And a review of Home Cooked by Anya Fernald
Homemade goat cheese, grass fed beef and lamb, and fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit, these are the ingredients that make for wholesome meals. I’ve been reading Homecooked, essential recipes for a new way to cook by Anya Fernald. It’s one of those cookbooks with personal stories sprinkled liberally between the recipes. The kind of cookbook I like best.
Fernald is the CEO of Belcampo, a meat company and restaurant business with locations in California and Belize. The book celebrates the slow food, full fat, meaty lifestyle, with French Fries cooked in tallow, ravioli fried in canola oil, and raw beef cruda that’s served cold with olive oil. (Yes, you read that right. I did say, “raw”.)
The recipes are homecooked (or not) with attitude. Not the usual slow cooker and instapot fare that busy homemakers lean toward, these recipes will have you wondering if a chef wrote the cookbook, rather than a real homecook Recipes like seared quail and herb salad, beer braised rabbit with shallots, olive oil poached salmon, and pound cake made with lard are just some of the unusual recipes, all made with whole food ingredients.
Fernald was influenced in her cooking by her time spent in Europe in jobs related to the slow food movement and small scale food producers. Her recipes are a little unusual for a home cooking cookbook. The illustrations show her in a meat cooler with dozens of beef carcasses, working with 5 gallon pails of sheep cheese, standing over a dessert spread for at least a dozen people. The recipes take a fair amount of time to prepare. Some of them begin with making cheese from milk and pasta from flour and eggs. But for weekend cooking or special events, these recipes are full of inspiration.
Fernald is a talented and innovative cook. The breadth of the recipes move from elaborate appetizers and predinner cocktails through the main course to very simple desserts. However, it’s in the meat dishes and the vegetable sides that this cookbook really shines. If you bought that side of beef or full carcass of lamb from your local grass-fed farm, and you’re left with a lot of brown paper wrapped packages that you aren’t sure how to cook, this book will inspire you. If you are still buying your meat and vegetables at the grocery store, and found meat or frozen food in your freezer from the last lysteria scare, this isn’t your cookbook.
One recipe in Home Cooked, “Fromagetto” makes one pound of cream cheese. While Fernald’s recipe call’s for cow’s milk, it is very similiar to my personal fresh goat cheese recipe. So let me share my Chevre recipe here. If you prefer to make it with cow’s milk, you’ll be making Fernald’s Fromagetto cheese.
(similiar to the Fromagetto recipe in Home Cooked, p. 56)
This is a soft goat cheese that is cubed in salads or spread on crackers. It’s served in fancy restaurants as an appetizer. But if you make your own it will taste a thousand times better than any that you find in restaurants or grocery stores.
Yield 1 lb of creamy cheese
1 gallon of fresh goat’s mik
1/2 cup of kefir
1/4 tsp of rennet + 1/4 cup water (see instructions)
1 tsp. Celtic salt
In a stainless steel pail, with a lid, place milk and kefir. Stir together. In a separate cup mix the rennet with the water. Remove just 2 tablespoons of the diluted rennet and add to the milk-kefir mixture. Discard the remaining rennet. Stir the milk well to fully integrate the rennet into the milk. Cover and allow the pail of mik to sit for 12 hours, undisturbed, in a cool spot.
Break the curd and allow the curd to settle in the pan. Line a colander with a heavy cheese cloth or tightly woven diaper (reserved for cheese making) and set it over a bowl to catch the whey. Reserve the whey for making ricotta cheese. Spoon the curd into the lined colander or into prepared couer la creme cheese molds. Every third scoop of cheese, sprinkle the curds with a little salt. Once all the curds are in the colander or the molds, cover with the cheese cloth and allow this to drain for 4 hours, or until it stops dripping.
Unmold the Couer la Creme molds or remove the chevre from the cloth into a wide mouth 2 cup mason jar. Serve as you would cream cheese or other fresh cheese. It should be eaten within 7 days. If you want to preserve it longer, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. It will keep for 3 to 5 months in the freezer.
Serve on bagels, toast, crackers, or cube it and toss with a salad
And while you are waiting for your cheese to drain, grab a cup of herbal tea, and the cookbook, Home Cooked, essential recipes for a new way to cook, and enjoy the slower pace of a slow food lunch, while you peruse the stories and the recipes in Fernald’s debut book.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received a review copy of Home Cooked from Blogging for Books. As always, this review represents my honest opinion of the book.