Not often do I find a cookbook that can deliver time and time again but Michelle McKenzie’s Dandelion & Quince is such a book! Not only does she grab you with recipes like Farro, Persimmons, and Arugula with Pan-Fried Hazelnuts, but she gives you the confidence to play with the recipes.
This is now the fourth recipe I have made from her book and each one of them is as surprisingly delicious as the next. She gets you out of your comfort zone and try new ingredients. She gets you using things you never thought of before and because it’s broken down by ingredient you can cook seasonally.
At great example of that is her section on Persimmons. Here you work with everything from escarole, to kohlrabi, to farro! She has you use fun ingredients like sheep’s milk cheese, to firm goat cheese, to hazelnuts! She even approaches grains in new and exciting ways.
Because of the confidence she offers you through her recipes I wasn’t afraid to try things a little different. An example is in this recipe she calls for strips of Pancetta but all I had was pre-diced. I used it and added a little bacon fat I had in the fridge so the pan didn’t get too dry. I also cubed the persimmons instead of finely slicing because I keep having issues of persimmons sticking together especially when they are finely sliced.
In the end it came out GREAT! This is now a staple fall lunch in my house and the balance of sweet and spicy, soft and crunchy, and even hot and cold was exciting and fun!
If I could only have one cookbook I would be equally torn between Heston Blumenthal at Home and Dandelion &Quince… and that’s saying something!