The Romantic Prairie Cookbook | Fifi O’Neill

 

Home spun recipes with a very personal touch.

Romantic Prairie Style Cookbook

TITLE: The Romantic Prairie Cookbook
AUTHOR: Fifi O’Neill
PUBLISHER: CICO Books
CUISINE: American

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Featured Ingredient: Apples
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the roseApple By dhaun family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
If you like food photography then you will immediately fall in love with The Romantic Prairie Cookbook. Photographer Mark Lohman does an amazing job bringing Fifi O’Neill’s creative dishes to life. Recipes are generally contained to one page. This makes for easy reference. I think we can all agree that if you’re cooking something for the first time, page flipping can be a giant pain. The ingredients used are for the most part easy to come by. Nothing is too exotic or unusual. I would categorize the dishes as home cooking/Americana/country. There isn’t a nice fitting category for these. Not necessarily classic comfort food. But, dishes you can easily cozy up to.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Introduction
Starters and Snacks
Main Courses
Side Dishes
Desserts and Baking
Drinks and Preserving
Celebrations

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Nothing makes your house or kitchen smell better than a fresh baked apple pie. OK, maybe bacon frying. So, this seems like the perfect time to roll out a how-to-make-an-apple-pie video. Seems easy enough…

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Prosciutto with Fresh Figs Summer Tomato Tart
Fish in Salt Crust Venison Stroganoff
Sautéed Potatoes Popovers
Rosemary Corn Muffins Strawberry-Almond Tart
Bread Pudding Old-Fashioned Chive Butter
Country Dill Pickles Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro Oil

 

Of course there are some standouts. There were two in particular that are impossible to pass up. The Country Roast Pork (p. 48) and the Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks (p. 54) really typify some of the heartier dishes in the book. These meals are warming, delicious and loaded with flavor. One of the more unique recipes was the Mussels in Pine Needles (p. 70). We’ve all consumed a boatload of mussels in our time (I know I have). But, not prepared this way. This method yields a roasted flavor that is truly unique. On the beverage side, I can’t think of a better summertime thirst quencher than the Honey Grape Lemonade (p. 144). It’s a perfect cool down for kids. And as a bonus, if you have adults in the crowd, a little vodka or rum would make for much appreciated grownup treat.

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Special Features
Romantic Prairie Style CookbookThis book is not tricked out with all kinds of tutorials, listings and lessons. There is one section that is special, Celebrations. It’s almost like a cookbook within a cookbook. It’s a great little bonus. These dishes are an outstanding collection of recipes with a very personal twist. They have all been shared by Fifi’s friends. As it happens, one of my Sarasota friends, Chef Judi Gallagher, is a contributor to the Celebrations section. Be sure and check out her Hoecakes with Chipotle Sour Cream (p. 185).

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Conclusions
Fifi O’Neill has put together a very intimate collection of recipes. The Romantic Prairie Cookbook offers you a peek into someone else’s culinary memories. The beauty of it is the manner in which it’s constructed. It is not a recitation of her passed down standards (like so many of these cookbooks are). It’s more an acknowledgement of the impact that the foods and dishes of her friends have made on her. Delicious memories from a lifetime of personal food interactions.

Culinary Expertise Required: 5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Romantic Prairie Style Cookbook

Resources, Links and Press
Savvy City Farmer
My Petit Maison
Fifi on Twitter
CiCo Books Online

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