Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

When I was asked if I would like a review copy of the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, I said 'sure!' A free cookbook? I couldn't turn that down but I did wonder if I would find it useful or if it would be too high-falutin' for me.

It arrived the day before our big cookout so I couldn't dive right into it. After the cookout, when everyone had gone home, the kids had crashed and I had cleaned up as much as I could, I sat down with this book and pretty much read it from cover-to-cover, something I rarely do with cookbooks.

Talk about perfect timing - I was suffering from a case of PPD - Post Party Depression - and this book was great medication. This is more than just a collection of recipes. It tells the story of Big Sur Bakery and the people who run it. I found their stories to be very inspiring, not just in terms of food but in terms of life and happiness.

And the recipes? Well, surprisingly not as far out of my realm as I suspected. There are plenty of recipes that suit me just fine - a wonderful chocolate bundt cake, doughnuts, breakfast pizza, scones, roasted chicken, potato frittata and quite a few more that are right up my alley. Most recipes that are out of my reach (not that many) are only there due to the ingredients - at the Big Sur Bakery it is all about using fresh and local ingredients and what is fresh and local in Big Sur is certainly not exactly what is fresh and local in central Pennsylvania.

It certainly inspired me to enjoy what is fresh and local in my area. Lately I've been passing on making the trek to auction (the farmer's market to non-locals) but I went on Friday and central PA produce is in full swing. I saw these huge spring onions and I knew exactly what to do with them.

Roasted Spring Onions
Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

4 large or 8 small spring Onions
1 tablespoon rice bran or canola oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss onions with oil. Place in baking pan and add chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. I removed the foil for the last 10 minutes or so.

These were so simple and delicious. No, not every recipe in the book is this simple but sometimes simple is all you need.

Please check out the widget on my sidebar if you want to see a preview of this cookbook.

The downside to this cookbook is that it may have unleashed something in me. My cookbook collection could definitely use more books like this, books that tell a story.

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to Big Sur? Would you like driving on Highway 1 (the coastline hugging highway that leads to Big Sur)? I think it would scare the bejesus out of me.


M Smith said...

This is my kind of cookbook too! And I love to eat more simple dishes during the week, especially meatless (I save meaty stuff for the weekend.)

I also liked the cookbook, A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. I felt like I knew a lot about her bakery and what is behind her passion from reading her book. The fact that her cheesecake recipes rock is a bonus. :)

Janet said...

I have also been getting more interested in cookbooks that tell a story, although I haven't been making things from them. I've been eying A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert, but I haven't decided about it yet.
The Goldman book looks very intriguing.