It’s been over two years since I started working on my new cookbook, First We Eat, and the day that I’ll be able to share it with you all is finally near! It’s coming out on March 20th, you can pre-order it now, and I am *barely* able to contain my excitement. This is the book I’ve wanted to write my entire life, and I can’t believe it’s finally done and is a real thing that I’m able to hold in my own two hands. At the very root of it, I wrote this book with two intentions — I wanted to make simple and honest recipes that let the flavors of seasonal ingredients shine, and I wanted to give you the tools, knowledge, and resources to make seasonal eating and ingredient-sourcing a part of your life.
In the first portion of the book, I dive deep into all the ways you can eat seasonally and locally through your farmer’s markets, joining local CSA’s, and the like. You’ll get the inside scoop on buying ethically-sourced meats from farmers within your local area, and I’ll walk you through the process of buying it farm-direct, including how much freezer space you’ll need, the average cost, and other helpful details! I also dive into why eating locally and seasonally is so incredibly important, which I wanted to talk a little bit about here. When you buy produce at the farmer’s market, there’s a few awesome things that happen. First, the money is going straight to the farmer and not any middle-man. Plus, you can ask the farmer any questions about what they have/how things were grown/how to cook an ingredient and they can actually answer them. You also know where the food comes from, and that it was grown in accordance with the labor and growing regulations in your state. You’re also hugely reducing your carbon footprint, since that food traveled maybe 30 miles in the farmer’s car instead of 3,000 miles in a giant 4-wheeler then a shipping boat then another giant 4-wheeler. And by buying direct from the farm, you’re greatly reducing the packaging that goes into transporting and preserving the food. Since the food is actually fresh, it doesn’t need to be packaged with/in a bunch of plastic clamshell boxes to preserve it. One of my biggest concerns with the “smoothie bowl” movement is the use of exotic ingredients that have to be shipped to the west from countries thousands of miles away with lax to non-existent labor and environmental laws. The carbon footprint that goes into shipping ingredients like coconuts, acai, goji berries and the like is enormous—not to mention the delicate habitats that are often destroyed to create these mass mono-culture farms, as well as the lack of legal protections for the people (and often times children) in those countries who are doing the tending and harvesting of these crops. Not to get super dark and heavy, but that is the straight-up reality of it. When you buy locally and eat what’s in season and around you, however, you stop supporting those broken systems and instead support the functioning ones within your own community. And that’s pretty damn awesome.
After you get all the info + tools to eat locally on a more regular basis, I have a whole chapter in the cookbook called ‘The Homemade Pantry’ that’s probably my favorite one in the book. It’s packed with INSANELY tasty and simple flavored staple ingredients that you can play with throughout your own cooking. It’s where you can get extra creative when you experiment with making dishes on your own. So things like flavored sweeteners (the chipotle honey is a Kosmas-Flores staple, as is the rosemary and vanilla bean-infused maple syrup), infused salts (the garlic and bay leaf salt is REAL good on roasted potatoes), and compound butters (highly recommend using the roasted mushroom butter on your breakfast toast with a poached egg!!) There’s also simple sauce + stock recipes that you can use throughout the book later on in other recipes, like vegetable stock, classic tomato sauce, and homemade pork stock, which I like to make in batches and then freeze for later use. Plus a BUNCH more tasty and versatile pantry staples that can be used to kick any dish up a notch. This whole chapter is meant to encourage you to be more playful in in the kitchen, to breakdown any fear of trying new things, and to help you to experiment with different flavors when you cook.
The rest of the cookbook is broken up into four chapters based on the seasons, with sides, mains, desserts, and drinks in each one, and options for both vegetarians and omnivores throughout. Each chapter begins with a menu for a small gathering, and every course of the menu corresponds to a recipe in that chapter of the book. There’s also a little gardening tip at the beginning of each chapter that teaches you what you can do in your garden that time of year, too. And interwoven through the whole book are little photo vignettes of our seasonal life here in the Pacific Northwest.
All in all, this cookbook really is a complete collection of everything near and dear to my heart—from cooking simple honest food with fresh ingredients, to experimenting freely in the kitchen, to sharing food with the people you care about most—and I am overjoyed to be able to share it with you. I have one of my favorite spring breakfast recipes from the book in this post, but before we dive in, I wanted to share one last thing. It’s an excerpt from one of the chapters of my book, and I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
…This is what eating seasonally is all about. It is about creating community. It is about respecting nature and letting it choose what time of year is best for eating a strawberry or a turnip. It is about building moments with food year after year, ones that you can look forward to and think back on when the calendar goes round again. It is about feeling the change of the seasons within you, and enjoying how your body begins to crave exactly what the earth is offering up to you at that precise moment. Most of all, though, it is about food. A love of food. Of sharing food, of good food, and, most of all, of eating food. The best food doesn’t come from the best cooks. The best food comes from the best people. People who love to eat.”
Blueberry Dutch Baby
This is one of my favorite spring dishes from my new cookbook, First We Eat. If you're unfamiliar with a Dutch baby, it's basically a giant custard-y pancake that you bake in the oven rather than cooking on the stovetop. When you combine this with blueberries and nuts and a little bit of maple syrup, you get some real sweet breakfast magic!
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2/3 cups whole milk (at room temperature)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into individual tablespoons, at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche (or full-fat vanilla yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons slices almonds
- 1 teaspoon edible flowers (optional)
- maple syrup for serving (optional)
For the blueberry sauce, combine the blueberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the blueberries burst and the sauce cooks down and becomes thick and jammy, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Dutch baby, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Set an 11-inch au gratin pan or oven-safe skillet inside to preheat for at least 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the milk, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in 1 cup of the blueberries by hand.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and add the butter to the pan, swirling it slightly to help them melt quickly. Take care, as the butter will hiss and spit a bit when it hits the hot pan. Pour the batter into the pan and place it back in the oven. Bake until the pancake looks puffy and the edges curl up and are golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.
Remove and garnish with the creme fraiche or yogurt and blueberry sauce. Top with the almonds, edible flowers (if using), and the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries and serve along with the maple syrup, if desired.