Cooking around the calendar
Jan./Feb. 2011 California Country magazine
Story by Kate Campbell
Photos by Keith Sutter and James Cole
Eat local and in season 52 weeks of the year.
Chef Laura Kenny
Improvisation is a key to designing delicious, farm-fresh meals throughout the year, said Placer County chef Laura Kenny.
"Let the farmers market inspire you. Substitute, experiment, enjoy," she said.
In the new cookbook, "Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets," Kenny advises busy cooks to read a recipe thoroughly and shop for quality, as well as price. The recipes in the book start in winter, when shopping at farmers markets traditionally drops off, and then carries through the seasons.
Kenny said a few pieces of kitchen equipment are essential for the adventurous, successful cook: sharp knives, sheet trays, parchment paper, a food mill, a citrus zester and a good vegetable peeler.
"And a meat thermometer is your best friend," she said. "One of the lessons we learned is that grass-fed meats cook faster than those on other kinds of feeds. Keep an eye on temperatures."
When the prepared dishes are finished, Kenny and co-author Joanne Neft recommend serving them family-style. They say sitting down to a meal and sharing the bounty from local farms and ranches, in-season and year-round, helps strengthen the bonds that keep families and friends connected.