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Cookbook review: The Farm by Ian Knauer

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(Read caption) Watch a trailer of "The Farm" by Ian Knauer.
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Imagine going out to the garden in the evening, still undecided about what to make for dinner. Wandering around the patches of fresh produce – zucchini, corn, cilantro, tomatoes, and lettuce – a few ingredients begin to form a meal.

Maybe it’s asparagus and green beans to go with roast chicken. Or perhaps cilantro and jalapeños to spice up chicken wings. Don’t forget strawberries for dessert.

If you are like me, utterly unimaginative when it comes to combining ingredients (let alone how to grow them), a recent cookbook may help expand the spectrum of what is possible in the kitchen – all with ingredients fresh from the farm.  

The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food, by Ian Knauer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2012, $30) introduces readers to the process of how our food ends up on our tables. The farm-to-table movement is a way of life for Mr. Knauer, who shows how an appreciation for the land can unlock a new world of flavors and ideas.

In the foreword, former Gourmet magazine editor in chief Ruth Reichl writes, “Ian’s cooking begins in the garden and the fields; he demands an intimate relationship with his ingredients.”

Knauer started out at Gourmet as a cross-tester – he acted like a potential reader and tested all the recipes before they were published. Eventually he worked his way into a food editor position where he concocted his own recipes in the magazine’s test kitchen. He often brought in produce he raised himself, or meat he killed while hunting (he shares a tale of his first hunting expedition in the book).

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