When food stylist Melina Hammer and her husband Jim dreamed up Catbird Cottage, a farm-to-table bed & breakfast in New York’s Hudson Valley, they were seeking a greater connection to nature in their everyday lives. A Year At Catbird Cottage celebrates that closeness; Hammer harvests and preserves food to prepare deliberately elaborate meals that celebrate that bounty and seasonality.
Moving from the city to the country gave her the chance to use an abundance of wild foods to the meals she served: “Foraging makes what is right in front of us obvious if we simply stop and notice.” Foraging do’s and dont’s, a guide to invasive plants, and an overview of the Northeast’s native plants accompany typical cookbook introductions.
Hammer encourages building a pantry of bottled, gems-from-a-season staples such as field garlic oil and honeysuckle cordial. And not surprisingly, recipes are organized seasonally. In spring, crispy pork and fennel meatballs in umami broth. In summer, a dish of scallops, corn confit, and milkweed. Fall brings quince tarte tatin, and winter calls for sage-buttermilk-rye pot pies.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.