Barbara Scott-Goodman’s “The Vineyard Cookbook” (Welcome Books, $24.95) is the type of cookbook I generally hate. The recipes are from numerous vineyards, which all too often means they call for pretentious ingredients none of us is like to keep in our cupboards. You know what I mean: ground duck breast, ciliegine (cherry-sized balls of fresh mozzarella), fresh goat’s milk or persimmon purée.
Plus, the recipes are divided into seasons, the times of year when the ingredients should be available. But whose seasons? Not South Texas’, that’s for sure. We have heirloom tomatoes available at various times in spring, summer and fall, not just in the summer when her recipe for Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Feta Cheese Salad appears.
I’ve never seen fresh peas here. Does that mean I’m not to make the Linguine With Fresh Asparagus and Peas (click here)? Not on your life. This is a dish you can make with asparagus any time of year and frozen peas.
Yet, when I started to look at the recipes, my appetite took over and I embraced “The Vineyard Cookbook” in a big way. Why? Because the recipes are largely easy yet elegant, relying on the freshest ingredients prepared in the simplest ways possible. Nothing’s too fancy or fussy. And the photographs show you how beautiful these recipes can be on your dinner table.
[amazon-product]1599620642[/amazon-product]Who wouldn’t love Warm Mixed Olives (click here), a dish that goes together in minutes and yet could be a perfect appetizer or relish tray accompaniment? Or a simple Golden Walnut Cake With Fresh Berries and Cinnamon Cream? I can’t wait to make the Blue Cheese Caesar Salad, the Creamy Carrot and Chive Soup or the Buttermilk Biscuits.
These are the types of dishes you expect the people at wineries like Chateau St. Jean, Paraduxx, Nickel & Nickel or Willamette Valley Vineyards really eat when people aren’t looking. Though, I do have to ask, where are the recipes from Texas wineries? Maybe in the next edition.