Earth to Table Every Day: Cooking with Good Ingredients Through the Seasons

Earth to Table Every Day: Cooking with Good Ingredients Through the Seasons

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Overview

Slow Food advocates and accomplished chefs Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann, effortlessly turn the bounty of the seasons into a stunning collection of approachable everyday recipes.

Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design - Reference


Earth to Table Every Day is all about seeking out good ingredients for a delicious, seasonal approach to cooking. For chefs Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann, nothing is more satisfying than creating comforting meals that change with the seasons.
Here is a collection of 140 simple, everyday recipes, full of familiar ingredients and vibrant flavours—peppered throughout with inspiring stories and gorgeous photography—including Curried Lentil Soup with Coconut Yogurt, Arugula and Fennel Salad, Mushroom Tarts with Taleggio Cheese, Creamy Hummus with Fried Chickpeas, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Piri Piri Baby Back Ribs, Apple Bacon Pizza, Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, Chocolate Brownies, and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735233485
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 613,183
Product dimensions: 8.23(w) x 10.27(h) x 1.16(d)

About the Author

JEFF CRUMP is a Canadian Slow Food pioneer and co-author of the bestseller Earth to Table. He has worked at a number of the world's top restaurants, including Chez Panisse and The Fat Duck. He is the chef and co-owner of Earth to Table: Bread Bar restaurants and Earth to Table Farm.   Jeff is an executive member of Pearle Hospitality. BETTINA SCHORMANN is co-author of the bestseller Earth to Table and co-founder of the Earth to Table: Bread Bar restaurants. She has been baking professionally for over a decade and was the recipient of the 2006 OHI Pastry Chef of the Year.

Read an Excerpt

Our Story

The steel town of Hamilton, Ontario, was where we became friends and colleagues, and where we found the creative space and support to fashion an earth-to-table experience that set us apart and started us on our inevitable course towards building our first restaurant, Earth to Table: Bread Bar. (We refer to it, in this cookbook as in life, simply as Bread Bar.) In 2005, as the executive chef and the pastry chef at a local establishment called the Ancaster Mill, we started hunting for farmers to buy local food from. Soon after, Chris Krucker of ManoRun Organic Farm approached us about ordering his produce for our kitchen. Chris appeared at a moment of synchronicity—we had long wanted to pro­vide a dining experience that would illustrate the journey of food from farm to restaurant. ManoRun would supply our kitchen with delicious locally grown, seasonal produce, and we and our staff would have the opportunity to dig in the dirt by working at the farm. What followed was a deep lesson in the differences between restaurants and farms, and farmers and chefs, and it was the inspiration for our first book, Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm.
 
Earth to Table followed a year-long journey of food from Chris’s farm to our restaurant tables at Ancaster Mill, and celebrated the glorious benefits of eating seasonally. For us it was a watershed moment. Much has happened since Earth to Table was published in 2009. Back then, farmers’ markets were just beginning to wedge themselves into urban spaces in towns and cities across the country. Today, throughout spring, summer, and autumn, you can find local farmers, both new and old generation, selling hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and free-range eggs alongside locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked goods, and artisanal honey in urban parking lots and disused spaces between buildings. All that delicious growth affected us in powerful ways and was the motiva­tion behind long-held dreams.
 
As chefs tend to do during punishing restaurant hours, we fantasize about opening our own place: Jeff wanted to open a pizzeria; Bettina, a bakery. Push led to shove led to leap and—with some outside encouragement—Bread Bar was born. We were astonished at how quickly the res­taurant became a popular hangout on the local dining and take-out scene. When we first opened, we needed a single 50-pound bag of flour a day to make pizza dough. Now we go through many, many more.
 
At first, we planned to offer counter service only, but the overwhelming demand for food made with “good ingre­dients that matter” led us to add a bar and more restaurant seating a year or so later, and the basement eventually became baker’s central for all our operations. It wasn’t long before we opened another Bread Bar restaurant, this time in Guelph, and as we write this there are plans for a third. Our restaurants embrace the earth-to-table philosophy that permeates our seasonal menus and our approach to food. Customers immediately welcomed our fresh, seasonal dishes and supported us as we experimented to find a balance between food that was familiar and comforting and a menu that changed with the weather.
 
One of the lessons we learned through our relation­ship with Chris Krucker and ManoRun Organic Farm is that we are not farmers. Just like the restaurant life, farming is gruelling work and not for the faint of heart or body. Nature can bless and damn you in the same year. Thankfully, there are more young farmers willing to dig deep and take on the challenge so that we can focus on cooking good food.
 
