Lynn Crawford’s Farm to Chef

 

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Here we are in the  dizzying and delightful peak of cookbook season, and today we bring you the latest offering from one of Canada’s best and most loved chefs, Lynn Crawford’s Farm to Chef-Cooking Through The Seasons. This book is basically a work of art, and does for the culinary world what Vivaldi did to the music world. In fact, you might want to cue up The Four Seasons* when you crack it open and start cooking! 

 

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This highly anticipated cookbook, the third brought to us by Chef Lynn celebrates the bounty of all four seasons, and the book itself is organized that way; divided into four main sections, each focuses on the produce that is most readily available in that season, just-harvested from local farms and ready to hit your kitchen. This is kind of ingenious in a way, as it makes selecting a meal so much easier by focusing on what’s fresh and in season. In the front page of each chapter -a chapter for each season- the go-to vegetables that are readily available are listed alphabetically. No doubt about it, the seasons dictate our palate. Winter, for example; in this neck of the woods means suppers based on lots of fall-harvested root-vegetables and hearty, warming meals that utilize rutabaga, parsnips, onions and garlic, squash, sunchokes and turnips.

 

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This is an exciting and bold step on Chef Lynn’s part,presenting the recipes alphabetically by produce rather than the almighty meat, and represents a healthy and subtle shift in our way of approaching meal-making. During the fall, for example, the vegetables and fruits are listed starting with Apples, Beets and Carrots and continue  to Leeks, Mushrooms, Pears and Sweet Potatoes. The proteins don’t even appear on the contents page. It’s is a little startling to start off a cookbook with a recipe for apple cider-in this case Hot Buttered Bourbon Cider- and then an apple pie, but the more you peruse this beautifully written and photographed book, the more it makes sense.

 

Berry Galette

Berry Galette

 

Each “season” offers such creativity it is a pleasure to move seamlessly and organically from page to page, from idea to supper, from spring to summer and fall to winter, and to observe how a great chef draws inspiration from what’s freshest and locally available. And it’s kind of exciting and a bit out of the ordinary to start thinking, “That looks great but local asparagus isn’t available now, I’m gonna save that recipe for the spring!” Or to plan a meal around spring onions and ramps rather than a buying a pound of ground beef and wondering what to do with it.

 

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Little Gem and Sweet Pea Sauté

 

This book’s first chapter is “Fall,” so you can jump right into a big bowl of Carrot Lemongrass Soup with Ginger Pork Dumplings. Or a Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Moussaka! In no time this book will have you thinking seasonally, and cooking fantastic recipes that make you aware of not only the seasonal bounty, but the dynamic relationship between local farmers, world-class chefs and delicious, healthy home cooking. From farm to chef to you.

 

Onion rings

Onion rings

*Which would be fitting as Chef Lynn spent the majority of her cooking career with the Four Seasons Hotel Group.

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