11 December 2009

Earth to Table

You can never have too many cookbooks. That’s my story and I am sticking with it. A while back home before dark suggested that I take a look at Earth to Table. What can I say; I rarely turn down a cookbook suggestion. I looked it up and was immediately entranced. The cover featured four of my favorite things: a chicken, a potpie, fresh radishes and a rustic fruit tart.

I realize, at some point, these big cookbooks with pictures of heirloom tomatoes are going to fall out of fashion. In twenty years, when someone picks up a cookbook featuring those heirloom tomatoes pictures, it will immediately date it to the early 2000’s, but I don't mind a bit of dating.

Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann wanted at restaurant that got its produce form a farm. They found ManoRun Farm and began cooking at Ancaster Old Mill producing a menu from what the farm provided. It’s not profoundly new. Crump has worked with both Alice Waters and Heston Blumenthal.

One of the differences with this book and many of the other “we cook form our farm books” is the process Crump brings to his writing. Interspersed between the recipes are thoughtful interviews with like-minded chefs and farmers. While not everyone can have a restaurant sitting in the middle of three acres of farmland, they offer several ways to begin a more localized approach to eating like: source a single product, join a CSA or plant a garden. In the meantime, make muffins.

Apple Cider Muffins

1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pure apple cider
3/4 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 medium apples, peeled and grated (ideally crisp baking apples, Granny Smiths or Mutsus)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 12-cup muffin tin. In a medium bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a third bowl, whisk together apple cider, sour cream and vanilla.
In 3 additions, add flour mixture and apple cider mixture to sugar mixture, folding with a spatula to combine. Fold in apples then pour batter into muffin cups. Fill the cups about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake, turning halfway, until the muffins spring back tot he touch, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Thanks again to home before dark for this suggestion.


  1. I feel a tad guilty about feeding in to your addiction, but I'm glad you took a look at this one. And why not slap a restaurant down in the middle of Lucindaville? I wonder what kind of story Welty could write with: a chicken, a potpie, fresh radishes and a rustic fruit tart!

  2. some of my most favourite Christmas gifts to receive are foods. these apple cider muffins would ship well I bet-home, lucinda hint hint. one year a friend created an elaborate meals on wheels program for me and another year a dinner a month program. I do love cookbooks though.G


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