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Herbfarm Cookbook: A Guide to the Vivid Flavors of Fresh Herbs

Herbfarm Cookbook: A Guide to the Vivid Flavors of Fresh Herbs

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by Jerry Traunfeld

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Not so long ago, parsley was the only fresh herb available to most American cooks. Today, bunches of fresh oregano and rosemary can be found in nearly every supermarket, basil and mint grow abundantly in backyards from coast to coast, and garden centers offer pots of edible geraniums and lemon thyme. But once these herbs reach the kitchen, the inevitable question


Not so long ago, parsley was the only fresh herb available to most American cooks. Today, bunches of fresh oregano and rosemary can be found in nearly every supermarket, basil and mint grow abundantly in backyards from coast to coast, and garden centers offer pots of edible geraniums and lemon thyme. But once these herbs reach the kitchen, the inevitable question arises: Now what do I do with them? Here, at last, is the first truly comprehensive cookbook to cover all aspects of growing, handling, and cooking with fresh herbs.

Jerry Traunfeld grew up cooking and gardening in Maryland, but it wasn't until the 1980s, after he had graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was working at Jeremiah Tower's Stars restaurant in San Francisco, that he began testing the amazing potential of herb cuisine. For the past decade, Jerry Traunfeld has been chef at The Herbfarm, an enchanted restaurant surrounded by kitchen gardens and tucked into the rainy foothills of the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle. His brilliant nine-course herb-inspired menus have made reservations at the Herbfarm among the most coveted in the country.

Eager to reveal his magic to home cooks, Jerry Traunfeld shares 200 of his best recipes in The Herbfarm Cookbook. Written with passion, humor, and a caring for detail that makes this book quite special, The Herbfarm Cookbook explains everything from how to recognize the herbs in your supermarket to how to infuse a jar of honey with the flavor of fresh lavender. Recipes include a full range of dishes from soups, salads, eggs, pasta and risotto, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, breads, and desserts to sauces, ice creams, sorbets, chutneys, vinegars, and candied flowers. On the familiar side are recipes for Bay Laurel Roasted Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Fried Sage explained with the type of detail that insures the chicken will be moist and suffused with the flavor of bay and the asparagus complemented with the delicate crunch of sage. On the novel side you will find such unusual dishes as Oysters on the Half Shell with Lemon Varbana Ice and Rhubarb and Angelica Pie.

A treasure trove of information, The Herbfarm Cookbook contains a glossary of 27 of the most common culinary herbs and edible flowers; a definitive guide to growing herbs in a garden, a city lot, or on a windowsill; a listing of the USDA has hardiness zones; how to harvest, clean, and store fresh herbs; a Growing Requirements Chart, including each herb's life cycle, height, pruning and growing needs, and number of plants to grow for an average kitchen; and a Cooking with Fresh Herbs Chart, with parts of the herb used, flavor characteristics, amount of chopped herb for six servings, and best herbal partners.

The Herbfarm Cookbook is the most complete, inspired, and useful book about cooking with herbs ever written.

-8 pages of finished dishes in full color

-16 full-page botanical watercolors in full color

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Darina Allen Ballymoe Cookery School, Ireland For over thirty years I've grown, cooked, experimented with, and been excited by fresh herbs, yet I found this meticulously researched book fresh and inspirational. Jerry Traunfeld's flavor combinations and beautifully written prose are irresistible.

Jasper White author of Lobster at Home I am amazed by the scope of this book! First, it is a great cookbook, full of beautifully conceived ideas and recipes that teach the subtleties of cooking with fresh herbs. Second, The Herbfarm Cookbook is a valuable reference, with helpful charts, line drawings, and botanical illustrations. An outstanding book!

James Peterson author of Sauces and Vegetables How do I use herbs? Which herbs go with what? How do I know which to combine? These, the most asked of all kitchen queries, are answered with clear reasoning and sound intuition in Jerry Traunfeld's The Herbfarm Cookbook. Jerry Traunfeld's simple and honest recipes burst with flavor and will have you rushing to the kitchen to cook and to the garden or window box to plant.

Sylvia Thompson author of The Kitchen Garden and The Kitchen Garden Cookbook A brilliant work, brimful of invaluable know-how and astonishing combinations of flavors. Jerry Traunfeld's book has become an instant favorite in my kitchen and my garden.

Marion Cunningham author of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook The Herbfarm Cookbook belongs on your bookshelf. Remarkable and original in the use of herbs, this is not only a collection of sparkling recipes, it is also the best herb reference book I've ever seen.