But one thing we noticed is that for many new farmers, the greatest barrier to living their dream is a lack of access to land. This challenge was one of the reasons we decided to purchase some farmland with our company Pearle Hospitality in 2010. There, in partnership with an amazing organization called Farm Start, we set up an organic “incu­bator farm,” at the time one of only two in Canada. We set aside fifty acres to rent out to budding farmers who practise organic agriculture, and each farmer gets four years to make their efforts work as a complete business. Rowena Cruz, a computer animator who originally showed up at the Ancaster Mill’s kitchen door selling her tomatoes, was one of those incubator farmers. Today, she is one of our field managers and probably the most successful farmer to come out of the Earth to Table farm. For Bread Bar, we currently plant six acres, on which Rowena is growing cucumbers, squash, lettuce greens, tomatoes, and much more for us. Every winter our chefs meet to pore over seed catalogues and plan for the spring planting.
 
Something else that became apparent was that through our connection with local farmers, we connected even more deeply with the community around Bread Bar. People came to us for coffee, business lunches, pizza runs, family dinners, and celebrations. Even the core contingent of recipe testers for this book hail from the neighbourhood. They are committed to our food and what it represents.
 
That community goodwill made us realize it was time to write another cookbook—one that celebrates how good food can enrich your life every day. We are a duo of food hedonists: Bettina nurtures the authentic connection with the community and delights customers with her delicious and thoughtful approach to baking. Jeff is always seeking and exploring fresh flavours to create new favourites. You’ll find all that salt-and-pepper goodness in this book’s recipes because there is no pretense when it comes to Bread Bar’s motto, “Good ingredients matter.”
 
According to Lenore Newman, author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, Canadian cuisine has several defining features: wild food, indigenous food, and seasonal food, with a focus on ingredients ahead of recipes. All these elements are in tangible evidence at Bread Bar. Bettina has foraged for garlic ramps for topping pizza and hauled a bumper crop of rhubarb from her backyard to the restau­rant to use in pies and scones. Wild rice in a spicy lentil salad and rainbow trout cooked campfire style embrace the indigenous element. And the summer heat floods us with sweet tomatoes from local farmers for our Heirloom Tomato Salad (page 58), an homage to the seasonal along with many other fruits and vegetables.
 
The tricky thing about eating seasonally is that it’s much harder to achieve in a four-season climate where the growing season is unpredictable. By the time spring’s bounty starts to arrive at our doorstep, people are wearing shorts in anticipation of summer’s heat and may not be interested in eating asparagus or ramps. August is one of those months where we simply can’t keep up with the amount of fresh produce arriving daily at the kitchen, though we do our best to preserve as much as possible for use during the dreary days of winter.
 
Bread Bar excels at showcasing good ingredients in simple dishes that keep drawing customers back. For us, delicious, good food is the priority. And that begins with the choice of ingredients. When you read a menu, your cravings often guide your choice of meal, and often that means locking on to an ingredient that you know and love, whether that is beets or arugula, steak or chicken, vanilla or chocolate. And when that familiar ingredient is prepared and presented with creativity and thoughtfulness, it can become something new and exciting, familiar and fresh simultaneously. That is the essence of good food.
 
For us, ingredients are paramount, but not just the ones that ripen on vines or are hidden in the soil, or live in the fields and on farms. The ingredients of goodness, community, comfort, taste, and joy are interwoven in every dish that graces our tables. That sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It’s essentially what we all hope for when we sit down at a family meal. We encourage home cooks to visit the farmers’ markets rather than the grocery store and not only rediscover where their food comes from but experi­ence the fun of doing so. Above all, this book insists on experiencing the flavour of joy.
 
Good food is neither simple nor uncomplicated when you consider the chemistry of flavour and texture. But it can be simple if you take the time to savour it. Eating a meal isn’t supposed to mimic speed-dating. In an era where mindfulness is marketed as an antidote to the “fear of missing out,” the case for enjoying good food is not an opportunistic public relations gimmick. You will miss out on something good—and miss out on joy—if you treat a meal as immediate rocket fuel, ingredients as a medicine chest, and cooking as a chore.
 
This book explores familiar ingredients and dishes in a fresh way, and encourages you to respect the flavour inherent in good food. Enhance it, but don’t overwhelm it. That’s part of Bread Bar’s secret to success, and what we want to share with you in this book. This is our version of seasonal, fresh, delicious food.

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