This book traces the journey that has been played out in homes, cabins, restaurants, hotels, culinary schools, movie trailers and all manner of venues that span the past fifty-plus years. Its roots are in the hospitality of a family farm table where homegrown food and hospitality were the catalyst of joy-filled memories. It was fine-tuned in multiple culinary schools, restaurants and travels abroad in some of the worlds’ finest dining rooms. These experiences facilitate beloved memories and has continued up to this moment in time, when chef instructor Linda Hierholzer has begun to reminisce on the marvelous opportunities that have broadened and enhanced her experience of sharing the table. It is this expertise that she wishes to share with home cooks, Northwest farmer’s market and food enthusiasts as follows:
• Shop the market empowered by knowledge of seasonal, local, organic, free-range, grass-fed, sustainable foods. Google the “find of the day” ingredient to ensure quality.
• Plan daily and weekly menus with season, variety and portions in mind.
• Transport and store those perishable items to maintain quality.
• Utilize the five senses as the first tool to navigate through a new recipe.
• Organize prepared ingredients in a series of small bowls before approaching the method.
• Equip the kitchen with proficient equipment considering their function, composition, shape and durability.
• Handle a variety of knives to best prepare ingredients for optimum cooking.
• Explore cooking techniques that produce flavorful dishes.
• Enhance recipes by highlighting them with aromatic, colorful and tactile basic preparations.
• Create a hospitable atmosphere paying detailed attention to the venue, invitation, ambiance, table accents, music, menu, service and conversation.
Her world travels and chance meetings with culinary celebrities documented in the chapter called “Memorable Meals” sets the stage to play out visions of “what might be” for the enthralled reader.
This book is organized in two main sections. The first section is divided into chapters that introduce the reader to the technicalities of being a savvy shopper, selecting the right tool for the right job, exploring the fundamental principles of flavor and plate development from an artistic eye view, aromatic preparations that are the foundation of a recipe and what it takes to successfully prepare and produce a dinner party. Musings from notable menus and culinary travels inspires the reader to create their own memorable meals. Unique, compared to most cookbooks, is the creation of a taste, think, transform mentality of approaching recipes, turning a robotic cook into a critical thinking, renovating food explorer.
The second section of the book is comprised of one-hundred-twenty Skagit Valley, Mediterranean and Latino eclectic recipes divided into starters, breads and spreads, soups, salads, brunch or supper, pasta mains, vegetable mains, seafood entrées, poultry entrées, meat entrées, sides, sweets and appareils (recipes used within several other recipes.) Each recipe has a memorable head note that introduces either the history, stories, quotes, memory, seasonality, cuisine of origin, serving suggestions and/or interesting facts. Side bars give ingredient substitutions, where to find unusual ingredients, etymology and cultural facts vital to the integrity of the dish.
After a fast-food dark age, the art of the hospitable table has re-emerged. Farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture home baskets are inspiring a new age of wholesome food experimentation. Mediterranean cuisine has proven to be a nutritionally sound way to maintain good health. There is a yearning to explore the fundamentals of what it means to be sharing the table and how to successfully achieve this art in a sustainable, healthy way. This book offers answers to this trending desire.