I knew it would be something spectacular – Jenny’s new book. After all, her blog, The Nourished kitchen (go there now if you don’t know it) is amazing. As a matter of fact, The Nourished Kitchen was one of the first real food blogs I found that helped me learn how to cook real food. The recipes are nestled in details, interesting ingredients and facts and they always work! I expected nothing less from her new cookbook and I am not disappointed!
From the first page of The Nourished Kitchen Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle by Jennifer McGruther published by Ten Speed Press, you can see Jenny’s creativity at work. The Contents shows that the chapters are organized according to where the food comes from, for example, the range, the waters, the fields, the wild, and so on – not just what it is.
Speaking of creativity, Jenny has a reputation for amazing food photography and the book is a true reflection of her gift. She has taken all the photos in the book herself and they reflect her well known style and passion.
The Introduction outlines the philosophy of the Nourished Kitchen with explanations of,
- community involvement
These principles are critically important to the orchestration of each and every recipe. The recipes introduce new and exciting ingredients that may be part of seasonal local fare or may be as ancient as the Einkorn wheat Jenny is partial to.
Proper Preparation is Key
To any traditional kitchen, the proper preparation of food is the key to garnering all the nutrients available. Says Jenny,
The nourishment we receive from the foods we eat depends not only on which foods we choose to eat, but also how we choose to prepare them. Preparing whole grains through a slow process of sourdough fermentation maximizes B vitamins, reduces glycemic load, and enhances the availability of minerals… The fermenting of vegetables (as in sauerkraut and kimchi) was born of practicality – a way to preserve the harvest well into winter – but this process also serves a dual purpose of increasing beneficial bacteria, food enzymes, and B vitamins. By preparing foods traditionally, we maximize their nutrient density. (p. 4)
This term is used to include the broad concepts of small scale, local agriculture without the use of chemicals, the building up and replenishment of the soil (a key to nutrient dense food) and fair compensation for the farmers who practice these principles.
Raising animals on holistically managed pasture helps to sequester carbon in the soil and improve the variety of native flora. In this way, the plants need the animals that feed upon them as much as the animals need the plants, Moreover, foods grown locally, sustainable, and picked fresh offer their peak nutrition, flavor, and texture to the consumer. (p.3)
Balance and Tradition
All of the food groups, when raised from clean sources, have something to offer in the way of superior nutrition.Form Jenny,
Meat from wholesome, pasture-raised animals offers concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and wholesome healthy fats. Vegetables, fruits and plant foods offer antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Properly prepared whole grains offer minerals and energy. Whole, raw, fresh milk provides conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamins, and minerals – all nutrients that have a powerful effect in supporting health and wellness. From all whole and minimally processed foods, seek out balance and flavor. (p.4)
Traditional cooking, like the recipes found here, offer instruction for including the food groups as opposed to eliminating them.
Oh, and did I mention the photography? It practically goes without saying, for those of you who know the Nourished Kitchen blog – the photos in the book are all done by Jenny and are truly pieces of art. Go take a look.
Here is a lovely recipe from the book that I made for dessert. It went over really well – kid friendly and husband approved!
melted blueberries with ginger and mandarin orange
Tossed into frothy butter scented with ginger, blueberries soften and seemto melt away. I usually use orange blossom honey, as it nicely balances the earthy sweetness of blueberries and the vibrant citrus flavors of mandarin orange. Once the flavors meld together in the heat of the pan, I ladle the blueberries into waiting bowls and serve them with a dollop of whipped cream that melts, ever so slowly, with the residual heat of the berries. Serves 4
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 21/2 cups blueberries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Finely grated zest and juice
- of 1 mandarin orange
- Whipped cream, to serve
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the ginger
and sauté until it releases its spicy perfume, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the blueberries, honey, and mandarin zest and juice.
Sauté the berries over medium heat until the berries soften
and their juices form a thin syrup, about 6 minutes. Spoon the
warm berries into individual bowls and serve topped with a
generous spoonful of whipped cream.
Melted Blueberries with Ginger and Mandarin Orange recipe is reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).