It's here The Chef’s Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables—with Recipes, Farmer Lee Jones and Chef Jamie Simpson are beyond excited—and both keep saying the exact same thing: “We literally couldn’t have done this without Kristin Donnelly.”
Kristin is a self-described “multi-passionate writer and entrepreneur” whose first love is food. From 2005-2013, she worked as a food editor at Food & Wine magazine where she served as the go-to resource for healthy eating topics. Her overall food philosophy is simple: “Eat healthfully, indulge sometimes, and enjoy it always.”
She played a central role in the creation of our book by collecting Farmer Lee’s stories and highlighting his expertise while gathering together Jamie’s recipes and deep knowledge of vegetable preparation—and then writing the text that pulled this all together.
“This was a huge book,” she says, “but Lee and Jamie made my job so much easier. Lee is the best storyteller, able to share historical tales of farming, childhood memories, and agricultural information in super enjoyable ways. Jamie, meanwhile, is a culinary genius and a deep thinker who provided me with recipes and much more.”
A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables—with Recipes contains more than 500 entries, which includes 100+ of Jamie’s unique recipes, including the following: Beet Marshmallows, Cornbread-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, Onion Caramel, Ramp Top Pasta, and Seared Rack of Brussels Sprouts.
To complement and set context for what Lee and Jamie provided, Kristin collated information from The Chef’s Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute blogs. “Storytelling is at the heart of what they do at the farm and CVI,” she says, “so these blogs were great sources of information. I also put my nose into lots of other books and read newspaper articles from the early days of the farm, back when they had their original farm stand.”
For each of the vegetables profiled in this book, Kristin mulled over the best hook to introduce them to readers, from ones commonly used in kitchens to those that might be brand new. “Reading this book,” she says, “will help people to look at vegetables in new ways, allowing them to appreciate them as plants that can be used in more diverse ways that they may have believed to be possible.”
Some readers may enjoy sitting in a comfy chair to read and learn while others may want to have the book in their kitchens so they can experiment with a veggie. “This book is ideal for people who want to learn more about gardening and cooking with vegetables while also providing new information people who already garden and cook with a variety of veggies,” Kristin says. “I’m a food editor and I still learned so much from Lee and Jamie.”
Here’s how Jamie has explained the angle taken in the book. “We explore every single part of a particular plant’s life,” he says, “whether those are vegetables that you’re already using or unusual ones that you don’t know how to work with yet. Let’s take fennel as an example. If you look through the book, you’ll see different compositions of that ingredient with several recipes that use it differently. It’s a beautiful approach to thinking about and using a single ingredient.”
Each person, he shares, might be inspired by a different approach with an ingredient—and some people may want to explore all of them.
Kristin shares how it took some thinking—and rethinking—to come up with the best structure for the book. “We ultimately decided to do some grouping based on the parts of a plant, whether that’s a root, stem, or leaf. We decided this was helpful because roots, in general, can be cooked in one particular way while leaves can be cooked in another. Then, within these large categories, we included sub-sections to illustrate plant families.”
This book can help readers to look at ingredients in a fresh way and pair them in intriguing ways that may not be immediately apparent. “As a resource,” Kristin says, “you can read it all at once or dip in and out, as needed. What I encourage everyone to do, though, is to spend some time reading the beginning of the book where the farm’s amazing entrepreneurial journey is shared.
No matter which method of using the book appeals to you, Lee, Jamie, and Kristin all agree on this
recommendation: Don’t delay! Order your copy today!