My guy and I developed a huge foodie crush on Sean Brock this fall, when we became obsessed with the PBS show The Mind of A Chef. At the top of our resolution list is a trip to one his celebrated restaurants in Charston or Nashville. As growers of heirloom grains (aka, major seed nerds), we love this man's commitment to sourcing regional, traditional ingredients, many of which have almost gone extinct in the race for big monoculture crops that simply yield, yield, yield. This excerpt from Mind of A Chef shows Sean preparing a dreamy Farro Verde Succotash. It makes me yearn for summer.
This cookbook probably has the best cover of all time. The tattoos, the beans, the colors, I mean, you don't even need to open the book and you've already had a visual feast. But lift the cover and you're swept away to a land of pure elegance and inspiration, a place where practical recipes for Skillet Roasted Chicken or Corn Grits live side by side with more elaborate ones such as Stone Crab with Cucumber Juice, Fennel Jelly, and Raw Apple or Rabbit Andouille with Braised Peppers and Lady Pea Gravy. Every photo inspires me to get more creative about food presentation and even in this old farmhouse, to give some of these fancy chef plating tricks a try, for the fun of it.
The first thing I made from the book was the Farrotto with Acorn Squash and Kale (because yes, we STILL have kale standing strong out there), a perfect winter dish, warm, filling, and deeply flavourful. Next up on my list are the Einkorn Biscuits, the Brown Oyster Stew with Benne, and the Tomato Jam. As a Canadian, I didn't know a whole lot about Southern cuisine. This book is a perfect introduction and I love how Sean walks you through the step by step process of "How to cook grits like a Southerner" and "How to build a pit and cook a whole pig like a champion pitmaster". I'll warn you, some of the recipes in the book do look complicated and some of the ingredients are hard to come by, but the spirit of this book is to inspire and challenge us all to try new things, to learn the value of sourcing local ingredients, to get in touch with our own heritage and learn to adapt recipes to our own regions, based on what is available in our part of the world. After all, even before you get all the pots and pans out, the heart of a recipe begins with finding the best ingredients one can possibly find.
I will announce the winner of the cookbook this weekend! Bonne chance! (This giveaway can only ship within Canada, but I promise some exciting giveaways for you non-Canadians later in the year!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway