Summer's heat breeds restlessness, a constant urge to get out of the sun and wash off the sweat. But fall is far more subtle, its crisp air a nudge to pull on socks, close the windows, turn on the oven. The desire to gather around the table is never stronger than it is now, especially when fields are bearing hearty fruit. And so we look for new ways to prepare familiar ingredients and greet a new season.
Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen is a book that operates on the same principle of abundance. There is so much to eat, make, and do—where do we start? Our guide is Zoe Nathan, chef and owner of Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe in Santa Monica, California. It was designed to be a gathering place for old friends and new clients, and that's exactly what it turned out to be. The staff is like a family, and the food is of uncompromising quality, to the point where it's become more than worthy of its own book.
When a bakery or restaurant has such a stellar reputation, the idea of flipping through their cookbook can be slightly off-putting. There's a chance that the recipes will be too fussy, the ingredients too exotic, or that the book will devolve into self-congratulatory prose. Luckily, this is far from the case when it comes to Huckleberry. The book is photographed beautifully and written well enough that paging through it is a delight, but most importantly, you realize that yes, you can make everything you see. And you probably should.
There is a heavy emphasis on hearty, wholesome breakfast food in the book, and it runs the gamut from sweet to savory. At the restaurant, dishes are served seasonally, according to what's freshest, so having a full collection of recipes optimized for the ingredients they contain is visually dazzling and positively overwhelming. In order to best emphasize the attitude of abundance and closeness that autumn brings, we pored through the selection and highlighted several sweet recipes that seem to best encapsulate the season.
Everything we've chosen is rooted in tradition and simplicity. Take Baked Apples with Oat Crumble, which just oozes fall flavor (and brown sugar-spiked apple juice). There's also a Quince and Goat Cheese Galette, where the grassy tang of goat cheese is undercut by the honeyed sweetness of the pear-like fruit. To complete the trifecta, we have Nathan's Pear Whole Wheat Crumb Cake, which uses whole wheat flour for a rustic bite, mimicking the roughness of pear skin. Lastly, we deviate sharply from fruit to make a Chocolate Chocolate Teacake, as dense and dark as its name implies. One small slice will easily satisfy an early morning or late-night chocolate craving.
As the days grow shorter and colder, keep yourself warm by baking along with us for the next two weeks. We think it's a great way to celebrate.
Win A Copy!
Thanks to the generous folks over at Chronicle Books, we are giving away five (5) copies of Huckleberry this week. All you have to do is tell us the name of your favorite fall treat.
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