Cookbooks & Gardening Dreams
Fresh from the Garden Flavor , February 7, 2006
Receiving lettuce through the mail is one thing, but to order
an entire box of produce that includes fresh seasonal selections
direct from the farm seems quite another. I can easily go to my
local store and buy organic foods, except the items don't seem
quite as fresh and definitely have never tasted as good as the
selection in this sampler box.
The lettuce and greens reminded me of my days living on a farm
where we made fresh salads from greens selected on that very
day. There is nothing like it, well, not until I found this
company. The lettuce seems to last longer and the baby spinach
is delicious. A week later and the lettuce still looks fresh.
That never happens when I buy produce at the store.
Here is what you can look forward to throughout the year:
Fruit in Season: Apples (Fuji, Gala and other selections),
Citrus (the Satsuma Mandarin was like orange and honey, so
delicious and sweet), Pears (they await poaching but may be
eaten in the next few days), Bananas, Guavas and other Exotic
fruits like Kiwi and Persimmon.
Vegetables in Season: Broccoli, Yellow or Red Baby Potatoes,
Medium Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Green Beans and
Greens: Blue, Red Russian or Green Kale. Red or Green Chard.
Mesclun Salad Mix, Green Scallions, Baby Carrots, Lettuce, Baby
Spinach, Bunched Spinach, Basil & Parsley.
A Cooking sheet is included and has recipes for Potato Kale Soup
(which solves my question about how to cook kale), Kale Soup,
Mesclun Salad with Garlic Italian Dressing, California Quiche
(using Chard) and Pasta Primavera using zucchini and peas.
The information sheet for Salad greens explains how to prepare
items and they are all prewashed.
I think there were some baby turnips in my box and apparently
you can also cook the turnip greens. I also found some green
beans and cooked the zucchini in a little olive oil. There are
recipes for Bok choi, Napa Cabbage and Mizuna Mustard Greens.
The herbs listed include applemint, peppermint, spearmint,
basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, oregano, parsley, sage,
savory, sorrel, tarragon, thyme.
I've completely enjoyed the first box and look forward to the
second. The fruit is sweet and delicious and the greens have new
dimensions of flavor. It makes eating healthy something to look
forward to. Instead of going out the back door to go pick some
lettuce for a salad, the garden arrives at the front door! The
salad I made from the greens in the first order were delicious
just with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and freshly ground
pepper. I also tossed on some pumpkin seeds.
~The Rebecca Review
The Most Popular Vegetables, Fruits and Greens, March 8,
After ordering the organics original sampler, I noticed how
long the produce lasted and was willing to try the larger box of
produce. This is a box of the most popular items and includes
all the basics like lettuce, green beans, green onions,
mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, parsley, cucumbers, avocado,
onions, zucchini, apples, lemons, tomatoes and even a mango.
Well, fruit and vegetables are sent when in season. Zucchini or
summer squash may arrive. You may see a papaya or a Mango, Kiwi
or Satsuma Mandarin. Whatever arrives, it is guaranteed to
please. Each item is carefully packaged in paper and even the
little tomatoes were in their own box, nicely protected. The
mushrooms come in paper so they last longer.
You may notice an increase in your energy and even a more
positive mood. Receiving a box of produce is much more exciting
than shopping for it at the store. I am not sure why, except
that such care goes into packaging this box of organic produce,
that the positive energy seems to infuse your home with
happiness. Plus, everything tastes better and if you happen to
get one of the Satsuma Mandarins, your life will finally be
complete. I cannot even explain how delicious they are and the
only word to describe them would be "honey sweet."
The sheer perfection of the items you receive will make you
wonder why you bought produce anywhere else. I have never seen
organic produce that is so beautiful. Even the parsley is pure
perfection. Not overly watered like at the grocery store, but as
if you went into your garden and snipped off some parsley right
The only item I missed in this box that was in the smaller box
(Original Organic Sampler) was the Basil with the parsley. This
box had more lettuce and larger items, like the potatoes were
larger and the tomatoes looked vine ripened as opposed to cherry
tomatoes. The onions seem of a very high quality and the bananas
were especially sweet and perfectly ripe.
It is difficult to decide between the two boxes because I love
them both! Next, I'll try the Gourmet sampler.
