Do you like uncomplicated, simple, straight forward recipes with fewer ingredients? If so The Farm is a great cookbook. However, if you like fresh, seasonal recipes that showcase the essence of an ingredient this too is your cookbook. The Farm is a non intimidating cookbook that takes you through the life cycle of a true family farm. What’s growing, when it’s ripe, and what to do with it. The reason these recipes can be so much simpler is that fresh picked produce at the peak of its season don’t need a lot done to them to highlight there amazing flavors.
Ian Knauer grew up visiting his grandparents on their farm in Pennsylvania. This was the epitome of the small family farm. The rest of the family moved on with their lives and had careers of their own. So when his grandfather stopped farming the land just went more and more into a wild state. The farm itself stayed in the family and Ian and his siblings got the idea to start a garden on the old family farm.
Now, to say garden is a bit of a vague word. Most people think of these cute little things. A few beds, a few crops, and something easily managed by one person in their free time. What you need to know is people with farm land have a different sense of gardening. When you have wide open, sprawling land scale becomes something of a deceit. You end up with something that could well stock a stall at a local farmers market. You end up with row crops and hundreds of pounds of a single ingredient. Now getting back to this cookbook and understanding abundance of “gardening” you can get a sense of how this cookbook is structured. The farm is its owl living thing. It really does take on a life of its own. Certain things have to be done at certain times. Time of day and time of year are critical to your bounty. So when you open this cookbook and read the touching story of how this project came to be you’ll be immersed in Ian’s world. You’ll feel like you can smell the dirt and state the tomatoes. Then you’ll turn the page and you’re introduced to spring on the farm.
Spring brings you recipes for baby greens, asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, and a uniquely roasted chicken in wheat beer, orange zest, and coriander. Then you have recipes for radishes, peas, watercress and another roast chicken. This time it’s a Garlic Pesto Roast Chicken. With five ingredients and 20-25 minutes this recipe is going to be delicious and easy!
What I love about this cookbook is that Ian is not only passionate about his family farm and his garden but he worked as a test cook for Gourmet Magazine. His recipes are well thought out and you get easy safe recipes like Garlic Brussel Chips and more interesting things like Ramp Tagliatelle and Shiitake Stuffed Cornish Hens. He challenges your thoughts and ideas with recipes like Dandelion Greens Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing and Sorrel Buttermilk Pan Cotta. If all that sounds intimidating he offers wonderful recipes for things like String Beans with Herb Butter and Blueberry Belle Crunch not to mention Magic Peach Cobbler.
This cookbook is a well thought out blend of recipes for both the experienced and inexperienced home cooks and it’s all worked around The Farm. This will help you navigate what’s in season and whats fresh. No cookbook about farm life would be complete without a section on canning. Summer gives you a bounty like nothing you have seen before. Your plants explode with produce and you become buried in abundance. So canning is the natural answer.
In this book you’ll even get recipes for cakes and breads as well as every animal you might have on a farm. His recipe for Grandma’s Bread is my go to for white sandwich bread. It’s reliable and delicious.
So if you’re wanting to begin thinking about seasonal cooking or you just want good tested classic recipes this cookbook won’t disappoint.