Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 59.
- Review Date: 2008-05-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Denevan used to be a regular, indoor chef, but inspired by foragers who brought seasonal wild foods like miner's lettuce and chanterelles to his kitchen, he began preparing feasts outdoors, in fields and orchards, using the foods at hand and giving eaters a personal introduction to the providers and sources of their meals. This cookbook, named after his traveling al fresco restaurant, brings the fruits of his labors to anybody's kitchen, at least theoretically. Recipes tend toward the exotic: Wild Rice Baked with Chicken, Fennel, and Porcini; Nettle Tagliatelle with Nettle Purée; Fried Squash Blossoms with Lavender Ricotta. Even mundane dishes like stewed green beans are jazzed up with chiles and anchovies. Novices chefs and time-strapped cooks may be intimidated by some of the more labor-intensive recipes, but others will be enticed by such mouth-watering recipes as Smoky Sturgeon and Potato Ravioli and Fresh Lamb Sausage. Interspersed are description of community gardens and vineyards, farmers and fishermen, complete with discourses on raw vs. pasteurized milk and sustainable fish choices. (June)
A truly moveable feast
Saluting the seasonal and the local and cooking what's fresh on a particular day isn't new. It's been the mantra of American cuisine ever since Alice Waters' revelations caused a revolution in the way we think about ingredients. Jim Denevan, a true believer in the Waters doctrine, has taken it to the next levelthe diners at his dinners come to the farm instead of the farm produce coming to them. Every summer, he and a few cooking companions pile into a large bus (does this make him the ultimate busboy?) named the Outstanding, and crisscross the country, finding small farms, ranches and vineyards where they set up long tables, cook with ingredients from the land they're on, and serve dinner alfresco to as many as 100 people. Now, Jim has gathered his favorite recipes from these culinary journeys in Outstanding in the Field. You can re-create these delicious meals from your local harvest whether you're cooking for two or 20, eating in the kitchen or under the stars, serving up Pumpkin and Persimmon Soup, Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder, Dried Tomato Conserve, Blueberry Granita and many more flavorful delights inspired by Mother Nature's edible abundance.