Face it. Most of us cook the same dishes over and over. It takes an extraordinary recipe to catapult a new dish into a fortress of dependable and beloved old standbys.
Janet Fletcher, a master Napa Valley gardener, a professional chef and author of 20 cookbooks, has created more smart, appealing and reliably delicious recipes for Bay Area home kitchens than any other writer I know.
She has her finger on the pulse of farmers’ market shoppers and Community Supported Agriculture subscribers (households that pay in advance for a weekly delivery of produce from a farm). Her latest book, “Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers,” (Sur La Table, $35), is arranged alphabetically by vegetable, then fruit, then farm animal.
The text is lavish with color photos of surprisingly good looking young farmers, both male and female, and expectedly handsome produce. All these glamor shots amuse, but it is the simple but ingenious recipes that are so valuable.
We’re into dark leafy greens and beet season now, and here are some of her ideas: Golden Beet and Blood Orange Salad; Creamy Beet and Tahini Dip; Golden Beet and Buttermilk Soup; Savoy Cabbage and Farro Soup; Kale Chips; Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup.
If you buy this book now, I guarantee you’ll be grinding up her Winter Pesto. Every recipe works.