~The Rebecca Review
SuperFoods: Nutrient-dense foods to protect your health
A Healthier Life, November 1, 2006
"Vegetables: nature's own health insurance - no other foods
provide so much protection against heart disease, skin
disorders, cancer, and high blood pressure, and give the body
all-around vitality." ~ pg. 198
In SuperFoods you will find information on how to lower
cholesterol by eating apples, why figs can help prevent cancer
and how members of the squash family can help to keep your lungs
Each Super Food is featured on its own page (sometimes two) and
is shown in full-color pictures.
This cookbook is divided into three main sections:
Protect Your Health
Some of the food featured include blueberries, mangoes, melon,
kiwifruit, asparagus, onions, sweet potatoes and celery. Nuts,
seeds, dairy, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, herbs, spices and
miscellaneous items like chocolate, tea and coffee are discussed
Each recipe features an illness the foods help to cure. Like the
Pumpkin soup helps with digestive, respiratory and skin issues.
An Avocado, walnut and pear salad can help with fatigue.
A few examples of the delicious recipes include:
Banana and Almond Muffins
Green Tea Bread
Spicy Winter Bread Pudding
Red Plums with Brandy
Tagliatella with Artichokes
"It is no longer possible to doubt that there is a direct
link between diet and cancer." ~ pg. 264
In the last section, menus are given for various health
conditions. You can find information regarding: cancer,
circulatory problems, digestive problems, stress, fatigue, joint
problems, respiratory problems, skin problems, urinary problems
and weight control. This book also has some fun ideas, like
reading the "Ten Commandments for the Overweight"
gives you permission not to eat everything on your plate (see
page 333). A good page to photocopy for relatives who insist on
feeding you seconds, thirds, etc.
The first section on the specific foods is an educational and
fun read. Seeing all the delicious foods in full-color pictures
makes you hungry for something healthy. The recipes are
uncomplicated and this book is perfect for anyone who loves to
cook or wants to make excellent food choices from any menu.
~ The Rebecca Review
The Herbfarm Cookbook: A Guide to the...
Prose as delicious as the recipes! December 30, 2000
After visiting the Herb Farm quite a few times, I was very
excited to hear that Jerry Traunfeld was writing an Herbfarm
Cookbook. I waited patiently for what seemed like years, and
finally the wait paid off. Jerry Traunfeld is the Executive Chef
at the Herbfarm Restaurant, which has actually changed locations
since the publication of this book. Jerry still relies on
herb-inspired menus and has penned one of the most useful books
about cooking with culinary herbs. This is the book you will
turn to for inspiration and for a whole new world of fresh herb
Most of us are content to use dried herbs until we discover
fresh herbs. The bonus in Jerry's new book is that he also
explains the growing process. You will love the charts of Latin
herb names, real-life herb names, family life cycles, heights,
pruning requirements and special growing requirements. I loved
the in-depth information on angelica, anise, hyssop, basil, bay,
chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, lemon
verbena, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary,
sage, savory, scented geraniums, sorrel, sweet cicely, tarragon
The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld
To find these wonderful plants, all you have to do is order
seeds or plants from the sources on page 434. You will also see
an address for the Herb Farm which was founded by Lola and Bill
Zimmerman. Their son Ron Zimmerman and his wife Carrie first had
the idea to start a world-class restaurant. Jerry Traunfeld
helped to make their dream a reality.
If you do start to grow your own herbs, you might be
wondering what to do with so many fresh herbs when you take them
into the kitchen. With The Herbfarm Cookbook, you will find
yourself enchanted by recipes for soups, salads, pastas,
vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, breads, desserts, sauces,
chutneys and vinegars. Information on how to make candied
flowers adds a fun creative touch to an already extraordinary
The first recipe I tried was the Lavender Shortbread on page
288. The recipe is simply butter, lavender, sugar and flour. The
taste...much more complex. If you love lavender half as much as
I do, you will love Jerry Traunfeld's new cookbook. He makes the
best lavender cookies and is also under lavender's spell as he
includes many recipes using the intoxicating purple flowers.
I made the dough simply by grinding the lavender into the
sugar and then creamed it with the butter. I used a wooden spoon
to stir in the flour. The whole experience of grinding lavender
into sugar with a mortar and pestle is seductively primal. The
scent of the lavender is almost intoxicating even when using
dried lavender. A heady scent of warm lavender will fill your
whole kitchen as the cookies are baking. Sometimes cooking is
more fun if you use just a wooden spoon and a bowl to make
cookies. Making lavender cookies should be more romantic and old
Lavender Grower's Guide
"I'm addicted to it." --Jerry Traunfeld, admitting
his addiction to Lavender. He continues by saying: "I find
it nearly impossible to walk by a lavender plant in full bloom
without bending over to pick a stem, roll it around in my
fingers, and inhale the heady scent."
