Andrea Bemis, the creator of the popular farm-to-table blog Dishing Up the Dirt builds on her success with this beautiful, simple, seasonally driven cookbook, featuring more than 100 inventive and delicious whole-foods recipes and dozens of color photographs.
For Andrea Bemis, who owns and runs a six-acre organic farm with her husband outside of Portland, Oregon, dinners are inspired by what is grown in the soil and picked by hand. In Dishing Up the Dirt, Andrea offers 100 authentic farm-to-table recipes, arranged by season, including:
Spring: Honey Roasted Strawberry Muffins, Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce, Spring Harvest Pizza with Mint & Pea Pesto, Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad
Summer: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Biscuits, Roasted Ratatouille Toast, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce, Farmers Market Burgers with Mustard Greens Pesto
Fall: Farm Girl Veggie Bowls, Butternut Molasses Muffins, Early Autumn Moroccan Stew, Collard Green Slaw with Bacon Gremolata
Winter: Rutabaga Home Fries with Smokey Cashew Sauce, Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Country Girl Old Fashioned Cocktails, Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella
Andrea’s recipes focus on using whole, locally-sourced foods—incorporating the philosophy of eating as close to the land as possible. While many recipes are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, many others include elemental ingredients like bread, cheese, eggs, meat, and sweeteners, which are incorporated in new and inventive ways.
In short essays throughout the book, Andrea also presents an honest glimpse of life on Tumbleweed Farm—the real life of a farmer, not the shabby-chic fantasy often portrayed—offering fascinating and frequently entertaining details about where the food on our dinner tables comes from. With stunning food photography as well as intimate portraits of farm life, Dishing Up the Dirt allows anyone to be a seasonal foodie and an armchair farmer.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Harper Wave
ISBN 0062492225 (ISBN13: 9780062492227)
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I've learned many lessons in the seven years since my life took a radical turn for the dirt. I'm physically capable of doing tasks that I would never have dreamed I could do in my prefarming life. I now organize an entire calendar year between the first and last predicated frosts of the season. I know community is everything. Food is medicine. And most important, cocktail hour should never be passed up after a long and hard day of work.Author Andrea Bermis lives with her husband Taylor on a six-acre farm named Tumbleweed Farm located outside the town of Parkdale, population 266. While living in Oregon in 2008, they made the unexpected decision to move to Taylor's family farm in Massachusetts to learn how to live the lives of farmers. After several years of hard, back-breaking but satisfying farm work, the author and her husband could deny their longing for the west coast no longer, and they moved back to Oregon to start their own farm from the ground up.
The recipes in this book utilize fresh local grown ingredients and are organized by season, so you get them at their freshest. The author begins with a brief introduction before shifting the book to seasons.
Each seasonal chapter begins with a description of life on the farm during that season. Spring is hectic and full of anxiety as they rush to get seedlings into the ground and nurse them through damaging weather and protect them from foraging wildlife, and raise and rotate chickens and harvest their eggs. This chapter leads into recipes utilizing springtime ingredients like strawberries, various lettuces and herbs, radishes and beans and eggs.
Summer on the farm is a time of teeming life and prayers for rain. Lots and lots of time is spent weeding to produce healthy plants without pesticides.
This is our life all summer long. Weed. Water. Harvest. Weed. Water. Harvest. Rinse and repeat.And Tuesdays in the summer brings CSA boxes that must be packed and delivered to their members who love the fresh and organic produce delivered straight from the farm. And summer evenings consist of enjoying the sunset with a beer and a view of the crops, followed by dinner on the deck by candlelight. Dinner might include dishes like Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yogurt, Corn Salad with Walnuts and Feta, or Summer Squash and Corn Pasta with Garlic Tahini Sauce.
Autumn channels in the beginning of the cooler weather. Autumn is about "reaping the rewards of the last several months of tireless work". This is when the root vegetables like potatoes and carrots and turnips are dug up for delivery or storage. Gone are the frenetic days of spring and summer, and this is the season to start to sit back and enjoy all of their hard work. The author and her husband host a "thank you" party at their farm for their CSA members who put their faith in the them each year that they will produce food for all of them to enjoy the following year. Then there comes the preserving of food-- pickles, jams, vegetables, pesto. Winter projects are planned, and winter recipes include ingredients like beets, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and all sorts of squash.
Winter is a time of dormancy. The fields and greenhouse are barren and hibernating for the winter, the stores and freezers are packed with food to get the couple through the winter. The biggest concerns are winter storms and warm chickens. It's a time to make plans and purchase supplies of seeds, fertilizers and soil for the coming season. And cold winter nights are spent filling up on hearty meals like Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella, Venison Stew, Spiced Winter Porridge, and Roasted Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables.
I'll admit that the recipes in this book didn't really "grab" me. They are more rustic than I'm use finding in a lot of the cookbooks I get, or they have ingredients that are somewhat foreign to me, so I just couldn't get really excited with the flavor the recipe held in store. However I decided to try the recipe for Chicken and Chickpea Pesto Summer Salad. Yes, I know this book is organized seasonally, but I live in Florida where we have no seasons! So summer cooking is fine in the middle of winter!
And may I just say that I was pleasantly surprised with how refreshing this salad was? Full of shredded poached chicken and chickpeas, thinly-sliced cucumbers, radishes and celery, tossed with pesto and topped with parmesan, it was full of flavor! I'm sure it will be even better tonight after the flavors have had time to meld. I admit that I cheated and used jarred pesto, so it could probably be even better with homemade, but I was still duly impressed!
I also made a batch of Farmer's Candy, which are oven-dried cherry tomatoes (like sun-dried tomatoes, but better!)
The author suggests "If you can resist eating them in one sitting, try adding them to pasta and eggs, or top your morning toast with goat cheese and a small handful of these guys". I've stored a batch in the freezer for use over the next few months.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Tuesday, March 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 15th: Just Commonly
Thursday, March 16th: Ms.Bookish.com
Friday, March 17th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, March 17th: Under My Apple Tree
Monday, March 20th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Tuesday, March 21st: #redhead.with.book
Wednesday, March 22nd: Sidewalk Shoes
Friday, March 24th: Create With Joy
Monday, March 27th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 28th: G. Jacks Writes
Wednesday, March 29th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 30th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, March 31st: Library of Clean Reads
My final word: I must admit that when I first got this book, I wasn't initially impressed from the outset. The actual structure of the book reminds me a bit of a school textbook, so it left me feeling that I was about to have to do my homework or something equally unpleasant. However once I dived in I was pleasantly surprised at how charming this book actually is. It's down-home and genuine and honest, and the recipes are rustic seasonal recipes for the way I should be cooking. The recipes, like the author, are honest and bared for all to see.
This is a really lovely cookbook. I just wish it didn't resemble a textbook so much. I fear that it could cause it to be overlooked, when it deserves to recognized for what it is: A beautiful love story about the love shared by the author and her husband, and the hard yet fulfilling farm life that they've chosen to live together.
And it reminded me that I really need to grow some radishes again.
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The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.