I've had the pleasure of visiting Vermont several times in the past few years. Between the picturesque rolling green hills and the colorful bounty of produce that finds its way into just about every store and kitchen, it's a hard place to leave once you've crossed the state line. It's surprising, then, that there aren't more cookbooks out there dedicated to the local foodways of the Green Mountain State. Vermont-based food writer Tracey Medeiros seems determined to change that statistic, one book at a time.
Her new book, The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook, is a farmer-focused sequel to her well-received first effort, Dishing Up Vermont. She traveled across the state to countless farms, wineries, B&Bs, and restaurants to collect recipes that highlight the best produce, cheeses, and meats the region has to offer. Recipes run the gamut from rustic scones and practical pastas to elaborately orchestrated restaurant plates. Local favorites like apples, maple syrup, and cheese appear everywhere in the book; while this repetition feels a little obvious, it is at least honest and true to the realities of local cooking. Vermonters are proud of their maple syrup, so of course they'll use it in just about anything.
The recipes themselves work surprisingly well for a compilation cookbook. While they are varied in terms of depth, each is edited consistently and, most importantly, work just as written.
In addition to compiling and testing the collection of recipes, Medeiros adds informative features about, and photographs of, almost every farm and restaurant mentioned in the book. Not only does the reader get to sample the food, but they'll also learn a little bit more about where the food comes from. It's almost like getting to go to Vermont yourself. Almost.
We'll take a taste of some of Vermont's finest food this week, starting with a hot, wholesome breakfast of whole-grain waffles. Then we'll make use of the last of summer's produce with vegetable-stuffed tomatoes. Next, we'll cram as much Vermont cheese as we can into a caramelized onion and blue cheese galette before diving into a bowl of orecchiette with turnips and kale. We'll end the week with an elegant bowl of polenta with wild oyster mushrooms and creamy ricotta.
Win 'The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook'Thanks to the kind folks at Countryman Press, we have five (5) copies of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook to give away this week. All you need to do for a chance to win is tell us about your favorite local ingredient in the comments section below.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.