THE LOVE & LEMONS COOKBOOK by Jeanine Donofrio

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An Apple-to-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking

Photos by Jack Mathews

I am a farm to table kinda girl. I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) for most of the year, but it stops at the end of May as the heat makes growing anything here in summer very difficult. I have learned to can tomatoes, pickle beets, and make kale chips by the gazillion.

When I go out to eat, I will often choose a restaurant that offers healthier options and like many people, have fallen for the farm to table restaurant model. I say “fallen” for two reasons; I sort of fell in love with the idea, then found out I’d mostly likely been taken. If you haven’t read Laura Reiley’s article, “At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction” please do. Or listen to her interview on the America’s Test Kitchen podcast. I don’t live in Tampa, but I can extrapolate that if 90% of the farm to table restaurants in Tampa are lying, I’m pretty sure that statistic will follow over to where I live. And it pisses me off.

So in retaliation, I am taking Michael Pollan’s advice to cook more at home, and this cookbook is a great way to get me inspired. And FYI, this is yet another cookbook born of a blog. I’m going to continue as if I haven’t given you several links that will take you away from here.

Donofrio offers some great advice; “cook backward” is my favorite. In other words, don’t go to the market with a list, go to the market with an open mind and find the freshest, most beautiful, seasonal produce you can, then go home and find ways to prepare it. Start with this book, which is organized by vegetable.

First up is the most basic suggestion for “what to make when you have many vegetables.” When I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the CSA. When I have no more room in the fridge! Then it’s time to add all those veggies to eggs, pasta, tortillas, soup or a salad. Fruits are included, by the way, lest you wondered about the lemons in the title.

Does Apple, Brie & Thyme Crostini work for you? How about Avocado Breakfast Tacos with spinach, eggs and salsa? I loved the Sweet Chili Charred Broccolini, although to be honest I subbed regular broccoli, which worked well. There’s a whole chapter on cucumbers, which I need to use up in the next few days so I’ll be diving into Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles for sure. Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos is another winner.

The back of the book is very cleverly laid out with pages for smoothies, pesto, hummus, guacamole and more, with several variations on each.

There are tons of beautiful pictures that are enticing enough to get me to try a lot of these recipes.

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The recipes are clearly laid out with ingredients that are easy to find in season, and most importantly, that are really delicious. This is a lovely cookbook, especially for summer.

6/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LOVE & LEMONS COOKBOOK by Jeanine Donofrio. Avery (March 29, 2016). ISBN 978-1583335864. 320p.

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