Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard Hardcover – Jul 19 2011
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About the Author
Romney "Nani" Steele is a writer, a cook, a visual artist, and a food stylist. As the granddaughter of Bill and Lolly Fassett, creators of Nepenthe Restaurant, she grew up at the family business and opened Cafe Kevah, located on the grounds of Nepenthe. She lives in Oakland, California, with her two children, Trevor and Nicoya. Online: mynepenthebook.com www.facebook.com/pages/Plum-Gorgeous/
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I must warn, do not read this book while hungry. You will want to run out and get all the ingredients to several or maybe all the recipes she shares with us. I am making the "Marmalade Chicken" for dinner this evening. I love that she also offers alternative items to substitute based on the weather or time of the growing season. The photography in this book provided by Sara Remington is eye candy for all food lovers, and created "artist envy" in me.
This is a book that I will gift to those I know who love to cook, those I know who love to eat good food that stimulate all their senses, and to all the artists I know. I urge everyone who reads this book to not keep it to themselves, pass or gift this bounty just as you would a wonderful sumptuous meal for 10.
Thank you, Romney Steele, for keeping the spirit of the orchard in California alive. You are what my husband fondly calls a "true California sunshine girl" because you appreciate, and have created works of art out of nature's bounty so abundant here in California.
The spring sections starts with citrus fruits. I loved the sound the recipes like honey lavender lemonade. I guess I should clarify that, I like the sound of something besides straight lemonade but I could forgo the lavender. There are even basic recipes with a twist like orange pistachio sables (butter cookies). There was also a Moroccan orange salad that looked awesome in the picture.
The is another section that sort of falls between both spring and summer and is all about recipes with berries. Recipes such as strawberry, nasturtium and cucumber salad had my mouth watering. A little more complex than some of the earlier recipes in this book, they didn't sound too difficult. Other unique recipes in this section include the raspberry rhubarb rose petal jam and the blueberry lemon thyme risotto. I am going to have to try the risotto since it seems I'm on a risotto kick recently.
The third section is summer fruits and contains mostly recipes dealing with plums. Things like plum soup, plum pork chops and plum and lavender jam can all be found in this section. There were also other fruit recipes including duck with cherry salsa and a few recipes for peaches, apricots and mangoes. While some of the recipes are just variations (apricot mango chutney) on others I've seen, I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
The last section is all about fall fruits. There were recipes with figs, apples and pears. I think the grilled lamb-chops with pomegranate and the persimmon chocolate chip cookies were my two favorites from this section. Oh, the final recipe for white chocolate passion fruit truffles sounded awesome but probably not something I'll try as my other half is allergic to passion fruit. They still sounds interesting though.
I liked the recipes in this book; they were interesting and had unique blurbs about the background of the recipe. I was at times annoyed with some of the photographs that filled this book. While I felt the ones of the food added to the book, some of the atmospheric ones were not at beneficial to me. I do want to try a few of the recipes but certain items may not be easy to find everywhere (like the persimmon or elderberry water). This was an enjoyable cookbook to flip through and I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes. 4 Stars.
I received an ebook copy of this book via Netgalley from the publisher.
The title "Plum Gorgeous" perfectly describes the photography and recipes and writing. The author makes cooking and food presentation a sensual, visual art. On page 6 Romney writes: "Lemons make me happy, seeing them on my table in a Moroccan bowl with turquoise edging. The shiny ovals remind me of living at Henry Miller's house, the jumbled oasis down the hill from the orchard, the redwood table at the center of the room where I would always place that bowl and fill it with lemons from the tree. My ode to joy." I also enjoy the perfect beauty of fresh lemons and frequently keep a pile of them in a cobalt blue bowl in my kitchen.
All of the recipes feature fresh fruit and produce from the garden, but with the ubiquity of farmer's markets these days, I should be able to find the seasonal ingredients. Some of the recipes that look appealing to me include "Moroccan orange salad", "strawberry, nasturtium and cucumber salad", "olallieberry pie", "blueberry lemon thyme risotto", "lavender-brined pork chops with grilled spiced plums"' "honey-glazed duck breasts with cherry salsa" and so many others. I have tried a couple of recipes and they are well written, easy to follow and completely reproducible by a cook with even modest skills.