Dan Hinkley Heronswood Nursery, Kingston, Washington As I read through the pages of this book, I was transfixed by the text and style — it is rare that one can come across such books that are born from pure passion and translate such excitement and erudition to the reader. I found myself immersed in the undistilled passion of the craft that Jerry has perfected.

Emelie Tolley author of Herbs: Gardens, Decorations, and Recipes Anyone interested in herbs or cooking will be delighted by this superb collection of inventive recipes that range from Baked Mussels Stuffed with Mint Pesto to Black Pansy Sorbet. The information on growing herbs and basic herbal cooking techniques is a bonus.

Taking Herbs to New Heights

For many years, cooks looking for fresh herbs in the supermarket had to content themselves with a few limp bunches of curly parsley. How much things have changed! Now even the most basic grocery store is likely to carry the more flavorful Italian parsley along with fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, dill, sage, mint, cilantro, and chives year round. Gourmet stores yield treasures like lemon thyme, Thai basil, lemon verbena, sorrel, fresh oregano, and tarragon, and at farmers' markets adventurous cooks can find anything from rose geranium to savory to angelica. What to do with this bounty? Jerry Traunfeld, chef at the legendary Herbfarm restaurant outside of Seattle, Washington, has the answer. He has penned a beautifully produced, comprehensive new guide to growing and cooking with the incredible variety of culinary herbs available to home cooks today. Traunfeld offers fresh takes on classic herb dishes like pasta with pesto and poached salmon with tarragon sauce along with innovative new creations like Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary and Apple-Rosemary Soufflé. This is where to turn if a friend with a kitchen garden brings you a handful of anise hyssop—try Anise Hyssop-Poached Peaches—or if you're intrigued by the aroma of a bunch of lovage in the gourmet store, a delicate accent in Halibut Baked with Leeks, Apple, and Lovage. Traunfeld also includes an extensive herb glossary, a growing guide, and information on buying, handling, and cooking with a wide variety of herbs both common and obscure. Sections of color photos and beautiful herb illustrations add to the book's appeal. The Herbfarm Cookbook will inspire herb lovers to new heights in the kitchen and in the garden as well.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his debut cookbook, Traunfeld elevates herbs to celebrity status. Chef at the Herbfarm restaurant near Seattle, he marries friendly flavors (Tomato and Fennel Soup, which includes French tarragon, and Pork Chops with Sage, Onion and Prosciutto). He also employs unusual and bold strokes to create such tantalizing dishes as Oysters on the Half-Shell with Lemon Verbena Ice, Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary, Grilled Marjoram-Scented Corn, Saut ed Duck Breasts with Mint, Coriander, and Olives and Halibut Baked with Leeks, Apple and Lovage. Pointing out that herbs and flowers are nothing new in dessert-making, Traunfeld is particularly successful with sweets; he combines flavors with a masterful touch, exemplified by Pear, Maple and Rosemary Clafouti, Pumpkin-Bay Tart and Raspberry and Rose Geranium Sorbet. A summer's abundance of herbs can be persuaded to satisfy well after autumn's frosts with such fare as Apple-Thyme Jelly, Plum and Lavender Chutney and Candied Angelica. Several herb-based drinks are also provided, including the Herbfarm Champagne Cocktail, wherein a single herb leaf or sprig is crushed between the fingers, dropped into an empty champagne flute, then filled with the proper potable. Concluding the book is an extensive chapter outlining individual herbs and their cultivars as well as advice on growing and harvesting them. With herbs increasingly common in supermarkets, this compendium of recipes and useful facts is ideal for cooks eager for new taste temptations. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kay Fahey
The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Traunfeld, is the guide I've dreamed of almost since my mother sent me, at age four, toddling into the garden armed with blunt tipped scissors to harvest mint for iced tea…every recipe I've tired from the The Herbfarm Cookbook has been excellent.
Fine Cooking

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Read an Excerpt


When I first learned to cook, at age eleven, my mother kept herbs in jars, alphabetically arranged on a shelf. I was taught to apportion these dusty-smelling powders and flakes with the precision of a chemist — one teaspoon of oregano in the tomato sauce, one-quarter teaspoon of tarragon in the vegetable soup, one-half teaspoon of sage with the chicken — as if alchemy would occur when a recipe's formula was followed perfectly. It never occurred to me then that we could grow all these herbs in our backyard, and I had no idea how they looked or smelled before they were dried, processed, and packaged. At the time, the only fresh herb in the supermarket was parsley.

