Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BloggerAid Book Review

I am very proud to belong to a dedicated group of Food Bloggers that are trying to do their part in making a difference on Global Hunger. Our group is of course, BLOGGERAID CHANGING THE FACE OF FAMINE.
One of our projects will be our very own cookbook , "The Blogger Aid Cookbook."It will be released shortly and the proceeds from this book will benefit Friends of WFP.

BloggerAid is also hosting an event with publishers from around the world that have given them books to distribute for Review. I have been fortunate enough to be asked to review the book, EARTH to TABLE Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm from Random House ( and by the authors Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann (

Thank you BloggerAid for your confidence in me.

This book was much anticipated and when it finally arrived everyone had their dibs on thumbing through it and quickly ear marking their favorite recipes from this book for a future meal. Trust me , if 4 people can request a different recipe from a book , you know that you have a winner on your hands.That event is a five star endorsement.

The author Jeff Crump developed his talents in Vancouver and California. He is a Canadian Slow Food Pioneer and the Executive Chef at the Ancaster Old Mill. His partner and award winner pastry chef,Bettina Schormann is also a proud member of the Slow Food Movement and also works with Jeff at the Ancaster Old Mill as the pastry chef.

The book itself is all about encouraging us to eat, "locally". Quite simply that means eating seasonally. The book is divided into four seasons and Jeff and Bettina have included the best and most delicious of what each season has to offer. Many recipes are classical, familiar, yet they are presented with a new twist, others are totally unexpected and exciting.

Each season is prefaced with a background journal of the authors own trials, tribulations and philosophy. Before each Season,there is a highlighted How To section and a Spotlight section that are both informative and helpful. Included is also a Profile section that introduces you some famous and innovative chefs from around the world like Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller.

The book was easy to read and thus made it a pleasure to peruse over a cup of coffee or even at night while lying in bed. All recipes have a little personal introduction, and everything is e clear and precise. Most recipes fit on one page and are accompanied by wonderful simple but rustic photographs taken by Edward Pond who in my opinion captured the essence of this book with his beautiful photographs.

This book arrived about ten days ago and as a true food blogger I was anxious to dazzle family and friends with an imediate recipe out of this book. As we were just at the end of summer and I had a whole basket of plums left I decided to make Jeff and Bettina's plum tart recipe (pg. 142). I ended up with eight individual galettes and one plum tart and these lasted a total of two days (see previous blog entry for the recipe). Ron who is our family pizza maker was anxious to try the pizza dough recipe on pg.184. It was made with local honey and yielded 4 -6 oz . balls of pizza dough and we all created our own personalized pizzas that ranged with toppings that included, potato and rosemary, yellow squash, sage, and pancetta to the traditional pepperoni and cheese.

The unanimous family decision was to make WHITE TRUFFLE RISOTTO with CAULIFLOWER. This recipe is out of the Fall section of the book . I had added some mushrooms because ,it was suggested in the book that the greater variety of mushrooms you use ,the more flavor your risotto will have. As I was not able to purchase any white truffle I did however, substitute this delicacy with 2tsp of white truffle oil that was drizzled over the dish. The reason why we chose the risotto recipe is because autumn is the time to really start cooking again, after the fast cold soups and salads of the summer. Autumns bounty is over-flowing and in the fall we crave something rich and earthy. Risotto is one such meal. Depending on how you make it, it can stand alone as a main meal or ca be made lighter as a side dish. By the addition of the pancetta, cauliflower, mushrooms and parmigiano you start to coax out new flavors and different textures in this dish. The White truffle Oil much to our amazement was both light and complex and made us feel we were eating a fabulous dish out of a a five star restaurant.

In our busy, time pressured lives I really feel we have become food robots. The risotto dish is a labor of love in that it does take time to properly cook the Arborio rice and to meld all the other flavors into the rice. We have to learn to slow down and to reconnect with the seasons and live more sustainable lives. The cookbook is filled with earthy recipes that do just that.

The bottom line is that this book helps you to rediscover the seasons. Seasonal eating ensures that you are consuming what is naturally good for you to eat at the right time of year. Don't get into the trap of eating the same foods all year round simply because they are more readily available. Eating seasonally is all about enjoying food rather than its abstinence and Earth to Table is the perfect tool to help you on your way. This truly is a beautiful book in every way.

Thank you once again to Random House Canada and BloggerAid.


(serves 4)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 5 cups wild mushrooms thinly slices

  • 3 cups small cauliflower florets

  • 2 shallots finely diced

  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta

  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 4 cups hot chicken stock

  • 1 cup grated parmigiano cheese

  • 1T minced flat leaf parsley

  • 1tsp minced fresh thyme

  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

  • shaved fresh white truffle or 2tsp white truffle oil

In a large skillet, melt 2T of butter over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, cauliflower, a pinch of salt and a splash of water; saute until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms appear dry, about 15 min's. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt 2T of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and pancetta; saute until until softened; about 2 min's. Stir in rice until well coated (do not let brown). Stir in wine and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup of stock and cook, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed before adding more. It will take about 20 min's to incorporate all of the liquid.

Stir in mushroom mixture ad cook until vegetables are tender and rice is creamy, about 5 min's. Stir in the remaning butter, cheese, parsley and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let stand for 2 min's. Ladle risotto into warm bowls ad garnish with shaved truffle or drizzle with the white truffle oil.


giz said...

Oh my goodness - that risotto sounds fantastic and looks fantastic too. Where did you find the white truffle oil - I haven't seen any here in ages. Great job on the review and I hope you enjoy the book for years to come.

Velva said...

What a great cause that you are supporting! What a great cookbook you had the opportunity to review! I enjoyed reading your blog post.
I hope that you continue to discover more delicious recipes from this cookbook.