There are a lot of cookbooks out there. And a lot of them write about Washington and the Pacific Northwest “cuisine”. I should know; I have several of them. But sometimes, one book stands out among the scads on the local bookstore’s shelves.
Michele Morris’s A Taste of Washington: Favorite Recipes from the Evergreen State is that book.
A Taste of Washington combines recipes from Michele’s own repertoire with others from restaurants around the state. I was over-the-moon thrilled to see that she managed to finagle the Wild Iris Inn‘s fiesta frittata recipe out of them – now if only I could get that cookie recipe … *plots*
I’ve already tried three recipes from the book, and while my Grand Marnier prawns still need a little work to get the sauce to the right consistency, everything has been extremely tasty, runny sauce notwithstanding. The Swedish pancakes were my favorite, and the first I’ve found that can almost rival my mother’s.
I’m eager to try more of the breakfast and brunch recipes – especially the marionberry pancakes and orange butter croissant French toast. (And who can resist Oranges Chardonnay?!)
Michele also highlights the best of the Pacific Northwest – Walla Walla sweet onions, in her crispy fried sweet onion recipe; and of course Dungeness crab cakes. Northwest oysters, lobster, scallops, and more round out the seafood; she also features a recipe for warm cinnamon applesauce, that blessedly references some of the key Northwest strains of cooking apple (most notably my well-documented obsession, Gravenstein). Michele – that alone would make for a five-star review from me … ha! Easily pleased, but abjectly opinionated – that’s me. Really, though – Gravensteins mush appropriately, which is what you really need when making applesauce, no?
From comfort food (chicken pot pie) to haute cuisine (ossobuco with salt-roasted fingerling potatoes, or of course the black cod with fingerlings and Manila clams), Michele covers it all in A Taste of Washington, and admirably so. The recipes are drool-worthy (two kinds of bisque! What shall I do?!), and the pictures only enhance that. She took many of the photos herself, and they are truly fantastic, whether full-page or 2×3″.
I’m excited to continue working my way through the cookbook, especially as the calendar keeps trotting on toward fall and winter. Michele – congratulations on a job very, very well done. I highly recommend A Taste of Washington!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of A Taste of Washington in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.