Now fresh herbs are everywhere. More often than not the word "fresh" precedes thyme, tarragon, or basil in recipes we see in print. Freshly cut sprigs of all common herbs are available year-round in supermarkets across the nation. Farmers' markets are flooded with lush bunches of locally grown herbs, and garden centers and specialty nurseries are packed with potted herbs from angelica to verbena. More and more backyards have oregano and dill planted next to the tomatoes, and pots of chives and rosemary are replacing the petunias on the patio or terrace. This availability is making a fundamental change in the way we cook.

The flavor of a fresh herb has little in common with what comes in a jar. Taste a few flakes of dry tarragon and they will seem little more than mild and musty. Then taste a leaf of fresh tarragon, just picked from the garden; it will be sweet and peppery and fill your mouth with a punchy anise flavor underscored with green savoriness. Stir a coarsely chopped spoonful of the fresh leaves into a braising pan of chicken and its flavor will permeate the juices and flavor the chicken itself. Next, compare a spoonful of dried basil with a bunch of fresh Genovese basil from the farmers' market. The flakes are insipid and lifeless, but the complex layering of mint, clove, anise, and cinnamon scents that waft from the fresh sprigs is so enticing you'll want to bury yourself in them. Pound the leaves in a mortar with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and you'll have fragrant, unctuous pesto, the nonpareil pasta sauce.

Fresh herbs offer an astounding palette of vibrant and glorious tastes, but their delights go beyond the flavors they lend to food. For a cook, there is joy in simply handling fresh herbs in the kitchen. Who can resist stroking the proud sticky needles of rosemary, rubbing a plush sage leaf, or crushing a crinkled leaf of verdant mint between their fingers? When you strip the fragrant leaves off sweet marjoram or tuck a few sprigs of shrubby thyme in a simmering stew, you feel connected to the soil and the season, no matter where your kitchen is.

I have the opportunity all chefs dream of. As chef of The Herbfarm Restaurant in the lush, rainy foothills of the Cascade Mountains, I design nine-course menus for an intimate dining room surrounded by acres of kitchen gardens. If I need a bunch of chives, a bucket of chervil, or a leaf of rose geranium, I pick it right outside. Over the course of my nine years at The Herbfarm and many years of herb gardening in my own backyard in Seattle, I've come to know each herb as an old friend, and they have offered me endless inspiration. I've written this book to share what I have learned about these soul-stirring ingredients with those who love to cook at home.

Copyright © 2000 by Jerry Traunfeld

Meet the Author

Jerry Traunfeld is executive chef of The Herbfarm, where he combines a passion for cooking with a love of gardening. He teaches popular classes on cooking with fresh herbs and grows his own supply on a small city lot in Seattle, Washington.

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Herbfarm Cookbook: A Guide to the Vivid Flavors of Fresh Herbs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is great. if you're an herb grower or cook with herbs, this is the book for you. plus jerry t provides ideas of how to combine specific herbs with specific ideas for dessert!!! WONDERFUL BOOK. and you should try visiting HERBFARM.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this cookbook! I am a first time herb gardener and this book is a must have. It is actually half cookbook, half reference book. Not only is it filled with wonderful and easy recipies, it is chock full of information on specific herbs (more so than other 'herb gardening' books I have read.)From how to grow, cultivation, harvesting, compatible herbs, what foods each herb is used with and so much more. A great book for the novice or experiened herb gardener and cook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this title in my quest for more information on growing herbs and their culinary uses, I was impressed with the comprehensive, user-friendly and everyday scope of the reference section. I noted there was a recipe section but that was only a clincher to purchase - 2 for 1. Then I got it home and began to cook from it. WOW ! A previous stay at Sooke HArbour House on Vancouver Island had captured my culinary imagination and this wonderful and practical book has made it a reality. EXCELLENT.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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-inspired
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jerry Traunfeld has given us an excellent guide to growing, handling, and cooking with fresh herbs and edible flowers. He offers familiar as well as novel recipes that are simple yet far from boring. He also includes attractive full-color photos of finished dishes, botanical watercolors of herbs, and a helpful glossary. In sum, this is a valuable and well-researched book from an enthusiastic chef who shares his knowledge and expertise in a sincere and straightforward manner. 'The Herbfarm Cookbook' sits alongside another great favorite of mine, Sonia Uvezian's 'Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen,' a brilliant and highly original volume featuring fascinating text and exceptional recipes that make imaginative of herbs (and spices). Both Traunfeld and Uvezian write remarkably clear recipes that even beginners can follow without difficulty. Every lover of good food should acquire these two books, which are certain to become classics.