From the Publisher
“Not only are the recipes in this book delicious and easy to follow, the story that accompanies the recipes is both fascinating and lyrical—a real life triumph in a world that needs to know of these possibilities and victories. The illustrations are inspired and stylistically magical. Kudos to this mother/daughter team for creating such a fabulous read for all of us looking not only for a new culinary experience, but love at the table. I have given this book to five different people as gifts, and I have received a glowing phone call and review from each of them, along with their thanks.”
—Christine Denney, chef, The Ranch House, Ojai, California
“How fondly I remember my days on the construction crew of Blue Heron Ranch. When we were hungry, we ate—when thirsty, we drank. Lucky for us, Nadia usually did the cooking! Now, lucky for you, she’s written a cookbook of hearty meals and heartfelt stories!”
—Jim Tolpin, author of The New Family Home and The New Cottage Home
“Natali’s simple, wholesome, and practical dishes are the result of long hours in the kitchen and can be adapted to serve two or twenty. Recipes are complemented by charming illustrations by one of her daughters and her short reflections on the joys and challenges of living in the Californian wilderness.”
“Each of the dishes, dressings and desserts are explained in a manner that is clear and concise, and should be easily followed by everyone, from the culinary beginner to the expert chef. While most of the dishes are fairly simple to make, many are rare and adventurous enough to satiate even a seasoned palate.”
—Nao Braverman, Ojai Valley News
“Nadia Natali tells of her family and life’s work, while sharing the recipes that have sustained both for 30 years. Colorful drawings animate the narrative and garnish tempting delicacies like Ojai bouillabaisse and June apricot cake.”
—Santa Barbara Seasons magazine
“[The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook] is not only a cookbook but a story…The illustrations are darling… warm and whimsical. And the recipes are down to earth and delicious."
Read an Excerpt
From the Preface:
Ten miles north of Ojai, at the end of a very long road in Matilija (pronounced Ma-til-i-ha) Canyon, lies Blue Heron Ranch. It nestles within the Los Padres National Forest in southern California. Here we, the Natali family, have faced fires, floods, bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. We built a home, raised a family of three children, and have run a modest Zen center and fed a myriad of visitors for twenty-five years. This cookbook was inspired by the many individuals who visited our center and encouraged me to write about the meals prepared for our retreats.
Interspersed with the recipes, I’ve included stories about Blue Heron’s beginnings and how it has evolved. In addition to the recipes and stories, I’ve offered tips on cooking for a crowd and fresh ideas that you can use for weekend visits of friends or family members. Or perhaps you’re starting your own retreat center! You’ll find a good sequence of meals to serve to a small group over a weekend, along with helpful shopping lists.
My daughter Marica has drawn the piquant and charming illustrations, her vision and version of our family and life as she grew up on Blue Heron Ranch.
I cordially invite you to enter our home, by way of this book, and share in our meals and our stories.