The cookies may also be packaged and given as gifts. I use a
round biscuit cutter with a curly edge. It gives the cookies a
nice shortbread look. The dough seems suited for a cookie mold,
which would be very pretty. I found the recipe is also good with
chopped pecans pressed into the top of the cookies before baking
them. Now, dipping them in chocolate makes them even better! You
can also use the recipe without the lavender or substitute anise
seeds or lemon thyme for the lavender buds.
Lavender seems to almost have a savory flavor which was in a
way quite surprising, given you would expect a flower to have a
more sweet flavor. I was pleased to find a recipe for
"Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary." Page 396-398
also contains information on how to grow and cook with lavender.
This cookbook is filled with 200 herb-inspired recipes. You
could serve the "Coriander-Orange Scones" for
breakfast. "Tomato and Fennel Soup," Pumpkin and
Shrimp Bisque" and "Herbed Clam Chowder" are
delicious examples of the soups in the first chapter. Green
Goddess Grilled Chicken salad contains creamy avocados, garlic
and a mesclun mix (young salad mix). If you are looking for a
great basic "Fresh Egg Pasta" recipe, Jerry supplies
one on page 99. You can then toss your freshly made pasta in the
"Classic Basil Pesto." Say goodbye to boring vegetable
side dishes and say Hello! to "Snap Peas with Mint and
Chervil" or "Grilled Marjoram-Scented Corn."
French Herb Garden
For a taste of the Northwest, there are recipes for Salmon
Fillets. The one with tarragon looks especially tempting. For
dinner, you might want to try the "Rosemary Gilled
Chicken." Rosemary is a classic herb to pair with roast
chicken. Just when you think you have made pork every way you
can imagine, you will find a "Maple-and-Herb brined Pork
Roast." The "Lemon Verbena Ice Cream" looks just
As I sip a cup of peppermint tea, I salute you Jerry
Traunfeld. Thank you for the gift of your knowledge. I hope your
cookbook will be the most sought after cookbook in the year
2001. Your book had found a permanent place of honor in my
kitchen! It is not often that you find a chef whose writing is
as delicious as their cooking! There are 11 beautiful color
pictures in this book, but the true beauty of this cookbook is
in the writing. Jerry has translated his excitement for life and
cooking into delicious prose. This is a true book collectors
dream cookbook. If you love to cook with fresh herbs, you will
love it even more! I can't wait to try more of the tempting
Basil to Thyme
Scent of Thyme, June 18, 2005
If you love to cook with herbs and have the desire to learn
more about planting herbs and using them to create aromatic
dishes, then Basil to Thyme will give you many ideas for summer
meals and winter feasts. Tim and Jan have included herbal lore
and historical facts. They also give excellent advice on what to
plant where. After reading this book I realized I needed to
plant certain herbs together for the best results.
Chapters 5-19 are dedicated to individual herbs. Each chapter
begins with an introduction and planting advice. I learned about
planting a border of marigolds around an herb garden to
discourage pests or why you should never plant potatoes next to
cucumbers. Apparently you should always plant sage and rosemary
together. If you want to attract butterflies, then a very common
herb can be planted.
There is a section on container gardening and my herbs are now
happily growing in terra-cotta pots from Italy. Collecting your
own herbs is immensely satisfying and takes the hassle out of
cooking with fresh herbs. Once you have the herbs planted, you
don't have to put lists of fresh herbs on your shopping list.
Cast Iron Tea Set
Another benefit is that the herbs are always fresh and they
accessible for spontaneous cooking adventures. Instead of using
dried basil, you may find yourself collecting fresh aromatic
leaves from your garden. You can buy a bay tree for bay leaves.
If you love tomato soup, there are many variations in this
cookbook. The recipes that looked the most interesting:
Dill and Potato Salad
Chive Herb Butter
Garlic Stir Fry
Ginger and Pear Muffins
Fresh Ginger Ale
Shrimp with Feta Cheese
Chicken Manicotti with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
The recipes in Basil to Thyme encourage you to cook with your
own herbs, but most of the herbs used in this book are readily
available in your local grocery store. Even if you only have a
very small space to grow herbs, it is possible to have a
beautiful little herb garden that is sure to bring you a sense
of comfort. If you have cats who enjoy chewing on herbs, plant
them in the top of a two-tiered planter. That was my most recent
solution and my cats seem to be ignoring the herbs and focusing
more on the plants in the lower section.
~The Rebecca Review