Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans is as much a storybook about some of our country’s best chefs and the farmers and artisan food producers that inspire them as it is a recipe book. The candid photos are so beautiful and capture the spirit of their subjects in such a way that I felt drawn in, compelled to turn the page to continue the adventure. The irresistible recipes (I’ve already cooked a handful) break the mold of other cookbooks by heading each entry with the names of both the chef and farmer or artisan producer supplying them. This equal billing is a declaration of a special partnership that begins in the field and ends at the plate, only to be renewed the next day.
This is a book you will want to purchase for yourself and as a gift for your favorite local food lovers. Over 55 of the country’s best restaurant chefs, including Westport’s own Bill Taibe of LeFarm restaurant, and the farmers and artisan food producers they work with are profiled in Harvest to Heat.
Bill Taibe’s companion farm is Wilton-based Millstone Farm and the photos of Master Farmer Annie Farrell in his kitchen and he in her field are absolutely delightful. I’ve made his Roasted Beets with Mint three times already and have successfully carried the dressing over to other dishes.
Don’t let the featured celebrity chefs give you the wrong idea about this cookbook, each recipe is cleanly laid out and eschews obscure ingredients and complicated cooking techniques. This book is not about showing off, it’s about celebrating the back story to some amazing food and inspiring readers to source their own local ingredients from their favorite farmers and artisan producers to recreate the dish in their own kitchens. For example, I’ve been braising short ribs for years, always using more steps and ingredients than the Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine recipe on page 94 calls for, so I was a bit surprised by the superlative outcome. The book has quickly earned a permanent place, front and center, in my kitchen.
Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans was just named Best Cookbook Overall 2010 by Epicurious. Read reviews by celebrity chefs on Amazon.
Gift Tip: Buy the cookbook for a friend and bring it to the indoor Westport farmers’ market for Chef Bill Taibe to sign this Thursday, December 9. Each week one of the following restaurants will provide lunch and prepared foods at the market: leFarm, Schoolhouse at Cannondale, The Dressing Room, or Fat Cat Pie, and leFarm is the guest restaurant this week. The market will be held each Thursday, except December 23, from 10-1 at Gilbertie’s of Westport on 7 Sylvan Lane. Click here for more information about the market.