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 hyssoptry Anise Hyssop-Poached Peachesor 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.|
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.
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