb flavors. Most of us are content to use dried herbs until we discover fresh herbs. The bonus in Jerry's new book is that he also explains the growing process. You will love the charts of Latin herb names, real-life herb names, family life cycles, heights, pruning requirements and special growing requirements. I loved the in-depth information on angelica, anise, hyssop, basil, bay, chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, scented geraniums, sorrel, sweet cicely, tarragon and thyme. To find these wonderful plants, all you have to do is order seeds or plants from the sources on page 434. You will also see an address for the Herb Farm which was founded by Lola and Bill Zimmerman. Their son Ron Zimmerman and his wife Carrie first had the idea to start a world-class restaurant. Jerry Traunfeld helped to make their dream a reality. If you do start to grow your own herbs, you might be wondering what to do with so many fresh herbs when you take them into the kitchen. With The Herbfarm Cookbook, you will find yourself enchanted by recipes for soups, salads, pastas, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, breads, desserts, sauces, chutneys and vinegars. Information on how to make candied flowers adds a fun creative touch to an already extraordinary compilation. The first recipe I tried was the Lavender Shortbread on page 288. The recipe is simply butter, lavender, sugar and flour. The taste...much more complex. If you love lavender half as much as I do, you will love Jerry Traunfeld's new cookbook. He makes the best lavender cookies and is also under lavender's spell as he includes many recipes using the intoxicating purple flowers. I made the dough simply by grinding the lavender into the sugar and then creamed it with the butter. I used a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. The whole experience of grinding lavender into sugar with a mortar and pestle is seductively primal. The scent of the lavender is almost intoxicating even when using dried lavender. A heady scent of warm lavender will fill your whole kitchen as the cookies are baking. Sometimes cooking is more fun if you use just a wooden spoon and a bowl to make cookies. Making lavender cookies should be more romantic and old fashioned. 'I'm addicted to it.' --Jerry Traunfeld, admitting his addiction to Lavender. He continues by saying: 'I find it nearly impossible to walk by a lavender plant in full bloom without bending over to pick a stem, roll it around in my fingers, and inhale the heady scent.' The cookies may also be packaged and given as gifts. I use a round biscuit cutter with a curly edge. It gives the cookies a nice shortbread look. The dough seems suited for a cookie mold, which would be very pretty. I found the recipe is also good with chopped pecans pressed into the top of the cookies before baking them. Now, dipping them in chocolate makes them even better! You can also use the recipe without the lavender or substitute anise seeds or lemon thyme for the lavender buds. Lavender seems to almost have a savory flavor which was in a way quite surprising, given you would expect a flower to have a more sweet flavor. I was pleased to find a recipe for 'Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary.' Page 396-398 also contains information on how to grow and cook with lavender. This cookbook is filled with 200 herb-inspiredWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.