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Cookbook giveaway: “Eating Local”

It’s past time for another cookbook giveaway, judging by the growing pile on my desk.

Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers, is a gorgeous compilation of farmers market and CSA-friendly recipes, and includes a section on meat and eggs, in addition to fruits and vegetables.

“Real food is good for the environment, supports local economies, nourishes our communities, and, quite simply, tastes delicious,” writes noted restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters in the forward. A former cook at Chez Panisse, Janet Fletcher, wrote the book.

Geared toward a farmers’ market shopper or CSA subscriber, the cookbook is arranged by ingredient type, rather than dish type. It’s filled with gorgeous photos of farms and produce, though few of the actual dishes.

Ten farms are profiled, including Amy’s Garden in Charles City, between Richmond and Williamsburg, a farm with about 70 CSA shares annually that was on the forefront of organic growing two decades ago. (But it’s looking through books like this that truly make me want to live in California, where avocados and lemons are standard fare at markets, like the one I visited last weekend. A San Diego County farm in this book has everything from kumquats and macadamia nuts to jalapenos and carrots. Now that’d be a great box to pick up weekly. One day!)

Entering is simple. Just leave a comment answering this question by 5 p.m. Monday, and I’ll draw a name at random and announce the winner later in the week. What’s one of your favorite ingredients to pick up this time of year at farmers markets? Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to melons, since I haven’t had my share this summer, and may try using them in salads, and drinks like the one below.

Here are two recipes from Eating Local that caught my eye. I haven’t tried them, but plan to this weekend.

Braised Romano Beans with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Chiles and Oregano

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, grated (cut in half lengthwise, grate on coarse holes of box grater, discard skins)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound romano beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano (crumbling it between your fingers as you add it), and a generous pinch of hot pepper flakes. Raise the heat to moderately high and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes soften and form a sauce.

Add the beans and water and season highly with salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Add the potatoes, re-cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until both the beans and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes longer.

Taste and adjust the salt. If time allows, let cool to room temperature, then reheat to serve. The flavor improves when the dish is cooled and reheated.

Mexican Cantaloupe Cooler

  • 2 quarts seeded cantaloupe chunks (from about 4 pounds unpeeled)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, or more to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 lime slices

Put the melon, lime juice, sugar, salt and water in a blender, in two batches if necessary, and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust with more sugar or lime if needed, and adjust the thickness with water.

Cover and chill thoroughly. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with a lime slice.