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I’m crazy about a new cookbook called “The Art of Real Food,” written by Joanne Neft, with recipes developed by chef Laura Kenny. This is a follow-up to the duo’s first cookbook, “Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets,” which was a resounding success.
Neft is the former director of the Placer County Agriculture Marketing Program and founder of both the Placer Mountain Mandarin Festival and the Foothill Farmers' Market, and a passionate advocate of healthy, seasonal eating. A talented team of local artists contributed to the book, which is filled with drool-inducing photographs by Keith Sutter and stunning illustrations of fruits and vegetables by Paula Amerine. Nationally-recognized sculptor (and co-founder of both the ARTS building in Auburn and the Auburn Art Walk) Anthony Maki Gill created an entire set of unique clay dishes for the project.
Chapters are organized by the season and a crop one would likely find at that time of year (for example - “January 15: Broccoli; June 25; Nectarines; October 29: Winter Squash); and the book also offers some great extra info, like the chart entitled “Don’t overdo it!” which instructs readers on the ideal internal temperature for grassfed and pastured meats. Not-to-miss recipes include the creamy fruit pops (page 179) and the summer squash gratin (page 151).