Monday, 7 September 2009

Cookbook Review - Well Preserved

This summer I had the pleasure of reviewing Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone. I say this summer as it took a while to review. I like to try several recipes for a cookbook review, and the thing about preserving foods is.. that they take a bit of time to come into their own. Perfect for the pantry, it requires patience on the part of the cookbook reviewer.
So, weeks ago I dove right into this book on the craft of putting up seasonal foods, and found it to be an excellent guide for those new to preserving. (Like me!)
Eugenia Bone lives in Manhattan, in a home that I would guess is even smaller than my own, and has written a book to encourage the modern householder that preserving foods is fun, economical, earth friendly, and easy. And you don't need a lot of space to do it.

She describes many different types of food preserving; water bath canning, pickling, pressure canning, freezing, preserving in oil, curing and smoking. The preserving recipes cover all seasons and methods, concentrating on the methods most likely to be used in the average home. Each preserving recipe comes with three recipes in which to use what you have preserved. A perfect springboard to get you to actually use those pretty jars of food, even though you might be tempted just to keep them on a shelf and admire your handiwork.
In the jars above I made Preserved Lemons, Strawberry Balsamic Jam, and Pickled Cauliflower.

The first item I made from the book was Gravlax. Similar to lox, it is a cured salmon that is amazing with bagels and cream cheese or used in a dish for added wow factor. I could not believe how easy it was to make. Never again will I pay top dollar for cured salmon.
I used one fillet at home and brought the other up to a friend's cottage. The whole crowd just loved it.
With the fillet I saved at home, I made this delicious Farfalle Alfredo with Gravlax. Such a lovely and romantic meal with a nice bottle of wine.

With the Strawberry Balsamic Jam, I made Eugenia's Strawberry Balsamic Panna Cotta. It was very tasty indeed, the sweet jam paired beautifully with the light-as-a-cloud panna cotta. As it contains no added pectin it is a looser jam, and was fantastic on a banana split. I am hungry for one as I write this..

From the Preserved Zucchini I made the Preserved Zucchini and Mozzarella Hors D'Oeuvres. Fantastic bites of Italian-inspired garden fresh goodness. These were a lot of fun to present to my tired commuters as they came in. They absolutely loved them.

Another favourite of mine was the Preserved Lemons. I had been looking for years for them in shops, another ingredient that I had no idea how easy it was to make. With them I made the Chicken Cutlets with Preserved Lemon and Parsley. Totally delicious.

What I liked best about this book was how comfortable Eugenia Bone made me feel about preserving food. As a relative beginner I had trepidation, but she successfully assuaged my fears and got me excited to put foods up.
This book would be perfect for anyone interested in learning the art of preserving food, or even as a hostess gift. In fact, if you give it to a friend I am sure you could expect a few jars of something special in the years to come. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

This paperback edition of Well Preserved has full colour photos, and is 224 pages.