Recently, the Accidental Locavore was sent an advance copy of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Tracey Medeiros to check out and review. Thumbing through it, you’re immediately reminded how extensive the food from Vermont is. Even if you don’t think you know much beyond Ben & Jerry’s (not mentioned, giving room for some lesser-known locals to shine), there are entries from places like King Arthur Flour and 150 recipes to remind you that it’s not all about cheese and maple syrup.
The book is nicely laid out and divided into sections like breakfasts (something I learned last year, that Vermont seems to do really well with), salads, pasta, etc., with an introduction to the farms and farmers before each recipe. Thankfully, Tracey did not lay it out seasonally, which is a form I generally hate. There is a large variety of recipes, some more complicated than others, and while they do lean towards Vermont products, many of them can easily be substituted for what’s in your locale, or if you want the real deal, there is a resource list in the back, with contact information, websites, etc.
While there seemed to be an abundance of winter squash recipes, there were plenty of others I wanted to try (not that I’m against winter squash, it’s just not the right time of year). There’s a cilantro vinaigrette that looks really good and a recipe for stuffed heirloom tomatoes, that has me counting the days until August! Finally, on yet another rainy day, I decided to go for the ricotta gnocchi, first making my own ricotta. Making the ricotta was a little more complicated (i.e. time consuming) than the last time I did it, but the results were really good and the recipe was easy to follow. The gnocchi came out beautifully and will definitely be made again.
My only complaint about the book, and it’s a minor one, is that the index isn’t as intuitive as I might like it. Or else it’s just surprising that things like peas don’t get a mention, while fiddleheads get beer-battered and fried. That’s got to be the hardest part of writing a cookbook – devising an index that makes everything easily searchable, without taking up space that could be devoted to what you bought the book for – recipes. And my absolute dream? That when you buy a cookbook, you have access to an electronic version of it. I’m even willing to pay a little extra for that!