Heidi Swanson’s delicious cookbook features recipes from far-flung places around the globe. Her original recipes reflect her immersion into each locale she visited, soaking up the magic and atmosphere—and also the sights, the aromas, and the exotic flavours all around her.
Excerpted from Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson. Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Swanson. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
—Long, thin whips of deep green puntarelle, a swarm of tiny yellow key limes, dried persimmons with downy skins, red-skinned hand-cracked walnuts, chickpea flour, sprouted mung beans, a friendly giant pomelo with twin glossy leaves attached, stubby bouquets of nameko mushrooms, little yellow pom-poms from snipped branches of acacia tree.
—Fresh fenugreek, ruffled baby cabbage, parrot tulips and buttery freesia blossoms, rose petal jam, French radishes, the tiniest, pointiest green onions, and sprout-fed eggs.
—Helleborus and daffodil, Tahitian pomelo, dried blood oranges, seascape strawberries, amaranth, nettles, fresh pressed olive oil, kumquats, and lazy clusters of fragrant lilacs ranging in hue from pale, dusty purple to electric violet.
Like many cooks, I keep journals. And when you look at mine, you notice cracked spines and paper that is no longer crisp, or clean, or bright. The corners are dull and dog-eared, the pages filled with my handwriting. Scraps, scrawls, and sketches are taped to lined pages. Newspaper clippings, laser printouts, and magazine snippets commingle in an unruly mob of fonts. There are photos, stamps, receipts, lists, and sticky notes.
I keep the journals for a number of reasons, but mostly so I don’t forget details—the pattern of an ancient Italian olive grove as seen on approach to the Bari airport, colourful pickles and tiny salads beautifully arranged as part of a bento lunch in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, the markings on the craggy, hand-painted bowls piled high with fekka and chebakia pastries at a shop in Marrakech, or the impossibly small cherry tomatoes, no larger than blueberries, at Takashimaya in Tokyo. Closer to home, I note the comings and goings of ingredients in my own kitchen, the details of meals shared, and my favourite farmers’ market finds week by week.
As I turn the pages of these books, it’s clear that much of the food I cook is inspired by two things: where I live (Northern California), and where I’ve travelled. Food rooted in place—both near and far. This is a cookbook that attempts to explore both.