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Exploring Unusual Tastes

Review by Kristina Sepetys

Dandelion & Quince:
Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

by Michelle McKenzie
(Roost Books, 2016)

Michelle McKenzie is the program director and chef at 18 Reasons, the nonprofit community cooking school in San Francisco’s Mission District. She’s known for making simple food that’s both special and healthy. Her new cookbook presents more than 150 recipes that make use of the varied blossoms, berries, leaves, and roots—like burdock, green garlic, cardoons, and gooseberries—found around the Bay Area and beyond. McKenzie will teach you how flowering herbs can be an integral part of your dish, how earthy burdock root can be braised like carrots and prepared as a tasty side dish, and how some weeds like chickweed are high in vitamins and can be used in salads. She organizes chapters by ingredients like Bolting Herbs; Fennel Fronds, Flowers, and Pollen; Rose Petals; Mustard Greens; and Sunchokes, among many others, each with a handful of recipes. The book includes many recipes that make use of the lovely fall produce appearing in markets. Try Shinko Pear and Buttermilk Sorbet; Caramelized Carrots with Lentils, Labne, and Flowering Cilantro; Cheese Pumpkin and Citron Hummus; Celeriac Baked with Chestnuts and Sourdough; and Smoked Fig Leaf Cookies. Final sections on Pantry Essentials and Stocking a Larder provide instruction for preparing all the supporting ingredients.

Meet author Michelle McKenzie and pick up a signed copy of Dandelion & Quince:

September 25, 11am–12:30pm
A Great Good Place for Books
6120 La Salle Ave, Oakland

More info here.

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