A Booksmart Review: The Eat Local Cookbook by Lisa Turner


The Eat Local Cookbook
Lisa Turner (Down East, 2011)

For family cooks, inundated with fresh produce from their community-supported agriculture (CSA) share, their own gardens, or a trip to a weekend farmer’s market, comes a delightful new cookbook by Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport, Maine. Turner, who supplies fresh organic produce to many Maine restaurants, helpfully divides her book by seasons. More than 100 recipes give plenty of ways to use all kinds of Down East specialties from kale to beets to blueberries.

While the cookbook does not provide any photos, recipe names such as crab cakes on pea shoots or roasted squash and kale salad with maple-garlic dressing are usually enough to inspire. In addition to her own culinary inventions, Turner includes those of many notable Maine chefs, plus members of her CSA. Traditional recipes such as apple pie are here, but so also are more unusual ones, like radish sandwiches, beet-green and potato pancakes, and quesadillas with rutabaga.

In addition to recipes, Turner offers a few helpful gardening basics and an extremely useful “Tips for Vegetable Storage” section at the end. Many of the recipes feature words of wisdom for the home gardener, such as letting root crops experience a few frosts so that some of their starches turn to sugar.

Instructions are typically straightforward, though they vary in detail: one recipe provides an entire paragraph on preparing a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg, but another gives no information on how to caramelize onions. Regardless, the recipes typically contain fewer than 10 ingredients and are written in an easy-to-follow manner.

Reviewed by Allison Knab